International Thriller Writers. Each month I get a newsletter from ITW that lists the forthcoming releases from members. There's a long list, and as I always do, I scanned the most recent one, looking for a familiar name. I love to read thrillers, and like most readers I've identified writers whose previous work I have enjoyed. So, out of that sea of names and titles, I picked one book--just one--that I wanted to be sure to read. Because of name recognition.
Writers talk endlessly about platform and marketing, but I remain convinced that the best way to get our work purchased and read is by word-of-mouth. To put it another way, we seek name recognition. Sure, we can get that by making the New York Times best-seller list, or winning a major award, but it's also possible to get our name recognized because reader A tells his/her friends readers B and C, who then pass on their recommendations to D, E, F, and... You get the picture.
None of this is applicable if you're a celebrity, of course. A "tell all" book by the Pope's butler will probably hit the best-seller list (if it hasn't already--I don't care about those things). But for the writer of fiction, name recognition and word-of-mouth remain the tools that drive sales. At least, that's my opinion.
My friend, award-winning author Jim Rubart, says that an author's name and brand are a promise to the reader. What do you think? Do you ever buy a book because you've read something else by that author and liked it? And, if that's the case, have you ever been disappointed? Let me hear what you think.