A lot of authors don't seem to know the point.
There are 3 ways to market your book. Pick one of the three and use that as the starting point for your marketing strategy. Because (and here is the important bit) the method you use will depend on your goal. It will utilise different techniques, and it will net you different results.
- market your title
- market your name
- market your publishing company*
You can market the title of your novel (or, alternatively, the title of your series). I was on about book 4 or 5 before I realised Kelley Armstrong's series was called Women of the Underworld. There was no indication on the books that the series had a title.
On the other hand, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series has a very distinctive Series name. In fact, the name has been so well presented that it is practically a brand. Every new novel starts with a blowing wind which is not the beginning because the wheel of time turns, it has no beginnings or endings. Additionally each new book is presented as Wheel of Time whatever number whatever title. And throughout the story characters reference the Wheel of Time.
You can do this with either your books title or your series title. You can market it to the point where everyone knows it. Sometimes viral marketing (word of mouth) will run with a title, and that's what gets marketed whether you want it to or not. (Which is why Dan Brown's novels released before DaVinci Code were reissued with new covers pointing out he was the author of the DaVinci Code).
Of course, on rare occasions you can market a character. At such times it is a good idea to include the characters name in the title. There are a few examples of this (such as Hannibal the Cannibal or Sherlock Holmes). The most recognised example, of course, is:
You can turn your name into a brand. There are a lot of authors who have done this, and you can spot them because the next book is always introduced as "Author's book."
Examples include John Grisham's The Firm or Michael Crighton's Jurassic Park. The most successful author to use this form of branding is, of course, Stephen King.
You can brand your companies name. This is unusual to the point of practically never being heard of. There are only a few occasions when this has been used. It is mostly used when there are a lot of similar books by loads of different authors, and readers want a particular style or genre of book rather than following a certain author's work.
Examples of this would be Harlequin Romance or The Black Library (publishes fiction set in the World of Warhammer).
Okay this feels like its getting long. I have a lot written past this point, I'm going to cut it and use it for a second post which will come online in a few days. It involves the pros and cons of the methods described above.