A while back, Chris was kind enough to let me run a multi-part series about making book trailers on a shoe-string budget. In the comments of one of the episodes, someone asked about branding book covers to indicate a series. It’s taken me a while to get everyone’s permission, because I wanted to highlight a couple of different ways you can do this, and that meant finding someone with either a completed, published series, or someone like myself who had their covers completed, and was just filling in the stories to go inside.
I still don’t have my final cover finished, though I will show it when I get to that point. There is a massive amount of work to finish getting it ready for publication. However, I needed it to make a point. (So, when you see it, don’t laugh. It’s still kind of pitiful.)
With that, here goes.
There are as many ways to brand a series as there are artists and author combinations. However, most of those options boil down to three core choices:
Color – You can link a series together by “branding” it with a certain color scheme. Even within a genre recommended set of colors, there are still plenty of ways to mix and match to make your own unique set.
Patterns – having a pattern of items on every cover. They don’t always have to be jump-out-at-you obvious, and quite often are extremely subtle.
Themes – having the same theme in all of the cover images. Again, subtle is often a better choice than a grab-you-by-the-throat attention grabber.
Some genres, like romance and erotica have their own rules. Those I’m not as familiar with, though often I can at least tell who the author of the work is just by the chosen font, font treatment, or spacing of the text on the cover. Some artists use these options to help promote themselves and have made it part of their brand.
So, whether you are working up a cover by yourself, or working with someone, make sure you know what you want on the far end – It doesn’t help when you wind up with a fantasy book that looks more science fiction, or a horror/thriller book behind the cover of something that promises a romance.
I’m going to finish this week’s episode with a little homework assignment for you:
Find and study a few 4+ book series, and see if you can spot which of the options above tell you beyond without a doubt these are a series. Especially if the series name is not listed on the cover.
When we meet up again next Sunday 13th September, I’ll discuss how you can use color to brand your books as a series.