I'll be the first to admit, I'm not particularly savvy when it comes to branding and brand management.
But I do check out blogs and advice of other (usually more successful) authors. One recent piece of advice that stuck, came from Bob Mayer, the author of more than fifty military thriller and scifi novels (his work is quite entertaining, and worth a try). He recommended that authors develop some kind of trademark or logo that you can attach to your books. This, along with maintaining a common look/theme in your covers, helps to define your "brand."
In other words, make my novels all look like a "Tom Spears Corporate Thriller." In fact, make each of the novels easily identifiable as one. Doing this was why I recently decided I needed to replace the cover for "Leverage."
To accomplish my branding objectives, I first tried to characterize my work. What is it that I'm supplying my readers? What makes it a Tom Spears Corporate Thriller? I came up with the following commonalities:
- An exciting, adventurous story featuring criminal behavior of some type (often murder) set in a corporate backdrop.
- Characters that you'll cheer for, and possibly a few you'll hate.
- No silly corporate conspiracy plots. In my stories, bad acts are committed by one or, at most, a few individuals. Corporate guilt usually consists of failing to have proper controls in place or, at the extreme, covering up embarrassments.
- Plenty of plot surprises and twists. I hate predictability, and I believe my readers appreciate a surprise.
- No guarantees the good guys will win in the end. And even if they do win, they usually pay a steep price.
With these guidelines in mind, I set out to develop the logo to the right. I actually created this myself, using a public/free "Knife" and arranging the logo as you see it at the right. I painted the "blood" on the tip of one blade using a graphics program.
The "S" represents "Spears", and also forms a portion of the overall "dollar sign" symbolizing greed/corporate profits/the underlying driver. The weapons symbolize the violent, criminal behaviors that are the focus of the plots of the various novels. The "bloody tip" represents the fact that people get hurt, killed, and the good guys don't necessarily win.
So what do you think?