Thursday, September 18, 2014

Don't Doubt Others When It Comes to Publishing a Cover

I was working with two of my co-authors and now that the books have been sent to the editors, there was more work which needed to be done.  It's not hard to write a book but it's a lot harder to decide on book covers.  In a way we needed others to have a good look at it, and take some time to think about it.

For the book Fan Ignition, we found this particular cover to be "the one" it works for us, and it gives a good idea of what we are looking for in a book.  Since it is about fan fiction the most important part is to give the reader our ideas and our story.

We did try to choose from about 10 different covers, from  simple candle showing up to a pen on fire, to a black cover with a flame, but this seemed to be the best and held the most meaning to our cover previewers.
With the other book, I work with my blogging partner, Sabrina, from Things About Transylvania, and we had three to choose from.  We also used the method of having people look it over to see if this worked for them or not, so the risk was decreased.

We gave them three choices: one, or two or three and we asked them which one of these should be the cover and why?

The results were interesting, most people liked the last choice, number three because it gave a good sense of what the book on Transylvania was about.  It gave them a good grasp of what too look for and what we wanted to show a potential reader.  Out of the ten people we asked, nine loved the last one, and one said that number one should be the choice.

We asked them why not number two: for most people, it was too busy.  It looked very much like someone had thrown it together and didn't want to spend the needed time working on a cover, which probably meant they weren't keen on trying to write a great book either.  This is one of these times when it became important to find out exactly what didn't work with this cover and what did work.  For most people, the blue was a sticking point.  

A cover colour can be changed.  That's not a problem.  For others, the majority, the problem was it was too busy, you could not tell what the picture was in the background the cover didn't show it.  

The last one is by far the favourite of all of them.  It showed the famous landmark, Bran Castle in all of its glory, and had a bit of a wintery feel to it.  The front was also much easier to read, and the potential reader can get an idea about it very quickly.  

What made people like it the most, was it was bold, but also very simple.  Most people liked the cover, and liked that it was simple.

When we asked why number one- itself just as simple- wasn't as liked, someone said to them it was too simple, there was nothing that drew them to the book, the picture in the last one drew them there, and made them want to pick it up and read it.

No matter how we felt about our books, it is important to let someone else have a say.  I am pleased with the last cover, and it seems it is the best of the group, but now, we are going to let our readers have their own say on it as well.

So tell us which of these three you like, and why.

Friday, September 12, 2014

One Book = More Risk?

We've all heard a comment to the effect of "wow, you've published a book? When will the next one be out?" Sounds like they have a lot of confidence in your work, but it is natural that there needs to be another book coming out sooner or later.

We've all also heard the comment to the effect of "Oh, you've published a book? Is it going to be your only one or are you writing a series?"  This comment tends to make a writer wonder if it is a risky thing to publish only one book.

Either way, both comments can make you feel that you need to write and publish another book.  For some writers, this isn't the case, they can feel like one book and done — they just have a book to publish and the rest is not needed, they are the part-time writers (in the case of this blog post).  Others, who only planned to write a book might feel they need to write a series, or more books when they weren't planning on doing this in the first place.  This is true with self-publishing and with traditionally published books.

One Book does equal more risk if you are living a life of writing.  All books have a life cycle, with some being longer than others, but sales of books end at some point.  We might remember Charles Dickens or Jane Austin, but there were countless other writers out there, and once you have a book of theirs, the chances are almost nothing that you will buy the same title again. (In my house we have two Pride and Prejudice, so there is such a thing as forgetting you already own a book.)

If you are writing for a living, this means over time, you will need another book to cover what expenses you have, because your last book has already been sold to your smaller networks, and you might not have the powerful word of mouth other authors have.  In my own case, I learned from a marketer family and friends are the worst people to count on for spreading the word about: author signings or books in general.  I have to agree with this statement since once the book was sold, or they had done their part, nothing more came from them.  They aren't lazy, per say, but they do not care about my book.  



When the next one comes, these same people will be "excited" and "thrilled" for me, and will buy a book, but will not go much farther.  I will even bet my own money and suggest the people who have lent a hand in making the next book a reality will not help in the least.  Jordan and I have a book in the works— about blogging. I also have two others almost ready to be published.  I'm not worried about them in so far it creates something more with this blog, and my own career as a writer.  This is me being a responsible writer in looking towards the future, but knowing and understanding the past and making it work for me.


One book also is a money risk.  You have tapped out of your smaller networks, and you might even be tempted to pay for some advertising, but again, this will put a drain on your finances, after all money is king, and the more you have the more time you will have to spend on your writing.  One book in this case won't cut it.  Even now, as much as people complain about authors (Stephen King or Kiera Cass come to mind) who consistently write books, they understand the need to publish another "bestseller" or a book in general to keep audiences interested in their writing.  They understand that every book has a lifespan and a trilogy or just sitting back won't cut it, they have to continue to write to earn money over time.  They are not great writers, but they are smart writers with their outlook on writing.

Yes, one book does equal more risk, if you plan on making writing your career.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Risky Self-Publishing?

While I was busy pounding away at my keyboard in the hopes my work will be done on time, a friend of mine called me.  After the normal "how do you do?" he asked me why I would be so risky?

I don't consider myself to be a risky person, but I humoured him for a bit, until I finally asked him to explain why I was risky? He is a bit definition fan, and told me according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary I am a risky person because I write.  Oh, this makes a lot of sense to me, and I will admit to having the 2014 Guide to Self-Publishing near my desk, but I am sure I am not a risky person.

Or maybe, I have become immune to the risks of self-publishing since I have been working in the field for a long while, and what goes up must come down as the saying goes.  Amazon believes there is money to be made with self-publishers, so there is a bit less of a risk now to publish something and sell it online.

First thing is defining what risky means: involving the possibility of something bad or unpleasant happening : involving risk.

If the possibility of something unpleasant happening is a part of self-publishing, then yes, it is a risky endeavour, but with knowledge and experience there is always less risk.  I learned having an editor is an important part in avoiding the roller coaster like highs and lows.  I've also learned to trust the experience of others when it comes to learning about something I am not sure of, or simply don't know about.  This is a smart move when there is risky business going on— or anything to do with money.


To me, risky self-publishing is when you can be sure that the money you spend will never be rewarded in any way.  If you publish a book with Author House, or iUniverse or Xlibris, and spend $1,500 can you be sure that your royalty will eventually allow you to break even? Or, if you self-publish a niche market book will this happen as well?

I had to admit to my friend I was a bit of a risk taker, but I think that if you continue to self-publish and learn about what works, and what doesn't work, you will eventually find that there is always a small bit of risky self-publishing.  This isn't because of your writing, but the nature of living a life of writing. 


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