Challenge,  publishing

Fiction Branding… Part 3

Too Much of a Good Thing…

Lots of varied kinds of branding that I’m going to talk about in this series. But for the moment  I want to stay on the type of branding most indie writers do very well, and that is making their books look like they are in the same series. This kind of branding is a basic part of marketing and selling.

So for the four books of Bryant Street ( the Kickstarter is over and thank you all), I thought it would be a cool idea for me to take the street sign that we had used to brand the Bryant Street books and recover all 40 of the Bryant Street stories with that header.

The stories would not help sell the book, they were just part of the interior.

Cool idea, right?

Well… not so much I discovered.

Now a little background… I originally did covers for all 40 Bryant Street short stories and some of those stories are even selling on our store ( All were in Smith’s Monthly at one point or the other over the last ten years. And after looking at them tonight, I have to admit that some of the original covers are pretty good.

But my brilliant idea was to redo all the covers with the nifty new Bryant Street header, even though all 40 stories will be inside books with that same header on the cover.

So off I went, basically dusting up my rusty InDesign skills. I created the template and started redoing the covers that I could easily find the original art for.

All good and I was rolling right along until I finished the 6th one and took a break to rest my shoulder.

When I came back from the break, I took the six jpg files of the six new covers and put them side-by-side on my second screen and instantly realized what I was doing wrong. I was making covers that were originally distinct and attractive into the same thing over and over and over.

The six were boring, even though the art and titles were different.

So an interesting lesson learned for me tonight… Branding goes a long way to help sell books to readers, but the moment you go too far with the “everything has the same look” thinking, you make it dull and take the originality of the story or book away.

So in the four well-branded Bryant Street collections, there will be 40 very different covers for 40 very different short stories.

Lesson… Branding is great if it helps sell the product, but it can be taken too far and in this instance, I was sure doing that. I was dulling down the interior for no sales reason at all.

But wow was the idea of redoing all those story covers a good one at the time. (grin)