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.
Great book cover design has to fulfill many roles for the author, there is the obvious one (and what the cover was originally designed for) which is to protect the pages within. This is highlighted when you look back at any early book, the cover and body were normally put together by book-binders whose skill and craft resulted in books which even though timely to produce were works of art in themselves.
The modern book and the process in which it is created has come a long way since then, the time scales for production have decreased dramatically along with the cost, you also see the normality of ‘Print-On-Demand’ services, while an author would have been able to print their own book (without the need of a publisher) via a vanity press, this has become more mainstream and ‘indie publishers’ are now commonplace.
The book cover still protects the pages of the book (both in paperback and hardback) but the role of the book cover design has become more about the advertising and representation of the book itself.
Advertising is not a dirty word and one that any new author certainly needs to embrace, this is especially the case if publishing as an Indie Author, without the backing of a large, medium or even small publishing house it really is down to the individual author to do all of the hard work in getting the book known to the general public.
The very first touch point in the book’s promotion will of course be its cover design, and as with any other form of advertising you only have a split second to grab the attention of the reader.
Subconsciously we also quickly dismiss or are intrigued by books we look at upon the shelf (or more commonly, upon the screen of the online store), we prejudge the contents of the book based upon the way it presents itself to us, if it looks amateurish then we’ll assume the same about the contents within, make no mistake, we ALL judge by appearances (and we’re hard-wired to do so).
So, we are quick to judge a book by its cover (as we do everything), now you need to take into account the huge number of books that the viewer can choose from, did you know that there are over 1,600 books published in the USA alone………DAILY!!! This gives you an idea of competition, but more importantly it should make any author realize that with great choice you need to be the one that stands out above the rest.
Your book cover needs to give a clear message to the reader: what genre it is, the location, time period, fiction/non-fiction, it’s title (in a way which is readable when the book is made into a thumbnail for the eBook), target audience and hook to make them pick it up. But, at the same time it shouldn’t be too busy, give too much away or confuse.
A professional book should make your work shine and become the face of your manuscript, it should be something you’re proud of and show off your book for the excellent body of writing that it is.
Promoting your new book is an aspect to self-publishing that many indie authors don’t necessarily relish, but nonetheless, it’s still vital to the success and ongoing success of your work, so it pays to start off your campaign in the right direction. The key thing to remember is that there are lots of other authors promoting their books at the same time you’re trying to promote your own, in fact, latest data from Bowker shows that there were over 600,000 self-published titles for the entire year of 2015, and it’s set to rise. It breaks down to 1643 books published every day in the USA alone, and that’s not including the mainstream publishers, it of course gets even higher if you were to take into account the books published in other English speaking countries too.
So, it’s safe to say that when you publish your book you will be up against a massive amount of competition!
Now you have to look at the way in which we buy our books, the overwhelming majority of which come from online sales (more specifically Amazon), we have all looked at the endless array of covers upon the sales page and very quickly scanned our way through the countless thumbnails being presented to us. It’s also a similar story in a book store, unless you are looking for a specific title the choice becomes a little overwhelming, and like shopping on line, your eyes scan over the choices very quickly.
This basically reduces us to dismissing books very quickly based upon their appearance (this is especially the case online if there are no reviews next to them either), the old saying about judging books by their covers has never been more true, but we all still do it.
For most indie authors their books will be sold predominantly online, this reduces your shelf space down to the size of a postage stamp, so your book cover needs to be eye-catching (and for the right reasons). However, most of your own advertising will be done away from the sales page itself and be conducted via your social media pages, website, email lists, book launches, book fairs and writer’s festivals/expos. Here you will have more of an opportunity to shout about your work and let it shine to the world, but having a professional and consistent representation is vital if you want to stand out and ultimately sell more books.
If you look at the big-name authors and see the way in which they present themselves (and their ‘brand’) across every touch point, you’ll see a consistent message. Their Facebook and Twitter feeds identify with them clearly, their posts are eye-catching and professional, the same goes with their websites too. Every representation they have both online and in the real world clearly shows them as a professional author who should be taken seriously.
But that’s all well and good for an author who has the backing of a large publishing house (you may well think to yourself), as an indie author your budget for promotion and advertising may not stretch into the tens or even hundreds of thousands. But this still doesn’t mean you can’t have professional branding for both you and your book.
Start off with a professional book cover design, it will cost a lot less than you may realize and as the ‘face’ of your book will set out your stall as a professional author (remember, you have a lot of competition out there).
Next, set up separate social media channels, the likes of Facebook and Twitter are both free, use a banner and profile picture which is based around you as an AUTHOR and your BOOK, selfies taken on the back of a cell phone on a night out will detract from the impression you want to give, keep it professional. When you’re posting make sure you use plenty of images, we all scan through social media very quickly and only tend to stop when an image (or better still a GIF/Video) catches our eye.
Get some social media digital posters/ads made up, either make them yourself (depending upon your skills) or get a designer to do it for you, again, they make a great impression and help to attract readers to you.
If you are holding a book launch make sure you have banners, flyers, book marks, business cards and of course copies of your book ready for the big day, companies such as Staples and Vista Print offer great deals on printing posters, business cards and other materials, again, you don’t have to spend a fortune but it will make a huge difference the level of presentation you give.
Being an indie author is very rewarding but to become successful it is completely down to YOU, by showing the same level of passion you needed to write your book you can stand out in this very large crowd and go on to be a success. Good Luck!
It’s no secret that many authors successfully use Twitter to help promote their books to a wider audience, being global and easily accessible means that you have a very powerful tool at your fingertips and you can get started for free.
Here are our top ten tips on getting the most out of Twitter and making it work for you as an author.
Anyone who is self-publishing knows that the promotion of the book itself is entirely up to them, how much time, effort and money which goes into the project lays squarely at your feet, and it goes without saying that the more you put in the more you’ll get out.
So where do many authors turn to in order to raise awareness of their new title? Well, this question is easily answered, one of the first ports of call for the indie author is social media, this is because it’s relatively cheap to set up and with access to your feeds available upon every device you own, it’s easy to keep on top of.
But there are of course many options to choose from when it comes to deciding which social media streams you use, the most popular being Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Obviously there are many more services out there and each person will have their own favorite (which I’m sure they’ll use to promote with too).
However, for this post we’ll look at the most popular network in the world which is Facebook.
Your belief becomes the foundation of the book’s success, once you get past the first few weeks (and the novelty of writing has worn off) your true passion and commitment are put to the test, for some this is the point where the book stalls and no more is written, it simply ends up as a file in a directory never to be opened again. But with focus and a plan you can keep going until you have a completed manuscript ready for publication.
So, what should you consider in order to finish that book? Here are our top tips to help any writer finish that novel.
Alongside Createspace, Ingram Spark is one of the more popular print on demand publishers available to the indie author (and small publisher), with connections to all of the major book retailers in North America, The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand (along with countless online connections too) it’s easy to see why so many authors choose them to publish their book with.
They also give you more options when it comes to the specific format of your printed book (other than just a paperback), they offer 29 different trim sizes for paperbacks alone and 14 variations for hardbacks, going from 4” x 6” to 8.5” x 11” in trim sizes, you’ll also find that they offer their hardback designs with a choice of either a laminate cover or a cloth bound cover with a dustjacket.
Ingram tailor their services for the type of book that you’ve penned, so an author who’s created a graphic novel with have an option that’s specifically for them and differs to that of the writer who has created a book destined for the business world or school class room.
When getting your cover ready for use there are a couple of things that any designer needs to take into account, firstly (and this is an obvious one) the color model you create the cover in should always be CMYK, if you have added any spot colors these should be converted (without transparencies) into CMYK, the same goes for any files which have been created in RGB. The other element is the ink levels, the requirement is for no more than 240%, but these can be easily changed in Photoshop.
When it comes to the cost of using Ingram, unlike Createspace there is a fee involved, Ingram charge a setup fee of $25 for an eBook or $49 for print (they also combine the both for $49), you also find that the average cost per book (when you take your royalties into account) stack better for those who publish with Createspace in comparison to Ingram.
However, with the marketing options available to you via Ingram along with their extensive channels to sell your book, Ingram Spark is still worth a look and for these reasons has a loyal section of authors and publishers who continue to use their services.