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If you are travelling down the self-publishing path, then creating a book cover is going to be another part of your publishing journey. After walking through aisles and aisles of books at the local B&N, I started to notice the similarities amongst some of the genres. There’s a cycle a writer should keep in mind when creating the cover to their book. If you were the book, the process would go a little something like this:
But, how can you get to step one? A good cover takes a couple different factors into account. For a fiction novel, you won’t want to include too much text. The title, author name, and maybe an essential quote from the book or a shortened quote from a reviewer is more than enough to do the trick. When you add too much text, it becomes too much for a the reader to consume or it might reveal too much about your novel. This can cause the reader to quickly put your book back on the shelf or scroll onto the next book. Quick catchphrases or quotes can sometimes be a good subheading – but make sure it doesn’t go much beyond a sentence. If images help your novel pop, make sure the image used is significant to the plot of your novel. It becomes visually appealing when a story about a dog, has a dog on it (or whatever the story may be). When you pick the right image, a reader can get just as much information about your novel from just looking at the cover as they can from reading its summary.
Let’s use Caraval by Stephanie Garber as an example. The cover of Caraval is a happy medium between being too boring and too active. The bright white color font of the title pops out at you, so you are immediately drawn to the title. The lettering intertwines elegantly with the star design without being too intrusive, adding a little extra pizzazz without hindering your ability to read the text easily. The glittery stars within the star design, against the space background, flow together in a simple manner. When creating your cover, you want to reflect the story you’re telling. In Garber’s novel, her main character, Scarlett, must find her sister in five nights while being surrounded by magic and performances (therefore, the star design on the cover mirrors the nighttime or bursts of magic within the novel).
If you are a visual artist, as well as a wordsmith, you might want to take it upon yourself to create your own cover because you know the image you wish to convey to your readers better than anyone else. Or recruit someone you may know or a trusted cover designer to work with you to create the perfect cover that will bring your story to life. Regardless of how your cover is made, you want to be able to appeal to your readers and represent your book in an exceptional way that wouldn’t allow it to be looked over by browsers.
Writing is a scary process. It’s one of the few times we can let ourselves be completely vulnerable. We pour our heart and souls onto the paper and then all of the sudden, it’s there- ready for the rest of the world to see. Unfortunately, the publishing process is just as scary. Especially into today’s publishing landscape, there are so many options an author needs to consider. Do they want to try their hand at a traditional publisher? Do they want to immerse themselves in the indie world? Do they want to seek a strictly digital publisher? The digital age has changed so much about book publishing its very easy to become discouraged.
Today I can across another Huffington Post article that highlighted five things that all authors should know about publishing in the digital age. Perhaps the article will ease your mind, maybe it will ensure you that despite all it’s challenges it is possible to succeed in today’s publishing market. Or perhaps the article will increase your anxiety even more, bringing to light more things that you had never even thought of. Either way, the article addresses some important issues that our digital age has created for authors and book publishing. So take a deep breath, read it for yourself, and know that you can do this.
The indie world has opened up a mass amount of opportunity. More authors than ever have the ability to publish their work, share it with fans, and most importantly- make money off of it. But now every author is faced with the dilemma of going with a traditional publisher or acting as their own. Being your own publisher allows you to find your own success, work on your own terms, and maintain absolute creative control. The freedom comes with a price tag of a lot of work, many logged research hours, and a host of lingering questions. If you decide to seek out a traditional publisher, the work that will need to be done on your end in terms of producing the book decreases dramatically. But now you need to decide which publisher is right for you and what your expectations are.
2. You need to market your own work.
The world of social media has made it easy for everyone to become a marketer and once you write your first book, you aren’t just an author now but a marketer as well. Even if you have a traditional publisher, the role of social media is instrumental to your success. Your publisher just isn’t going to have the amount of time needed to appropriately dedicate the hours into growing your social presence, so you are going to need to do it. Everyone loves being able to connect with their favorite authors, see what they are up to on a daily basis, and keep track of their upcoming projects. Being visible is the best thing for your writing career. Once people are invested in you, they will be invested in your work as well.
3. Print On Demand Books.
Bookstores rarely stock print on demand books, so this is something you should be aware of before making any distribution/publishing decisions. Bookstores want to be able to return their stock if it doesn’t sell, so the print on demand model just doesn’t work for them. The article points out a couple ways in which you may be able to get around this, so check it out.
So, you have this lovely physical book- how do you sell it? Finding a distribution company can be next to impossible, especially if you are a new author. Most distribution companies like to see a successful sale history, so if you don’t have any to show them then you just might be out of luck. Your best bet is to wait until you have some (good) digital sales. The good news? Digital sales are growing by leaps and bounds, so don’t sweat it.
5. Pitch Your Work.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your book (and get used to it). Put yourself out there and pitch your book to whoever you need to in order to get the job done. If you don’t get yourself out there, the likely hood of them coming to you is very slim. You will also need to prepare yourself for rejection. It’s one of those unavoidable harsh realities of writing and publishing. That one “YES” will make all false hope worth it. If not, don’t get discouraged- you can always do it on your own. If you don’t ask, you shall never receive.