Thursday, July 15, 2010

Part Four: The 3 C’s: Colors, Continuity, and Choices

So far we’ve talked about product identification, one-sheets and business cards. Today I’ll give you some basic tips about the 3C's to carry your imagery across the board to your website, blog, and future promotions. Consistency is key!

I touched on this briefly in part two of this series about the one sheet. Your colors should mesh with your genre. A color scheme of deep red, black, and white will bring across a sense of danger, suspense, and strength. Great for those thriller and suspense writers. Pastel tones give a sense of happiness and peace—a perfect choice for inspirational writers, some women’s fiction, and children’s books. Bold, loud colors are perfect for chick-lit and lively women’s fiction. I think you get the picture here. Choose colors that convey the theme of your stories. This holds true for your printed materials, as well as your web presence, and is another important aspect of continuity.

Creating a common theme between your printed and online materials is like writing a book series. There are elements that carry over from book to book and stay consistent. This will create strong reader identification (also why book series have continuity between covers in their design, colors, fonts, and imagery) and this also speaks a strong but silent message of professionalism.

If you started with your website, carry those designs and colors over to your business card, letterhead, and promotional materials. If you’re a published author and you’re using your current book as a guideline, then your materials to promote that book should match it. Again, this creates strong reader identification. Making connections between advertising materials to the product on the shelf (your book) is vital to a successful promotion. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time. And your money.

Choices: Timely vs. Timeless
This is where your planning will pay off. Literally. Make choices now based upon two things. One, your immediate goal. Are you promoting a book? Then make a “timely” choice.” Design your bookmarks, postcards, and online materials to match in color, design, and even fonts. Order quantities of your printed materials based upon your need. It may be a great deal to spend that extra few dollars just to get 500 more bookmarks, but if you wind up not needing them, then it’s money wasted.

Two, your long term goal. Are you promoting yourself as an author? When making “timeless” choices for your printed and online materials, keep in mind that you will most likely keep this “identity” for two to five years. Can you live with that logo and color scheme that long? Making frequent changes will lose continuity and confuse readers. Choose colors and designs for the long haul. Take advantage of the price break between 250 hundred and 500 business cards if you you’re happy with your image and information, and you will make good use of them. The same can hold true for bookmarks, especially if they’re promoting a series of books, or your books in general.

I hope this series has been helpful. Leave a comment for another chance to win Writing for Emotional Impact. I’ll draw a name this weekend and announce the winner Monday. And feel free to leave any questions. I’ll answer them here in the comments section. See you at conference!


Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

Hi Dineen, Thanks for this great advice. I had just ordered some business cards, and I'm happy to report my "timeless" design will last me for awhile while also tying into my blog with colors and logo very well. :)

the character therapist
charactertherapist (at) hotmail (dot) com

Dineen A. Miller said...

That sounds great, Jeannie! So glad you found what works for you. :-)

Donna Alice said...

I'm really glad I saw this advertised on the loop today. Just this morning signed a contract for my second book - in two months! - and really need to start having things printed out to draw attention to my 'products.' I have a question though - is it good to choose colors based on the cover design? I love my first cover but it's in an unusual color scheme I'm not sure I can duplicate in business or postcards. Should I go with a complimentary color instead?

Dineen A. Miller said...

Hi Donna,
That's an excellent question. If you want your materials just for short term use to promote this book, like a bookmark would, then match the look and style of the book.

If you want to use these items beyond this book, like a business card, go with colors and imagery that suit what you write. Match your website if you have one, which if you don't you'll need to get that started too!

Congratulations on your contract! :-)

Bonnie Doran said...

Thanks for the posts on this as well as business cards and one sheets. Thanks to you, Heather Tipton, and a friend, I have a consistent look in my letterhead, blog, and business card.

Dineen A. Miller said...

I'm so glad, Bonnie. Always a pleasure. :-)