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:
Vector illustration of a portable modern tablet pc e-book reader.
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.