What is the saying again? A picture is worth a thousand words? What if your novel is 80,000 words? Is the picture (cover) you've chosen worth 80,000 words? If it isn't, readers will not be drawn to your book, buy it, read it and possibly review it!
Andrea and I recently helped a client choose an illustrator for her cover, and we faced the same issues we face each time we search for the perfect cover for a client's book. So, I thought we would try and answer the question:
What makes a successful cover for YOUR self published book?
It would be great if the answer to this question was as simple as taking a picture of your favorite waterfall, typing the title of your book in any open space, and adding your name as the author towards the bottom in somewhat smaller font...but it's not. Although picture, title and author are key components, their position, size and meaning are vital. You may even need slightly different covers for electronic and physical versions of your book to account for thumbnails vs. competition for attention in bookstores.
Let's consider the key parts.
~ Title/Author. If you have had more than one edit - content and copy - your initial title may well have changed during this process. Therefore, the key elements you want your title and cover to convey may have also changed. You must also consider what style font you wish to use for both title and author, and whether the text will share or compete for attention with an image. I wouldn't suggest assigning your ISBN, designing your cover or blogging/networking about your new book until you have completed edits and are relatively sure of the exact title.
~ The Picture/Background. Your favorite waterfall may have very little, if anything to do with the content of your book. Therefore, if you want a picture on your cover, the first thing you must consider is graphic arts or illustration. Each has a unique look and feel as illustrated below.
The Harry Potter book is a drawing/illustration. The Of Poseidon book is created using Graphic Arts. Either way, you need to convey to the artist creating your cover the feeling you want a reader to have when they initially see your book. A good cover artist will be sure there is enough non-essential space available for your title and author name to stand out, and that all elements come together to create an outstanding representation of the work your cover protects and advertises.
I can't wait to share our latest client's book cover with you, as the illustrator is amazing, but first, all the above details must be worked out.
What were the key components you wanted your book cover to show a potential reader? How did you ensure it would entice a possible reader to click or pick up your book? Please share!
~Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
MommyLoves to Chat!
Say Bump and Take a Left
If predictions for 2012 eBook sales come true, self published authors will need to ensure their books stand out as the diamonds amongst the electronic bookshelves full of cubic zirconia. In order to garner a good chunk of this ever growing electronic pie, authors could face an exhausting hourly grind to ensure their material is devoured by readers in the coming year.
Here are 5 keys to ensuring your diamonds shine brightly:
- Write a good book, have it edited, rewrite it, have it edited again...repeat...(and take these pieces of advice from Seth Godin to heart!)
- Use Review Blogs - Find a few in your chosen genre, then follow their submission requirements. Search for more review blogs, and repeat...
- Create your online Author Home - Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. see our Helpful Hints for details and free information. Be sure to be yourself, because your readers will want to engage with you and buy from you if they connect with you!
- Use Social Media regularly and authentically! Here are some tips to help you "Tweet as you Speak", and another for finding quality followers. A future post will talk about the difference between Facebook and Twitter, and your need to change your communication style when connecting through each.
- Participate in the social media of the publishing company(ies) you chose. Kindle Direct Publishing, pubit, iBooks, Smashwords, etc., all have their own facebook, twitter and publishing communities with which you can engage possible readers and author/publisher networks. Don't forget Goodreads - an amazing community of readers and authors through which you can personally offer your work for sale and connect with your audience.
As you can see, this will require a major time investment for any author wishing to take on Self Publishing of their work. But, as Seth Godin says, "Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually." Let's just hope we can make it pay off monetarily at least a little bit!Mary Kathryn JohnsonAuthor ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
Say Bump and Take a Left
Okay, I have a friend (no really, it's not me) who self published her book a few years back before it was all the rage, and then got picked up by Barnes & Noble Publishing - every self published author's dream come true, right
?!At the time, I had just started writing my book, Say Bump and Take a Left. How I Birthed a Baby and a Business after a Huge Bump in the Road, and I was imagining all the wonderful success that awaited me: my pick of Agents offering Publishers who fight over the right to publish my manuscript through a six figure advance bidding war
...Now a word from our Reality...My friend started emailing me asking for my opinion on "the new book cover the publishers are using". Frankly, I liked her cover better, and was confused as to why B&N wanted to change it. Didn't they choose her book because it already had success with a brand? Why would they throw that away? And that was just the beginning as my friend emailed often with changes being made to her book (along with her disappointment). But, at least she had her advance, and the publishers would be taking over the marketing, distribution and sales, right?WRONG!
She still markets her book, even today, and she still distributes and sells the version of her book she already self published
and printed in bulk (prior to the advent of POD), because, of course she isn't going to just throw them away!Lessons:3.
You accept that advance and sign your name on the dotted line, and you lose all control!2.
You are still totally responsible for marketing your own book (aka sales)!1.
Who's baby is this anyway?I thought, "This won't happen to me...(eyes glazed over slipping back into the pick of agents, 6 figure bidding war dream) they will love my book just as I've written it!)
So, I finished my book, and started sending out query letters.And more query letters...And more query letters...Sound familiar?I was despondent.
I really, really
didn't want to learn another profession all over again - I did that with MommyLoves - and I readily and gladly told everyone so when they suggested self publishing. Oh, how bitter my words tasted. If I really wanted my book to go out into the world proclaiming my little, '
2 broken legs while 8 months pregnant' life lessons, I was going to have to self publish.Enter stage left, big sigh, and dig in...I did it...Had a wonderful friend (who also happened to be a professional copy editor) edit my manuscript...Made changes, and edited again...Made more changes, including the title, and had a cover created with one of my own pictures...Learned how to format for all online readers. I self published, and never looked back.Back to the Number One Lesson I learned above ~ It's My Baby!Three months ago, I had an amazing experience with one of my readers. A gentleman who read my book, contacted me to tell me how profoundly my words had touched him and his wife. He thanked me, tearfully, for writing my experiences, and said that he and his wife were rearranging their life goals to have one of them stay home with their infant son and raise him, rather than working to pay a nanny to do so.I cannot express how touched I was by the knowledge that my words had so greatly impacted another life - three lives, actually. I wonder, would the impact be the same had a publisher taken control of my baby and sent it out into the world with their message?Who will determine the message your baby tells the world?
Mary Kathryn JohnsonAuthor ~ Entrepreneur ~ MomSay Bump and Take a LeftMary's Blog