A couple of months ago, I wrote a post concerning the potential need for liability insurance. The comments ranged from it being unnecessary and a potential waste of money, to fear of not having it and deciding to research it further. Today, one of our followers let us know that a major bookstore chain would only carry his book if he had liability insurance, so he asked us for a recommendation.
While neither Mary nor I have anyone personally to recommend, I did discover that the Authors Guild is now offering media liability insurance policies for their members.
Have any other authors needed to carry liability insurance as part of a bookstore deal? We're curious to learn if this is becoming a trend.
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
You've worked hard earning every penny of your ebook and print book profits - so imagine losing it all in a legal battle over the originality of your story or characters. Today, just the act of defending yourself in court, regardless if you're found guilty or innocent, could create financial ruin.
Does this really happen and do authors really need to protect themselves?
This great question was posed to me recently and it's one I hadn’t really thought about, before now. Since Mary’s book was centered around herself and her family, she was in a lot less danger of being sued over copyright infringements or misrepresentations. But, for authors not writing memoirs or autobiographies, they may want to consider protecting themselves, especially since we live in such a litigious world. Just ask J.K. Rowling, who had to defend her idea of the Triwizard Tournament she wrote about in the 4th book of the Harry Potter series. Fortunately, she was on her way to becoming the first billionaire author, so she had a cushion to fall back on. But, the average author is not as lucky.
As I researched this subject, I learned that surprisingly all authors, even those publishing traditionally, need to consider carrying liability insurance as the traditional publishing houses are no longer fully protecting authors under their policies.
For more information on the reasons and resources for obtaining coverage, check out this interesting article by Amy Cook on the Writers Digest website.
Do you think it’s necessary to have Liability Insurance? Have you purchased a policy and/or faced a legal battle over your book?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and 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
Writing is a solitary activity.
When you are ready to publish, you still feel like you are alone, because the traditional publishing world is blocked by iron-clad doors with thousands of locks to which there seem to be no keys. So, you decide to self publish. Where do you start? Do you now need to add 'editing', 'cover art', 'formatting', and 'marketing' expert to your 'author' title? Just do a Google search, and you are surrounded by the noise of this new world of self publishing.
Take a deep breath. It's not as difficult, or as easy as it may seem. There are some specific steps you need to take to establish your credibility as an author, and have readers begging for more of your written work. Here are a few:
~ Please . . . Please have your manuscript professionally edited by someone outside your family!
~ Rewrite your book based on the recommendations you receive from the editor. If the advice you receive goes against your instincts, you decide whether or not to take it, but I suggest you seek another edit from a new source. If this source says the same thing as the first, REWRITE!
~ Have your reworked manuscript edited again.
~ Based on the new version of your book, see if your title still fits, and change it if it doesn't.
~ Have two professional covers created in the correct size and format - one for eBook and one for POD (Print On Demand).
~ Have your manuscript professionally formatted for eBook and POD software.
~ Secure a domain name and create a website for your new "Author" persona. In this electronic age, this step is a must to attract readers and have a professional place for them to congregate around your writing.
Now you can self publish and put your written work out into the world for all to see. Are you ready . . . scared . . . excited . . . impatient . . . ?
That is why Help Me Self Publish exists! I felt the same way when I self published!Welcome to the self publishing bridge. Let's cross it together.
Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom