All about the branding!
Are you stressed because your book sales are slow? Does your backlist need to find a new readership? New to the self-publishing industry and do not understand where to start? Regardless which category you fall under, book covers matter and the first step to remember it's all about the branding.
What is branding and why is it important?
Branding isn’t about one item but a whole development of components that will bring a clean design and product as well as consumer loyalty to you. There are few things you want to touch on when creating a brand for your books and yourself.
Is your world building development include identifying markers that require a logo? Perhaps a paranormal academy and the school needs an insignia for its alma mater? Then a series logo will set the tone for the world you’ve created and will bring in familiarity to readers across the board.
It’s okay to think outside of the box but if you are on a budget and need to use stock, please try to keep it simple and research the talent you hire. If you are on a budget, this isn’t the time to hire a designer who offers deals if you are looking to make a statement with your books. Research your genre and see which covers stands out, has the most reviews, and make sure not to pick traditional published authors. Look toward your peers in the industry and learn from the best.
If you think of Victoria Secret or Nike, you are familiar with their brand because the items they create. Victoria Secret started with intimate wear but the brand has created an identity visually whether they use Victoria’s Angels or who they're marketing too. Nike appeals to not athletes but consumers for its style, comfort, and wearability. The same goes for your own brand! There are websites that allow your readers to create awesome products like Redbubble.com and you need to add is your own logo or artwork.
When picking the theme of your covers, be consistent! Try to find stock photos that have several images you can use for your covers. It is okay to love one picture for the pose of the body but hate the face because any talented and experienced graphic designer will manipulate the image and use another image of the face you want without a problem. If they can’t, move on and find someone else.
What is in a name? No, this is not Romeo and Juliette but your name. Your name is your author brand and promise to readers. Make sure your author logo matches your style and tone of your writing. All successful authors will tell you authenticity and rapport with readers is the major key to the success of your writing career. Your author branding should match your business cards, website, and merchandising when used. A graphic designer you work with will create a branding card that will give you the font information used in your design, color hex codes, including the logo and monogram. A great way to place these graphics are on the back of your print books (author logo) next to the UPC and on the spine (monogram). It gives your books consistent touch of your brand throughout the rest of your future projects.
What to look for when hiring a graphic designer?
Whether it’s word-of-mouth recommendation or previous work you love, finding the right designer is as hard as finding a great editor. The important thing to remember is, results! Don’t be afraid to look at a designer’s reviews, their portfolio, and ask for before and afters, including how many years experience they have in publishing industry field. Notice which genres they work with often and if you don’t see yours, that’s okay. They may have samples of work they have not published yet, so ask them. Ask them what is their process when they create a book cover, and what do they base their decision in the direction they take when making book covers. Any question you have will only make you more secure in your decision on who you will hire and not regret later.
Remember this is not only an investment for you, you are finding an integral part of your publishing team. So pick the person you know you can work with for future projects and that you can build a long-standing professional relationship with.