The short answer is Yes, you do. Here’s why:
As I’ve been working on my site for class, I’ve also been contemplating other aspects of my writer platform. Namely, my newsletter. I neglected it a lot this past year, for which I hope those who are signed up for it can forgive me. I’m trying to be better and more available on social media without losing out on writing time and schoolwork.
Thinking of my newsletter lead me to thinking of giveaways. I don’t have physical copies of books to giveaway, because so far my novels and novellas are all digital. But I could do bookmarks. Everybody loves bookmarks, right? At least, most readers do. If they’re pretty especially.
There are lots of things authors can giveaway.
Tote bags, mugs, pens, pencils, notebooks, stickers, buttons, and of course bookmarks, just to name a few. If you need ideas, check out this blog post from Book Brush, which touches on ten different ideas for swag and how you can go about making stuff, which is great! There’s also this blog on Jane Friedman’s site called How To Use Swag to Support Your Book Marketing that has a bunch of ideas for you.
There are a ton of ideas out there on the internet. Great ones. Especially if you’re crafty yourself. I am not.
But I want to create swag that will be memorable and make people think of me. I wanted to start with bookmarks, because I don’t have much of a budget and I found this site called PrintPlace.com that will do 250 double-sided bookmarks for about $40. That’s within my budget.
So, I wanted to do a bookmark.
But what do I put on it?
One idea I had was a cool/sexy quote. That doesn’t seem too hard. But I can’t just do some random quote. It has to mean something to me or why bother?
What else would go on there, though?
That’s where the author logo comes in. Most people don’t even think of authors having logos, but a lot of them do. Not Stephen King, for sure, because his name is recognizable by itself. But also, he didn’t come up in the internet age when an author needs to build a brand and a platform for themselves. Though, there are some things that don’t change… after all, when you think of Stephen King’s name, you probably think of one of his book covers, and the font they used for it. But I’m getting off track.
An author logo is a way to differentiate yourself.
I’m lucky in that my name is fairly unique to begin with, so I don’t have to worry about that too much. But I still need a logo. I need something to put on my business cards and bookmarks and any swag I do end up making and/or buying. It may be years before I actually do a convention, what with the way the world is, but if and when I do, I’ll need things for my table.
How do I want to portray Morgan Elektra, author?
I had to think about this when making the site as well. I chose the colors and fonts and images all with an eye to how it fits me and my writing style. Now, I needed to expand that thought process to a logo.
So, I of course Googled, “Do I need an author logo?”
One of the first things that comes up is this Kindlepreneur article by Dave Chesson, entitled “Author Logo 101: The Basics to Creating an Awesome Writer’s Logo”. If you’re an author and you’re serious about branding, you should totally read this article. It covers a lot in a brief post and there’s some great information there.
One of the sites that Chesson mentions in his article is BrandCrowd.com. It’s easy to use. Basically, you type in your name or business name and they give you THOUSANDS of options for logos. You can search by keywords. I typed in things like “dark”, “gothic”, “romantic”, but you can type in whatever look you’re going for. And you can tweak the designs colors and fonts, if you so wish. It’s a decent price. Especially as of today 8/22/21, since they’re running a deal. I don’t know how long that will last, but currently it’s only $36 to download the files for your logo.
These three are what I came up with by myself. The kissing skulls was the most popular of the three, but I wasn’t loving it. So I did a round two with the help of a friend (thanks Tanya!)
The kissing skulls remained in first place. So maybe I should have gone with that.
But as much as I liked various aspects of the logos and felt they were worth if for the price, I still wasn’t really feeling like that were ME. And maybe that’s because I just don’t have the imagination for it, or maybe it’s because this particular site doesn’t offer exclusivity. You can pay an extra $145 (still not a bad price) to have the artwork taken off the site immediately, but who knows how many people have downloaded something similar already?
For me, it just didn’t feel right. This is NOT AT ALL a knock at the site, which I think is very cool, or you if you choose to use it. It just wasn’t for me.
So, I was spiraling a little. (Thanks depression!) Because I wanted to love my logo. I’m going to be looking at it a lot. For years, hopefully. I’m going to be smearing it all over all the swag I can manage in those years too. I need to love it.
Luckily, another friend (thank you Crissy!) reminded me that we have an artist friend who does graphic design and has mentioned doing logos before. It couldn’t hurt, Crissy said, to just ask her about her pricing. Which is true, so I did.
Melissa from Melissa B Fine Art has been a friend for almost 20 years. It’s silly of me not to have thought of her earlier, but I’m silly. She knows me and has read some of my writing. She’s a fellow horror fan. Plus, she’s just a cool lady.
I messaged her on Facebook and gave her some images, including the ones I’d made on the website, as well as some vague ideas what I was looking for. Basically, something dark, a little sexy, and unique.
Her pricing for logos starts at $40 and she had something for me within a day. I mean, that’s special treatment turnaround time because she loves me, I think, but still it proves she can come up with something good, fast. And, boy, did she! I love my new logo and feel like it was worth every penny. I hope you like it as much as I do, because you’ll likely be seeing it a lot. On the site here, in the newsletter, and maybe even in my email signature. Better get used to it!
Do you want to see? I know you do! So without further ado, here it is:
Isn’t it amazing? Thanks again to my friends for helping me get here.