'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Publisher's Insider: The Author as Brand

In the good old days, a talented author would sit down and write a wonderful story. A publisher would agree to publish the story. A book would be created. And before too long, the finished product would go out to sit on the shelves of bookstores and hopefully sell. After the initial burst of publicity, the author would retire quietly to the sidelines.

Modern publishing is a completely different animal. There are more books being published than ever before, but they are by no means all from traditional publishing houses. Authors can now self-publish. Ebooks are gaining market share. Bricks-and-mortar bookstores are rapidly declining in number. Online retail giants are booming. And the author is now, without doubt, the most important member of the sales team.

To be a successful author in today’s market, you not only have to be talented but you also have to be willing — and eager — to promote yourself and your book at each and every opportunity. You need to be active on social media: tweeting, blogging, facebooking and generally spreading the word about what you do. You need to conduct workshops and speak at schools, libraries and bookshops. You need to get your name out there and build yourself as a brand. And you need to actively support the book industry and others in it because a strong, vital publishing industry is in the best interests of everyone who loves books.

If you do all this, with genuine passion and enthusiasm, the bookseller is more likely to keep your book in their store (because they recognise your name and know you continue to generate media) rather than return it to the publisher; the mother wanting to buy a book for her little girl is more likely to google you because she remembers how much fun her daughter had when you spoke at her school; and your chances of becoming a ‘successful author’ will be greatly increased.

Anouska Jones is our KBR Editor. Mum to a gorgeous little girl, she has nearly twenty years' experience in the book publishing industry. A publishing consultant and editor, Anouska is obsessed by all things to do with words, writing and books.