[Bruce's note: I posted this question in an author's group earlier this morning. After I put it up, I realized I was missing an opportunity to ask the same important question of people who read this blog. Thanks in advance for any feedback, comments, suggestions.]
OK, so I have a question. If you write lots of books, and I mean like potentially hundreds, does it make more sense to publish them all under one name, or, marketing-wise, is it a better idea to publish under several names?
The concern is either diluting one's impact and credibility or overwhelming one's market.
Background: Marge and I write personal and business development books. Some are 10 Steps to Success books, relatively short, 30-45 page ebooks on a specific topic. Others are 31 Days Mastery books, which include coaching suggestions and homework, these run 135-150 pages as ebooks. We publish all our titles now on Kindle, and that's working for us.
Here's another part of our particular puzzle - we LOVE to write these books. No joke, we sometimes get giggly while we're working on them together because we enjoy it and have so much fun. Plus we also write from the heart based on our own experiences in personal development and in self-owned business ventures. So, in our minds, these are important books, even the short ones, for us to get out.
And we also want to make money writing them. We make some now, for which we're entirely grateful. And we'd like to make more, preferably a lot more. As we were working on our lists of topics for the coming year, which turned out to be a boatload of titles, one of our friends and trusted advisors threw up a big caution, saying we should focus on definable subject areas and not put out too many titles. His argument is our market will not value such a large number of books from plain ole us (well, he didn't say it exactly that way).
So our trusted advisor had two suggestions:
1. If we insist on writing so many titles, start developing new brands and using different author names for different subject areas - that way we could specialize with each, and strengthen the individual brands.
2. That we focus at least 50% of our effort on marketing and not so much on writing additional books. He didn't say stop writing, but to make a significant shift toward more effective marketing (including speaking, radio, blogging, that kind of thing).
So we enjoy speaking, radio, etc., but we REALLY DIG WRITING our books.
My thought is we ourselves are our own brand. That's clearly ego-centric, but I also think it's true of all of us writer types, or certainly can be.
So I guess my LONG question, boils down to this:
Our friend and advisor has suggested we allocate 50% time to writing new books and 50% to marketing, on a consistent, structured plan for each. I'm OK with a structured plan for writing, and am working on a structure for marketing (which to date comes in flurries, mostly, at least for most of our titles) - but I'd personally be happier with about 80% writing and 20% marketing.
Given our preferences and proclivities, what do you guys think? Any input is appreciated. This is a serious question for us. And, possibly, maybe except for fiction writers, one which others here share in part.
Thanks in advance, Bruce