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Networking = Name Recognition = Marketing

Friday, August 4, 2006

In one of her comments, Carol mentioned that one of the things she is doing is participating in a blog where she is gaining name recognition, but that she isn’t sure that it is networking.

Building name recognition is a major part of both networking AND marketing! Because the three work hand-in-hand. This is why we write blogs, why we participate in local writers groups (aside from the fellowship, knowledge, and support of other writers), why we volunteer to help out with contests and “group management” type tasks with our writing groups, and why we walk up and introduce ourselves to published authors, editors, or agents. We want name recognition.

I have joked that I am one of the best known unpublished authors in CBA publishing circles. This has been helped along by several things, some of my doing, others because I have done that networking and stories have gotten around. I mentioned earlier about my working with several of the editors from the largest CBA publishing houses last year during the Noble Theme (now “Genesis”) contest with ACFW.

But something I haven’t mentioned on this blog is another area of name recognition—not necessarily writing related, but still name recognition. At the first ACFW (then ACRW) national conference in 2002, I got to know Brandilyn Collins, one of the preeminent CBA authors, and just a fun person to be around. It just so happened on our last night there, as a bunch of us were hanging out in the “pub” at the hotel, another patron decided he wanted to have a bit of fun and walked over to our table and kissed someone on the cheek—ME! It was fun and funny and we joked that I would go down in the lore of the stories that are told about conferences.

What I didn’t know is that for a couple of years after this, Brandilyn was still telling this story about me. When she came to Nashville with the Zondervan book signing tour a couple of years later, almost as soon as I walked into the bookstore, I was practically mugged by this tall man I’d never seen before in my life who wrapped me in a huge bear-hug and kissed me on the cheek. Well, he turned out to be James Scott Bell who’d been told the “kissing bandit” story at lunch by Brandilyn, who knew I would be there.

Now, I have not seen nor talked to Jim Bell since that day (and it’s been almost two years ago), but I have a feeling that were I to see him again and remind him of that incident, he would instantly remember me. Not because he knows anything about my writing, but because of the name recognition that comes from a unique memory.

Networking builds name recognition and name recognition translates into marketing because a recognized name is a brand. Think about it. John Grisham. Tom Clancy. J.K. Rowling. has a feature on their website where you can sign up for announcements when your favorite authors have upcoming releases so you can preorder their books. At one point in time all of these authors were pre-pubs trying to break into print. Now people buy books simply because their name is on the cover as the author. Granted, their name recognition has come through selling millions of books, but for those of us trying to break into an over-saturated publishing market, building a “following” by networking ahead of time, getting our names out there, marketing ourselves pre-publication is vitally important when it comes to first convincing a publisher if they buy our novel it will sell, and then parlaying that into sales and royalties after the book hits the streets. (Can you tell I’ve been working on a marketing plan for a proposal submission?) And not only will you have built-in readers eager for your book to come out, but you will have influencers—published authors willing to put their “seal of approval” on your book with a quote about what a wonderful author you are and how fabulous your story is.

So how do we go about “branding” ourselves with name recognition? Post your comments with your techniques and I’ll expound on it a little more in another entry.

  1. Carol Collett permalink
    Friday, August 4, 2006 3:33 pm

    Good points. Name recognition is beneficial. I have local conference in Sept. Hopefully I can put some of these tactics to use. One of the sessions I’m attending is hosted by an editor.



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