Monday, November 5, 2012

The Art of Branding and Rebranding: Guest post by Cory Clubb

The Art of Branding and Rebranding.

Finding Your Brand.

Books last a very long time, now maybe forever with the introduction of ebooks. Although their covers do not.

Let me just say one word:

I know, that’s not a word, but in a sense it is. Nike has one of the most recognizable brands in the world today. They don’t need words, just their logo. That’s great, you say, but what does this have to do with books?

Nike has formulated a brand out of their logo. You think shoes, sports attire, heck even NBA great Michael Jordan! It’s all basically implanted in your mind to think those things. Now imagine if that were to work for your books? Danger, romance, your lead character’s name and what they look like. See where I’m going with this?

Big named authors are already doing this, James Patterson with his Alex Cross thrillers or Lee Child with his Jack Reacher character. Just by seeing their name in that certain font on the cover you know exactly what you’re going to get. Honestly if all they wanted to put on the cover was their name that would work, we wouldn’t even need a title. It’s a package deal.

So how do you find your own brand? Sit back and think a bit about who you are as a writer. What genre do you write in? What does your story have to say to your audience?
These should all be simple answers because you’ve got a finished manuscript in front of you. What you don’t? Then why are you reading this? Go write, finish it and then come back.

Ok, so you’re in the “ready to publish” end of the pool. With the above answers in mind browse online or your library in that genre and when I say browse I mean to use just your eyes as if looking at the books for the very first time. Pretend you’re visiting an art museum. What jumps out at you? What cover design makes you smile or makes you want pick that book up? Is it unique? Is it the colors, the imagery? Is it something you could defiantly see as the cover of your book? All good things. Now you know what works in your genre, forget who the author is, it appeals to you and who knows your story best? You. The next step is to widen your search. Start over and browse the entire library or all of Amazon again. “Wait, but I found my genre,” you say and it works for your title. Maybe, but your name isn’t on that cover, it’s not yours. You need to find you.

There are mountains of cover designs out there. Probing through your genre shows you the style you are going for in a sense, it’s only half of the equation. The other half is finding your unique look. Now, I say this, but you might want a similar look to another author and that’s fine too. Think of it is as putting toppings on a pizza. A shade of blue here, a pinch of font here, a slice of texture there, and maybe a little bit of dog. Not sure why you’d want dog on your pizza...whoa, sorry got myself confused.

Seriously, what this all comes down to is visual marketing. It’s the clothes your books are going to be wearing, you want it to look good right? It also takes some research and work. Don’t ho-hum over this step in publishing, because your book may suffer for it.

A little bit on writing a series book design...

So now you’ve got your design in mind, ready to go, here is another technique to think of. Visualize a box of Crayola markers. Now imagine each individual marker as on of your book covers. You’ve got the Crayola logo (Author’s name) and then each color name (the book’s title). Yes they all look the same, but they are all different colors, each with their own story to tell. Apply this to your design or keep this thought in mind for future books you plan to write.

Not only does this work for a series based storyline (just add a number after each color) or these could be all individual novels. The idea is to see them as a set. Packaged together to look neat and sharp.

A little bit on rebranding yourself...

Let’s say your sci-fi epic has sold very modestly and now the publishing rights have returned to you over the course of ten years. Sweet! Now is your chance to introduce it to a brand new age of eReaders. Wait, you’re going to use that cover from 2002? The publisher never redesigned the cover because it worked then and they instead funneled moneys into that upcoming school for magical vampires saga. Bummer.

You’re in luck. Your story is set to go, all you need to do is modernize your cover design.
Freshen the look up. The fonts used look old and a company is new using it for the return of retro gaming app. You probably don’t want your book to be thought of as retro.

Rebranding is sort of a trick on the eyes. While your title has been around for a while and readers might recognize it. What you can do is revitalize it coming up with a new brand using the above methods. See what works in the market, browse for a new design that captures your story and apply it across the board. You might even catch the eye of a past reader looking for a new read, but come across yours and like the visual appeal sending them back in time and reliving what they loved about the first go around.

Another plus is that you can apply your new brand to you new dystopian manuscript about a group of kids on a Survivor like show stranded in the jungle. What? Oh, well maybe the could all be zombies.

Feel free to visit my webpage or email me with comments, questions or if you disagree with me.

Be Bold,

-Cory Clubb

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

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