One of the hardest things I’m figuring out about being a hybrid author, is not having people to do all the stuff that you don’t particularly want to do or like to do. I’m not complaining because the benefits out weight the alternative.
What is a hybrid author you might ask? A hybrid author is an author who owns their own publishing rights, does all the marketing, advertising and overall production of their books. I first heard the term coined by my virtual mentor, and international best selling author Joanna Penn, who will be visiting us in December (YIPPEEE). Another term used to describe a hybrid author is authorpreneaur, also coined by Joanna.
Ok so I’d been thinking of branding my series for quite sometime now but kept putting it off. Why? Because trying to grow this baby empire, leaves me exhausted by the time my toes hit the covers. A potential reader emailed me and nudged me, she pointed out how disconnected the covers were. She liked everything else but like a few people have said in the past, the covers didn’t do the books justice. So I bit the bullet and looked at several “book cover designers”. A lot of the graphics you see on this site was designed by me, but I wanted a professional, who had experience in the field to do it.
I also wanted someone who didn’t design a cover with the same look as almost every other novel out there. Nudity seems to be the running theme with novels in the same genre as my books and I didn’t want that.
Although the Family Portrait Series has its fair share of naughty, raunchy behavior by some characters who shall remain nameless (to protect you if you haven’t read the books) I didn’t want it displayed on the cover.
Here are a couple of mocks I designed.
This was when I was in the I what bright colors! phase.
The idea behind this one was, I wanted bright colors, and a bold look. In the covers above, the characters are on a stage and the world is watching them, yet people don’t really know them, hence the silhouettes. I used the same color elements from the original books.
There were many things I liked about these covers, one of them is the graphic identifying the book placement in the series. I loved the wood floors, it reminded me of the barrels of wine at House of Banovic, the family’s (in the book) winery. I liked the colors because lets face it I am from the Caribbean and I love color, or colour as we spell it back home ;-)
After sleeping on the above designs for a few days, I felt I wanted more options. For some reason it felt a bit crowded. I kept seeing white space in my mind’s eye.
I wanted something simple, mysterious and clean. I looked at other book covers in the same genre that was published a few years back. The covers that struck me were the covers for the Pretty Little Liars series. I liked that it was simple and clean, loved the solid colors to differentiate between books. I was also drawn to the original cover of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Since the movie, she redid the cover and pulled the one I liked. It was a solid black and I think there was a slight blue graphic.
The clip art element represents something significant in the book. I did it in color, because I like color, but my sister felt that it looked odd among the silhouettes.
With branding in mind which ever design I choose, would have to have similar elements so that the series is easily recognizable. For instance putting my name at the bottom, the book number identifying graphic, and the banner.
I loved this design because it has color, nothing too crazy, it is clean, and it has white space, which didn’t leave my mind until the design was finished. I love that I am able to add a blurb to the cover to give a little insight into the story.
I wanted to do something with the title font so I designed something myself. There was a font that I liked and considered purchasing, but when purchasing fonts or images there are copyright laws that need to be followed. Some of them can be too much to deal with. So I designed everything.
Which one do you prefer? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.