I recently had the pleasure of escorting author Louise Penny to a signing and discussion of her latest book The Cruelest Month at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. While the majority of the discussion centered on the process of developing her characters and the setting for her books, her native Canada, one particular aspect of the conversation really resonated with me.
She mentioned that the turning point or the true measure of success for an author comes when people begin to refer to one's books not by their titles but instead as "the latest Louise Penny." Then they have established their names solidly as a brand.
She followed that up by graciously thanking everyone who had come out to share the evening with her for making that happen... because it happens only by word of mouth.
It is still the strongest tactic there is; establish a good reputation and let the people do the selling and brand building for you.
And, by the way, I have not yet read a Louise Penny, but the passion of her fans won me over. Next on my list: A Still Life, Louise Penny's first Three Pines Mystery.