Author Solutions, authors, book selling, Editing, Publishing, self publishing, writing

3 more tips and a new term for publishing from Guy Kawasaki

Guy suggests self-publishing should be called Artisinal publishing.

Guy suggests self publishing should be called artisinal publishing.

In a previous post, I made note of a key-note address given by Guy Kawasaki at the San Francisco Writers Conference which I thought was quite good. Based on the traffic and comments on that post, I think many of you found his simple and clear insights helpful. So I thought I would share three more that I thought were important to remember and share the term he used to describe the new era of publishing. 

  1. Hire a copy editor–I know you have probably heard this comment over and over again, but I don’t think it can be emphasized enough. Too many self published authors think they are one draft wonders. I did not have the exact stats, but Guy shared a personal example where he had gone over the manuscripts numerous times and then submitted to the editor and was shocked at the number of corrections needed.  It’s not because he wasn’t a good writer. It just simply illustrates how important it is to have another qualified set of eyes on your work.
  2. Hire a cover designer–One of the scariest phrases I hear from authors is, “my daughter is an artist”.  She may be, but that doesn’t mean she knows how to create the right cover for your book. I have other posts on this blog that talk about cover design.  One of them is Six Tips from Wicked Good Book Cover Designers. Lots of good info there are how to determine what you need a cover designer to do.
  3. Never give up–Again, if you have read this blog, this is not a new statement. In fact one of the secrets of successful self published authors is believing in their work. It was just reassuring to hear Guy say it as well.

Finally, Guy suggested that there is a new term needed to describe the way self-publishing has evolved. He compared it to craft brewers or bakers. He said authors now need to think of their work as artisanal publishing. In other words, self publishing is no longer to be thought of as less value, but rather as an important craft. Not everyone agrees with his take, but I think it is further evidence that self publishing has fully arrived.  He gave three books as examples of Birds of America by Audubon, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.  Quite a diverse list, but each was first self-published and went on to be a big seller and classic.

What do you think? Do we need a new term to describe self-publishing? Do you agree with Guy’s suggestion? Use the comment section to let me know what you think.

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authors, book marketing, book selling, Ebooks, helpful hints, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing

The 7 key elements of a great book cover

This iUniverse fiction book has an interesting title and strong cover image.

Do first impressions matter? Of course, they do. For your book, your cover will make the first impression on readers. It is your three-second introduction to the reading public. When readers are browsing the bookstore shelf or the internet,  your book cover needs to grab their attention, but also make a promise as to what readers will find on the pages inside.  So here are seven elements of cover design you should  give thought and attention to as you get ready to publish.

  1. Your title. Place yourself in the reader’s shoes when making your final decision for your book’s title. Will your title make sense to the reader? Is it easy to remember? When choosing your title make sure it conveys your message and fits the design you have in mind. As a writer, try not to get too caught up in creating a clever title, when a straightforward title will do. Creativity can sometimes interfere with clarity.
  2. The subtitle. If needed, elaborate on your book’s subject with a subtitle. A good subtitle provides additional information through a descriptive line which compliments your title. Include any searchable keywords that are not in your title  in your subtitle if appropriate.
  3. Cover design and layout. Your title should be legible at a glance and you should avoid small or faint text as well as busy backgrounds. Select a font or two for your text, staying away from decorative fonts that are hard to read. Choose a strong image that helps people remember your book and integrates with your title. A single image usually impacts more than multiple images. Remember your image should not overwhelm your title, so beware of overpowering your words with pictures. Above all, make sure all text is easy to read.
  4. Back cover or panel copy. This should be a short summary of your book that gives readers a preview or teaser for what to expect when they read it. It should not be about why your wrote the book or a table of contents. It should work like an ad to draw in potential readers.
  5. Endorsements and reviews. Endorsements and reviews help add to the credibility of your book. So if you have endorsements from influential people or reviews, think about including them on your back cover or jacket flap if you have a hard cover edition. If you have an endorsement from a well-known personality you may want to consider putting a mention on your front cover.
  6. The spine. Make it simple, easy to read, and viewable sideways. In most cases, you do not want to include your subtitle due to space limitations.
  7. Your author bio. Briefly state who you are and your most recent accomplishments. Try to keep your author description around three sentences and establish your credentials if you are writing a non-fiction book and your personality if you are writing a fiction book. Readers love to know things about the author. It helps them connect with the book in a different way. Use your author bio to help readers feel like they know something about you.

You have likely spent months and maybe even years working on your manuscript. Make sure you take the time to give your cover the attention it deserves. After all it is the first impression most readers will have of your book.


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