You’ve got a great business – you know your subject matter really well, and you’ve got customers that love you, because of that. Customers who keep on asking ‘Have you got a book? How can I buy more of your knowledge to help me?’ So, you’ve finally decided to write a book – wonderful!
But… you sat down to make some notes, to work out what to write…. and now you know that you’ve got so much material, you can write a series, not just one book. That’s also wonderful – but it’s also challenging – how do you make it all hang together? How do you make each book interesting (focused on just one important thing, that your customers want to know), and yet still clearly related to all of the others? How do you make that series of books support your business, and bring you more customers?
Fiction vs Nonfiction
And, while I am talking mainly about businesses that are not ‘writing’ here, this concept is equally valid for fiction. If you write fiction, that fiction is your ‘business’ and you need to brand it, just the same – although you may have multiple series, each with their own style, you – the author, are a brand too.
It all starts with Branding. The same way that your business has a logo, and colors, and a style of presenting things, so that people instantly know it’s you, your business, just from the way that things look, so too should your books have branding. And that should be branding that ties them, directly and indirectly, to the rest of your business branding. So – what makes ‘branding’ for a book, or books?
There are a few key things that will create a clear branding effect, that flows naturally from book to book, and from the books to your business. Here is a quick summary of those.
Common Visual Elements
The instant that people look at your books, you want them to know that they are part of a series – that can be as simple as each book having a bar across the top, which is always the same color, with the series title on it – that way, even if the picture below it is vastly different, the common element makes it have a similar look (eg, if you make pre pack assembly kits, for chicken coops, dog houses, home saunas, whatever, each book will have a relevant picture, but the series bar will stay the same.)
That series bar – it should always be the same color – and that should be a color that is predominant on your website, on your letterhead, wherever your business is found – it should be a color that people already associate with your business. You can add other color elements – if your logo has multiple colors, you can echo those on your book covers too, or in the color of headings and images inside the book.
You have a business logo (you do, don’t you????) – use it – it goes inside your book, on the publisher page, on the end of the About the Author page etc. it goes on the back of your book (if you are doing paperback) and anywhere else it can sensibly go. You can also create a logo for the book series – it might be similar to your business logo, or it might simply echo a shape or color from your business logo – it’s up to you.
That series title we mentioned – you need to create one. If we use my example of the prepack assembly kit company, your series title might be ‘The Assembly Kit Mastery Series”. It doesn’t need to be too clever (in fact, it’s better if it’s blindingly obvious), it just needs to make it obvious to people that there is more than one book available from you.
This is one of the subtle aspects. If your Business name or logo has a specific font that is used, if you always use the same font in your letters and documents, then you need to echo those fonts in your books too! Make the titles and heading in the same sort of fonts that you use for your business name. Make the body text of the book in the same sort of font that you use for your documents. People already associate those fonts with you, subliminally, so leverage that.
The inside of your book is part of your branding too – in the same way that having the same layout structure on the cover of your book lets people see, instantly, that this is yours, having the interiors of your books consistent works that way too. Using our assembly kit example again – each book will have heading styles the same – same fonts, at same sizes, same color scheme, inside. Same sort of number of images etc. same set up – title page, publisher page, disclaimer, acknowledgements, table of contents, introduction, chapters, about the author, other products from us, other books from the author, call to action to sign up to newsletter. Everything that creates a comfortable ‘rhythm’ for the reader – once they have read one of your books, they know what to expect from the others.
Presentation of Information
This is the detail in the layout – the bit that I just said ‘chapters’ for, in the above dot point. Here is where you might say, for the assembly kit example, that it will go – what does this kit build, why is it designed the way that it is, what are the prerequisites to build and site it, how do you start, how do you build it, what are the finishing touches, any optional bits. And the way that images are used to support those sections will be the same in each book too. So – you create yourself a framework with the first book and then YOU STICK TO IT!
Making the decisions about these elements, consciously, up front, will make writing and constructing your series of books easy – because, once you have done the first one, the others get easier and easier from there – you have a template, you just have to plug in each lot of content.
Your readers will love you – because it makes it easy for them too. And, if you are selling on Amazon, it will help you – you fill in that little box that says ‘this book is part of a series’ and Amazon will automatically link up your series, create a series page for it, tell people what the other books in your series are – generally, make it easy for the buyers to buy more than one of your books at a time. So – before you write – design your branding – so that your business benefits from the day that the first book is published!
Kim Lambert is a 9 times Amazon Bestselling Author, Motivational Speaker, Photographer, Writing and Publishing Coach, and a Travel Writer, with more than 10 books published to date. Find her on Amazon here. She is also the owner of a publishing company which publishes books for a variety of authors, and also works with other large publishing companies to enhance and update their current catalogues for digital book delivery.