Like many people, Amber Manzer dreamed of writing her own novel. Setting aside time and focus, dedication paid off as Ember in Shadows, the first book of a new trilogy, flowed out of her imagination. Dancing between the fantasy and romance genres, Ember in Shadows is a world-building adventure setting stage for massive battles and radical reveals. The challenge Manzer faced was simple: what happens after the book is written? Would she set writing aside, to be rediscovered and cherished years from now, or push forward and connect with potential readers while creating her own marketing?
Manzer came to Think Tank Creative requesting a cover design for her first novel, and help navigating the complexities of modern independent publishing. A decade ago, it was typical to send book chapters to publishers and see if publishers had any interest in printing the book; this often resulted in rejections because publishers receive thousands of unsolicited submissions and few are judged as a worthy investment. Alternatively, authors also used to print cheap copies of their books at local office supply stores and sell the copies at conventions, independent book stores, and online, hoping to grow a grow a cult following. This is how 50 Shades of Gray become a phenomenon. Over the last ten years, however, technology and independent publishers have grown and empowered thousands of authors to self-publish and share their work, physically and digitally, with a global community of readers hungry for content. Amazon, with the power of on-demand printing and binding, and their reach in the digital book market through the Kindle reader, is one of the leading independent publishing solutions for authors of all genres.
Jeremy Tank worked with Manzer to guide her through Think Tank’s branding process. Tank asked questions about Ember in Shadows’ audience, analyzed trends in book cover designs for both the fantasy and romance genres, clarified Manzer’s core marketing message, and helped her imagine the books as an entry point to a profitable personal business. Tank then relied on his background in fine art and design to bring the research together visually and present a brand concept which spans the books, marketing, community-building, and Manzer’s own growing personal brand.
As a consulting branding studio, Think Tank Creative offers many solutions in design and marketing, but the detailed direction for Manzer’s cover illustration fell outside the scope of Tank’s capability. Think Tank provided a list of high-quality and budget-friendly book design specialists capable of bringing Ember in Shadows’ concept to life, along with the detailed visual directions and mock-up.
Manzer aligned with TS95 Studios to create the final version of Ember in Shadows’ cover. The cover showcases the focus and concept developed with Manzer and Tank, with color, type, and layout directed by research and visual positioning.
Manzer is currently working on her second and third books while exploring merchandising and licensing rights to broaden her impact within her community and drive revenue growth.