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!
Book cover designers.