See Danielle Steel’s numerous books, a great example of cover branding
During a recent brainstorming session with a multi-book author, I was searching for images of trade-published book covers to show her some that readers easily could recognize – belonging to a certain writer: Similarities throughout the titles, at least in the same genre.
Readers need to know at a glance what your books look like. The book cover is most important when people are browsing titles online. It must stand out on online retailer search results, even when the cover is the size of a postage stamp. The same is true for print books at stores.
‘Visual Identity’ and Brand
You want your readers to identify your books by their covers. You need to decide how you want to brand your author name. Use the same font families for the same genres, as you will want your readers to identify your work as quickly as possible. But font is not only important for your books, your website also should tell a consistent story – even your entire author platform. Your aim is to be instantly recognizable.
A brand is a name or logo with which consumers identify certain attributes. The goal of the cover is to evoke some coded message for the reader. Sometimes covers now have even cult status. Align your book covers, create a consistent message for different books you wrote.
Brand identity looks at the aesthetics you create for your author platform. It focuses on:
First Important Step:
Take your time and research as many bestsellers in your genre – online, in bookstores and in libraries. Study at least a hundred or more. Great examples of book cover branding can be found at Rocking Book Covers. Read also their article “12 Things to Expect from Your Book Designer”.
You have the power to create your own brand identity, and a clever book cover can help. You want readers to recognize your titles straight away. This is how you stand out from the crowd at bookstores and online retailers. Your book covers can help your author platform. You can separate it from the process, or make it part of it. Think about the big picture. You don’t need to change your coves totally, but maybe altering the font, or changing one of the colours, or adding a simple touch of something to bring it all together. Package them all in the same style.
Discuss These Points With Your Designer:
- Bold or complementary colors?
- Light on dark for dramatic effects (if it fits to your book content)
- Test the cover in thumbnail size to make sure it looks good on online page
- Not more than two different fonts in total
- Not too wide vertical spaces between lines of text
- Use few shadow, bevel, gradient or glow – keep it subtle
- Align the cover text – centre, left or right
- Place text on plain background to stand out
- Use the same fonts for all your books, so readers will be able to identify them easily
People read left to right, top to bottom. Position your elements in appropriate levels of importance.
Never, ever, use a white background for your book! White on white is barely visible and on websites your book will not stick out, as the sites’ background are almost always white.
Once you have a mock-up of your book cover, visit a bookstore, place your book on the first table where the NY Times bestsellers are placed. Does your book cover really stand out?
How consistent is your brand? Is it the same on your book covers, your website, on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest etc?
More reading about book covers:
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To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also
“Book Marketing on a Shoestring”
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