Self-publishing is a great boon to writers who have no hope of every attracting an agent or a big publisher. Still, it’s important to present your books and stories in a way that looks and feels professional. Edit the heck out of it, get rid of all grammar and spelling errors, and don’t get me started on punctuation. Excellent covers with special attention paid to the thumbnail look. These are just the basics. After that, you need to create and stick with your brand.

122015 cow
Author branding is not the same as cow branding.

When you hear the title Twilight, you probably think of the distinctive cover and typeface. Same with Harry Potter, the art work used on all the book covers. This sort of style is just part of a brand. It’s one of the most obvious and often easiest to perpetuate.

122015 carolyn jewel lord ruin

Carolyn Jewel invested in a brand reflected in the actual style of typeface used for her name on her books and the titles. She also has final say on the models on her covers and the poses. She uses a service that will post two different covers and get feedback on which one is preferred and why. But she is a best-selling author and has the income to outsource much of the tedium of self-publishing. I’m not there yet.

122015 mary balogh the proposal

Mary Balogh, one of the best Regency Romance authors around, is known for really deep POV and characters who think one thing and do another. Kristan Higgins is known for amazing humor and dogs. Each couple has a dog involved somewhere, and the dog is pictured on the book cover. And Molly Harper is also known for amazing humor and paranomals that have to live in the human world.

If I have a brand of any kind, it’s the use of silhouettes on the covers. All of the Regency Banquets will have silhouettes at the top of the cover, and the Bowman’s Inn anthologies have a silhouette on each cover. But the Anthology stories are paranormal romances, and the Banquet stories are somewhat erotic Regency romances.

122015 hea

Part of your brand might be that the characters have Happy Ever After endings, or Happy For Now endings, or even Go Away, Leave Me Alone endings. This last is part of a new genre being invented by friends of mine that is going to be True to Life (T2L) stories. No one will be outrageously rich, good looking, or suave. And there might not be a happy ending. There will be a good story worth reading.

122015 identity

I hope my brand will be that, good stories worth reading, with humor and some tears. I’d hate to think I am the only one crying over my own writing. Or chuckling at the jokes. And after I get the branding correct, I’ll study up on book launches.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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