Thorn City is Ooligan Press’ forthcoming suspense/thriller title. Now that the developmental edit and title generation have been completed, the book is moving on to the next steps. During the Winter 2023 term, the heavy copyedit was sent to the author for review and the Thorn City team has been working on the persona exercise, marketing plan, and cover design brief.
The audience is who the book is for, who a publisher hopes will pick it up off the shelf. The Thorn City team started the term off working on the persona exercise where we created two to three profiles of individuals who might be interested in reading this book. These profiles include surface-level details like age, gender, and race in addition to specific information like their favorite food, social media, and their biggest dream. This helps everyone on the team get a clearer picture of the audience and it turns abstract ideas into a concrete plan.
Marketing plans help us reach that audience by taking those personas and figuring out what would lead them to buy the book. Once that’s decided, work can begin on the hook and back cover copy. The hook is a short sentence or two that catches the reader’s eye and the back cover copy is a summary that reflects the content of the book while leaving enough mystery for the reader to want to know more. In the case of Thorn City, a story with twists and turns and reveals, it’s important to avoid giving away too much. Then, keywords are thoughtfully selected to make sure the book appears in the correct searches. The marketing plan also provides a place to brainstorm blogs, podcasts, social media influencers, and other outlets that specialize in categories and interests relevant to the book. These suggestions will help the curation of the contact list for blurbs and reviews later on in the process. Marketing and publicity highlights focus on pinpointing the main message we hope the reader will walk away with, potential selling points that could appeal to future readers, and actionable things we hope to do to promote the book.
During this term, the team also worked on the design brief. Often designers don’t have a chance to read every book they design a cover for. The cover design brief outlines a book’s themes so the designer can understand the message and tone they should be conveying with the cover. It also addresses important and minor imagery so that significant elements can be incorporated. The team also needs to determine what kinds of color combinations and other design considerations, that will create the right atmosphere for the cover and other designed materials. In this research, it helps to look at comparable covers to get a sense of what’s common in the genre. Another aspect of cover design that the team must consider are things to avoid. This might include imagery that could give readers the wrong idea about the book or be offensive and/or stereotypical to a group of people.