Branding a Series – Crime/Mystery

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August 14, 2013 by Mod

Recently I was privileged to re-brand a paranormal series. This project is under wraps for now, but the process got me thinking about branding – both author branding and series branding – how important is it? Depending on your genre and whether you write in multiple genres, branding is key. Many book buying decisions are made by spotting a cover – either because something about it appeals to you, or because you recognize it as being by an author you like.

So authors, indie authors included, are well served by thinking about their branding. When I design a book cover for a client I always make sure to ask if the book is part of a series. If it is, often I’ll try to get more information before I start on the first cover. While every cover needs to be one of a kind, there is nothing worse than designing a one of a kind cover only to find you can’t replicate the feel of it for a sequel.

Even if your book is a stand alone, if you are planning on writing more books in this genre, it is worth thinking about developing an author brand. The verse novelist Ellen Hopkins is a great example of consistent  and effective author branding.

Crime novels and novelists lend themselves to branding very well. There are some excellent examples of well branded crime novelists.  The Alphabet Series by Sue Grafton is a great one that is branded not only by the design of the covers but also by the title strategy.

So how would I brand your crime series? I don’t like to clutter up book covers so I might take one characteristic of your detective/hero – let’s say he uses and old 45 revolver – and make that part of the brand. Then I might choose an element of the setting of each book, a winter forest, a jail cell, a train track etc and use that to represent each book. Finally I would choose a typography design that suggests the genre of the book, and remains the same through the series, perhaps even through the authors other books.

It might come out looking something like this:

Possibly I would add a series title down the bottom and maybe incorporate a blurb or tagline of same nature.

If you’re looking to develop a brand look, or to rebrand an existing series or your back catalog, drop me a line. I’d love to discuss your ideas and give your books a unique look that sets them apart.

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