Getting a great book cover to fully represent your work is more than just a vanity project for any author, it has become a necessity, the reason why is the explosion in books being published. There are on average between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books being published every year in the US alone, reports also show that 350,000 approx. are from self-publishing authors too.
This breaks down to 2,100 books a day being published (and about 1,000 being from Indie authors too).
You need to appreciate that from day one you will have a great deal of competition, but don’t panic, there are a lot of things that you can do to ensure that your works floats to the top of the pile and attracts the readers (and sales) that it deserves.
The first thing that any book marketer will tell you is to start early, the sooner you can get the ball rolling on your marketing the better, it should be viewed in the same way that a small business views its own marketing and growth plan (this may seem alien to a lot of authors, but taking a pragmatic approach to the successful launch and promotion of your book will ensure a higher chance of success in a clearly saturated market).
Ensuring you stand out within the crowd is vital, that’s why an early start gives you time to build momentum, it’s important that any author understands this and that they think about their marketing strategy from the moment they actually start the book itself. Again, this may seem like overkill but with over 2,000 books being published every day you have to be organized.
There are key elements that any author will need when marketing their up and coming book, some of the bigger ones on your list will be your website, social media feeds, blog, author media pack, professional book cover design, marketing materials, formatting, editing and securing reviews/testimonials.
This may seem a lot to organize, but starting early will give you time to plan and budget for all of them accordingly.
Your digital footprint as an author has become a major element in both self-promotion and the actual sales of your book too, with some authors becoming their own distributors of the physical copies along with eBooks. Your website can become the hub for you to both sell and promote future releases to your readers, gathering and maintaining a mailing list will help you here.
Along with a website, social media will play a constructive role within the promotional aspect of your publication, however, just like publishing it has become saturated with a great deal of spam. Blatant posts which simply say ‘Buy My Book’ (or words to that effect) will have people un-following you very quickly indeed, engaging with your followers is a two-way thing and needs to be remembered whilst you’re actively promoting. So get involved with discussions, chat, like, retweet and enjoy, it can be great fun and you’ll learn a thing or two along the way.
The book cover you choose will also play a major role in how your book is perceived and if a reader will want to pick it up (or click upon the icon), do not fool yourself, people judge books (and pretty much everything else) by the way it looks initially. The job of your cover will be to grab the reader’s eye and in a split second tell them if your book is worth taking seriously.
When working with a designer be open to their suggestions (after all, you’re paying for their skills, so get the most from them), of course every author will have ideas as to what they’d like to see upon the cover, but your designer will know how to best lay them out and also the best way to create impact for you.
Working together you will be able to get a great book cover design which will relate well to your audience.
Once you have a professional book cover you should strongly consider the other promotional elements which will help your work stand out, these are things like banners for your social media sites, 3D renderings of your book (which look great upon your own site or within posts), posters and bookmarks for fairs and launches and even t-shirts and business cards, all of these things can give you the edge and help you stand out.
So in this over-saturated market of several thousand books a day being launched, your approach to the book cover and marketing has never been more important, take it seriously and start early!