I've just started a new discussion on the Suspense/Thriller Writers Group on Facebook - How important is branding for books? Please feel free to join the discussion if you wish. Here is the link below to Facebook or you can comment here.

Having worked in marketing for many years I’m no stranger to the subject of branding. Branding helps create and reinforce an identity for a product or service and places it in the minds of the customer, thereby boosting sales.

With books the branding can include:

•the book itself – its style, genre, quality of writing

•the packaging - the cover design, the size of the book, the title, typography, the quality of the paper

•the marketing – where the book is advertised, what kind of advertising is undertaken, the images used, the style of copy writing, the marketing message

•the brand name, which in fiction terms could be the imprint, the author’s name, the names of the characters or main character

And what reinforces the brand is the consistency of communicating all the above, across all the marketing channels.

My crime novels are branded as Marine Mysteries where the sea becomes the backdrop to evil, betrayal, treachery and revenge. They feature my detective, Inspector Horton. The Suffocating Sea is due out in paperback this month, Deadly Waters in mass market paperback on 2 April and the brand new Inspector Horton Marine Mystery, Dead Man’s Wharf in hardcover on 29 April.

With hundreds and thousands of books being published each year on top of the millions that already exist how important is branding for books, and particularly crime and thriller fiction, in a crowded and competitive market?

Who should be responsible for developing the brand, the author or publisher or both?

Do books need branding, and if so what do you say makes the brand?

And once having developed a brand is it then easier to sell more books?

Is branding even more important today because of Internet search engines?

What are your views?

Views: 6


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Comment by Pauline Rowson on January 27, 2009 at 2:35am
You're correct, the name can become the brand for some writers, and if you've got a following then the publisher could be capatilising on this by pushing it more on the cover.
Comment by I. J. Parker on January 27, 2009 at 12:55am
Just went through that once again with my publisher. Clearly people buy books by the author's name (or they do so, once a track record exists). In spite of this, Penguin persists in carrying my name in very small letters on the covers. This is aggravated by the fact that additional coloring of the letters can make the name disappear completely against the background. I've put up with it for years, feeling any demands for change would look unpleasantly arrogant, but I've had it now. Most successful authors have their names emblazoned across the cover in 1-2 inch letters.

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