Branding is as important for a book as it is for a business, and branding starts with your book title. As a developmental book editor, I advise on the book title, helping authors see how their proposed wording is likely to strike their target audience.
A book title needs to convey the genre and indicate the nature of the content, but it needs to do so much more. (See my article Crafting an Irresistible Book Title.) For one thing, it must give a flavor of the author’s style, and that has everything to do with branding.
Is your book homey, chatty, grassroots, and irreverent? Then you need to craft a title, subtitle, and tag line that also have that tone.
Is your book professional, authoritative, sophisticated, and brainy? The words you place on your cover need to reflect that.
Perhaps your book is lyrical, poetic, visionary, and mystical. Then you would choose a very different style of wording for your front cover than in either of the other two examples.
Once you have your title in place, it’s time to consider the images you want for your book cover. These, too, should reflect the tone and theme of the book. I once saw a self-published book that had a white background and a photo of a red rose on the cover. The layout, colors, and image were visually attractive but failed to convey the nature of the book to the prospective reader.
Was this a romance novel? A red rose on white background suggests that, but the title indicated something in the nature of a business book or possibly self-help. It was confusing. The cover was inappropriate for the content.
Think of your book cover as an advertisement for your book, and you’ll see how important it is to make it tell us something . . . in fact, to make it tell us a lot. The images you use speak to what is inside. If you use streamlined, corporate-looking images, we expect it to be a business book. If there are no images at all, merely letters boldly splashed across the cover, we assume it is probably a self-help book. If you use a background of pink, your prospects will presume the book was written for women, and if you use a dark background, it will look like a mystery or a ponderous tome of some kind.
And don’t forget the importance of your back-cover copy. In bookstores, people flip to the back cover to help them decide if they should make the purchase. Specific things need to appear on your back cover, as explained in my article Writing Your Book’s Back-Cover Copy, appearing next week on the popular writers’ blog: www.JaneFriedman.com.
Jessi Rita Hoffman … book editing by an industry professional