I've been reading how certain writers aren't getting a boost in sales from media, from interviews and appearances in newspapers, on radio, or on TV, but get a more immediate boost from appearing on popular blogs on the internet.
Some have suggested it's a waste of time to go on television or radio. I don't think that's enough cause to throw these resources to the side if they're available to us. There may be other reasons, but I don't trust the logic that they won't help us.
There very well may be something similar to “delayed gratification” at work here. Readers who see a writer on TV may not today want to rush out to buy their book, but will file that author's name away for a later date. People are busy, they're broke, they're already reading something—in short, they may not be able to drop what they're doing to read what they saw on TV or in the New York Times.
But this doesn't mean readers won't remember.
Name recognition is important when selling books. Stephen King has an enormous advantage over someone like J. R. Nova (whoever that is), for the simple fact that more people know the name “Stephen King”, and know his reputation as a writer.
Every interview we do, every TV appearance we make, every radio show we go on, every story we publish, all of these things add value to our writing by putting our name out there. They may not be worth it at the time, because there is not an instantaneous uptick in sales, but there is a cumulative effect.
Name recognition doesn't translate into today's sales, but weeks or months later, when a reader is in a bookstore or shopping around Amazon and wondering what to buy. On the shelf or the screen is your book with your name on it and in the back of the reader's mind she thinks “I've heard that name before,” and takes a chance on something she's never read, if only because the name is familiar.
It's not as simple as that (your name, no matter how familiar, must still compete with other familiar names), and this may not even be a generality, but just because we do something that doesn't have an immediate payoff, doesn't mean it won't help later on.
Every little bit helps.
Relationships have love banks, and writing has a marketing bank. It's a karmic effect. The more positive we do, the more positive we get.