The book cover design is the face of your advertising and packaging for your work, as we all know, people do judge books (and pretty much everything else) initially by first impression, this is why advertising is such a massive industry and why you should take it seriously too.
So, having a professional book cover is important if you want your work to be taken seriously, we all know that reviews help with this too, but you need to sell books before you’ll even get these (genuine reviews that is, and we all know that the first handful are friends and family).
If you are taking your life as a professional writer seriously then you’ll understand that your journey is one similar to starting (and running) a small business, again, this is if you are looking to sell copies of your work (and why wouldn’t you be) reaching a larger audience than those who dabble in self-publishing for fun.
Along with a great book cover design you will need to have a platform to promote your book, the advertising to show to your viewer that you have a professional book and that really is worth their time and money.
Social media for authors is very easy to get started with, creating new accounts will be free and you can be up and running within minutes. Some authors do use their own personal social media accounts as their author platforms, but we would advise you to set up separate pages and keep them apart from each other.
You may also set up your own website, these too are very easy to start, maintain and use, the fees are normally very reasonable and you’ll not need any previous experience to create (the majority of self-build website platforms have great tutorials if you do get stuck).
With your online presence you will need to take the same approach used with your book cover, having some form of branding that shows the viewer that they’re in the right place regardless of your sales page, social media or author’s website will confirm that you are a professional author.
Consistency throughout your online presence is important, if you look at some of your own favorite authors and their social media pages, website, advertising and book covers you’ll see that they show continuity, you know that when you go from their website to their Facebook page that you’re still in the right place.
Having continuity with your branding displays a level of professionalism which will help to associate you with the big players within the publishing industry, if you are self-publishing, you’ll understand that competition is high, you need to give your book every chance you can, so maintaining your brand is important.
The same goes for the posts that you make, every author will share videos, memes, links and offers, but when it comes to self-promotion these social media posts should look professional, before you post anything, go to another successful author’s page and see what they post (you may find that a lot of these posts come from their publishing houses, but the standard will normally be consistent, well designed and professional).
The main thing to remember is that even with a great book and a great cover design you still need to work at self-promotion, keep the standards high, consistent and professional, you can still compete with the best of them!
Successfully promoting your new book can be a full time job in itself, and with over one thousand books published every day you’re up against some stiff competition if you want to achieve sales.
But there are lots of things that you can do to self-promote and many great services out there which will help you in bringing your book to a larger audience, here we have brought together some services that you may (or may not) know.
1- New Free Kindle Books
The service hosts a site which promotes free books on Kindle, you can pay to promote your book and prices start from as little as $5, they do also have a free to list option, their average monthly visits to the site are currently up to 12K visits.
2- Digital Book Today
Founded in 2009 this service helps authors to promote their books through both paid and free options, they maintain a top 100 free books on Kindle and require that to enter your book it needs to have more than 18 reviews and be four stars and above.
3- eBook Stage
eBook Stage is a free (and daily) email which tells its readers about free and discounted eBooks (and audio books), promotional packages are available to authors and prices currently start from $10.
4- Indie Book Lounge
This a large catalogue of books from independent authors and currently is free to list your own book upon, however, you can pay/sponsor for advertising and these fees start from $4 up to $20
5- Book Rebel
With larger monthly visits to their website they offer daily emails recommending books to their subscribers (these are based on genre preferences etc.), you can pay to partner with their service to promote your book, the fees start from around $20.
Another site with larger viewing figures, they provide an eBook newsletter giving info on the latest deals, you can pay for advertising (both eBook and print), their prices start from $70 and work their way up.
7- Book Doggy
Book Doggy promotes free and discounted books from most of the major online bookstores, it gives details on the author with links to your book and even Facebook page, prices start from $18 for free books and $20 for discounted ones.
8- Book Bongo
This is a book promotion service which starts off with a completely free package, from there prices start from $9.99 and currently go up to $149. Your book doesn’t have to be either free or discounted to promote here either
9- Red Feather Romance
With a mailing list which (currently) is over 100,000 they offer a service to promote your Romance book to their readers, packages start from $80.
10- Book Bub
Book Bub is a very popular and great way to promote your book, they have several million on their email list and their monthly site visits are currently over seven million, promotional packages start from $55+
Becoming a professional author is a dream of many who sit pen in hand (or more likely, fingers poised over their keyboards), you may have a great story to tell and have always longed to get it out to the public, but for whatever reason haven’t made that leap.
So, if not now, when?
There are lots of reasons why people don’t follow through on their dreams, it can be lack of time, fear of failure, lack of resources, lack of confidence (again, fear), too many distractions and lack of motivation. But if this is important to you (and I assume it is), why would you waste time in not moving forward with your goal?
For many, the primary reason for not working towards your goal is fear, fear of failure has stopped many people and robbed the world of some amazing books, services, ideas and businesses. This fear ensures that you give weight to the many reasons why you shouldn’t proceed, not having time, not having the resources, that you need to learn something else before making a start etc.
Fear WILL hold you back and if you don’t recognize this you WILL let it.
When you think about writing a book and then publishing it, many will worry about rejection, this could be from a publisher, reader or even a critic, you can think that you’re simply not good enough and that once your book is completed you’ll be called out as a fraud. This ‘Impostor’ syndrome is held by countless authors, many of which are highly successful and regarded as great writers, it is far more common to think like this than you may realize, knowing that pretty much everyone else feels the same should help you to realize that you’re not alone.
If you are thinking of writing a book, the best way to do so is to simply stop thinking about it and start doing it. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to start, understand one thing…. It doesn’t exist.
Having said this, some planning will help, those excuses as to why you ‘can’t’ write your book right now should be addressed. So look at them individually:
I don’t have the time right now
if you haven’t the time to write, look at where you spend each hour of your average day, then look at your average week, how much time do you spend on Facebook/social media, how much time do you give to watching TV? Could you cut back by just one hour per week on staring at your phone or TV? When you review an average week, you will normally find a small chunk of time that you can use to write, if it’s just an hour per week, that’s great, your book may take a little longer to write but no one said it was a race.
I don’t have the resources
You can start with a pencil and a sheet of paper, just go to your local dollar store, you can technically write a book on a tablet and Google’s Chromebooks start from $150. The point is, you don’t need a top of the range MacBook Pro to write a book.
There are too many distractions
If you are writing from home (and you don’t have kids), turn off your internet, TV and phone, only for the period that you’re writing, the less temptation the better. Or if you live with others, can you get out and write in a café for an hour? This is how J.K. Rowling wrote her first book, and it worked out very well for her. If you do have kids then the only time you may have will be when they’ve gone to bed or are at school, remember, you’re not trying to write the entire book in one day, even if you can just spare 30 mins per week, it’s better than not writing at all.
I haven’t written for awhile and can’t seem to get back into it
Just open up Word on your laptop or grab a notepad and pen, and now just write. Write anything, it really doesn’t matter, free-writing is great in helping you to blow the cobwebs away and begin to slowly get your creative flow back. You don’t have to keep what you write (unless you’re really happy with it), the focus here is in just getting some words down.
Regardless of what’s holding you back right now, there is always a way to achieve your creative goals, so finally, what’s stopping you?
The process of creating something such as a book, art, design or photography is a very personal process for any artist or creative, the transition from vision to execution to result can be a long path and certainly one where motivation and belief will play major roles.
For many creatives the journey can feel lonely, your stamina to keep going can fail over time and passion turns to routine, suddenly what you’re working on feels harder to complete and you find yourself full of doubt, next a creative block kicks in and you stare at a blank page wondering what to do.
Sometimes when a block or lack of passion hits you it’s because you’ve forgotten some of the basic reasons why you started in your chosen field. You have to go back to basics and remember why you started in the first place.
Trying to force your way through a lack of passion or creative block is the worst way to get past it, if you’re working on a project and don’t seem to be getting anywhere, stop, walk away from it and commit to looking at it again the following morning, recharging your batteries with a good night’s sleep works so many times.
But you should also consider going back to the basics of your craft, if you’re into photography for example, instead of trying to make your next shoot something big, try something more minimalist. I know of a photographer who spent several hours on a beach just photographing rock pools within section no longer than one hundred yards, if forced him to look very differently at his current location and find the art in what was in front of him.
The same goes for writing, instead of trying to complete a chapter in a week, commit to writing just one page, but make the promise to yourself that this one page will be as perfect as you can make it, enjoy the process and believe in it.
If this still seems like too much for where you are right now, go even more basic, just free write, it doesn’t matter what it is, just write whatever comes to mind and do NOT judge it, it is what it is.
Another way to bring passion and motivation back to your craft is to seek inspiration from others, look at the celebrated greats, look at what they have created and study it, this could be from books, art galleries, blogs and YouTube videos, you have so much inspiration at your finger tips (via cellphones, laptops, tablets etc.) there is so much information that can help you if you just look.
YouTube is a great source of inspiration for individuals, if you simply look for motivational or inspirational videos and just watch a couple of them, you’ll find some of your passion coming back to you, they can act like the your very own motivational coach prepping you for the day, if you don’t believe me, just give it a try.
The main thing to remember is that you started doing what you do because you believe in it, you do have a passion for your craft (otherwise you would have never started), you just need to reconnect. If you’re struggling at this moment just stop, relax and make sure you sleep on it, go back to basics, revisit those who inspired you and believe.
You’ve got this
Book cover designers.