On Monday, we talked about covers and the effect on readers. Namely, whether readers pick up the book. Covers should communicate content and tone--no easy feat, to be sure.
But picking up the book is not a won battle, friends. We want readers to buy that sucker. Sometimes, for the casual book buyer, an appealing cover induces a capitalistic coma that draws reader, book in hand, to the cash register. Zap.
More often building awareness of a book, branding and positioning it in the marketplace, is the effort that wins the battle.
Positioning means the image/collection of images that pops up in a consumer's mind when your product gets mentioned. So, when you hear a title like GHOST COUNTRY, you think thriller, serious, fast-paced (as opposed to, say, unicorns, happy, and paaarties). Positioning also means how consumers compare your product to others in its category. So how are Patrick Lee's thrillers different than, say, the Jason Bourne books. It's about how the book gets packaged (cover, typeface, copy, etc.). But it's also about how it gets talked about.
Like a cover, the buzz surrounding a book should reflect tone and content in interesting ways. As with any product, marketing (which is a large part of brand-building and positioning) has to break through the noise--and books, regardless of genre, is a noisy market. Especially for you self-pubbers!!
Publishers and authors are getting really creative with the ways they define books in readers minds. Characters are getting Twitter feeds and Facebook pages. Books have trailers like movies.
The Internet means marketing is as flexible as its ever been. You can bring characters to life to talk directly to your audience. If your tone is sassy-with-a-touch-of-ninja-dash-of-literary, you can do that. We're not restricted by a medium anymore, as they were in MadMen (on Netflix, btw!!).
It's sort of cool.