Last time, we discussed why Product is important to us as writers, bloggers and job seekers - because we actually have control over the Product. We don't get this luxury very often, in other work and life situations. Control is empowering, but it is also a responsibility. We have to be sure to create and produce the highest quality Product we possibly can.
Part of Product is packaging. When it comes to your actual book, if your goal is to be published traditionally, you won't have much, if any, say-so in your Product's packaging. Of course, by then, it is no longer your Product - it belongs to the Publisher.
If you go indie, however, you have all kinds of control over the packaging, from cover design and colors to interior font and layout. Do your research. Don't make these decisions just because they look pretty or it's what you personally like. You want to be sure your packaging stands out and also serves the needs of the customer - your reader.
A cover image may be beautiful, but if it doesn't pop from the shelf, it does you no good. Your customers won't notice your book among the thousands of others. As for usability, make sure your interior font is a serif font and fairly standard. Make it easy on the eyes to read so your readers aren't forced to put your book down because of eye strain. Most importantly, make it look professional.
Professional is the keyword for packaging for any of us - writers, bloggers, job seekers, employees, etc. In all of these roles, we are the Product and our packaging must be professional. Our blogs should be organized, easy to read, attractive and well written. Our websites should be the same. We should present ourselves, whether to agents/editors, readers, current and potential employers, as professionals.
Fortunately, professional does not equal boring or stuffy. At least not for what most of us do. You can still be yourself, you can still let your humor and personality show through. Because this helps you make a personal connection to your customer or audience. Just be sure to make it clear that you care about what you do. You care about getting this job, so you show up prepared, clean and wearing appropriate clothes. You care about the impression you make on customers, so you behave politely. You care about your followers, so you keep your blog attractive, organized and, if appropriate, fun.
Packaging plays all kinds of roles for different types of products. For example, lunch meat that now comes in those reusable plastic containers makes the customer feel as though they're getting two products in one. And often, the packaging is the product, or at least part of it, such as a potted plant or jar-candle...or a book, for that matter.
For us peeps here, however, packaging is mostly about how we present ourselves - our clothes, our appearance, the design of our blogs, our attitudes, our behaviors, etc. Show you care and be professional. One more way for you to control the quality of your Product.
Is there anything you can do to improve the packaging of your product? Maybe polish your resume? Clean up your website? Remove the buttons from your blog for contests that ended last May? (Hmm...I think I better go check on that last one myself.)