Today's guest post comes from our friends at Regent Editing
“I can't see any flaw in this book!! I revised it three times, would you believe? Is there any problem with this book or the publisher's choice is sour?” The anger and frustration were clearly evident on the raging face of my friend who had completed writing his book in the span of two years and now stalked the doors of the publishing houses. When I met Harry, I stopped wondering why is it tough to find the faults or scrutinize your own work. Here are few of the reasons that I have observed why a writer could not find mistakes in his book:
You would find infinite ways that just don't make it possible for you to edit your book all by yourself. You might not be that perfect in critiquing your work or evaluating things from the other side of the table. Well, you must do that if you wish to get it published and turn it into a best seller this year!
The past week has seen Florida hit with hurricane Irma and some challenges for everyone who lives and works here, for us at JD&J we were very lucky indeed, the brunt of the storm hit us on the Sunday afternoon/evening with our power finally going out in the early hours of Monday morning. With our property boarded up and equipment moved to higher places we all sat out the storm and kept our fingers crossed for the best.
Monday morning brought news of severe damage to the South West, locally we had flooding with roofs damaged, trees uprooted, all power gone and all cell signal down too, being based on the East coast (in between Daytona and Jacksonville) our coastline saw erosion and large storm surges too, but in comparison to Mathew in 2016 the coastline locally faired far better.
The clean-up after the storm is something that people just get on with, we had friends, relatives and even neighbors helping us and us helping back in return, the sense of community after Irma is something that can restore faith in humanity.
Back up and running we have had to ‘hot-desk’ and have been working on laptops wherever we can get wi-fi and/or cell signal, for me personally it’s meant borrowing my wife’s desk at her business, luckily, they all know me.
But the main thing is that we were very lucky, many parts of our state had an incredibly rough time of it, with the Keys being flattened and cities such as Naples and Fort Myers suffering with severe flooding.
The American Red Cross is collecting for both Hurricane Irma and Harvey, if you’d like to make a donation, the link to their website is here The American Red Cross every little makes a big difference.
Getting a book cover design created for your new manuscript can be easier when you have some preparation, also having the information you’ll need and an idea as what to expect in the whole process can make the task quicker, smoothly and lead to results that you’re not only happy with but that show off your book at its best.
Having created hundreds of book covers, helped countless authors and publishers you have a great understanding as to what’s needed in order to make a great book cover, there is certain information that an author will need to give a book cover designer and this is far more than just the title of the book too.
So, what should you be thinking of when about to contact a book cover designer to get a cover created? Here we give our top tips on what you should be thinking of.
One – Have a clear synopsis – You understand your own book like no one else (well you did write it), but how detailed is your synopsis? Get a friend to read it and tell you what they understand about the book, when they tell you what they understand did they miss out something important? If so, your synopsis needs to be updated.
Two – Details, details, details – The more information about the location, characters, timeframe, era, subject matter, focal point you can give the better (remember this is the first time your book cover designer has heard about your book.
Three – Research – Look at successful books within your genre and collect ideas of what you like and what you don’t, remember, not everyone will want to read your book (when you appreciate this you can be great a targeting your specific audience).
Four – Research Book Cover Designers – Most book cover designers have their portfolios online which makes it very easy to find a designer you like, you’ll also find that most will provide you with pricing and contact details on how to find out more.
Five – Size – Having a size that you’d like to print your book makes the job a great deal easier for your designer, if you’re printing as a paperback you may want to consider either 5 x 8, 5.5 x 8.5 or 6 x 9 for the trim size of your book, there are of course many other sizes to choose from, but having a clear idea will help the process.
Six – Publisher – Many indie authors will choose the likes of Ingram Spark or Createspace as their first choice for publishing their book with (they are both great services and an excellent way to reach a large audience), other authors will go via indie publishers and smaller POD services (again, these are great options too), from a design point it’s important that your cover designer knows as soon as possible who you’re using, they can ensure that your file matches your publishers specifications for print.
Seven – Contact – When you get in contact with your book cover designer, you should ask them about timeframes, drafts, how many revisions you’ll get (if needed), pricing, promotional designs and formats, going into the project you should have a good understanding as what to expect.
Eight – Drafts – When the designer is working upon your drafts leave them to it, otherwise it can lengthen the timeframe of the project itself, if you email each day asking for updates and to see unfinished drafts it can lead to an awkward experience for everyone.
Nine – Getting your drafts – Once your drafts are ready, your book cover designer will send them to you for you to consider, it’s worth taking your time and never rushing into making a decision, if you want friends to take a vote on which one the prefer then do it, just take your time.
Ten – Tweaks – If you like a draft but something needs a tweak, don’t be afraid to ask, again, if you have taken time to consider the designs you should be able to get back to your designer with your preferred cover and what details you’d like altered.
Having a book cover design created for your new book should be a fun experience, it’s the icing upon the cake and what goes on to be the very ‘face’ of your book, so enjoy the process and get a book cover you’ll be proud of!!
Self-publishing is the quickest way to see your new book in print (both on paper and digitally) and is why so many authors choose this route, its success has seen a huge shift in the way traditional publishing operates and now everyone has the opportunity to sell their work to an audience.
But simply uploading your book to Createspace doesn’t necessarily guarantee success (ask any author), the key to success comes with planning and a pro-active approach to self-promotion too, like most things, the more you put into it the more you’ll get back.
So here are some great ideas that you can use to help make your book a success.
ONE) Get social – and do it early, self-promotion starts with the popular social networks and building interest in you as an author and your soon to be released book, it’s up to you whether or not you use your own personal profile or that you create a specific ‘author’s’ page instead, just ensure that your social networks reflect the image you want to portray as a professional author.
TWO) Have a Website – Your own website says a lot about you as an author and gives you a great platform to promote, interact and sell your book/s from, they are cheap and easy to set up and should be on every author’s ‘to-do’ list.
THERE) Mail Out Lists – Following on from your social media pages and your website you should look at creating your own mailing list, these can be managed for you by services such as AWeber or Mail Chimp etc. In order to work you need to offer something of value in return for your visitor’s email address, this could be a free download, vouchers, chapters of your new book, guides and even other books you may have written. Once you build your list you have the opportunity to keep them updated with news and promotions with your new and forthcoming books.
FOUR) Quality – Prior to publishing make sure that you have someone other than yourself proof read your book, it’s easy to be too close to see any errors, a fresh pair of eyes will help. Depending upon your budget it is also worth getting your book professionally edited too, this final polish of your manuscript can take a good book and make it truly great.
FIVE) Be chatty – Get involved with forums and write blogs (both on your own website and guest for others too), interacting with others is a brilliant way to generate awareness of you and your work, it does take some consistent effort but it’s very much worth it.
SIX) Beta test it – Before you ‘officially’ launch your book get it into the hands of a small group of people, this could be to followers on your social media or mailing list, select 20 or 30 people and let them tell you what they think, don’t be too precious either, being able to take feedback professionally will help you to become a great writer.
SEVEN) Re-write – Don’t be afraid to go back to the manuscript and make alterations if you need to, you have a choice, publish a mediocre novel now or a best-seller later.
EIGHT) Formats – Ensure that you have your book as an eBook and a paperback too, many authors like the idea of a hardback but you will find the overwhelming majority of your readers will either be via eBook or paperback. Another option is to publish in audio, companies like ACX offer services to turn your book into an audio and thus give another option when selling, this is something to consider as Amazon are promoting their Audible service quite heavily at present.
NINE) Design – Have a professional book cover design to represent your work, we all judge a book by its cover so ensure you get one which represents you well.
TEN) Keep going!! – Determination and perseverance are the most important elements of self-promotion, if you believe in your work and have the stamina to keep going you will be successful.
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.