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Posts Tagged ‘book cover design’

Aiming high has benefits and drawbacks…

For a lifelong writer, putting the words of my novel down on paper was a new kind of challenge. For Day 16 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge, we examine our biggest publishing challenges. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 16 writing prompt:

What has been the most challenging part of your book process: writing, building the book, printing, distributing, marketing, etc.? What do you wish you’d known before you began?

I have been blessed, in that for as long as I can remember, writing has been easy for me. I’m not talk your bookdownplaying the significance of the struggle some authors/writers experience. I hear nearly every day from people who say something along the lines of, “I’d love to write a book, but I just can’t arrange my thoughts on paper.” I typically suggest they try “talking” the book instead of writing it. Sometimes answering questions from an impartial person and transcribing the interviews is the way to get your thoughts “on paper.” For others, a long list of bullet points can turn itself into a book with the help of a good editor/writing partner.

Fortunately, I’ve never had to rely on any of those techniques, because writing has always been like breathing for me. I just do it – I don’t think about it, slave over it, worry about it, dread it, or procrastinate it. My brain can organize words and I can almost always get what I’m thinking to read exactly the way I intend it. And yet … writing a novel has proven to be my biggest creative challenge to date. Now, I will make the caveat that I think it’s less the writing than it is my audacious choice of subjects for my very first novel: sending a 30-year-old guy (I was a 37-year-old woman when I began writing this story) around the world (he visits 23 countries; I’ve been to five of them). And yet, I was inspired to write this story as my first novel.

Stan in Minsk

Stan and Isis in Minsk

Parts of it have actually been easy. It’s a fairly straightforward travel account, so once I decided which countries Stan would visit, the outline pretty much wrote itself. I have good organizational skills, so even with the inclusion of a generous number of flashbacks, keeping track of who did what when has just been a matter of adding notes to the timeline. Describing places I’ve never been, based on other travelers’ videos and images and blogs – and making it sound like I know what I’m talking about? That has proven quite tricky in places. The good news is that the writers’ block seems to have resolved itself, so the words are flowing again.

Another helpful bit is that I’ve got more marketing ideas than I have time – so I’m already certain of Stan’s success, even though he’s still being shaped. I’m targeting January 8th for the book’s release. Stick around. More details to come.

Please be check in again tomorrow, when I’’ll be talking about my biggest surprise in writing this book…

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to meeting the challenges head -on!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

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Cover my world…

Next to writing and editing, your book cover is of vital importance, particularly when it comes to marketing your book. For Day 15 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge, we explore the book cover design process. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 15 writing prompt:

Describe your process for choosing and designing your book cover. Who created your cover? How did you find him/her? What do you love about your cover? What might you do differently next time?

A semi-pro, self-trained graphic designer, I decided to give the first draft of my cover for Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World a go. Ha! It was alternately well received, panned, or utterly and completely misunderstood.

VERSION #1

Stan Finds Himself - L Orsini - first draft

The second version was getting closer, but still missing something.

VERSION #2

Stan Finds Himself - L Orsini - second draft

Time to bring in a pro. I gave the first two drafts to my amazing artist friend, Dana Ball, who came back with this. It’s moving in the right direction … I liked the colors and simplicity. Not crazy about the font.

Stan Finds Himself - Dana Ball take 1

Then this. Now we’re getting somewhere! Too much color and the font’s really hard to read, but I’m liking the concept.

Stan Finds Himself - Dana Ball take 2

Then, he landed this version.

Stan Finds Himself - Dana Ball take 3

Compared to all the others, I loved it! It captures the story, is visually appealing, and the sepia tint make it gender neutral – important for a story about a 30-year-old guy. The font is still a bit too difficult to read, though. And as baseball figures prominently in the story, I asked if Dana could add the suggestion of a baseball to the globe. With that, we arrived at the final cover design.

Stan Finds Himself - Dana Ball - Final

If you’re still in the design process, I recommend you brainstorm your concept first. Sketch it out, if you’ve got even rudimentary drawing skills. Your designer won’t laugh at you – he or she will likely be grateful that you’ve got a direction in mind. Discuss how many concepts they will provide you to start. If your designer has lots of experience with book covers, they should be able to advise you about what will have commercial appeal. Identify your audience: gender, age, academic achievement, social interests – all the demographics and psychographics you need to consider when building your general book marketing plan.

For more book cover tips, see my prior post: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Book Cover. Most importantly – if you haven’t already done so, get started now! Your book marketing is stalled until you have a cover to share with the world.

Please be sure to come back and read my next post, when I’’ll be talking about my biggest challenge with this book…

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Celebrating cover designers, near and far!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

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Just a quick hit to share an image Facebook friend and fellow author Jo Michaels posted on FB today. It fits our recent theme about the importance of your book cover.

Jo’s post:

Woot!! Guess what’s gonna be mailed out tomorrow to all those LOVELY ARC readers of I, Zombie? Heck yeah! They FINALLY came! Feels like it took forever.

zombie

Congrats, Jo! Wishing you every success.

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Want a professional book cover that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg? Visit our website to Template 5peruse our selection of 25 book cover templates, and download our complimentary special report, “Book Elements:

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january tip of day

January 7 Book Marketing Tip: Package your book well!

The other day, we talked about the importance of the cover in your branding efforts, so today let’s focus on the elements of your cover.

Joel Bauer, image consultant to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Barbara Walters, has a signature tagline: Wrap your package! Bauer claims we have just 4 seconds before someone forms a first impression about us, right or wrong — so how we choose to clothe ourselves matters.

Love the concept or hate it, but packaging sells products, too. Have you ever noticed how much money certain cosmetics, liquor, and electronics companies spend on their packaging? Why? Those brands know an important marketing secret: packaging plays a significant role in people’s buying decisions. First, packaging helps the buyer identify the item they’re looking at. An alarm clock is more than likely in a box with a photo of an alarm clock on it. Secondly, the quality of the packaging can create the impression that the thing inside is better than the one right next to it with the less attractive wrapper.

Given that you probably cannot discern the quality and/or performance of a product just by looking at it, companies rely on packaging to sway your purchasing decisions, just like people are more likely to form a positive opinion of you if you’ve taken some time with your clothing ensemble.

fat_sister

Which of these would you be more inclined to purchase?

We’ve all heard the old axiom, You can’t judge a book by its cover — but the cover is the thing that will attract people’s attention!

Perhaps one of the most important things to understand when it comes to your book cover — the packaging for your book — is that a good cover will attract your target audience.

As Chris McMullen says in her excellent blog post:

Effective packaging does three things:

  1. Grabs attention. (In a positive way.)
  2. Attracts the specific target audience. (It should also look appealing and professional.)
  3. From a distance, it sends a short message (not necessarily in words) about what to expect from the product. (There may be more details in print upon closer inspection, but it’s the distant message that determines whether or not the consumer will ever inspect the packaging closely.)

This is why you need a well-designed (professional) cover. You can’t really fault people for assuming that if you didn’t bother to try to impress them with your cover, you probably didn’t do such a great job with the words either.

There are three essential ingredients to a successful cover: (1) a good title, (2) great design, and (3) a blurb with a hook. Endorsements are also very  helpful.

A few things to remember about cover endorsements:

  1. Shoot for the moon — think of the biggest name in your field and approach that person.
  2. Shrug it off if they say no. At least you asked — and now they know about your book.
  3. Some might ask you to pay for their endorsement. This is a personal decision you’ll have to make if/when the situation arises.
  4. Start early. Even the most well-intentioned people may say yes, but it can take time to get the information from them!

And, of course, make sure your title, cover design, and blurb are consistent. As McMullen puts it:

The cover, blurb, and [Amazon] Look Inside need to send a unified message. They must make it instantly (shoppers might look at your thumbnail for two seconds to decide whether or not to check the book out) clear what type of book it is. Precisely what type (e.g. contemporary romance, not teen romance; or does the cover look a little naughty, when the romance is light and clean?).

Things you’ll want to include on your cover:

FRONT: Title, subtitle, your full name, endorsement

SPINE: Title, your last name, publisher’s marque (logo for your publishing company)

BACK: Genre, price, website, well-written blurb, ISBN/bar code, QR code with a link to your trailer or website, endorsements/quotes from reviews, author photo, author bio (the last two are optional, particularly if you include an About the Author page at the end of your book)

Some final thoughts on your cover design:

  • It’s important.
  • Spend some time studying the covers of best-selling books in your genre to see what’s working. What do they have in common?
  • Budget for your cover. If you’re not a gifted graphic designer, plan to hire someone.
  • Nothing is a bigger waste of your resources as an author than a cover that doesn’t do your writing justice.

Happy cover designing!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Want a professional book cover that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg? Visit our website to Template 5peruse our selection of 25 book cover templates, and download our complimentary special report, “Book Elements: Organizing the Parts of Your Book” TODAY!

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january tip of day

January 4 Book Marketing Tip: Your book marketing is stalled until you have a cover

As you might imagine, the first question almost every new author asks about marketing their forthcoming book is “What should I do first?” The answer is simple: Determine your title and get your book cover designed.

Why is the cover so important  especially in today’s ebook world? Because you use it EVERYWHERE!where to begin

We’ve written before on the 8 mistakes to avoid when designing your book cover. That post is probably worth a glance, whether you’re creating your own cover (not recommended unless you have some pretty mean graphic design skills) or  hiring a pro (prices can range considerably, but so can the quality!).

Places you might use your cover:

  • your author website
  • your blog
  • collateral materials like postcards, bookmarks, your author one sheet
  • your book trailer
  • on your personal Facebook page and your book/author fan page
  • your book’s Twitter account
  • your book’s Pinterest board
  • your media releases
  • email announcements to your list

This list is by no means comprehensive. Yet each one of these is a marketing step you’ll want to get moving on BEFORE YOU FINISH the book. If you wait until your book is done to design your cover, you’ll leave an unnecessary and gaping hole in your marketing strategy.

Happy cover designing!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Want a professional book cover that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg? Visit our website to Template 5peruse our selection of 25 book cover templates, and download our complimentary special report, “Book Elements: Organizing the Parts of Your Book” TODAY!

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december tip of day

December 30 Book Marketing Tip: Share your cover!

I came across this last night on a random (to me) book blog. Thanks to ME Patterson for this great idea!

Ever think about the fact that retailers use consumers as advertisers every day? When you carry that TJ Maxx sack around or reuse a your pic hereChipotle bag for your lunch, you are advertising those brands. Same with t-shirts that bear logos like Nike and Aéropostale. Also true for a John Deere cap or One Direction backpack.

So why not do something similar by giving your fans a chance to keep you nearby? Make a desktop wallpaper version of your book cover and offer free downloads! Do this before your book is released to generate pre-launch interest. Do it for a currently published book to remind your fans about you.

For that matter, if it dovetails with your subject/theme and you have the budget, you might want to opt for a promo product like a beach towel or keyring.

What are your marketing plans for 2014? Share your best ideas in the comments section and we’ll put together a post with all of them!

Happy promoting!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Want a professional book cover that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg? Visit our website to peruse our selection of 25 book cover templates, and download our complimentary special report, “Book Elements: Organizing the Parts of Your Book” TODAY! 

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Steve Avery … baseball fan, bibliophile

For the next 14 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 15 writing prompt:

Find someone you know, either online or in the real world, who is a true bibliophile and interview them about their reading habits.

This prompt was inspired by a recent conversation with my friend Steve Avery – the most avid purchaser, reader, and consumer of books I have ever met. In short, he is a true bibliophile. Steve and I have been friends for years. We met selling tickets for the Arizona Diamondbacks way back in 2000, and in all the time I’ve known him, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him without a book. His house looks like what I imagine the back room of a book shop might look like, except there’s just one copy of each title.  He recently admitted to me that he’s more of a collector than a reader, in that while he buys between one and two dozen books a month and starts all  of them, he probably finishes fewer than 50 percent.

Steve was one of the first people I knew who owned a Kindle – but he seldom uses it now, because he has an iPad and an iPhone in part, but mostly because he just prefers printed books, hardbacks if he can get them. I went with Steve to the midnight release of one of the middle Harry Potter books (I couldn’t begin to tell you which number or title, but I’m sure he remembers) at a Waldenbooks up the street from his house that has long been converted into a check-cashing store.

A true sign of Steve’s friendship is that he has bought a book, read it very carefully so as not to make even the slightest crumple in a corner as he turned the pages, and then gifted it to you because you once mentioned it in passing. Almost as big a baseball fan as he is an avid reader, he’s probably got every baseball title ever printed. I always consider it a coup when I can alert him about a new baseball book or seminar before he’s heard of it.

Steve does not buy used books unless it’s a rare or hard-to-find title. If it’s not hot off the presses, he’s probably not interested. He is not only a consumer of books – but he devours book magazines and websites. His favorite authors are the father and daughter duo, James Lee Burke and Alafair Burke. The best thing he’s read recently is Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn.

He loves to attend signings and considers his vast – and ever growing – collection of autographed books among his most prized. The most memorable signing he attended was that of Sophia Littlefield, who was interviewed by her longtime friend, Juliet Blackwell. As Steve tells it, they threw away the script and carried on an impromptu interview for an hour which he found utterly delightful. Questions he’d most like to ask his favorite authors include “How autobiographical is your work?” and “Are you considering moving into the YA market?”

The book that most surprised Steve recently was William Landay’s Defending Jacob “because he wrote beyond the obvious end of the story.”

A history major with an avid imagination and a very funny storyteller, Steve does not fancy himself a writer at all. I think he really shorts himself in this area – but he will tell you he’d much rather read the words of a true expert than dabble at conveying a convoluted message.

He recently left me a Facebook message with a new proposition. Because he reads almost any kind of fiction but would like to get to more nonfiction titles, we are going to begin a book club of two. He’ll choose two NF titles that interest him and ask me to choose the one I’d most like to read. He’ll buy it, read it, pass it on to me, and then we’ll discuss. Like grownups. Our first assignment is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. I’ll let you know what I think of it when I find a moment to stop nattering.

Happy reading!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

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