Myths of Book Marketing Part III
Jack Ketchum proved that using a pseudonym can work well if you use it consistently. My problem was I used a different name each time I sold a down-and-dirty. I sold my first horror story to Dave Silva at The Horror Show as “Dale Anderson.” There are a lot of Dale Andersons out there, and almost as many Paul D. Andersons. I’ve even run across a few Paul Dales and even one or two Paul Dale Andersons. I’ve used Paul Dale Anderson for all of my horror and thriller fiction since 1984. I consider it my brand name. I do still use pseudonyms for contemporary romances and some erotic tales told from a feminine viewpoint if I feel a female name is necessary to sell the story.
One of the problems with using my full name is the sheer length. It requires sixteen characters plus two blank spaces. It takes up too much space on the cover. One way around that is to have Paul Dale on one line and Anderson below it. If I want my name to be displayed consistently on every cover, I should request my first and second names on the first line, my last name on the second, and the title below it. Cover illos could consist of tools described in the story: Claw Hammer, Butcher Knife, Box Cutter, Meat Cleaver, Pickaxe, Icepick, etc., surrounded by a pool of blood.
Would you buy a book like that?
Lee Child’s recent Reacher covers have lines converging to a diminishing point like the contrail of a bullet streaking toward a target. Book sellers tell me the cover instantly attracts attention and the books are selling like hot cakes when displayed face-out. People still do buy a book for its cover.
I buy books because they have great writing that keep me reading. But, like everyone else, I’m attracted by covers and by names of authors I recognize. I depend on word-of-mouth recommendations, reviews, and even blurbs to direct me to new works by authors I’ve never heard of before. When a book blows me away, as Gone Girl did, I spread the word. Word-of-mouth is still the best marketing tool out there. I never would have purchased and read Gone Girl solely for its cover or the name of its author.
To be continued….