Sunday, 27 May 2012

Get Yourself Covered

I did promise that this week we would take a further look at Google+. We'll come to that in a moment but first let's consider an area of publishing that many of us aspiring authors neglect - the cover.

Have you ever taken time to browse through Amazon's Kindle bookstore? What's the first thing that attracts you to a book? Isn't it always the cover? Images are so powerful. I've often purchased a books simply because of the impact the cover had on me visually. Often the contents didn't match the quality of the packaging but the cover had by then done its job.

Why is it then that while we sweat and agonise over ensuring we produce quality writing that we overlook the one thing that can have the most influence in creating sales for our book?

The answer is probably twofold:

  1. We think we can create a pretty good cover of our own thank you very much.
  2. So, why spend money on hiring someone to design a cover?
For me the answer is in the cover image above. It was designed by James Junior.

James is a Writer and Designer from NYC. Knowing full well that a cover can make or break the sales figures, and ultimately the exposure, of an eBook I asked James to design a cover for the book I am currently writing. James has designed many Kindle eBook covers and other cover formats. If you need a custom designed cover for your eBook then just visit James' website & cover portfolio.
Here are a few of James' cover designs:
Working with a professional like James not only makes you feel more professional yourself but when the finished cover is delivered it can have a really motivating effect. Suddenly I know what my book will look like once it is published on Amazon and this adds impetus to my writing simply because I want the contents to reflect the quality of the cover itself.
Tragically there are a lot of really good books out there that no one will ever read because one glance at the cover says, "This guy couldn't even be bothered to create a half decent cover so what must the book be like?" Basically you're dead in the water without ever getting a word read.
This is a kind of double whammy because if you've noticed Amazon actually make the first couple of pages of your book available to potential customers. This is a fantastic opportunity to grab people by the throat - metaphorically speaking of course. How many are even going to take the opportunity offered them if your cover simply does not scream READ ME? 
The maxim, "You have to speculate to accumulate." is still true. What is even truer is that if you don't speculate on a decent book cover your chances of accumulating diminish dramatically - but that's your choice.
Initially I wondered if a designer like James living in New York City would be able to provide a cover that reflected the story I was writing. Billy is a ten year old living in one of the economically deprived valleys in South Wales whose life changes dramatically when he discovers the truth behind some of the old photos in the Family album.
"It was old. Anyone could see that, even if Mum had managed to make a better job of brushing off the dust and cobwebs. The cover was brown leather, dark and mottled with age.
 “Is it a book of spells?” Billy imagined the scuff marks that pitted the surface having been caused by long curved nails.

“Not exactly,” said Mum smiling, “though there may be a picture of a witch inside.” She pushed the book towards Billy.

For a long moment Billy sat very still as it lay on the table before him like an ancient doorway beckoning him to pass through if he dare. It smelt of mould and decay and Billy hesitated to reach out and touch it. He wondered from what creature the leather had been obtained. Probably dragon's underbelly he guessed. “Are you going to open it or are we going to sit here all night?” Mum was getting impatient so Billy took a deep breath and reached out. "

My fears were groundless. James obviously did some serious research before designing the cover. Billy was almost exactly as I had imagined him. It was almost uncanny. So, big thanks to James, I now feel like a proper author!
I suppose the question is do you value yourself enough as a writer to get a professional presentation for your book? If you don't then no one else will.
Right, as promised a quick word about Google+.
Some people found the previous two articles helpful but to do justice to the subject will take longer than a few posts. Consequently I have been busy writing Google+ eXplosion.
Google+ eXplosion is not written for corporate businesses intent on marketing their brand on the new Google+ Pages feature. This ebook doesn't talk much about this new feature although I may write about it in the future.
Googe+ eXplosion is really about giving aspiring entrepreneurs and authors a quick, simple and powerful way to connect with potential customers. Forget opt-in pages, landing pages, web-sites, auto responders and all the rest of the internet marketing essentials for now and give yourselves a head start with Google+. It is definitely the best place for the absolute novice to start getting results.
Google+ eXplosion will be going live early in June.
In the next post I'll tell you about the latest edition to the Kindle Direct Publishing armoury that has allowed me to illustrate every step of Google+ eXplosion. What a great tool! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Just followed your blog, nice blog full of interesting content.

    I have my first ebook out this week, it has been on journey..

    Follow my blog as well,

    My facebook page is

    My story is based on a true story,hope to have further chats with you on twitter.....