Friday, April 12, 2013

Workshop #10: POP with Colors to Make Sales

Color affects our mood, appetite, and {yes} purchasing decisions.  As you move from an Aspiring Author who has a story to tell to a Published Author who has a story to sell, the colors you choose for your marketing are key.  From your persona to your website, book covers, business cards, and posters, step back and think of your overarching themes, genre, and emotions - then choose your color palette.  Want to incite a feeling of danger, excitement, urgency, or passion consider using the color red.  If calm and sensual is more your speed, try purple.

Author Marketing 101 is Our Platform as a business but there are Two Personas on that Platform.  As marketing professionals, one of our primary decisions was the colors and format of our workshop slides. We played around with many color combinations until we found one we both liked that represented a solid message (blue) with a dash of flash (orange). {Therese has lots of this shade of blue in her wardrobe while Morgan had plenty of orange in clothing and accessories.}

While we recommend working with professionals at every stage of transitioning from Aspiring to Making Sales we also want you to have fun with it, and the first step is loving the colors that will represent you!  Here are some posts and sites that can help you make great color choices.

 Choosing Colors for your Covers from Passive Guy 3/21/2013 has fun and easy to follow instructions regarding color pallets for websites and book covers. As he's not a cover designer, his advice is as valid as ours but there are some great comments to review including:
Maria Zannini March 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm I’m a cover designer and most of this is intuitive to me. (And fortunately, I didn’t have a cute boy distracting me the day they covered this in art class.)   Re: Color Scheme Designer - Pretty cool program. It would've been nice to see the color palette converted to CMYK so you could see how the print version of your cover would look like too.
Back in September, we posted a workshop about How Color Affects Purchases  and we invite you to review that workshop again!
"It is a scientifically proven fact that color has an affect on mood, hunger, and purchasing habits.....yup, purchasing habits. I found this great post via a link Therese recently shot my way. I tried to embed the post graphic, but the resolution is a little fuzzy. If you are unable to read it here, check out this direct link to the infographic from Daily Infographic."
Another past post to review is how Morgan was inspired to Purchase a book from Nikki Navarre: Turing Marketing Messages into Actual Purchases:
"Note: her messages touched me THREE times, before I made a purchase: 1) free read in the goodie bag, 2) during the bookfair / signing, and 3) via her workshop presentation. (I didn't see her ad until after my purchase.)"
Additional points to consider when choosing color:

  • Time Frame / Decade / Era - salmon and sea foam green invoke thoughts of 1980's South Beach Florida and Miami Vice.  Midas gold, violet, and blood red conjures thoughts of Renaissance royalty.  What colors were prominent in your world building?
  • Just because you love a particular color palette for your home decor, doesn't mean that it's a good color palette for your persona, website, or books.
  • Know your audience - There are dramatically different color schemes used by erotica authors, when compared to young adult (YA) authors to attract readers.
  • If you are designing your own book covers, take some time to research and study the covers of successful books in the same genre.  And while you are doing research, take a gander at how the authors you aspire to emulate are using color in their marketing and promotions.

While it may seem like a lot of time and effort to make one sale, what works for one sale will work for many.


  1. Definitely interesting. After looking at the infographics link, I now know why so many books are marketed with red or orange colors. Yuck!

    Before reading this I already knew that Red and Orange make me very uncomfortable and untrusting. They actually make me feel like someone is trying to "force" me to buy. Black I associated with certain genre tropes, so it doesn't bother me as much though I am tired of so many covers being on black backgrounds.

    I'd love to see the actual demographics of each study that comes up with these types of predictions. For example, what is the gender breakdown? Do men respond more to the "aggressive" colors than women? Or is it equal? What is the economic breakdown? I saw that green is more of a color for bargain shoppers.

    For me, it is the composition of the color and page that makes me pick up or click on a book more than a specific color. For websites, I tend to stay away from ones that are "aggressive" or dark just because they are often hard to read and make me uncomfortable.

    1. These are great questions and insights, Maggie! And there's a whole lot of professionals in every industry, from high tech to fashion, from sports to medicine, devoted to analyzing data to find the answer to your questions. The answers can vary by country, and culture, and more.

      Our message and posts are for those authors who have choices to make regarding their website, promotional materials, and cover art. Indie authors have more choices and need to understand the colors and themes they choose to represent themselves, on their websites, is more important than what they post on social media sites.

      My four daughters and I are all avid readers, we're all active in different social media spheres, and we all read different books. We also wear different colors, have different professional careers and talents, and have different color schemes in our homes. There is no magic bullet in colors to guarantee sales.

      But, the colors an author chooses to represent themselves and their books helps them connect with the readers, the audience who will BUY those books. Readers BUY and read for reasons that are personal and an author needs to present themselves in a professional way to connect with the personal needs of a reader. It's subjective and rather esoteric. That's why we encourage the FUN.

    2. Trust me when I say there are whole classes and curriculums dedicated to typography, color schemes, and overall graphic design. And there are numerous books on this very topic.

      With regards to POP marketing, one of my gurus is Mr. Paco Underhill. He wrote a groundbreaking book titled "Why We Buy." He was one of the first people to study the retail shopping experience from a socialogical and anthropological perspective. It is full of insights on store design / layout, signage and color use. If you want to know what the experts learn with regards to our shopping habits both online and in stores, check out "Why We Buy" and let me know what you think.


  2. I couldn't make the Rose City Romance Writers meeting to attend your lecture. Thanks for putting the link on the loop for us absentees. This blog post a long with the comments and links was very informative. Thanks again!