sunmakers self publishing

Expertise Branding

Expertise Branding is the 'stuff' that continues to sell for you when you're not in the room. It is the materials that need no introduction, that can be passed from the person you met to someone else who you may have never met, perhaps the decision maker – without losing any part of the essence of your brand through degradation of 'Chinese whispers' and lessening enthusiasm and connection. Expertise Branding allows your brand message to be continuously re-broadcast fresh from your physical materials without explanation or apology and requiring no added context.

expertise branding

You've probably heard of Personal Branding. That is all about you and who you are. It's what people say when you're not there, your reputation. Expertise Branding is about what you do, what you provide for clients. It's what people will PAY when you're not there.

Many consultants, speakers and coaches spend years building up their reputation only to have it dashed by weak or badly designed products and materials that undermine client confidence. Don't let poor deliverables destroy your reputation.

The three elements needed for continued success in a consultancy, speaking, coaching or training practice are shown in the diagram above.

You need to 'sound good' — your reputation must precede you. Most consultant work comes from recommendation. What other people say about you, those real personal testimonial are so important.

You need to 'be good' — you do need to constantly improve and deliver the best service possible. That's obvious.

But both of these can be undermined very quickly if you don't 'look good'.

Perhaps it sounds rather shallow to place 'looking good' as important (or even more important) than 'being good'. It's just the world that we live in that people do judge a book by it's cover. They judge people by appearances. There's no point in wishing it were different. That's how it is. It's not really that people are shallow of course. It's that people often don't have a lot of time so anything that helps make a decision to be made quicker is good. From most people's experience, things that look rubbish, usually are. Things that are presented badly, usually are. So if your offering looks amateur, it's quite reasonable for people to think that you are amateur. You can't blame them for it. If your business cards are those free ones they will assume that you're not willing to invest in your business and don't value their potential custom. So they won't value or invest in you.

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The Process of
Designing a Book

It's not just an attractive looking product that we can help create; it will be designed to mirror you and your values relevant to the offer and connect to your target market, enhancing your own brand and enabling you and your expertise to be perceived at a higher level.

What you get from Sunmakers is a hand-held process to turn your manuscript and ideas into files ready for production which also include a pdf to use as an ebook and the cover in various formats for promotional purposes.

The aim is to help capture the purpose visually and use it to brand the book. The result is a book that draws readers in, to  actualy read it and take action with what they have learnt. This is done by not only making the book attractive, but by designing it exactly the right way to create the perfect fit with the target readership. Sometimes a book written by an expert has elements in it that allow readers to 'do' and not just to 'read': the book becomes active.

We will be looking closely at the three main elements of the book: the purpose of the cover/title is to make the prospective buyer/reader flip the book over and look at the back. The purpose of the back is to satisfy the reader that the book is what they think it is and causes them to flick though from back to front. Then, the typography and layout is designed to make them feel the book is readable, detailed enough but not too dense, with broken up sections making it look digestible and interesting. The chapter titles are also chosen for the benefit of the prospective purchaser not the eventual reader.

1. Concept
We begin by looking at the material you have, whether it is a complete manuscript or the beginnings of an idea. We work together to construct the vital elements for the book: the original concept that will pull readers in. We examine the purpose of the book and how best to achieve its objectives.

2. Decide on book format/size
This depends on the eventual production method, which we can discuss options, it could be the standard 6"x9" but there are other shapes. If it is to be produced using 'Print-on-demand'systems such as Lulu or Lightning Source, there are limited options (for example you can only have a 'gloss' finish to the cover). With traditional printing you can have anything (ie. matt cover, hardback, dustsheet etc).

3. Decide on title/subtitle

4. Mockup cover designs
There could be more than one approach to try; perhaps using staged or stock photography, a bespoke illustration, or a more abstract pattern with the typography as the main focus. I often approach this by us looking at other books that the client wants his to look akin to.

One of the obvious tricks in this game (as in any marketing game) is to see who is doing what you want to be doing and copy them. They may be doing it in a slightly different arena, but if it is working for them, we can recognise and disassemble the relevant elements and use them. To that end we won't be looking at anyone else's self-published book because they're all... poor. That's why we'll be looking at your favourite books and the ones you think are good. But don’t stop at books, let’s look at any other material that has something about it that you like. The inspiration for your book cover isn’t likely to come from another book.. but somewhere else.

5. Design sample layout of some inside pages
In some ways this compliments the cover. The inside pages are often the bit most overlooked by people doing their books. Readers flick though a book before buying. They want to know if it looks fun or serious, easy and light or in-depth and detailed. We will decide what they think. I'll also look at what styles or motifs could be used, ie. pulled out quotes, tips in boxes, elements to break up the text or focus the eye, interesting ways to make a hierarchy to the copy. This is where the readability of the book comes in and whether it will be a success as a resource or not. 

6. Compose the back cover
Usually it's as you'd imagine; the marketing copy, testimonials plus extra brand enforcing images as people judge a book by its back cover almost as much as the front. If your image is not on the front, it could be on here.

7. Sign off the cover design and inside page design.

8. Layout the entire book inside
We can only do this once the final text is ready, has been checked and edited. Obviously there may be tiny corrections to make, but this stage is only done once the final edit is completed. We'll also look at what extra info could or should go into the book, such as offers to readers, details of your work, background info, appendix material or further reading: all extra material that helps either build your brand, adds extra value or creates a call to action from the book.

9. Finalise the cover

10. Check and read through for errors and correct

The book will then be ready
It will be provided in a format for whatever chosen production method as well as an ebook version as a pdf. The iBook/ePub format for Kindle and iPad is a different method which we can discuss.

11. Decide on production/publishing of the book and set up as appropriate.

12. Promo images
I take a photo and provide a 3D graphic for promotional use on websites and other products.

The process normally takes around two months but can be done quicker if needed if a timetable is carefully worked out.


Call Ayd Instone, Creative Director on +44(0)1865 779944 now.


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