Every single author knows the struggle it is to get their work published through either an agent or directly with a publisher, countless manuscripts get sent off and then the barrage of rejections come flooding back (that’s if you’re lucky enough to even get a straight No). But you are not alone, almost every successful author went through the very same, but what’s encouraging is that with perseverance they finally broke though.
So, if you’re trying to get your book published, don’t give up, keep going and take solace that you’re not alone, here are the top twenty best-selling authors who showed that anything is possible!
Book cover design for eBooks will have a variation on Paperbacks and Hardbacks for several obvious reasons, but if you’re new to book design then you may not necessarily know the different elements that need to be considered, resolutions between print and digital are different and there are even restrictions within the color you use in the design with many publishers too.
Of course eBooks need to work on many different devices and screen sizes, with people choosing to read upon tablets, kindles, cell phones and even laptops, the book itself needs to be formatted in either EPUB or MOBI (or both if you’re launching your eBook via several platforms), but your cover design will normally be created as a JPEG.
When it comes to creating a book cover design for an eBook the first ‘practical’ thing you should consider is the size, most eBooks vary slightly from publisher to publisher and what fits with one may be cropped for another, but if we look at the most popular eBook publishers you can see their requirements for the sizes of the cover.
Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing): Amazon recommends using a ratio of 1.6:1, this translates as for every 1000 pixels wide the image is you go 1600 pixels high, they also recommend that the image should have a height of 2500 pixels (their ideal specifics are 2560 x 1600 pixels)
Barnes & Noble: This book store and online retailer recommend the longest side of your cover be 1400 to 2000 pixels with the shorter side proportional, they except both JPEG and TIFF formats.
Smashwords: Your file must be uploaded to them as either a JPEG or PNG file with a minimum width of 1400 pixels, their ideal size is 1600 x 2400 pixels.
Apple iBooks (Bookbaby): All images can be either TIFF, JPEG or PNG files with the width at least 1400 pixels and a height to width ration of 1.5, they recommend using a size of 1400 x 2100 pixels.
Lulu: They recommend using an image with the following dimensions 612 x 792 pixels and as a JPEG
Once you know the size of your eBook cover you should consider the resolution of the image itself, for most printed books the cover will be designed at 300 dpi (dots per inch) this is to ensure that the image is sharp once printed, however with an eBook the image will be displayed digitally, most screens only display at 72 ppi (pixels per inch) so if you create a cover at 300 dpi the extra resolution won’t be shown and only increases the file size, so most eBook covers are designed at a resolution of 72 ppi.
After size and resolution comes the actual color model you use to design the book cover in, within design there are two popular color models that are used, CMYK & RGB. CMYK is used within printing and stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black, it uses these four colors in various amounts to make the color within your picture, by adding more of each color together the paper below loses more light and is why it’s known as a subtractive process. RGB (Red, Green & Blue) is used more within digital design (it’s known as an additive process, as when all the colors are added together to their full extent you make white). So, for the design of an eBook cover you should always use RGB for the color.
Remember, practical elements for an eBook cover design are:
Advertising and self-promotion of your book (as an indie author) has never been so important, the sheer volume of new titles that are released on a daily basis now runs into thousands, so ensuring that your new work stands out requires some effort and a ‘can-do’ attitude.
The promotion of your book should start whilst you’re still writing it, many successful authors will start to promote their own when only one or two chapters in, this is a slow-burn method of building up interest prior to the launch, at this point it should already have readers interested in it and be easier to increase awareness.
So how do you promote and get an increase of awareness? You have two options, the physical world and the internet, the physical world will be through book fares, signings, tours, events, talks and readings, whereas the internet will be your social media, website, forums, blogs, paid advertising and email shots.
One - TIME - Starting with the real world, you have lots of opportunities to get out and talk to people about your book, but, how much time do you actually have? If you’re a single mom you may find that you have very little free time to give to actual ‘physical’ promotion, whereas if you are retired you’ll have a great deal more. Be aware of how you spend your free time, all of us can gain many more hours back by making the smallest of tweaks, maybe it’s an hours less TV or waking up 30 mins earlier each day, if you want the success of your book (and you as an author) you can normally find a way.
Two - BOOK SIGNING - Once you figure out how much time you have you can look at promotion, this can be in arranging a book signing in an afternoon, maybe contact your local café and ask if you could hold a signing there for a couple of hours, even perform a reading from your book, it will help sales for them and generate interest/sales for you, if not a café then ask around at your local book stores. There are local businesses who will love to help if you only ask, you can promote your signing and increase their footfall at the same time, a win-win.
Promoting your book signing can be done through social media, posters, ads, word of mouth and blogs, you could even hold a competition to win prizes or a free draw to bring in the crowds, just make sure you have leaflets, posters, business cards and of course lots of copies of your book.
Three – FAIRS – A quick search on line will find a whole host of fares and expos going on around you, getting involved at these will help you to make contacts within the publishing community along with selling some copies of your book on the day. As with a book signing though it’s important that you have the appropriate promotional materials to support you and your book, you’ll need copies of the book, business cards, posters, bookmarks, leaflets/flyers and banners.
Four – Competitions – There are many competitions for every genre to enter, yes you may not win them all but if you enter none then that’s how many you will win. Get involved with them and enter your book, some of the most successful authors get their name know this way and it works.
Five – Talks – Having written a book you are in a great position to teach others in what you have learned from your experience, this may well be at a local community center or even at a conference, this is also something that non-fiction writers have an excellent opportunity with, whatever your area of expertise there is a forum/platform for you to talk from – use it!
Six – Social Media – There are plenty of free platforms for you to choose from, the likes of Twitter, Facebook and even G+ being three popular ones, it is still worth opening up new accounts for each but just specifically for you as an author (try to stay away from using personal accounts). Make sure that your social media pages look professional and that you post items of interest, if you only ever post to promote your book then you will lose followers. Social media works well when you get involved, chat with others, comment on topics and offer advice too, you can also promote competitions and update your followers with any news.
Seven – Website – Having an author’s website is a great platform for you to self-promote from, it also gives you an opportunity to sell copies of your book, run competitions, give updates and even host your own blog. Building your own website is easier than you imagine and you don’t need to understand how to code either, with companies like Wix, Weebly and Wordpress you can be up and running with a new site in an afternoon.
Eight – Blogs & Vlogs – Having a blog is a great way to build a following and also to engage with people, there are lots of services which offer free blog hosting and if you have your own website then you should blog from there too. The other option is to host a vlog (a video blog), this you can do from Youtube for free (if you have a Gmail account you’ll instantly have a Youtube account also), these vlogs you can promote via your social media and website, talk about what interests you, run competitions, host interviews with other writers etc. and remember not to over promote.
Nine – Subscribers – With your website you have an opportunity to build a database of people who are interested in your work, by capturing their email address you have the opportunity to send them mailouts with news, articles of interest and promotions. There are services such as Mail Chimp or AWeber which enable you to build these lists and run your mailouts, remember that in order for someone to give their email address they’ll expect something in return, so write a free downloadable book or an offer that is of VALUE to them.
Ten – Paid Advertising – This can be in many forms, from the traditional ad in a magazine or upon a website/social media channel to a fee paid to a book promotion service, just weigh up the options before you part with your money. The likes of Facebook offer very specific and targeted advertising which can be controlled daily and is worth considering, some ads in magazines work well too (just be very specific in your target audience). There are also some companies who will offer to promote your book for a fee, just be wary of how much they charge and what guarantees they do or don’t offer.
Bonus - Get more advice from the experts
Promoting your book and ensuring that it's a success can be a long road of trial and error for many indie authors, but it doesn't have to be. What if there were a way of getting the experience of a seasoned published author? Someone who's been there, done it and has the T-Shirt too!!
Launching a book is far more than simply uploading it to Createspace (or your other publisher of choice), in an era where self-publishing is not only easy but incredibly popular you have work to do in order to make your book ready for an audience.
But if you are publishing for the very first time then it can seem confusing and even a little overwhelming as how to proceed successfully, your book will need to be edited, proof read, formatted, a book cover designed, advertising made, promoted, launched and then continued promotion….phew, yes, you will be busy!
So, now that you have your manuscript completed (well, you have typed the words ‘The End’ upon the last page anyway), it’s now time to get it seen and start the process of getting both it and you ready for launch, but where next? What will you need to do in order to have a successful book?
Well there are several services and processes that you should consider in order to finetune your manuscript, remember, there are over one thousand books launched every day, you need to give your book a fighting chance if you want to be successful.
ONE - Editing
A good editor will be able to help polish what you have already made so far, however, it is a role which can lead to friction as not everyone can take criticism that well, if you have made structural errors and the recommendation comes back that you should rewrite large sections of your book it can lead to a stalling of progress from the author. Being open enough to see this service for professional guidance and not a personal attack will help in getting the most benefit from it, if your story is great, good editing will help make it shine further for you.
There are many editing services to choose from and come in a wide range of services offered along with prices to suit most budgets, here are some of the more popular ones.
Scribendi is an online editing service that has been around since 1997 and is one of the larger of the companies offering this service, they offer hundreds of editors and cover pretty much every topic/genre you can think of, they can also proof read your book (which is a must).
Edit 911 is another editing company who started back in the late 90’s, again, this is a service which offers many editors and also covers the wide majority of genres and topics.
Prowriting Aid is an online editing software which you can try for free (even the premium package is still very cheap and can be downloaded), it analyzes your writing and reports back with in depth details on areas which should be revised to improve readability, it checks your grammar, overused words, clichés and redundancies, repeats, sentence length and lots of other details too, for those who want lots of reports but are sticking within a budget this is a good option to consider.
Servicescape has been editing for over sixteen years and offers a host of freelance editors for authors to use and in many other languages (other than English) too.
TWO - Proofreading
You should consider getting others to read your manuscript prior to launching (especially if you do not get it professional edited), the temptation is of course to get friends and family to be your test readers, but this will normally lead to them being polite and telling you (to some degree) what you want to hear, your Mom won’t tell you that your book lacks direction or its plot development is lacking, you need people you trust to be honest.
So, if you are a member of a writer’s group, ask them instead, in return you should always offer to do the same of course, failing this there are some services who will offer to do it for you.
Scribendi (as listed above) do offer this and have the experience and proofreaders to offer you a very comprehensive service too.
Writers Services Not only offer proofreading (along with many other helpful services for authors) but they have a great website which gives plenty of advice for any author.
Papertrue is a professional editing and proofreading company that is fast and affordable, they offer experts in each area of publication to ensure quality.
THREE - Formatting
Now that your book is ready to be published you will need to have the manuscript itself formatted for the actual type of publication, this will differ from the obvious (eBook & paperback) to the different options you’ll need to consider in each format (ie: Epub and/or Mobi files for your eBook).
As with most elements in publishing there are plenty of services available to the indie author to ensure your manuscript is formatted correctly.
The Fast Fingers are a team of formatters aimed at indie authors, they create formats for all of the major print on demand publishers and offer competitive rates too.
Polgarus Studio are formatters who offer great rates and convert your existing manuscript into formats ready for print and as both Epub and Mobi files, their turn-around times are very quick and have lots of experience too.
Press Books is easy to use writing software which enables you to create your book in all formats you want to publish in (both eBook and print for POD), it starts off as a Free service but will place watermarks upon the files, however, you can upgrade to their ‘Pro’ service which will give you more features and ensure you don’t have watermarks.
In our next post we’ll cover what you’ll need to be thinking of with book cover design and your advertising.
What should you be thinking when looking to get a book cover design created for your new book? The likelihood is that you have just finished your manuscript and this is now going through the editing process (something which can take several weeks or even months), so while you wait for this to be completed you should be planning the cover along with the copy for the back page.
While working with many authors from around the globe we have developed a great way of getting as much information from them as is needed to create a design, but there are things that an author should be thinking of prior to contacting a designer too, here is our top list if what they are.
We hope this helps when you’re in the process of getting a book cover designed or simply searching for a designer, going into the project with an idea as to what you’ll need will make it a great deal easier.
The promotion of your self-published book is a task that can scare many new authors, but it’s something that can be fun and is not as elusive as you may thin, there are lots of ways that every indie author can ensure their book stands out in a very busy crowd.
Here we have comprised some great ideas to get you promoting and increase awareness of your book.
Of course there are other things you can do to help promote your book (be creative), but the more YOU do in self-promotion the more books you’ll sell.
Getting your book ready for publication involves many aspects, but one which can get overlooked until the last minute is the blurb for the back of the book cover design itself, these words are something we can take for granted when picking a book off the shelf and flipping it over, but when it comes to writing your own it can turn into a process which can last days and even weeks.
The thing with the back page of your book is that you need to grab the attention of your reader (and you only have a moment to do it in), you must give them a hook which entices them to read more but at the same time you can’t give too much away either, it’s easy to fill the back page with text but will they read it all or just skim and put the book back down on the shelf? On the other hand, if you put too little text upon the back of the book cover then you miss an opportunity to sell, yes, getting the blurb (and Bio) for your book does require focus.
It is important to realize the point of the back page of your book cover first, now, most people will say that it’s going to tell the reader what the book is about, and whilst that’s correct you need to understand that there is more to it than that. Simply put, your back page is your sales page (a continuation of your books advertising), a great blurb will make the reader want to know more and ultimately buy your book itself (it will overcome the objection of parting with money and investing the time to actually read it).
So, what should you consider when getting your back page text read for publication? Here are some of the most important elements which will go into a great blurb/bio.
With some focus you will be able to construct a blurb which will grab the imagination of your reader and increase the sales rate of your book, don’t forget, the blurb is a very important element of your cover and a key tool in promoting and advertising your book.
A book cover is more than just the image or illustration which goes into it, the font which is used plays a larger and more integral role than the average person realizes, it lays the foundation for the initial perception of the viewer’s understanding of the book’s concept itself, as such the font used on any book needs to be selected with care.
When designing a book cover the font chosen needs to perform many jobs for the author, it should of course tell the reader what the title, subtitle and author’s name are along with the blurb, bio and (in some cases) quotes/testimonials upon the back page too. This is the basic information that needs to be upon the cover in order that the reader gets the relevant information.
However, this information (especially what’s on the front page) will give the viewer an idea as to the genre and book’s contents quicker and more succinctly when the correct font is used, when you look at the examples below, you can see that the first example uses a font which lends itself well to a book within the fantasy genre whereas the second version uses a sans font that leads to a confusing finish to the cover design.
The use of a sans font lends itself better to non-fiction and children’s book, however, when a sans font is used in uppercase then it can work very well in fiction, as a bold and block sans this type can give a dramatic feel to the copy on the front cover and make a bold impression instantly.
You also have the choice of script and cursive fonts to use upon the book cover, these work very well for use as titles, subtitles and author names but shouldn’t really be used as the font for the book’s blurb and bio, the cursive font when reduced in size and as a body of 200 to 300 words makes it very difficult to read. When you are choosing a font for the blurb and bio, then either a sans or sans serif is a better choice, if you make it easy for your viewer to read the copy you stand a better chance of them doing so.
Once you have a book cover design created then you may be faced with an image which has many aspects to it and so the placement and choice of font needs to take in to account how easy it will be to read, with the example below you can see that the bold font matches the style of cover and at the same time is easy to read, the second design uses a font which indicates its fiction but is so narrow that it gets lost within the background of the book cover design.
The correct selection of font is integral to the book cover design and should always be considered when developing the cover, you can of course add to the font with various tools within Photoshop and InDesign, this means that it becomes even more embedded within the cover (and not simply an afterthought). You should always place as much importance on font selection as you do the actual design, do this and you’ll get a cover which is both balanced and professional.
Book cover design and advertising for your novel has never been so important to any author, we all know that ‘Indie’ (or self) publishing has become easier than ever and that getting a book to market can be done in a matter of hours. With this ease to market comes greater competition for every single author and as such taking a business-like approach to the launch of your book is vital.
So, when we look at the book cover design itself we have to understand that it has a very important job to do for you, along with the obvious task of looking nice, telling the reader the author’s name, the book’s title and subtitle of course, your book cover design is the advertising and ‘face’ of your work, get it right and you will catch the eye of your reader (catch their eye and you increase the chances of selling more copies).
The book cover does need to follow some basic rules in its design and layout, now normally we’re all against such things as being sticklers to the rules (as we like to think outside of the box and so on), but with a book cover it does need to follow some basic principles. For example, a book cover design without the title or authors name anywhere upon it will confuse your reader, you will also need to have the layout in a specific format to fit the book itself (this can also require using a certain color profile for eBooks and another for the printed version).
Technically there are elements which must be completed in a certain way in order that your book cover design works out in the real world of publishing, there are also other elements which should be taken in to consideration with your design too, these are basic elements which give your reader an idea as to the book’s content.
Here the rules become a little less rigid and your creativity comes into play, but you still need to consider some basic messages which will stop any confusion, the reader will want to know from the cover design several very basic things at least, these will be the genre and if it’s fiction or nonfiction. From this point you move on to other elements that can help the reader, the era of the book, the location, the time-frame of the book and most importantly the ‘hook’.
The ‘hook’ is an important element from within the manuscript which draws the reader to look closer at your book, it’s what makes someone pick it up in the store to read the back page. This has to draw the reader in but without giving too much of the books conclusion away, it can be symbolic (think of most self-help book covers and you’ll see what I mean) or it can be an element within the story such as the main character or focal point.
When you further break book cover design into genres you can find that your reader ‘expects’ to see certain things upon covers, if you search for books on fantasy then you will find a trend with the types of covers on display, then same goes for crime, thrillers, romance, historical and pretty much anything else available. However, following trends too closely will not ensure that you have a book cover which stands out to the masses, you want your book cover to tell a message (and quickly too) but it needs to both represent your work professionally and be unique.
The guidelines within book cover design and publishing will help to get a cover which technically works, but it’s when you get creative with the ‘art’ within the design, then you appeal to your readers, then your book has a great cover.
Inspiration and creativity are two words that are dear to the heart of any author who is in the process of writing their book, the idea for which will have formed many weeks, months or even years ago, but after the initial stage of getting those first chapters down the process can stall.
This is where some encounter writer’s block, a dreaded condition which many famous authors have suffered from and which can feel like a massive hurdle placed in front of you (and one which seems impossible to climb over).
However, there are many who believe that ‘writer’s block’ is nothing more than an illusion, something which is self-imposed by the writer when faced with an obstacle, this is done at the subconscious level and can be as a direct result of deeper issues going on within your life. By understanding that you have placed the ‘block’ there yourself (subconsciously) you can understand that it is possible to give yourself permission to remove it too.
Now if you are going through this stage you may read this and think that it’s simply writer’s block and that there’s nothing you can do about it (also, who is anyone else to tell you otherwise). But by being open to look upon the issue in a different light you can start the process in overcoming this block and finally moving on with your book, and you really don’t need to do much either.
All answers to the questions of where your book is going, how to push the story forward, developing the characters, ending the chapters and making sense of the book are deep within you, after all, you will finish the book and you’ll do so with your own creativity, you may just need a little help in getting your flow back again and giving yourself permission to do so.
So here are some great techniques to help get you writing again when you feel like you’re stuck.
Just remember that any form of block when being creative is temporary, the ability to create is still within you and always will be, giving yourself permission to overcome this block will get you back on track and writing brilliantly again.