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Posts Tagged ‘Dana Ball’

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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Are you employing the 8 components of a successful book business?

For the next 5 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 24 writing prompt:

If your goal is to sell books, you must view your book as a business. In what ways do you treat your book as a business? Where could you improve? What resources could you leverage to improve your book business?

Virtually every successful business has a business plan – a roadmap, if you will, of where they are now and where they plan to go. This is no different for your book business. We’re often told that the best plans will contain some most of the following elements:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Overview
  • Description of Products and Service
  • Market and Industry Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations Plan
  • Development Plan
  • Management Plan
  • Company’s Competitive Advantage
  • Financial Plan
  • Funding
  • Appendices

But a business plan need not be long or elaborate to be complete. My friend, business coach Suzanne Muusers, has developed a 2-page mini business plan system that cuts the clutter and helps you get to the heart of the matter: understanding what your business does, where you want it to go, and how you plan to get there.

7 other crucial pieces of your book business include:

Branding.

If there’s ever a professional who needs to cultivate a personal brand, it’s an author. According to personal branding specialist, Peter Montoya:

Your personal brand is the powerful, clear, positive idea that comes to mind whenever other people think of you. It’s what you stand for—the values, abilities and actions that others associate with you. It’s a professional alter ego designed for the purpose of influencing how others perceive you, and turning that perception into opportunity. It does this by telling your audience three things:

1.  Who you are

2.  What you do

3.  What makes you different, or how you create value for your target market

A website.

Your website needs to reflect your brand and make it possible for your audience to access you and your products. I plan in the near future to hire Suzanne’s husband, Dana Ball, a brilliant, creative designer, to revamp my website. Dana gave my book cover a thumbs-up, which made me ever-so proud.

A method of e-commerce.

The only way you can collect money for your book is by having some method of e-commerce installed on your website. While PayPal is widely used and accepted, if you’ve got more than one or two titles, you may still want to look into a shopping cart service.

Distribution channels.

The point of writing a book is getting it out into the world. This most likely means distribution beyond your website. Whether it’s an eBook or a traditionally printed book, you’ve got to have a way of disseminating it. This might be through Amazon, BookBaby, Smashwords, Lightning Source, or some other channel. The point is that if you want as many people as possible to have access to your book, you’ve got to employ a source (or sources) to do that for you.

An e-mail list.

The heart and soul of any online business is its list – the people to whom you will market your current and future books. Developing a list is an important activity you must master if you intend to be a successful Internet merchant.

A CRM system (customer relationship management).

Realtors and mortgage folks seem to be masters at CRM – but cultivating and managing relationships with the people on your list is essential for any author who takes the business side of things seriously. This means knowing who bought what when, how they found you, whether their preference is for eBooks or printed titles, to name just a few.

A team.

As a self-publishing author, you may at times feel like your team is just one person: you. As I wrote in a January 2012 post:

It’s quite common for a new author to take that precipitous dive into self-publishing only to realize, even after a fair amount of research, that there’s a LOT involved. And it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. I think a good part of the overwhelm comes from the erroneous belief that you’ve got to “go it alone.” It’s not much of a stretch to make the analogy between a self-publishing author and a general contractor, if, as careers.stateuniverity.com explains, a general contractor’s job is to “coordinate and supervise the work at construction sites from early development to final product.”

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Well, if there are so many people involved, how can you possibly be going it alone? Ask any leader who feels that it truly is lonely at the top. Hiring people – or contracting for their services – doesn’t mean you necessarily view these individuals as members of your team, and that’s a key component to not going it alone. Sure you’re in charge – but are the folks tasked with components of your book making and marketing simply people you’re paying, or are they members of your team who are equally invested in your success?

Yeah, you wrote a book and thought you were done. As one Author Blog Challenge participant put it, “Writing the book was the easy part. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all this marketing stuff.”

The good news is that you can sell a lot of books on your own if you set up your book business properly from the start. Will it take time? Yes – probably more time than you think you can afford to give. Will it take determination? Boatloads. Will it take some marketing savvy and computer skills? Yep – those are somewhat necessary to become a successful online bookseller. Can you do it? I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes – you can do it. Decide you want it. Make a plan. And implement.

Happy bookselling!

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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