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That pretty logo may hurt your author brand

Have you ever not liked that you know something and kept your mouth shut so that others don’t get their feelings hurt? This is one of those moments for me. So before you read this and get defensive thinking, “What does she know? I have an orange flag by my name. I have a bigger following. She’s a nobody.” I want to tell you three things: 1. Listening might help you build that following. 2. I have a Bachelors degree in Art. I spent time learning how elements work together. It’s not just an eye for pretty. It’s knowledge… I also have a MS in Marketing. My thesis was on brand awareness in preschoolers in a rural town in upstate NY. Believe it or not, 3 & 4-year-olds may not be able to come up with the word “Nike”, but they can tell you that the swoosh separated from the brand name is the logo on their shoes and the golden arches is where mom and dad take them for dinner. My career before writing was building brands for American subsidiaries of international companies. Did you know that most American’s can identify over 1000 companies based on their logo alone? 3. My private life had an orange flag long before I began publishing. So here it goes… That pretty logo you paid for is probably a waste of money. They’re gorgeous. Don’t get me wrong. So many of the authors who are side-hustling do beautiful work. They’ve got great ideas and enviable Photoshop skills. But a pretty image doesn’t build your brand unless your reader can immediately identify it as yours. If you remove your name from your logo will your reader know that colored blotch behind it is YOU or your book? Is that gorgeous rose-gold foiled swooshy font the same one that you use on ALL of your book covers? Could you even put it on your book cover? No? Then you’re likely not getting past stage 2 of the 5 stages of brand recognition. Wanna know what stage 2 is called? BRAND NON-RECOGNITION. Consumers, especially those on social media, make choices within a matter of seconds. And just like you get excited on a road trip seeing the big yellow M off in the distance (sometimes because you need a Big Mac and sometimes because you have to pee like a racehorse) your readers want to enter a room and zoom in immediately on where they want to be.

And that’s with you...Getting their favorite novel written by you signed, snapping pictures to tag you in and post to social media, creating a relationship with you ensuring your latest release is the first on their TBR list, and sharing that book with their friends who read. Which, {TADA!} organically increases your brand awareness! Anything that’s inconsistent dilutes your brand. Stops your current and future readers from knowing in a split-second that it’s you. Those 1000 identifiable logos—not one of them is being read. It's sight recognition...That's what you want too! I’m willing to admit that I did this wrong in the beginning. I found a font for my first release that I loved. It had sentimental meaning and I thought that it would work for all of my books. It didn’t and within the year it began eroding that consistency.

After making a uniform change match to the Kingsbrier covers, I went through all my marketing materials. Now I always use the same font to identify my books. ME. It’s easy to read, uniform and both classic and modern enough I don’t necessarily have to change it ever again. Whether my current or future readers see a book, teaser, trailer, postcard, bookmark or banner the impression immediate: That’s JODY.

But all the cool kids are doing it. This is part of being an indie.

I’m sorry to say that it’s one more way to separate yourself from your goal.

Please save your royalties on logos and support the authors that you know who are building businesses alongside their writing for all the other beautiful things they can provide that will build your brand like covers, teasers, bookmarks & swag, websites, etc… It may be the best investment you make in both of your careers. Author stalk these bigger names have branding down:

  • Alessandra Torre (with AR Torre to match)

  • Denise Grover Swank (with DG Swank to match)

  • Kaylea Cross

  • Evelyn Adams

These are other author’s branding that I follow:

  • Sarra Cannon (matches branding to genre.)

  • Laramie Briscoe (large enough body of work that branding was established and newer brand font is close/consistent with original books.)

  • JA Huss (some inconstancies with McClain/Sin series that looks like it’s being remedied in their latest release.)

  • Jennifer Hallock (Logo for Sugar Sun series is instantly recognizable as her brand.)

  • Suzan Tisdale/Pinky Haversnatch (announced recently that she’s rebranding and updating covers on her books.)

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