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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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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

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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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Idea for 3-book set

How would YOU handle a cover for a box set that includes multiple products?

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