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
Pride & Prejudice
Anything by Shakespeare...
If written today, would these classic titles have survived the test of time or even been noticed? We live in a world of short attention spans, ADD, multimedia, ads posted on buses, cars, billboards, and even some restaurant bathrooms. (Albeit not very nice restaurants.) We write in small shorthanded snippets, lucky if an entire sentence gets created and read by scanning headlines and bullet points.
So, could any of the books we’ve grown up knowing as classics have ever made themselves known or even read in this new society? Thanks to self-publishing, tens of thousands of books are being published when we might have seen only hundreds in years past. But, this ever increasing competition for our attention, along with our inability to focus for more than mere minutes or even seconds, has made it signficiantly more difficult to imagine having the patience to commit to a heavy novel unless it was riddled with action or suspense.
Recently, I’ve read articles telling authors to split stories down into shorter books and market them as a series. Written even just a decade ago, that would mean the Harry Potter series would have been 15 books instead of 7, which seems a little insane. Regardless of the insanity, it's not a coincidence that today, the most successful self published authors are the ones producing the 'fluffy reading candy,' turning the once regarded act of reading into the equivalent of watching tv, or even playing a video game.
I’d like to believe that a good story is timeless. I just have to wonder how the above ‘classics’ might have been written and/or marketed differently for them to compete today. It makes me shudder to think they may not have been written or published at all.
Will the ‘Classics’ even be remembered 100 years from now? Will they continue to be read? Do you think the pendulum will swing back to a time when we’re tired of the over-stimulation?
Although Help Me Self Publish has only been in business since September 1st 2011, in a few short months I’ve had a crash course in the best ways to utilize Twitter. I fumbled around a lot in the beginning, but the following tools have substantially increased our followers and visits to the HMSP site.
- Buffer: Buffer has given me freedom. Before discovering it, I was tied to my Twitter account, sending out tweets, reading, sharing, and retweeting throughout the day. It was exhausting and worse, I was bombarding our followers with several tweets at one time. Buffer has solved this problem. My tweets can be scheduled during the most opportune times of the day when our followers tend to be online, too. And best of all, I can schedule my own time more wisely.
- Twitter Lists: Okay, I’m not currently following 1000’s of people, but I’m thinking and planning ahead as I expect to. Creating lists has made it so much easier to follow the people I frequent the most, as well as categorize the content Help Me Self Publish represents: Writing/Publishing, Marketing, and Inspiration for Authors.
- Triberr: When Mary first told me about Triberr a few weeks ago, and how she had met these amazingly supportive people and btw, her blog stats shot through the roof; I was a bit skeptical. But, then I was invited to join and it was everything she described. The people are wonderful, with lots of wisdom to share on blogging and writing, and our stat numbers immediately increased 3-fold bringing with it additional readership and exposure for HMSP. Triberr will help us achieve our goals at a much faster rate, as if we hit warp drive. (Hopefully, our dilithium crystals will hold out.)
- Write and Share Quality Information: Of course, no matter what tips and tricks you follow, none of them will do any good if you’re not writing posts people are interested in reading. Since my main goal is to sift through the noise for our followers, I don't worry about how many tweets I’m sending out, I try to insure that each one I’m passing along is something I enjoyed reading myself.
- Retweet, too: It’s a Karma thing. I tend to retweet over copying and pasting when my Buffer que is filled and/or the tweet is in a category I tend to tweet about less frequently, but was interesting to me none-the-less.
- Be courteous: Thank followers, retweeters, and make sure promotions don’t make up the bulk of your tweets.
Do you use any of the above tools? If so, what was your experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts.