Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Color Your Way to Success

My third part of Marketing will be out Nov 2nd on my team’s website.  I’ll have some good information in that blog to finish this series.  I hope you'll drop by to read it.

Today, I want to discuss a different topic.  Being the CEO of your business, you are well aware of everything it takes to be successful, right?  I bet many of you are shaking your heads no right now.

There is so much to know to be a successful Indie author.  Hopefully, we are all getting there step by step.

There are many elements that play into book sales.  One of those elements is the book cover.  And the most important element of that book cover is how it looks.

Designing book covers isn’t easy.  If you have the money, get a professional to do it.  I recommend Collin Beishir and I’ll show you why later with some amazing samples of his work.  If you are lacking in funds, you may be planning to design it yourself.

Colors play a major role in sales.  Large corporations spend more money than you can imagine on determining the color of a product.

     Did you know 60-90% of customers choose their book within minutes based on color alone?
     Did you know 55% of shoppers pick up a cover with color over black and white?
     Did you know color covers increase readership of a book by 80%?
     Did you know color covers on books increase its purchase potential by 80%?

Based on these percentages, it is imperative we pay attention to color.  

How do you choose the color of your cover?  If you answered by saying, ‘because it’s my personal favorite’ you answered incorrectly.

The first step is to know your audience.  What group or groups of people do you want to purchase your book?  Knowing this answer makes it easy to choose the primary color.

     Second is what emotion are you after?
Be aware of overdoing color or mixing the wrong colors.  Besides the primary color, there is a secondary color that is close in hue to the primary.  These two colors should not contrast greatly.  Use a highlighting color to make an emphasis of your cover.  It should contrast with the other two.

Have you ever used a color wheel or a color schematic?  A color wheel is important to help you choose your 3 main colors and any other color.  Let’s look at some color wheel definitions.

     Analogous Color – analogous colors are next to each other.  For example:  red, orange, yellow.

     Complimentary Colors are opposite each other.  An example of this is red and green.  Think of Christmas decorations.  They may be opposite of each other, but they blend well in a setting.  Another way to say this is to place ‘warm’ colors with ‘cool’ colors.  Red is a warm color; green is cool.  It works.

     Split complimentary are contrasting colors that don’t stand out as much as harmonious colors.  In other words, use one cool with two warms.

     Triad colors are 3 colors of equal distance from one another (divide the wheel into three equal parts).  Choose one color to be used in larger amounts than the others.

Let's take a look at Collin Beishir's work:
  The B B stands for Beishir Books.  Very nice.  He used a warm and a cool color that are close to each other on the color wheel.  I find this very attractive.

If you still have trouble deciding on colors, look at nature.  Nature is perfect at blending colors.

As I’ve mentioned, colors are defined as cool and warm.  Blues and greens are cool; reds and oranges are warm.  Pretty easy to see on the color wheel. 

Besides knowing which audience you want, you should be aware of these facts:

     Cultural Differences  For example, how colors are perceived in Asia and the West can be significantly different for the same color.
     Working Class prefers colors you can name – red, yellow, etc.
     Highly educated prefer more obscure colors – taupe, azure.
     Men prefer cooler colors, women prefer warmer.
     Warmer climates tend towards warmer colors and cooler climates tend towards cooler colors.

With the above information, can you see why it is important to know your audience.  You want to attract buyers to your books.

     Cool colors are calming, serene.  Warm colors react on your pulse rate.  Here is an eye catching cover that Collin did for an exceptional author, Beth Muscat.  What do you see in this cover?  Wouldn't it just catch your eye, make you stop, and pick the book up?

I’ve talked about cool and warm colors.  There is one more group – neutral, such as browns, whites, blacks, grays.

Earlier I mentioned emotions.  Let’s look at colors and the emotions related to them.

Brown – (a warm/neutral) – wholesomeness, earthiness, dependability, friendship.  Now do you see this in the picture?  Smart company, don’t you think?

Black – sophistication, elegant, seductive, mysterious, serious death, of a sexual nature.
Gray – dreary, rainy, depression, sadness, gloomy, mourning
Silver – prestige, cold, scientific, glitzy, sleek
White – pure, clean, youthful, mild
With this in mind, what do the primary and secondary colors on this book cover mean to you (we’ll cover red in a moment).  Makes you want to read this book, doesn’t it?

Red – passion, danger, excitement, appetizing, love, leadership, strength.

  hot, hot, hot
Now look at the cover again.  Red is the contrasting color.  What is it saying about this book?  This is a cover designed by Collin Beishir.  Genius, isn’t he?  The novel was written by William Kendall, a master of the mysterious, serious, dangerous.  I know I’ll have to read this book.

Orange – playfulness, warmth, vibrant, energy (from red) and happiness (from yellow)(orange is a combination of red and yellow), deceit, distrust.

Take a look at this trailer for the sequel of ‘7 Scorpions’ by talented author Mike Saxton.  Someone knew exactly how to use warm colors to bring out emotions.
 Get your pulse going, did it?
Here is a cover that is intriquing.  It makes me want to start reading as soon as I pick it up.  The story is by author Norma Beishir who has published close to 20 books now.  And yes, the genius graphics designer Collin Beishir is her son:

Yellow – spring, joy, curiosity, warmth, sunshine, cheer, happiness, confidence
Did you know yellow is the most noticeable color and the eye catches spots of yellow before other colors?
Gold – prestige, expensive, elite, bright, traditional, wisdom
Pink – soft, sweet, nurture, security, romance, love, friendship
Blue – calm, peacefulness, dependability, water, sky, technology, trust, reliability, coolness
     Did you know blue is the most popular color?

     Isn’t this picture calming?  Here is one of an author's covers.  Lisa Olsen a fine writer with great story lines.  

Green – wealth, money, good luck, nature, fresh, cool, growth, abundance

Mixed warm and cool colors
There are many colors that are mixed this way.  Purples and lavenders are examples.
Purple – royalty, magic, mystery, luxury, wealth, sophistication, power, nobility, creativity

Lavender – romantic/nostalgic feelings, femininity, grace, elegance, refinement.
Take a look at this popular TV commercial.  Now do you see how color is used to sell certain products?

Finally, make your cover unique – one of a kind.  Use clear, crisp graphics.
Here is an ad Collin did for an upcoming book:
Bet you'll want to read this when it comes out.  I know I do.

Describe your story by the colors, which represent the subject of your book.  Pictures paint a true tale if the right colors are used.

Now you have what you need to create the cover of your upcoming best-selling novel.  But to ensure it is a best seller, try Collin and watch him perform his magic.  Here is his facebook link:

A song by a color expert:

Thanks for dropping by.

DM Yates



Beth said...

Thanks for using my cover...these computers at work are crappy though...I couldn't see all the pictures.

Colour is important. If the colour of the cover on the book isn't appealing, then chances are, you're not going to pick it up. Of course, everyone is different. One colour you like might not appeal to the next person.

If the cover isn't a good cover, or doesn't match what the book is about, then forget it. Your book is likely going to bomb.

DM said...

You are so right on this, Beth.

The Desert Rocks said...

Now that I'm totally hypnotized from the Disney color song I think I'm going to faint! Great post and I love all your great ideas. I have pastels in mind with for my book but who knows....

Barbara Fisher March House Books said...

I buy lots of books and had no idea how much colour was influencing my choices. I shall pay more attention now. Thank you for another really interesting post. I love the Disney song - Red, yellow, green, red, blue blue blue – and will be singing it for the rest of the day!

Norma Beishir said...

Collin can tell you I'm very picky when it comes to the colors on my covers--I love bold, vivid colors that catch the eye. I love, love LOVE yellow. I also love red, but I don't like orange. Go figure. I like black and gray but don't like brown. Too drab.

I've seen some truly bad covers, and I suspect it's an author picking something they like rather than what will work. One of the pitfalls of self-publishing: lacking knowledge of marketing their own product.

Pk Hrezo said...

An excellent color analysis, Donna. Covers are so so important. Not only the color used, but the placing of the color as well. I always gravitate toward books with tailored colors. Nothing too busy or bright or flowery. Shapes pull me in as easily as the colors. My new book cover (not pubbed yet) is different shades of blue and it's geared toward boys.
Collin has some very nice work here.

DM said...

I'm really enjoying reading these comments and seeing what we all choose as colors.
The Desert Rocks: can't wait to see your choice and yes, that song is hypnotizing.
Barbara: I can't wait to see what you find in watching the colors. We'll all sing that song with you.
Norma, I'm not surprised by your color choices. Orange is an outthere color.
PK, thank you for your comments and yes, the way colors are organized is very important. Thank you for mentioning that.

Christina Williams said...

Oh, this is such a great post, Donna! I love marketing, and I've always been interested in how psychology plays a role. Color really fits in with mood and should really be taken into account with book covers, logo's, etc. Really excellent post!

DM said...

Thank you so much, Christina!

Mike said...

You are right on Donna. The use of color combinations and hues is very methodical by professionals in order to draw attention. Fonts too. Certain fonts fit in certain circumstances. For instance, title or header fonts are different from the regular text for different reasons.

DM said...

Interesting, Mike. Didn't know about that. Maybe a future blog on fonts then. Thank you for your comment.

Roger Lawrence said...

Great post, Donna. As an amateur (and pretty hopeless) painter, I know of the rules you outlined yet I never use the info properly. So, when, If I publish my novels, I'll do as you say and get someone else to do my covers for me.

DM said...

Roger, you are a fine artist. I love your work. Thank you for your comment.

William Kendall said...

Terrific post, Donna. You're spot on about colors and covers.

DM said...

Thank you, William.