Why can't I embrace ebooks? I love email and bill pay and can't imagine sending letters or my mortgage payment via snail mail. I don’t know if it’s because I was younger when new technologies such as the internet took over (while ebooks came onto the scene after I turned 40), but to be honest, print books have a slight edge with me.
Here are my five reasons why:
It's great to have choices. And today, it's easier than ever to self publish whether it's to ebook or print-on-demand. Fortunately, for those of us who still prefer a book in hand - it's great to know you don't have to store tens of thousands of copies in your garage in order to satisfy us.
- "Screenitis". I suppose I think of “work” when I read something on a screen. The company I work for during the day is paperless, so I spend nearly the entire time I'm there in front of a screen. My moonlit job of editing is also done strictly online as I no longer edit on paper like I did in the golden era of pre-computers. Add to that, emails, social media, writing blog posts, and taking care of my finances online, it's hard to judge how many hours I end up spending in front of my computer.
- eBooks don’t speak to me. My printed paperbacks or hardcovers call to me. They sit neatly on a coffee table and when I relax on the couch after a long day, the vibrant covers lure me into entering their world. Although I don’t always listen to their call…those covers attract me in a way that no electronic device seems to.
- Lack of connection. Speaking of the cover…there’s something about a print book that's alive, especially if there’s a drawing of any of the characters. I will often refer back to the cover image while reading which helps me feel connected to the characters.
- I can’t see how I’m progressing. Currently, I’ve only read on the Kindle platform, so I’m unaware if other ebooks are lacking this…but I never know what page I’m on. This is probably due to the ability to change text sizes, which appears to alter the amount of words on the screen. There is a status bar along the bottom letting me know the percentage of the book read, but there’s something about seeing where my bookmark is and judging how many pages I’ve completed compared to how many I still need to go that inspires me to keep reading, especially as I’m nearing the end of a long book.
- I keep forgetting they’re there. This is probably my biggest issue. If you use the free ebook app on your computer, iphone, or ipad – it’s really easy to forget to read your books. Out of sight out of mind. Of course, this may be easily rectified once I buy an ebook device.
(BTW, writing this blog post has helped remind me to get back into the latest ebook I’ve been reading. Wish me luck.)
Do you prefer ebooks to print? If so, why? If you also prefer print and you have additional reasons to add to my list, please share.
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
In my mind, the real difference between self publishing and traditional is the control factor. Traditional publishing houses own the rights to the author’s book; therefore, they’re in control of everything from how the story is written to who the audience will be. If they want something rewritten to their specification, the author doesn’t have any choice once they’ve signed the contract.
Because of that, many writers decide to self publish. But, does that mean they’re completely on their own, having to learn how to edit, design covers and the ins/outs of formatting? Not necessarily. In fact, it’s just the control factor that's different. Instead of taking on the entire publishing process on their own, they can hire people to assist them. But, the big difference is that the author remains in control. They’re the employer instead of the employee and their vision remains in tact while others are allowed to help bring it to life.
So, which services should a writer hire out and which should they tackle on their own?
To create a self published product worthy of competing in the big leagues, authors want to be sure they hire a professional editor. A good editor should work with the writer from plot to proofreading. They will not only look for the holes and inconsistencies, but the best ones will offer recommendations and solutions to make the story shine it’s brightest, without losing its core vision. Of course, most writers want their story to remain as it was originally intended, but they should also be certain they write a page turning story where their audience gets lost in the prose. Nothing breaks that spell more than boring, unnecessary back story, dialogue that doesn’t fit with the character’s personality, and/or plot lines that are going nowhere, leaving the reader with more questions than answers.
The cover art is the next service that should be hired out. (Unless the author is a professional graphic artist.) Self Publishing has made it easier than ever for an author to get their work out to the public; but the downside is there are also many more books with which they must compete. With a book’s first impression based on the cover art, no writer should squelch on this important publishing decision.
There is some investment involved: either time or money.
But, the recent explosion in self publishing has increased the competition for those pre-publishing services, so it is possible to find highly competitive rates. Like with any important purchase, it’s always best to shop around and/or get referrals. For those services an author may choose to forge on their own, a whole host of free information on how-to self publish can be found.
Are you an author that has published on your own? If so, which services did you hire out and which did you feel you could handle yourself? Did you have to learn a whole new skill set to do it? I'd love to hear your experiences.
Help Me Self Publish Q&A with Mary and Andrea.
The following question came from new author, Annie Shinn:
“Reading Mary's suggestions, I started a Facebook page for my book, but I have no picture to put with it. That is why I am eager for a cover. I do agree that after the editing, I may change ideas. Should I just create a generic title page for it?”
Annie, starting the marketing process as soon as you can is critical. Some authors choose to do so before they’ve even finished writing; either to determine the amount of interest in their story, or to create a ready-made audience who can’t wait to buy their book once it’s completed.
For the first time author, though this can feel like a daunting task, marketing something that doesn’t yet have a “face.”
So why not use your own?
In the past, authors needed to sell millions of books and have them turned into movies before people recognized them as the person behind the story. But, today’s social media platforms allow any of us to create those relationships necessary to have a true following. You may not sell millions of books or have your book turned into a blockbuster movie (or maybe you will), but you can certainly find quality fans that read your writings because they value your personality, point of view, and communication style.
Let them “like” you and there’s a greater chance they’ll “like” your book, even before it has a face of its own.
Help Me Self Publish