I’ve been thinking of branding quite a lot recently. It’s something that is important whether you are a writer or editor. Visual branding is how you get across what you do: whether you write cozy mysteries or science fiction thrillers. Or whether you edit genre fiction or academic papers.
Visual branding should be a look that you carry across everything: book covers, websites, logos, business cards, bookmarks, social media banners and images, and advertising. I’m lucky to have a graphic designer friend who I trusted with creating a look for Comma Sense Editing when I first started. She carried that through business cards, advertising, and banners for my social media and newsletter. Still, there were places where I was not carrying through with my brand (Twitter, Instagram), so recently I’ve been trying to be consistent with the look of my posts.
For authors, your visual branding is possibly even more critical, as we all know that covers are one of the most important marketing tools available. I discussed this with two clients who recently rebranded covers as part of their marketing efforts.
Susan Van Kirk had cover designer Karen Phillips redo all the covers to her mysteries after she got the rights back from her publisher, who had gone out of business. “She suggested we make them with a similar look or brand,” Susan says. “She put an object in the lower right corner of each, made the font the same, and added a banner across the middle with ‘An Endurance Mystery.’ Branding serves the purpose of helping readers find your next book in a series. It provides instant recognition. Because of the brand elements, they recognize the new book and remember the enjoyment they had from the previous ones. Over time, they connect those branding elements with your mysteries.”
A. Robert Allen, who writes historical fiction, also recently redid all his covers. “My decision to rebrand my books in a cohesive manner was based on the new opportunities that come about after publishing a number of books. With four books in a series along with two prequels, I now have a body of work that I can market in different combinations as box sets. The lack of a consistent look, however, would hinder these marketing efforts. My books are all standalone novels, but they are parts of a whole, and the rebranding enables me to make that point visually.”
A graphic designer can help you with branding, but you may still be creating posts and ads on your own. Keep in mind that a visual brand should be consistent when it comes to fonts, colors, logos, and images. Also keep in mind what you want your branding to say about you, then go about creating your look!
Lourdes Venard is a freelance editor and copyediting instructor.