Following on from my previous comment that the author is the brand, here’s an extract from an interesting article by Danuta Kean, from the latest edition of The Deal (the official magazine of the London Book Fair):
Traditional book retailers’ dominance of the market is breaking. The internet provides publishers with more branding opportunities, as Dominic Proctor points out. ‘Whether through embedded content, webasodes or blogs, there is so much need for content out there, and publishers should take advantage of that for their authors.’
Steve Hatch, joint m.d. of media giant Mediaedge;cia and author of Rigorous Magic: Communication Ideas and their Application (John Wiley), agrees. He believes publishers should use authors as community brands.
‘The strongest driver of book sales is word-of-mouth, and publishers should be thinking of their books and authors as communities rather than things that sit on shelves,’ he says. ‘A book is a living thing, and readers love that sense of engagement. But when you look at what publishers are doing from an online point-of view, there is nothing there.’
An effective online strategy building these communities need not be expensive, he adds. ‘It’s not money that is the problem. It’s the mentality,’ he observes. ‘It’s not like trying to sell toothpaste.’