Author Branding


I’ve been reading quite a bit about author branding lately and the topic really fascinates me. I have run my own businesses for years, which is why my romance novels are focused around entrepreneurs, but I remember back to my first business logo and how awful it was! I was 17 and my first business was called Juniper Berry. The logo was quite unimaginative with a tree in a brown square box with some text underneath.

When I invented my first product, I was attending The School of Communication Arts in London and had begun to learn about product design and branding. We were set tasks to design new branding and packaging for some big companies as a project and the results were anything from funny shaped boxes to business cards made from a jigsaw! It did make me realise how important the identity is to a product and as authors, our books are our product and we are brand ambassadors.

When someone looks for your book or product, can they easily identify that they are from you? Can they read the label clearly, even from a phone screen or iPad? Does your branding follow through across all of your novels, or does it confuse your readers? This might sound obvious, but when you look at a selection of work from some authors, its not always easy to see which ones belong together.

I often identify my favourite author’s books online by their book covers. I know their style and expect their latest covers, merchandise or social media to be uniform. My books are all romances about various businesses and their quirky owners, but they are still very different. One is a sizzling beach read, one a romantic mystery novel and one is full of magic. Here are my covers:


Even though they are different, I always use similar colour palettes and type faces. My author picture and social media branding is the same on all platforms:

I understand that it might seem strange to think of writing books as a business, but we are making a product that we really hope others will love and packaging it in a way that appeals to those people is vitally important.

I’m in the process of designing bookmarks and have asked some of my readers what they would like to see on them. Most would like the cover design work followed through, as they enjoy bookmarks that match the books they are currently reading. Again, this is all branding and a wonderful way to connect with our amazing readers. I’ll let you see the finished design when they are done, but I will be listening to my readers and carrying through my brand design.

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20 thoughts on “Author Branding

  1. Hi Lizzie! Very helpful and informative stuff here and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve been reading a lot about branding and marketing lately too. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Getting a lot of great tips here, Lizzie, from you, Jan Hawke, and Jan Sikes! Branding and being able to recognize an author by his/her cover seems very, very professional. I also like the idea of cover bookmarks! Great read!

    • Thanks Linda. My first batch of bookmarks have arrived and already subscribers to my newsletter are saying they love them! I’ve also designed business cards for each of my books. I will post photos when they arrive too. Every bit helps to create a wider awareness of an author’s work.

  3. Great post, Lizzie! I’ve been reading a lot on branding lately as well. When you mentioned recognizing authors by the book covers, I’ve noticed the same thing, though it seems more prevalent for series. The tough part is coming up with a brand that relates to my primary genre (mystery/suspense) yet is flexible enough to use for other genres (fantasy, speculative). Man, this author stuff seems tougher than the actual writing sometimes! 🙂

    • Lol! I agree Julie. It can be hard to get right, but it is so important. Maybe you could stick to colours and type faces that follow through on all your work, but use different imagery, so customers can recognise your brand that way?

      • Good idea. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to move in that direction soon; still waiting on a decision from a few more publishers, then my agent will send out the nxt batch of subs. I’m reluctant to do much until something is nailed down, but I’ve been thinking about branding–a lot! 🙂

  4. I’m afraid I’m dreadfully inexperienced with ‘going on the road’, Lizzie – but that is about to change over the next few months. The one personal appearance I did (over 2 years ago now…), one of the other authors there had bookmarks on her table that went like hotcakes, and I had some business card sized plugs that went quite well, but the book(s) did not do very well at all. Just 1 Milele Safari & 2 Dreamless Roads with one of my co-authors on that, selling 2 of her fantasy series as well.
    It’s hard to get the balance between push and ‘back off’ right – we were at a local library in Kingsbridge, so probably the wrong place for people looking to buy! 🙂

    • What a shame! It must have been the wrong timing or venue.

      I was thinking more of sending the bookmarks to newsletter sign ups and giving them to loyal readers at book events. I don’t have physical books yet as my novels are all ebooks, but that’s next on my list to do too.

      I agree it’s hard to get a balance between letting people know about your work and literally throwing promotional goods at them! Never a good idea! Lol:)

  5. Great post, Lizzie. You are SO right. This is a business and we writers need to view it as such, but not in the boring sense of business, just the business sense of business. My cover design lady taught me so much about branding. She put my name in exactly the same font on each book cover and lined the spines up so that if they are sitting next to each other on a shelf, the titles, publisher and name are all aligned. 🙂 Hugs and thanks for the thoughts on branding!

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