Friday, February 10, 2012

Marketing: How Alison Potter came to be Ali Knight

Have you thought about the process prior to a book hitting the book shop shelves? The whole world of publishing, marketing and promotion.

You could be the most awesomest writer with a Stig Larsson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc trilogy) political thriller in your hands but what if your publishing name sucked and your marketing sucked? Your book would simply fail to capture the fickle attention of your audience.

Alison Potter wrote a very interesting article about her foray into the world of publishing a thriller novel and how marketing is deeply entrenched in the publishing world. To the point that the name Alison Potter just would not suffice.

Her publisher advised her that she would need a pen name (a pseudonym). Firstly, she would be competing in Google's search engine against heavy hitting opponents such as Harry Potter and Beatrix Potter. Authors of thriller type of books need spicy, thrilling type of names. Of course, that explains why romance authors have silly, romantic pseudonyms and not something like Abby Brown or Joan Barry.

What would your pseudonym be if you wrote a book? Would it meet the following criterias:

* Unique enough to be crawled by the Google search engine and be on the first page of search results?
* Is it somewhere in the middle of the alphabet enough that your book isn't positioned on the very top shelf or the very bottom shelf but ideally at eye level? Afterall supermarkets charge suppliers extra if they want to position their products at eye level because customers are lazy and more inclined to buy whatever is at eye level.

Eventually Alison Potter settled on the pseudonym of Ali Knight because Ali was short and memorable while Knight sounded "crimey" and more importantly, positioned her on the shelves next to Stephen King and Stieg Larsson.

I thought that was rather fascinating. It makes logical sense though. You could be a potential Pulitzer Prize winner but if no-one has read your book because it's got the shittiest position on the shelves and your publishing name is boring or obscure, the buyers wouldn't be intrigued by your book in the first place. It really is all about the marketing!! And to a slightly lesser extent ~ the quality of your book ;)

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