Marketing firms, economics departments in universities, and many high-end retailers spend a lot of time thinking about how to build brand loyalty. As I researched this piece, I found articles that promised 11 ways to build brand loyalty! 15 ways to build brand loyalty! 5 ways to build brand loyalty! And so on. Most of these ways are completely different from each other, and have little to do with each. Most of the people writing about brand loyalty online are doing so to get you to hire them to build your brand. Ignore all that. I’m going to.
Instead, I’m going to focus on a few ways that show up in all of the articles, and then I’ll tailor those ways to writers.
Brand loyalty—name loyalty—is something that we writers desire, but it’s not something that we can simply will into being. And it certainly doesn’t come about by bribing your reader.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the first. Stephen King wrote one of his every-five-years or so essays defending the prolific writer. His essays are always a little defensive, because he’s writing for the literary crowd, and always a little perplexed, as if he’s not sure why people complain when someone writes fast. (I’m perplexed about that too.)
Once upon a time, a writer taking on a big publisher like that remained secret, partly so that the writer could sell another book. (Even then, the large publisher would often bad-mouth the writer in private to any other publisher who would listen.)
Times have changed.
At least one per week, I get e-mails from writers who ask me if they need a pen name. The question used to be really easy to answer. If you wrote in multiple genres at the same time, you needed a pen name. Now, the answer—like the answer to everything else in publishing— is it depends. I suppose it’s only sensible to ask me about […]
The Business Rusch: Audience Kristine Kathryn Rusch Ah, the sound of bubbles bursting. On television, bursting bubbles have an audible “pop!” so loud it almost sounds like a gunshot. In real life, bubbles make almost no sound as they pop, maybe a faint little wet smack as they cease to be, barely louder than a kiss. Bubbles really are an apt analogy for […]
The Business Rusch: Bestseller Lists and Other Thoughts Kristine Kathryn Rusch On Tuesday, in my morning business reading, I came across a rather startling statistic: the claim that it only took 20,000 sales of paper books to hit the paper bestseller lists. I’m also assuming the statistic means paper; it might mean that it takes 20K to hit any bestseller list, which is still shockingly […]
The Business Rusch: Why Not? Kristine Kathryn Rusch On TV’s most popular drama series, NCIS, the main character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, walks through the office, and if he hears a stupid statement, he slaps the speaker on the back of the head. Now, this is fiction, mind you. In any real office, military or not, he’d probably be fired, brought up on charges, or forced […]