The art of designing book covers is as old as publishing itself. These book covers, when well crafted, can play an important role in getting your book noticed, and can even become iconic works of art in their own right. In the digital age, an author’s website plays a similar crucial role in establishing the author’s brand experience.
The homogeneous author website
Sadly, most author websites (and other websites for that matter) are simply modified versions of mass-produced templates.
The majority of which do not reflect the personality, taste, or essence of the author and their work. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The following are stories taken from the experience of two of our clients, both children’s authors. We look at how they were able to create their beautiful and distinct author websites, by harnessing the talents of their book illustrators and web designer.
The Story of Cath and Nicole
When Auckland based author, Catherine Mayo published her first book Murder at Mykenai, her publisher Walker Books Australia commissioned Nicole Onslow to illustrate and design the cover.
Nicole, a Melbourne based graphic and textile designer, understood the importance of creating a distinct brand and what it can do for authors.
“We’re all by nature very visual creatures, so designing your book cover, and surrounding collateral is an integral part to your marketing success and building a marketable brand. Keep the blinkers off when dreaming up your perfect cover artwork, even if your budget stops there.”
Authors and designers working remotely
In many cases, the author, book designer, and website designer reside in different parts of the world. But thanks to the internet, all three minds can work as though they are all in a single studio.
“I live in New Zealand, and Nicole lives in Melbourne. We’ve never met, but that wasn’t a problem. We used email and occasionally Dropbox to share images. Nicole is such a positive and creative person, and – like Jin and Co – she was very keen to understand my ideas and work with me.”
For Cath, the immediate result was the seamless experience of incorporating her book’s design elements with her website. Then when Cath released her second book, the design language of the series and website remained consistent. How was this made possible?
“Cath had the foresight to see not only the cover illustration she imagined, but how that would then translate across to her website and all of her promotional material.”
For authors looking to achieve a cohesive brand experience like Cath has, here are some insider tips.
“Chose a website builder and designer who will listen to you and work to translate your vision into reality. If you are clear and can discuss structure and detail with them, they have so much more chance of creating a site you will be happy with.”
“Visualise how your brand image will translate into other collateral – website, book marks, posters – so you have a clear path and consistent design to follow.”
- Combine the visuals of your book with your website to create a distinct brand.
- The power of the web makes it easier than ever to work remotely. Use file sharing tools like Dropbox, or Google Drive.
- Create a ‘wireframe’ so all parties have a clear picture of the end result, and a precise blueprint to work from
- Whether you write for children or adults, make the design ‘responsive’ (mobile-friendly).
- Don’t forget the importance of text content in a highly visual design.
In part 2 of this series, we look at the story of children’s book author Edwina Wyatt, and illustrator Lucia Masciullo. Edwina and Lucia share their tips, and you can get my 5-point project management checklist, to help you avoid common project pitfalls.
Speak to your book designer about creating some custom artwork, and get in touch with Jin & Co. to make it a reality.