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Building a Book Brand for a Self-Published Series



Last Updated on October 12, 2022 by Ben Oakley

Making your book brand stand out can set you apart from the crowd. Here’s why and how you should do it.

There’s nothing worse than a series of books that doesn’t look like a series of books. There are many book series out there where the font doesn’t match, the style is vastly different, and there’s no visual connection beyond the numbers in the series.

The very basics of a series brand should include:

  • The same fonts.
  • Same/similar location of the fonts.
  • Same visual style.
  • Visual connection.
  • Spine-matching for print editions.

This is vastly different from building an author brand. An author brand is wide-reaching and should include a website at the very minimum, though some book series do have their own websites.

Spine-matching is important because there’s nothing worse when buying print editions of a series only to find the spine text alignment or author name don’t match when lined up on the shelf.

Visual connection means to have a similar but not the same type of image across them all. Some authors and publishers use the same image but opt to fill the cover with the same text across the editions. This works well too but it tends to come across as lazy.

Building a Book Brand for a Self-Published Series

A book brand helps the reader and potential buyer

In the same way that reviews are for readers and not for writers, so too is branding for the reader and not the writer.

Books are normally written to be sold and read. Which sounds obvious but there are many authors who focus more on the ‘I only want to be read’ part, and not the ‘I need to sell’ part.

I’m a strong believer that a book, and especially a series, should be treated as a business. Though it might not start out that way, but once it starts selling, then branding, business methods, and marketing will come into play.

Having the same branding across a series of books helps the readers and buyers. It makes the books instantly recognisable as being part of a series, rather than standalone books.

Branding should be a requirement for anyone planning or in the process of publishing a book series. And it’s never too late to go back and update.

Even if there have been many books in a series released, it’s never too late to go back and redo the covers, update the art, and republish for new readers to discover.

Building a Book Brand for a Self-Published Series

Expanding the branding!

Why stop at books? I know, we’re writers but there’s a whole world of additional revenue streams and branding opportunities to look out for, beyond the book brand.

For online marketing and advertising, you should have banners, digital posters, promotional images, and fresh images. As a guidance, I update my promo images once every three months.

Unless some of them prove popular then I may update them. This is normally due to the fact my production schedule is packed, allowing me to release at least one book a month – thus more promo images are needed!

And they don’t go to waste, the better images can be used in press kits, media announcements, and in other online and offline marketing methods.

Building a Book Brand for a Self-Published Series

Go physical with merch branding!

I’ve always had a thing for t-shirts and if the branding is strong enough then I love to see a tee in the mix.

If you can pass the application process for Merch by Amazon then I highly recommend it. Ignore the horror stories out there about rejection and never being approved. If the application is strong – and honest enough – then you’ll be fine.

MBA is similar to the likes of Redbubble and Spring, which are print-on-demand businesses that serve designers across the world. If KDP is for books then MBA is for merch.

Another thing that t-shirts are good for is to boost any giveaway or promotion you are running. Is it more appealing to run a competition for a book or for a book/t-shirt combo?

Easiest way to do that is take the winner’s details and order direct from Amazon to their address. Which also counts towards your tier level in MBA. See – it’s all beneficial!

Building a Book Brand for a Self-Published Series

Expanded content and blog branding

I’m a huge believer in the age-old tradition that blog posts drive people to your website and consequentially result in more book sales. I tried a podcast but I’m a writer at the end of the day so I stuck with writing, rather than talking.

If you’re not writing about your book, your product, or new releases, then no-one else is going to talk about it.

Expand your blog content with book guides, new release updates, behind the scenes articles, book questions, and shout to the world that you have a new book out and ready to go.

Even five years down the line – if you’re writing a series, and even if you’re not – you should still be talking about your work. That is of course if you want to sell your work!

A book brand is important because it lets the reader know there is an air of professionalism behind the production. It allows them to make an easy decision to buy the book based on what they see, without trying to work out if the book is in the same series they’ve been reading.

Good branding in a book series also looks good!

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!

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