How to Create an Amazing Book Cover for Self-Publishers

self-publishing-book-cover-design

Top Tips to Create an Amazing Book Cover

We all know we shouldn’t but the majority of us do judge a book by its cover. The first thing people will see browsing through the digital shelves of Amazon or any other online book retailer is the cover. It is why many large traditional publishing companies spend thousands on trying to create a book cover that will stand out over the competition.

We have come up with some top tips on how you can design a cover that will grab your potential readers attention in a market that has many thousands of books published every week.

Consider Hiring a Professional Designer

A professional designer can be the difference between your book being looked at or skimmed over by your potential readers. They make a living creating book covers after all, and so, will understand the nuances of design. They will be able to help and guide you in creating a cover that fits in with your genre of book.

Use The Correct Typeface

With so many different fonts to choose from it can be difficult to get the right one that matches the design and idea of your cover. You will want something that is bold and that stands out above any images on your cover. Make sure to use colours that contrast well with the rest of the colours on your cover. Using more than 2 font styles can start to look messy if not done correctly.

Make sure you don’t go too small on the font size, 8pt would be a minimum. Also, any font that overlays any text or small images will also make your potential readers struggle to read it clearly.

Make sure you experiment as much as you can with the different typefaces available to you. Head over to Font Space to see more fonts available for free.

Scale Your Cover

Do you have a catchy title? Why not make your title big and bold on the cover to draw your readers attention? Maybe your an established figure in your genre, if so, having your name larger than any other text or image on your cover may work better. Whatever way you choose to have your title, name or other text and images on your cover, you want to make sure they are in different sizes.

Also, remember when your book gets trimmed that things can move tiny amounts during the process. This means any border that you have on your cover may not come out how it looks on screen. For example, a border than you design on-screen with 5mm to the edge of the book may turn out to be 4mm on one side and 6mm on the other. Not many people will notice this but it is something to bear in mind.

Keep it Simple

Don’t overthink your cover and put too much content on it. A title, subtitle a blurb on the back and an ISBN is all a cover needs to stand out. It’s how these things are put together that matters. If you overdo the design on the cover, putting in too much content then it can look a little cluttered and will give your readers too much to look at.

Highlight a Single Element

If your book is about a certain topic it could be a good idea to highlight a single element, make it pop off the cover and grab your readers attention. A bright colour on a dark background or vice versa, a single image with a plain background and a small title. There are many different ways of doing this and you can have fun experimenting.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Self-Publish Your Book

reasons-to-self-publish

‘Everyone has a book in them’

Self-publishing is becoming more and more popular every year. The number of eBooks sold through Amazon surpassed traditional publishing companies in 2015 and the gap is only increasing. Self-publishing gives authors far more control over their book than traditional publishing and this control can be the difference between your books selling little copies or a lot of copies.

Here are 5 reasons, in no particular order, why self-publishing your book may be better than going through a traditional publishing company. Remember to look into each option carefully before you make your choice on self-publishing.

Full Creative Control

Now, this may be an obvious one and something which you may have come across while researching self-publishing. By publishing your book yourself you are in full control over every aspect of the publishing process. Designing the cover, laying out the internal pages, choosing a title, deciding on the price, how to distribute.
Having all this control has its benefits but also has downsides, everything is going to fall on your shoulders and if anything starts to go wrong, it could be a lot of work for one person to rectify. Obviously, if no deadlines are set then this is less of an issue.

Faster Exposure

Traditional publishing companies can take anywhere from 12 months to over a couple years to publish your book from receiving your manuscript. Whereas going down the self-publishing route, many authors are able to get a book to market with just a couple months. However, we don’t recommend doing it this quickly, even the best authors need time for editing and proofreading, something that shouldn’t be skipped. Being able to get your book to market faster than a traditional publishing company means a faster exposure and the money in your pocket faster.

Better Royalties

One of the main reasons many people opt to go down the self-publishing route is the difference in royalties they are able to keep. Traditional publishing companies on average give the author between 10% and 20% of the list price of the book. Whereas on Amazon, for example, you can expect to receive up to 70% of the list price. Not only do you have better royalties but you will also keep the full rights of your book, such as film rights, TV shows and comic’s etc.

Greater Opportunities in Your Niche

If your genre of book is targetted for a  very niche market, the majority, if not all traditional publishing compies may not be interested in publishing your book.  After all, they are looking for the next big hit and although your book may be a hit in your niche if it doesn’t generate enough revenue for a large publishing company then it may be beneficial to venture into self-publishing.

No Rejection

A big roadblock for many first time authors is the thought of rejection of their project. Being told that the months or even years that they have spent on the book is not up to standard or doesn’t fit the bill of what a traditional publishing company requires. Many authors can stomach rejection over and over again but it is not something that anyone has to go through. A self-published author can publish what they want, when they want and how they want.

Self-publishing is not for everyone and it is something which does need to be thought about very carefully. If you decide to go down the route of self-publishing and decide to try and get your next book published traditionally, after realising all the hard work it takes to go at it alone, you may find it harder than getting your first book published.

Are you a self-published author looking to get your book printed? We have a fantastic online print calculator you can use to get estimates for your printed book. Visit our online calculator and get an instant price today – Book Printing Calculator.

6 Surefire Ways to Sell Your Book for First Time Authors

The chances are if you’re reading this you have either written your first book, about to have your book printed or you have a printed book and you’re looking to increase sales. Not everyone is going to have a huge marketing budget to put into their book but don’t worry, we have compiled a list of 5 simple ways you can increase the exposure of your book and in turn increase sales.

1. Create a website

This should be one of the first things an author should be thinking about even before their book is finished. Having a website for not only your book, but you as an author is a great way to start to build up a following of your work. You can post regular blog posts to drive traffic and future readers to your website. A simple way to get started with a website is to visit www.godaddy.com. They have plenty of services to help anyone create a perfect website.

2. Create social media pages

Social media is an important way to reach potential readers and share your work with the world. Facebook and Twitter are two great platforms for authors to use to build up a fanbase and to create a large following. For Facebook, you will need to have a personal profile and then create a Facebook Page for either you as an author or for your book. You will then be able to add updates and news to your Facebook page to keep your readers up to date and keep them interested in you and your book.  Instagram can be another great platform to build awareness of your book and yourself as an author but it will take a bit more time and effort depending on what genre you are in. As Instagram is primarily an image-based social media platform, boring images will not work. You will have to be creative with what media to put on your profile. Some great Instagram profiles to follow are; Summersdale Publishers Alarm Eighteen and The Emma Press

3. Create an email list

An email list should follow on from your website and social media pages. Offering your readers a free chapter or two for their email address is priceless. Not everyone wants to take a chance with a first-time author so offering them a free chapter or two is a great way to get them hooked on your book. Plus with their email, if you have a second book lined up then you can send out some emails to your whole email list at once letting them know of your new book. To get started with creating an email list you can go to MailChimp and then head over to Nick Stephensons blog post “What do I put in my emails” for some fantastic ideas.

4. Paid promotion (Facebook)

This is something which you will have to think long and hard about. Paid promotion can be a great way to get your book in front of many people but it can cost a lot of money if it is not done correctly. You will want to have your email list created before any paid promotion is put in place in order to maximise your return on investment. With paid promotions such as Facebook, you can promote your book through advertisements on Facebook or other social media platforms, offer them a free chapter or two to get their email on your list. With your reader’s email address, you could offer the rest of the book at a discounted price, follow up for their opinions of the book and even promote upcoming books if you think they will appeal to them.

5. Guest post on other blogs

Guest blogging can be a great way to increase exposure for your personal brand and build up your fanbase. You will want to contact other bloggers and website owners that are in your niche that have a good following and offer them some content in return for a link to your website or your social media profiles. Ideally, you will have a list of topics that you could write for them along with content on your website to show off your knowledge in your niche. From these guest posts, you will be able to have your contact information for your website and social media pages that people can follow in they like your content.

6. Engage with your readers

Lastly, and the most import is to engage with your readers and build a community in your topic or genre. Make your readers feel like they are in your inner circle and they will keep coming back for more.

Do you have a book printing project coming up? Why not head over to our instant price calculator to find out how much printing your book could cost?

A Self-Publishing Guide for First Time Authors

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At last, the late nights and early mornings have paid off. You have your manuscript finished. A text file on your computer with your best work. But now what? There is the option of contacting an agent and going down the traditional route of publishing your book or you can go down the path of self-publishing. To get more of an idea of self-publishing vs traditional publishing, take a look at our blog self-publishing vs traditional publishing.

So you have decided to self-publish your book. Fantastic. Having full control over your book can be a great feeling for a first-time author. All the decision making comes down to you. But where to start? Well, this is going to be a quick guide on how you can get your book published and available in bookshops worldwide without having to hand your manuscript over to a publishing company.

Edit Your Manuscript

For a first time author, this can seem like quite a big deal. The majority of manuscripts get rewritten a number of times. The amount will depend on your goals and a reflection of who you are. Many authors are able to publish from their first draft while others will spend years perfecting their manuscript. Famous examples for rewriting include Leo Tolstoy, who rewrote the whole of War and Peace seven times, Robert Musil who worked on The Man Without Qualities for twenty-one years and left it unfinished when he died, and Ernest Hemingway, who wrote 47 different endings for A Farewell in Arms.

Proofreading

Now is a good time to contact friends and family that are interested in your writing and ask them to read your manuscript. Having a different pair of eyes read through your book can spot out potential errors in your writing that you have missed. If you go over the manuscript yourself, if you have been heavily editing it, you may not see the potential errors that others may. If you’re not ready to have your wor over to friend or family or you want a more professional touch on your book, you can pay for a proofreader. You should aim to find a proofreader in your particular genre and try and get some feedback from other clients and get some samples of their work. A professional proofreader can be in the region of £10 to £15 per 1000 so it is a good idea to do your homework on the individual or company you use.

Typesetting and page layout

After the proofreading has been completed your manuscript should be pretty much completed and ready to be typeset. This process involves getting your manuscript from your word processing document into a press-ready PDF file. Most modern word processing software will allow you to edit your document to the correct size for printing, adjust margins, add page numbers, add headers and footers and convert this file to a PDF file. However, the software that you use will have a big impact on how the final file will look.

Take a look at the image below;

The document on the left was created with Microsoft Word and the document on the right was created with Adobe InDesign. You can see how the Word file is unable to keep consistent spacing throughout the page. Indesign, on the right, keeps the text looking neat and professional with consistent spacing throughout.

Having your book professionally typeset can vary in price depending on how many images you have in your book and what type of genre it is. Novels tend to be the cheapest with only text ranging in price from £8 to £12 per 1000 words.

Cover Design

The majority of people do judge a book by its cover and your book will be no different. You need to think long and hard about what cover will represent your book the best. If you have some basic design experience you may be able to do this part yourself, if not then it would be best to get a professional design made. Thankfully through the sheer number of self-publishing authors, cover design services have fallen in price and it is not uncommon to get a lovely cover designed for as little as £99.  In order to get a cover designed, you will need to make sure you have your final book size, final page count and have an idea of what paper you would like your book printed on. With these three things, your cover designer will be able to create the perfect cover for your book. A great place to start looking for a cover design would be either Fiverr.com or 99Designs.co.uk.

Don’t forget the finished cover design should have a few very important pieces of information, the first being a title and subtitle, obviously, but also a well-written blurb and an ISBN and barcode. The ISBN can be purchased from Nielsen and then given to your designer to create the barcode.

Putting this all together you should now have a press-ready PDF file for the internal pages and a press-ready cover file. Both of these documents can now be passed onto your book printer. As with all things the work doesn’t stop there. If your aim for your book is to get it into the market and sell copies online or through a physical book store then there are further steps you need to complete. You can read more about this in part 2 – 6 Surefire ways to sell your book – Here.

All of this can seem like hard work, especially for a first-time author stepping into the world of book publishing. There are some companies that specifically help first-time authors who are classed as self-publishing companies. They are able to guide you through the whole process of publishing your book from start to finish. Self-publishing companies will normally charge you a set fee for producing your book but will not take any of the rights and more importantly not take any of the royalties that you are entitled to from any copies that are sold.

Do you have a book printing project coming up? Why not head over to our instant price calculator to find out how much printing your book could cost?

Traditional Publishing Vs. Self-Publishing

Writing a book is a great achievement, but what do you do when it actually comes to getting your book out there? Nowadays there are many options for authors looking to publish their book that it can become a real minefield.  

We look into the two main ways which are both rather popular with authors of today; Traditional and Self-Publishing. Both have their good and bad points. One may suit one author where the other will suit another. There is no right or wrong way to getting your book out there, all that matters is what you want from it.

 

Traditional Publishing  

With traditional publishing, the author completes a manuscript, sends a query or proposal and their manuscript to a publishing house or agent. If the manuscript is first sent to an agent they will then send it on to potential publishers for the author, that is if they accept to take on the manuscript. Within a publishing house, an editor will read the manuscript and decide whether or not it is worth publishing.

If a publisher does decide to publish the authors work, they will buy the rights of the author and pay them in advance for any future royalties. Royalties being the percentage the author gets from the retail price of their book.

The publisher will then sort out all elements of the book including design, marketing and price.

Pros

  • Gives you the confidence that your writing is good enough to be published 
  • Easier to get your books in stores and shops
  • Have a professional team to back you
  • Literary prizes are more likely

Cons

  • Publishers take a percentage of your book sales
  • Slow process
  • Don’t have much control over the process
  • Only take on work that they believe is good enough
  • Low royalty rates

Self-Publishing

This type of publishing is a little different. With Self-Publishing the author is the publisher. The author has full responsibility for the book from the proofreading, to the design, to the selling. The author is in charge. People/Companies can be employed by the author to do such things with the book but all funding for the book must come from the author or in some cases authors may take part in events such as crowdfunding.

Pros

  • Have control over the whole process
  • The possibility to make more money
  • Publishing houses are likely to take more notice of self-published books
  • Higher royalties

Cons

  • Difficult
  • Sometimes isolating
  • You may find bookshops won’t accept self-published books.

Poll

We posted a poll up on our social media to see what our followers, both authors and publishers, thoughts were on the different routes of publishing. Whether they preferred Traditional or Self. The results showed there to be a 50/50 split.

One of our most loyal and long-standing customers, Goylake Publishing posted an interesting comment: “We think that books published by independent publishers and authors offer readers greater variety in terms of subject matter and story structure. It is argued that traditional publishers act as ‘gatekeepers’, but we would respectfully suggest that readers should be trusted with that role. Self-publishing has a long tradition – Dickens self-published some of his titles while many modern, well established, authors are now choosing the self-published route. As readers, we look for good books, regardless of the publisher, and we believe this trend is common amongst modern readers and will continue.”

 

Conclusion

Choosing the right publishing route is down to you. If you have the motivation and dedication to create, market and sell your book then great. If time isn’t a big issue and you feel you need more help then that’s fine too.  You just need to get a clear idea of exactly what you want from your book and what you are prepared to do.

We hope this has helped. Please share with fellow authors and give them a helping hand.

Pros & Cons of Paperbacks & Hardbacks

Tip 203- Paperback or Hardback

Paperback or hardback? That’s a question that many people will ask themselves when it comes to printing their book. We thought we would look into the pros and cons of both types to give you a helping hand in making this decision.

Paperbacks

Paperbacks are a popular choice for many. They offer a professional finish and provide a high-quality option for reduced weight and cost. Paperbacks are used widely throughout the book industry whether it be a novel, poetry, children’s book or an autobiography; they suit all.

Pros

  • Easy to carry around- they are a lot lighter than hardbacks, making them more portable.
  • Cost effective- they are the cheapest book printing and binding option out there.
  • Flexible- they can be made into any sort of vision you have. Whether it’s special paper, a specific effect on the cover or an unusual size. We will try our utmost to produce your paperback as weird and wonderful as you like it.

Cons

  • The cover may damage quicker than hardbacks- the covers on paperback are printed on a heavyweight card (not board). This means that the cover can be more prone to damages. However, we take a huge amount of care in your books from production to delivery, so damaged books are unlikely.

Hardbacks

The demand for hardbacks has grown rapidly over the past couple of years with many people choosing hardbacks for a more ‘special’ feel. With the number of choices you have with hardbacks you really can make your book your own.

Pros

  • Tend to last longer- with the thickness and quality of the cover it gives the book protection that you wouldn’t necessarily get with a paperback.
  • 2 covers in 1- if you choose to have a hardback with cloth and dustjacket it allows you to have two different styles of cover in one book.
  • Looks nicer- even a standard hardback tends to look professional and luxurious. Plus, with the added extras, you can really make it look high end.

Cons

  • Expensive- there is a lot of work that goes into making a hardback so they tend to be more expensive than paperbacks.
  • Not very practical- the weight and the extra thickness that hardbacks have makes them a heavy product to carry around.

Conclusion

In all honesty, it really depends on what you want from your book as to what form of book you go for. If you want to reduce spending and have an easily portable book then paperback is what you should go for. However, if you are looking for a more special, high end feel to the book and are not too worried about portability, then hardbacks are the way to go.

Some people decided to print both paperback and hardback. They may go for more paperbacks than hardbacks and then promote the hardbacks as being a special edition. This isn’t difficult to do as generally the text is the same in both, paperback and hardback, the cover just needs slight editing to fit the hardback.

We are happy to give you a quote and advise on paperbacks and hardbacks just get in touch.

We hope this helped if you would like more info take a look at our services page.

 

Quotes to get you writing

2018 is here and it has brought with it the annual quasi-promises people usually bear whilst entering the new year that this one is going to be different; going to be better. Sad thing is most of those promises fall through in the first month. We are pretty sure that often within these promises is the vow to write a novel, at least for some.  

A few months pass and the idea is still just, well, still just an idea. Well, we are wanting you to stop putting it off and start writing. Now is as good as time than ever, right?

You’re probably thinking  — crikey, I’m not ready for this —  but when are you ever going to be ready? Getting words down on paper can be scary, sure, but it’s a challenge you must overcome! Today, we are here to guide you with the help of some well-known writers.

They have been in your position and made it. Now it’s your turn. Capitulating is not an answer. We have turned to the writers to give you the motivation and inspiration you need to get that book started. 

Anne Frank

Anne Frank was the young girl who was in hiding during World War II. Throughout her furtive time she documented what her life was like. This happened until August 1944 when they are found and arrested. Now her diary is one of the most famous and bestselling books of all time.

C.S.Lewis

Mainly known for writing the classics The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S Lewis was one of the most influential and intellectual authors of the twentieth century.  Having written and published over 30 books throughout his lifetime and selling over 100 million copies of Narnia, which has now also been turned into three highly acknowledged films.

William Faulkner

William Faulkner was an American writer whose work ranged from novels to essays. Mainly recognised for his novels, screenplays, and short stories, Faulkner wasn’t widely known until 1949 when he received a Noble Prize in Literature “for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel.”

Stephen King

Stephen King, also known as The King of Horror, is the well decorated American writer who’s released more than fifty worldwide bestsellers. His books focus on fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, and science fiction.  Many of them we are sure you have heard of; The Shining and IT ring a bell? We think he is probably one of the best horror writers of all time. And trust us, his books are a lot scarier than the films.

J.K.Rowling

J.K.Rowling is a British novelist and screenwriter; best known for being the author of worldwide best selling books, Harry Potter. She has sold more than 400 million copies and has won multiple awards. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Rowling though. She had quite a rough and tough life but she channelled her feelings and experiences into writing Harry Potter. And look how successful they and she are now.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou; writer, poet, autobiographer, storyteller, civil rights activist, and most notably Hollywood’s first female black director. Maya’s most famous work, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is a must. A year before she passed away she was awarded an honorary Literarian award for her contributions to the literary community.

George Orwell

He is one author that gave his readers a real insight into what it would be like if the government controlled every detail of a person’s life. Many of his ideas and opinions still live on many years after his death. One of his phrases that we are sure many of you will know is ‘Big Brother is watching you.‘ George was known as a journalist, author, critic, and novelist. His novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four have both been turned into films.

Roald Dahl

Charlie and The Chocolate FactoryMatildaThe BFGJames and The Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr.Fox; any of these ring a bell? These are just a few of the beloved children’s book Roald Dahl wrote. Dahl has been described as the Worlds No.1 storyteller who is loved for his creative and memorable characters. During his lifetime he stated that his mission was to ‘amaze, thrill and inspire.’ Even to this day, his books are still a popular choice for children and parents.

R.L.Stine

“I just like to scare people” one of Stine’s most recognised quotes. Known best for his Goosebumps books, which in 2015 was turned into a film starring Jack Black as R.L.Stine. He has sold over 400 million copies with many of them being translated into 35 languages. 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the Goosebumps series.

George R.R. Martin

Some of you may recognise this man as being the author of A Song of Ice and Fire which the award-winning and very popular TV series, Game of Thrones was based upon. His work has previously been compared with J.R.R. Tolkien’s but with a much more darker, grittier feel to it. People say his books are the ultimate fantasy for grown-ups.

Dr.Seuss

Dr.Seuss, author and illustrator.  He is an all-time favourite when it comes to Children’s books. Some of his bestsellers include The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and How The Grinch Stole Christmas (one of our favourites). Many of his books have been made into films and remakes.

Agatha Christie

Born in the local town of Torquay, Agatha Christie was a writer, playwright, and a great surfer (bet you weren’t expecting that). She is best known for her detective novels and popular characters: Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Her novels were a huge success and so were her plays; The Mousetrap is the World’s longest running play.

Ann Patchett

Some of you may not have heard of Ann Patchett. She is an American author who has written for many publications. In 2011 Ann opened the independent bookstore, Parnassus Books with friend and publisher Karen Hayes. Her most well-known work includes Bel Canto, State of Wonder, and The Patron Saint of Liars which was turned into a film adaption/TV film. Ann also received the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian novelist, poet, literary critic, inventor, and environmental activist. She also made the shortlist for the Booker Prize five times. Recently the film and novel The Handmaid’s Tale were made into a TV version which was hailed the best TV show of the year in 2017.

 

We hope that these quotes and background stories have given you the motivation to get that book written. Remember if you ever need your book printed or need ideas on your books looks give us a call or visit our website.

Want to give your fellow writers some inspiration share this blog on social media.