Editors- Why Self- Pubbed Authors Should Have Two

The professional editorial process is key for any writer but as a self-publisher it is a major part of your business that you cannot afford to do shabbily. It may surprise you to learn that less than one percent of books that come to us for an Interior Layout are free of errors! This week we are going to put on our serious self publishing business hats and talk about why you need at least two editing rounds, by separate editors, in order to produce a professional work that meets market standards.

What types of edits/editors are there?

  1. The Structure Edit
    Like a building, your story needs a strong structure in order for it to not fall over in the storm of the marketplace. Structure deals with the important questions such as does your plot make sense, what are the themes explored within your work, is the Point of View consistent and what is your characterization like. Structural editors look at the overall flow of your story breaking it down to study the actual content. It is a time consuming process which is why the general cost of good Structural Editor can be high. Structural Editors make sure that your storylines are resolved so that you don’t have plot holes. It is important to note that Structural Editors make no physical changes to your manuscript, they will not tell you how to fix the problems that have been found. They have God Vision to point out what’s going wrong and where so that you can go back and fix it before you hand it off to the next stage of editing.
  2. The Copy and Proof Edit
    Copy Editors focus on the mechanics of your writing such as grammar, spelling, formatting so that physical changes can get made. A decent Copy Editor can help to reorganise your story and eliminate the issues pointed out by your Structural Editor. Copy editing will sharpen your prose, refine your style and make sure you’re telling your story in the most cohesive manner. There is some confusion about copy editors and proof readers being the same thing but both have a very separate role to play in manuscript preparation. The main difference is that proof reading is not about revision but correction. Proof readers check your work line by line to make sure that all editorial notes have been completed, all formatting is consistent, that illustrations, graphs, foot notes and page numbers are correct. They look at your work ‘blindly’ to ensure that everything is in its proper order and place as they are the last stop before your work goes to be formatted.

Your Structural Editor and your Copy Editor should be separate people

Why? Because editors are human and they too can make mistakes, things can get over looked easily especially if they are already familiar with the flow of the story. Having a separate Structural and Copy Editor will ensure that what one won’t pick up hopefully the other one will. In traditionally publishing it can take up to 12 months before a writer sees the book in print. This is due to the multiple changing of editing and proof reading hands that it does to ensure the end product reaches that professional standard.

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What to do before sending your manuscript to an Editor

  • Put your manuscript in a draw for a few months before you edit it. You are more likely to see the bigger problems with story lines, sub plots and characters because they aren’t living in your head anymore.
  • Join a writing group or make friends with other helpful writers who can offer valuable feedback. Only take on board the comments that are valid and constructive. They understand the process so they will be able to share their experiences and knowledge.
  • Read books about writing. Learn about structure, grammar, characterization. Read your favorite writers and try to pick out the tricks they have used to create the desired affects. The more you learn the more you can pick up where your own work is falling down.
  • Print your manuscript, two pages to a single page so that it looks like a paperback layout. All the errors that are hidden on screen will start to pop out.
  • Go through your MS backwards, line by line, so that you don’t get involved in the story.

Self Publishers are business owners and you must view your publication as a major project. You are providing a product to a well-established, competitive market and you want to give your product its best chance.

All businesses work on a budget and editing is something that you have to view as an investment to save for. If you have a very small budget try and make friends with editors through your writing group network, maybe barter services with them or ask if they will consider a payment plan but do not DIY your editing. You cannot hope to get it to the standard it needs to be because you’re too close and too biased towards your project. Let the baby go.

A lot of the criticism towards indie writers is focused on the sea of poorly edited work sloshing about the market.

Remember if there are still obvious errors in your manuscript this means it is not ready to be created into a final interior, let alone published.

Ensuring that your work has been edited by at least two separate editors and a proof reader will eliminate mistakes, save you money in the reformatting costs and help cement your reputation as a professional writer and publisher.

Here are some professional editors that I recommend:

SPR

Bev Katz Rosenbaum

Holloway House

Arrowhead Editing

Clio Editing

Katie McCoach

What is the best editing advice you have ever received? What are your processes to eliminate errors?

 

Writing The Blurb – What You Need To Know

Today we’re all about blurbs. Do you write your own, or get someone else to do it? Let’s give you some guidance about what makes a good blurb, and a great one.

Have you ever read a blurb that tells you the entire plot of the novel and you have put it back on the shelves and walked away? This is one of the many signs of a bad blurb so writers take note. Giving too much away, or not sharing enough to entice, can turn readers off wanting to know more. The length of the blurb, introducing your protagonist in an interesting way and using the right tone for your novel genre can make a huge difference in the  final decision of a curious book buyer. It’s difficult for even the most experienced of writers to construct an effective and engaging blurb but being aware of the following will get your head in the right game.

How long is long?

Ideally your blurb should be of about 100-180 words. This is a good word count to aim for as it will fit the back cover neatly in a good size font. You don’t want to give too much away, it’s important to not think of it in the same way you would a synopsis. It is the second base on the way for a customer to purchase your book and your main aim is to intrigue and entice them. Take a look at the below blurb for Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, an epic novel of about 650 pages:

american-gods ‘Is nothing sacred? Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break. Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, AMERICAN GODS, takes a long hard look at the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who- it finds there…’

107 words is all it takes to give you a taste of what the book is about, just enough to make you curious. It doesn’t give you a blow by blow of what happens and how it ends. Less is more and finding that balance will always take more than one draft. It doesn’t have to be that short the first time round, lean it back with each draft and you will end up with a solid piece of tight prose.

Hello, what’s your name?

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Blurbs are a great place to introduce your protagonist. It’s like meeting a stranger where first impressions always count. This gives your reader a chance to emotionally connect and become attached to them. This story is about them, and if the character doesn’t interest your reader on your blurb than they certainly won’t want to spend the next six hours with them. To use the above example, we quickly learn that the protagonist is Shadow, he was in prison and is now a grieving widow. The first few lines tell you exactly who your protagonist is even if it’s only a brief introduction. You are essentially speed dating your reader, be coy enough to be mysterious, don’t tell them your whole life story and then awkwardly propose.

Setting the scene

Book blurbs are direct and immediate advertising. All advertising has an angle and a target audience. The first very big question you need to ask yourself is do you know yours? It might seem obvious but you might be surprised how many writers don’t. As the cover of your book is a symbolic language tailored to your genre so must your blurb be. Rhythm in your tone sets the scene for your novel and it should be written in the same style and voice as your story. Your goal is to target readers that like your genre and intrigue them enough to want to know more. To jump genres let’s look at Kyra Davis’s 164 word blurb for her chick lit novel Sex, Murder and a Double Latte;

310740Thriller scribe Sophie Katz is as hard-boiled as a woman who drinks Grande Caramel Brownie Frappuccinos can be. So Sophie knows it’s not paranoia or post-divorce, living-alone-again jitters, when she becomes convinced that a crazed reader is sneaking into her apartment to reenact scenes from her books. The police, however, can’t tell a good plot from an unmarked grave.

When a filmmaker friend is brutally murdered in the manner of a death scene in one of his movies, Sophie becomes convinced that a copycat killer is on the loose — and that she’s the next target. If she doesn’t solve the mystery, her own bestseller will spell out her doom. Cursing her grisly imagination (why, oh, why did she have to pick the ax?), Sophie engages in some real-life gumshoe tactics. The man who swoops in to save her in dark alleys is mysterious new love interest Anatoly Darinsky. Of course, if this were fiction, Anatoly would be her prime suspect . . .

An interesting chick lit style blurb written with a thriller twist in keeping with the plot line and tone of the novel, it ends with an emotive hook to grab your attention leaving questions and curiosity.

Quotes and Testimonials

The last thing to briefly touch on is whether or not to have quotes, or a fabulous testimonial, from reviewers as a part of your blurb. There is a rather fine line with this because unless you have someone legitimate who has critiqued your work than it won’t have any leverage. It needs to be a review from a respected reviewing company, like Kirkus, or if you have sent your work to an established writer. Credibility is key. A quote from your mum (unless she is Anne Rice or JK Rowling) will make you look like an amateur.

Round Up

Like all writing, blurbs are not an exact science. It’s helpful to look at the best sellers in your genre and see how they are constructed. Remember to take some time to research and re-draft, it may be the decider on whether or not readers take that extra step.

Use the below checklist to make your blurb awesome:

  • Length: Is it between 100-180 words?
  • Protagonist: Are you doing introductions and creating attachment?
  • Research: Have you read other blurbs in your genre?
  • Tone: Is it the same ‘voice’ you have used in your novel? Are you leaving it open ended?

 

What do you look at first when buying a book? Do you read blurbs? Or do you think they spoil the plot too much?

 

What goes on the back of a fiction book?

You’ve uploaded your eBook to Kindle, and you’re organizing to print a paperback at CreateSpace, so what goes on the back of a cover? A blurb, a bio, a testimonial? Is there anything compulsory? Here’s the rundown of what goes on cover back matter.

blog_blurb_back_layoutThe Water Thief by Nicholas Lamar Soutter: Buy it here

  1. The blurb

The first, obvious, necessity. The blurb is the second step after the cover, for your audience to read up and find out more about your story. I’ve heard of blurbs running up to 400 words, but for a standard 6×9” paperback (and smaller) I would recommend 180 tops, 120 minimum. This gives you plenty of room for additional elements, and leaves you some nice space for the readers eye to travel, instead of it looking compressed.

For more information about writing a good blurb visit: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/11/16/how-to-write-back-blurb-for-your-book/

  1. An author biography:

A bio is good. It shares a bit about yourself, and gives your readers an access point to learning more about you. You can share your background, and then follow it with your social media and website links. A bio should be small and to the point, and normally goes at the bottom after the blurb. I’d keep it under 80 words if possible.

  1. An author photo:

This is to go with your bio, and should be a professional photo. If you’re choosing one which is taken from your phone, or a family member, ensure the lighting and composition is good and that you are easy to see.

  1. Testimonials & Endorsements

Testimonials and positive reviews about your book, and skills as an author, do wonders. The more reputable the source the better. You wouldn’t gain any traction with a testimonial from someone who hasn’t published themselves or has no reputation. Choose your sources wisely, but do choose them if you can. Stephen King would be awesome, if you can get him. David Tennant is also acceptable.

  1. A lead in line

Sometimes when you look at the back of a book there’s a single line that is placed at the top of the blurb, to lead into the first sentence. This could be drawn from a line from the book that summarises the plot well, or the overall theme. This could just be a punchy line or something quirky, a line that shares your character with the reader before they open to the first page. A single line works best, but if you find you can’t plump up your blurb and have a lot of space to cover, a couple of good lines works just as well.

  1. Barcode + ISBN

A barcode and your ISBN goes onto the back, bottom half. Sometimes to the left, mostly on the right, not in the middle.

Do I give the barcode and ISBN it to my designer?

In some instances, such as CreateSpace, you type your ISBN directly into their system when you upload your cover, and they will place the barcode on there for you. In others it may be up to you (or your designer) to organize your barcode onto the back. Either way you gotta leave room for it, so don’t fill up the whole back page!

  1. A mention of your other work.

If you are writing a series and want the reader to know of the other titles available, this is a great opportunity. If it’s not going on the back of the book, put it on the inside.

 

None of these points, except for the blurb, is conditional. The blurb guidelines I’ve supplied aren’t even a must-do, but you do have to have some sort of synopsis to entice your reader to read your story. They have to know what they’re getting themselves into!

Do you have any suggestions as to what should or shouldn’t be on a back cover? Seen anything that was truly awful?

How to set goals for your self-publishing career in 4 steps


ASMART goalss an author you’ve probably thought a lot about your success as a published author. But have you planned for it? Have you told yourself how you’re going to get there?

The clearer your goals, the faster and easier it will be to get there. If you want to have a life time of success first you must define what you believe success to be, and then outline a plan to get there.

I’m here today to help you do that, so let’s get started!

1. Be in the right head space:

I want you to be open to change. To have grand ideas and to make them happen we must open our minds to the possibilities. Do you know why daydreaming is so important? Because it sets a standard. And don’t ever think the benchmark can be too high, because if it isn’t high you won’t get there.

Purpose: In order to have great success you must imagine great success.

2. The end goal:

So what is your idea of success? Is it monetary? Is it spiritual? Is it how many people you reach, how many lives you change?

It will most likely be a combination of all these areas. So write all of them down in categories: Finance, Materials, Family and Friends, Spirituality… then once you’ve written them all down sort them into priorities. This will give you a clear layout of what you consider success to be. This is your benchmark.

Possibilities for the end goal:

  • How many books do you want to sell in order to be considered successful? How many books do you have to write?
  • Will you change anyone’s life? How?
  • Will you have enough money for a comfortable life style? If so, how much do you consider that to be?
  • Will you have awards? International acclamation?
  • Will you have great self confidence? Feel good enough to speak in public? Have pride?
  • Will you be able to support your family, and pay for your children’s education?


3. The long term plan:

Now that we have an end goal we need to lay some milestones for you to work towards. Think from now until retirement, until the last days. Think about what you want in all stages of your life. Do you have children? Where will you be when they finally move out of home?

So lay out some goals from now till the end. Every 10-20 years.

  • Where do you want to be in 20 years?
  • How many books do you want to have sold?
  • How many readers do you want to have received fan mail from?
  • How much money do you want to be earning, have in your bank account at that time?

Be thorough and clear. The more specific your plan the higher the chance of it happening.

4. The short term plan:

Your short term plan should be between 6 to 12, maybe even 24 months in advance. Each stage should follow these general principles:

Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely. What does that mean?

Example of a SMART goal:

  • In eight months I will have published Oscar and Josephine, and will have sold 5 copies.
  • In four months I will have finished my current work in progress and have the first round of editing done.

Try for goals that can be broken up in to smaller pieces to be achieved. So long as you return to these and assess where you are at each milestone (six months, four months, a year) that’s perfect. It is not expected that you will reach all or even any of the goals by the timeframe you initially set. But the fact you have worked towards it for so long, and will continue to do so, makes your chances of success much greater.

Overall my suggestion is, think big but eat small. It is the many tiny crumbs that make up story. You now have to turn your writing brain on yourself and think of the real, and fantastic, career ahead of you.

What are some ways you’ve planned for your career? How often do you try and revisit your goals?

When Should You Organize Your Book Cover Designer?


When to organize a book cover designerYou’ve got to organize editing, formatting, design and marketing and all in a schedule that will mean a timely publishing release. So how do you organize your time so your eBook comes together perfectly?

When producing a book, what publishing steps do you have to think about for your schedule?

  • Finishing it first. That would definitely help.
  • Sending your MS off to an editor.
  • Organizing a formatter to lay it out for eReaders and paperbacks
  • Deciding where you’re going to publish.

It’s always better to play it early, so my advice is when you’ve finished your book and are in the middle of drafting and editing, get in touch with your cover designer. Your designer might be able to work with you straight away which is awesome, but your designer might also be booked three to five months in advance.

And what if your designer asks to read your book?

If your designer wants to read your book and you haven’t edited it, give it to them. I read the book for themes and ideas, I don’t read it to leave a review. I gotta understand the relationships, the arc, and get the visuals. I don’t need a completely clean book to do that but you do need to have the major elements sorted. So first draft? Not ready. Last couple of final drafts? Ready.

If I read a book and it’s got themes or characters or plot developments that you’ve eradicated, that’s no use to me.

So contact you designer when you’re in the last half of your editing, after the plot and main structure is in.

What’s your experience when booking a designer? Did you wait until the end, or get in early?

Are you a writer or an authorprenuer?

authorprenuer-403x500When a writer decides to self-publish, it’s a golden moment. Full of hope, inspiration, determination and drive. But it’s also likely at that moment they don’t realise they’ve just committed themselves to running a business. A business that takes patience and perseverance, which needs constant attention and energy if you want it to be successful.

So how do you know if you’re just a writer, or if you’re an authorprenuer?

Cover this check list, and find out!

  1. The authorprenuer knows their job doesn’t stop after pressing ‘publish’,
  2. The authorprenuer is prepared to research all aspects of self-publishing to give themselves the best chance of success. This includes publishing, layout, marketing, price setting, and best standards,
  3. The writer only wants to publish to share their book with their closest loved ones, not to share with the world,
  4. The writer is not ready to take on social media, and grow a readership base,
  5. The authorprenuer starts promoting their book before it is published,

  1. The authorprenuer hires the professionals to make their book the best it can be,
  2. The writer has one simple goal: To write,
  3. The authorprenuer has several goals: To write, to plan, to launch, to direct, to test, to change, to overcome, to promote, to grow, to skill up,
  4. The writer has many, many finished and unfinished manuscripts and doesn’t plan to return to them.
  5. The authorprenuer has many, many finished and unfinished manuscripts and plans to give each one the best spit-and-shine they can.

You might be one, but you’re most likely a bit of both.

Authorprenuers are ready for self-publication and are prepared to do the yards required in order to make their book a success.

Writers are dedicated to their craft and love it for what it is. They don’t need to share it to enjoy it, but it is very personal to them.

Aim to have the strengths and passions of both, so that you enjoy the journey no matter where you’re at!

What do you think you’re more of? A writer? An authorprenuer? A third as yet unidentified species of writer?

genre specific book covers?

The Pro’s and Con’s of a Genre-Specific Book Cover


genre specific book covers?

Book covers tell a story. They tell your story.

But when it comes to sharing the theme of the story, how important is it to make sure your design blends in with the others?

Does it benefit the cover to be more unique?

Does it sell more to ‘clone the trend’?

The pro’s of having a genre-specific cover:

  1. Your readers know what to expect: When your reader knows what kind of book it’s going to be, half the battle is won. No surprises to be had!
  2. Your readers will click on you much faster: In thumbnail form, readers will identify your book genre and click to seek out the blurb. The connection between their brain and your book saying “Chick-Lit” or “Romance” or “Thriller” happens in a split second. They’ve barely even looked at the details on the cover, yet are simply attracted to its genre design.
  3. There’s a standard to stick with, which makes it easy if you’re a DIY authorIf you’re designing your own book cover, all you have to do is look at the other book covers in your genre and follow their lead. Learning from others who’ve already done it is much better than starting from scratch if you’ve never designed anything before!

The cons of having a genre-specific cover:

  1. You’ll blend in with the others, and be overlooked: If your cover looks like every other cover, why will the reader pick your book above the rest?
  2. You are limited to design and ideas: Genre-specific covers all look the same for a reason. They have the same elements, layout, type, colour scheme, title placement, etc… If you decide you have something original- something away from the normal trends- it means breaking away from your genre
  3. Your book might be cross genre, and may not lean to one more heavily than another: Specifying the genre of your book pigeonholes it for readers, and they’ll be expecting the majority of your book to make up that subject. If you’ve designed for romance readers, but there’s only a third of romance, but also a third of horror and a third of paranormal, they’re in for a bit of a shock.

The good thing about book covers is that they are not permanent!

As an authorprenuer the most important thing you must do is test, and keep testing. Don’t put one thing out there and accept that’s simply how it is. Experiment with what works best. Try one style cover for six months, and then replace it with another for the next six, and see which converts best.

What have you found in your experience with your book cover? Is your book cover genre-specific or is it unique in its field?

*Image Credit to blog.brainhost.com 

Love On the Fly

10 Lessons I learned when I started designing books

Love on the Fly by Jaime McDougall

I basically owe my book design career to one author: Jaime McDougall. She asked me to design a book cover for her book Love on the Fly back in 2011, and when author’s saw that they requested more work. Voila, here I am two years later.

Since then I’ve learned an enormous amount. Not just about design but about business, and publishing. I’ve picked 10 things I learned which might help you with your own publishing and design journey. Without further ado:

The top 10 lessons I learned in designing book covers:

  1. You don’t have to have a literal image on your cover. You can use suggestive images to make the impact. Its purpose is to entice your reader, not tell him the story right away.
  2. Your reader expects that your story is of the same quality as your cover. If your cover looks bad, they think your writing is bad as well.
  3. Type is what lets down covers time and time again. You can have a beautiful image, but if the type isn’t done professionally the rest of your book cover will look amateurish.
  4. Sometimes cover ideas come together straight away, other times they don’t. Time and patience is required.
  5. Unless you’re taking photographs yourself, or you’ve purchased rights managed images, there will always be a chance the image you’re using may be used on another book cover somewhere.
  6. Book covers aren’t permanent. You’re allowed to test and trial to see what works.

  1. EBook cover thumbnails don’t actually always need to be readable. Where do we see the thumbnails? Amazon. What else does Amazon have beside your Thumbnail? Your title and author name, right beside it.
  2. Check your ebook cover out on your Kindle and Kobo. Did you know some lighter shades of pink don’t turn up well on Kindles?echoprophecy_lindseyfairleigh_ebookandkindle
  3. If you can’t afford to hire a professional designer to create your cover, invest in a quality premade until you can. A professional cover that works with the theme of your book is better than an amateur cover that has images of your characters, scenes or plot lines.
  4. There is no ‘right-way’ with book cover design. It is an awesome, always evolving, always changing body. It’s not a machine that churns out the same stuff, just like writing. So take chances and if others don’t like it, so what? And if others do like it, so what? Do what you love.

We’re heading into another transformation in the industry right now, as authors recognize the importance of hiring professionals to help create their book, and build a team they can trust. This learning won’t stop, and I think a lot of these lessons will end up changing again, and again, just like trends. The only way to keep up is to keep our eyes open and test, test, test!

What are some things you’ve learned along the way of self-publishing? Were there any real hard knocks where you had to change everything you’d been doing?

5 questions to ask yourself to find out if you’re ready to self-publish


How do you know you're ready to self publish?How do you know if you’re ready to publish your book? You’ve been working on it for so long, but when does an author really know?

Here are 5 simple questions to ask yourself if you’re ready to be the best selling self-published author you’ve always wanted to be.

Question 1: Do I know the basics?

Do you know the basics in grammar, spelling, punctuation and form? Do you know the basics of how to tell a good story?

Your story has to be readable and enjoyable. That means you have to know how paragraphs are used and dialogue is written. Before you can paint like Picasso you have to know how to use a paintbrush and colours.
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

The Chicago Manual of Style

50 Writing Tools by Roy Peter ClarkThe Careful Writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After you have the basic function of your language down you need to be able to tell the story in a structure that your reader will enjoy. Do you understand the practice of beginning, middle and end? Does your story have conflict and resolution? It needs to have the bare minimum of narrative structure, even if it has the appears of chaos.

 

Question 2: Am I prepared to invest time, energy and money into this?

Self publishing is free but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in your book. If you want to publish a book that is of a professional standard you will have to spend months working on it, spend money hiring editors and designers and formatters, and spend energy revising and planning for every event up to publishing, and then after. Pressing ‘publish’ doesn’t mean anything if people don’t buy your book.

Question 3: Have I sought feedback from people who are not obligated to be nice to me?

seinfield_friends

Beta readers give you honest opinions. If they aren’t, you need new ones. You might have friends or family who you’ve asked for advice but no matter what you say, they’re always obligated to say something nice. What if your book really is a pile of pudding? You must find readers who will not be afraid to give you the honest critique you need, and when you find them you will do everything you can not to let them go!

Question 4: Am I out to make money, or only to share my stories with my family and friends?

Shut up and take my money!!

Authors write to share stories, but what you need to ask yourself is:

Are you sharing stories for joy, profit, or stature?

Authors who write for joy: Write for joy, do it lovingly, share it with your friends and family. If you’re only writing to share with your local community use a printer that can provide you with paperback copies, but don’t make it accessible to everyone. Print up a box to keep at home and sell personally. Authors who write for joy may not be ready for a plunge into professional publishing, as it’s much, much more than just writing.

Authors who write for profit and stature: You’re in it for the long haul, you’re prepared to learn how publishing a book works, and ready to set yourself up as a business. Yes, you need to function as a business. You’re going in it to earn money, and that’s what publishing a book is about. When you sell a product for money and expect a return, be ready for invoices, administration, marketing, customer service and multitasking.

You are now an author, marketer, business owner, book keeper, networker, administrator, and all the other hats that comes with running a business.

Question 5: Am I ready to fail?

Self-publishing an eBook successfully means making mistakes. You must be ready to guide yourself through these stormy seas with patience and discipline. When your boat overturns you will become skilled at flipping it back up and sailing on but you must be ready for that turn.

giphy

What are your initial reactions when you imagine this?

–       You sell nothing in the first six months.

–       You get four one star reviews.

–       There are major printing errors you sent out to your reviewers.

–       You must know and be able to work (consistently, not as a once off) in social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads and forums.

–       Your book is removed off Amazon because someone has complained.

Any of these could happen to you. All of them could happen to you. You have to know how to work the social network machine as a start, but being prepared for ups and downs means you have a long career of writing ahead of you. It means you won’t be deterred, frustrated or disheartened but continue to test what works better and what works best.

Be honest with yourself when thinking these questions over. Self-publishing has been branded as bad cattle but by being dedicated to their craft and finding their purpose any author can become a best seller, and your first published eBook is just the initial step!

What are some other questions you think are important to put to author’s thinking about self-publishing?

3 things you should have prepared when contacting an ebook cover designer


Do you know what you need to have prepared before contacting a designer for your eBook? It’s not like traditional publishing anymore, you have to pace yourself so it all comes together in one beautiful sweep.

  1. A manuscript.

A Manuscript for your designer

Your designer might read the manuscript, but this doesn’t have to be finished (at least, not in my case). I like reading the book I’m designing for, but I’m in it for themes and concepts. I’m not going to review it but we do need the basic ideas to work from.

  1. Ideas as to what book cover you want.

Pinterest

Pinterest gives you clarity and will help you see themes in your mess of ideas. I love Pinterest, big time. Head on over and create a ‘board’ for your book cover collection. Things to pin onto it:

–       Other book covers

–       Photos

–       Colour schemes

–       Font faces

–       Other designs, such as DVD covers/movie posters, magazines, etc…

–       Whatever images connect you with your book emotionally or mentally

  1. A deadline (or not).

Deadlines for authorsYou need to let your designer know if you’re working towards a deadline or just taking it as it comes. Self-publishers have the benefit—and curse—of publishing their book at any time they want. Some set specific deadlines while others feel the best route is one unplanned.

Whatever publishing path you take, let the people you’re working with know.


  • Your book

  • What designs you love

  • A deadline.

Three things to let your designer know, when you contact them. That’s the best way to get started so that your book gets onto the Kindle as soon as possible!

Did you have different expectations? What have other designers asked for before starting a project?