With the turning of a new year most of us look towards making resolutions, setting goals, breaking habits and getting on with the things that we may have put on the back burner for a while. If you’re an author/writer this is the time where you’ll refocus on that (almost completed) manuscript, the one that’s been in a file on your laptop for the past six months without being opened.
I’m not sure why we feel the need to wait for a certain day in the calendar (in all honesty, any day is a great day to make a positive change), but with the start of a new year it feels more like the ‘right’ time to make those dreams a reality.
So, forget about the cliched ideas of working on your goal for a couple of weeks and then quietly dropping it, NOW is the time to move forward, NOW is the time to get back on with the manuscript you started, NOW is the time to begin the story you’ve been promising the world (and yourself) that you’d write, NOW is the time to make it happen.
In order to make your goals a reality you need to take in to account several things, most of them are not rocket science, which is great, because it means we can all do it, but they do require a little bit of effort.
1) Break it down – A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, if you have a goal to complete a book of 300 pages or so, it can seem a little overwhelming when you face the very first blank page and a zero-word count. But you are not going to write the novel in one day, if you are also holding down a job or looking after children then you won’t have the time to spend 8hrs a day writing. You need to plan for the long term of writing your book, many writers start by trying to write thousands of words every day and get burnt out in the process, the manuscript then ends up in the ‘I’ll never touch this again file’, so, plan your time and be realistic, if you can spend 30 mins per day (Mon-Fri), then plan to write for this time only, some writers target themselves for just achieving 300 words per day (again, Mon – Fri) writing to this schedule you’ll have a novel completed in 12 – 14 months.
2) Have a time to write – Saying you’ll write each day is great but you do need to plan when you’ll do it, this is of course a very personal thing, some people feel more creative in the morning and others later in the day, also, you may only have certain times of the day when you are actually free to write. Which ever time of the day works best, plan and schedule for it, when you schedule a time to write (and stick to it) it becomes a habit and over time it’s this habit which will ensure that you complete your book.
3) Have a place to write – Just as important as making time to write, having a place which is free of distractions and that is conducive to creativity is vital to writing, you may not have an office or even a desk, but if you have a kitchen table and a laptop/pen & paper then you have everything you need. But the key is to ensure that wherever you choose to write it is free of distractions (and yes that includes cell phones, Facebook, twitter and the internet).
4) Just write – The most terrifying thing that a writer faces is the blank page in front of them, the notion of having to make everything perfect from the get go can stop you in your tracks, remember, everything CAN be edited and re-edited. Make a start and if you need to tweak it, just tweak it later.
Following these four basic tips can help you to not only start your book but ensure you go on to actually finish it, so plan your new year and make it a great one!
Book cover design for your manuscript is an element which many authors leave until the very last stage of the publishing process, once you have finished editing the book and proof reading it you should be at a stage where you need to organize the ‘face’ of your book. So, at this point what should you consider?
1) Look at it with a fresh pair of eyes.
The first thing is to try and put to one side your own preconceptions, the thing is that you will have spent many hours, days, weeks and months in writing your book and as such will have formed ideas as to what the cover should look like (it’s hard not to). However, this can lead you to become blinkered against other options, sometimes the urge to stick to a certain element for the front page may not be the right thing to do.
Knowing that you may need to look for new ideas for your cover is a good thing, it makes you reflect upon the elements within the book, those that are important in selling the book and others that can be left off of the cover. It can be helpful if you have created a synopsis (this is vital when promoting your book to publishers) to list the key components of the book, from here you can brainstorm ideas which represent those elements, it’s important to keep writing and put everything down, then whittle it down to the most important, this should start to show you what is key for YOUR book. Of course if you are hiring a book cover designer, they will do this as part of the design process, they’ll also bring knowledge of the industry and what works for you genre too (make sure you take their advice).
3) Hire a professional
With the sheer volume of books being published each and every day (there are up to 2,000 published daily at the last count), you need to take your book’s cover seriously, it is a key element of the book’s advertising and people will initially judge you by it. A book (along with many other products) will be dismissed or looked at based upon an initial judgment call of the viewer, if it looks unprofessional, then the viewer WILL make the same assumption about the contents, having a great looking book cover will speak volumes and encourage your potential reader to pick it up off of the shelf. So, if you’re not confident about creating a book cover, get a professional to do it for you.
4) Have the information ready
The trim size of your book and publisher/printer (such as KDP etc.) are important aspects of your book and details that your designer will need in order to create the book cover for you, in fairness the cover can always be adjusted, but if you know what size you want from the beginning it really helps.
Most people print their book as a paperback and also have an option for eBook too, this will mean you’ll need two covers, one will be a print-ready PDF and the other as a JPEG. Another option is printing your book as a hardback, there are several formats for this, you can have a traditional dust jacket or without but having a case laminate (this is where the cover design is actually glued over the boards.
Which ever format you choose, the main thing is to ensure that you give your book the professional cover that it deserves, along with a great cover you should also consider some images (3D if possible) to promote online, using social media, a blog and a website (if possible). The more effort you put in the greater the results will be, if you approach your book’s publication with a can do attitude the results will follow.
Book cover designers.