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Need a Brand (no, not there)

photo of vintage car

Vintage automobile on display during the 2010 Texan Market Days at the George Ranch, The 2014 edition of The Texan Market days Festival will be held at the George Ranch on October 24, 2014. See www.georgeranch.org/programs-events/texian-market-days/ for details. Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

I’m old enough to remember a time when automobile brands were so distinct, even an auto illiterate like me could tell who had manufactured what. While I’m not an auto expert, branding has been on my mind a lot as I struggle to find my brand as an author. (First time subject came up, I was quite alarmed. But thankfully no hot irons to tushes are involved in author branding.)

It’s something that is easy to see in someone else, harder to see in one’s self. I have a general author brand that is “Perils of Pauline” (I know, pretty obvious and yet you wouldn’t believe how long it took me to figure it out. LOL). But I’ve been struggling with how to specifically brand my books.

If you think about it, when you look at a book cover—for the most part—you know what genre the book is before you even pick it up. And you feel betrayed if you pick up what looks like a cozy mystery and it turns out to be a smoking hot romance, right? So all I have to do is look at my genre and cover branding should be easy, right?

Only it’s not.

Yeah, my books have some mystery—

…and some romance, some humor, and sometimes the mystery is more suspense than mystery. And sometimes I write science fiction romance. And then there’s the steampunk….

So if I pick one genre to brand my covers, then I run into:

Reader expectations. While readers are more accepting of mixed genres than they used to be, mine are still a bit outside the lines.

So what if I throw everything onto the cover and I get….a confused mess.

Maybe I should have gone into designing cars. O.O

Why am I blathering about this? I thought you might notice that my covers are appearing and disappearing. I’m experimenting with my brand design and seeing how they impact my sales.

I’m also trying different ways of packaging my books. I’ve added some bundles. I’ve packaged The Key with Out of Time. And now I’m going to try some breaking up a long book into parts and see how that plays out. The first BAB (big a** book) to get broken up will be The Key. It was the obvious choice, since it was already divided into four parts. So don’t freak out if you see it. If you’ve already read the book, it’s exactly the same book, just broken into parts.

What the breakup will do (I hope) is give readers who like shorter works a reason to give Project Enterprise series a try. Yes, I’m trying to get them addicted (bwahahaha) Readers won’t have to invest in the book until they decide if they like it, because the other part of the plan (this part isn’t bwahahaha, well, maybe a little) is to make the first part free. So it will be a no-risk way to meet Sara and Fyn and decide if you want to take the ride with them.

Readers can try the next part, and the next and the last. Or they can try the first part and buy the complete novel because they just loved it. Or it will be available bundled with Out of Time (another award-winning novel) for a special price.

The four parts of The Key got a new, branded look just for the series (so we can assess how well I’m doing at this branding thing). It’s not as big as a Model-T, but it’s big in my world. Which is actually pretty small.

Do you shop books by cover/branding? Have you ever thought about what attracts you to look at a book first? Are you intensely genre-specific or do range wild and free? I used to think I was very genre specific, but when I look at my shelves? Um, no. LOL

All comments are entered into my monthly drawing for an AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). I announce a winner the first blog post of the new month (which isn’t far off and AnaBanana has some sassy looking new soaps!).

AnaBanana logo

Perilously yours,
Pauline

So here they are! All four parts sporting their new covers. What do you think?

covers for the key series

THE KEY – as a four-part series!

If you want to give the book a try, but it was just too long, I’ve divided into four parts and the first part is free!

To buy this series, start here!