There is much debate on this subject: author name versus self-formed company?
In essence, we must look at this logically. A recent study found that 40% of eBook sales are going to self-published authors. Does this mean that harnessing a company behind your book hurts it or benefits it? I am in-between the debate here, as I use this website (Circle 5 Publishing) as my primary “hub,” where I sell my books. However, do take into consideration that when I am publishing on Amazon, I always go under my own name. If you search Amazon for “Circle 5 Publishing,” I am nowhere to be seen. This is because it is not proven (nor disproved) that marketing yourself under a company or an author name is relevant.
Should I even bother?
So should you even bother with setting up a company page like this one to promote your books? After reviewing a lot of material from other self-published authors, statistics, surveys, and so much more, it is conclusive to me that an author’s name is much more effective at selling a self-published book than a company. But you do have to understand what I am saying when proclaiming that a company name can bring solidarity to self-published authors – especially in the beginning.
If you were to search eBay for, “Mac laptops” and found a listing for a refurbished Mac under a random username, in comparison to “Apple,” who would you pick: the unidentified profile, or Apple? Obviously, you would choose Apple (if not, comment here on why). Does this mean the same goes for books? Not specifically. I have debated this with many authors on various forums: should you represent your own name or do so under a company title? i.e. Should I sell under “Ryan W. McClellan” or “Circle 5 Publishing”? Well, the answer to that question is rather simple.
Do both, idiot!
Seriously, don’t list yourself as “self-published” in the section labeled: “Company” or “Publisher,” as this begets an amateur author who, unless stricken with tons of good reviews, suddenly looks less professional. But do not publish the work under a company name, as this promotes a sense of confusion (unless your company title represents the book itself, i.e. I own a company for web design, so if I were to publish an eBook on web design I would do so under the company name). Post under your own name…but list your own publisher if you are self-published. And have a website for them, even they are not you.
This creates a sense of “social proof” or “perceived value,” which is outlined in our post: “Human Perception & Publishing,” and my book: “Wings Of Lead, Blood Of Ink.” Psychologically, we are creatures that are hardwired to make the best possible purchase, and that is dictated often by the name of something. Nike is a popular brand because it is Nike, not because they make better shoes; Apple is able to charge $1,500 for a new laptop that, in retrospect, is no better nor worse than their last model…but they can do it because psychologically they are associated with good-quality products. This is perceived value, and I will give you an example below. Beware: it’s pretty entertaining.
The Toyota example…
This is from my book, “Wings Of Lead, Blood Of Ink”.
When Toyota read the results of an enormous double-blind study on over 10,000 potential customers, they found that the most important thing to a consumer looking for a new car was safety. But the problem was, there is nothing much else you can do in this case to make a car safer. Sure, there are certain features that can be improved (airbags are often known to cause more damage than assistance, as an example), but this was not enough to up the value of a vehicle.
So, they did something incredibly pungent: they added a one-inch piece of aluminum on both sides of the lock on each car door. When the door locked, it would resonate with a loud echo, making it sound as if a bank vault was being closed and shut. Toyota upped the price of each vehicle by around $3,000 and claimed that there were new “added facets of safety in the doors that will prevent accidents from turning deadly.” When a consumer would hear the lock slam shut (even though the lock itself was no different, no stronger, no safer…), it is not hard to guess what the result was. People were willing to pay that extra $3,000 based on a 1-inch piece of aluminum that gave the perception that the car was safer.
Psychologically, this principle works. I have had much better success as an author when I list a valid publisher than when I simply say: “Self-Published.” Despite the fact that over 40 percent of Amazon eBook sales are currently going to self-published authors, there is still a rather harsh stigma attached to an “unpublished” author, and in this sense, buying a self-published book devalues the author’s name – even if the material is just as good as that of a published author’s. This is how psychology works. As previously stated, the human brain is programmable, and the term: “self-published” gives a lacking sense of professionalism.
This is because (whether the consumer realizes it or not) it causes the brain to fumble with the idea of, “Why is this person not published through a normal publisher?” This question can lead to a loss of sales. I plan on doing a study on this eventually, to see if a novel sells just as well as a self-published piece over a traditionally-published piece. But until then, we can only conclude that, based on principle, it is best to publish on your own name but, do not leave that “Publisher” section blank. Leave it with a company name, and then broadcast that company name publicly, and you should be good to go.