Today we are featuring an article by Amber, owner and co-creator of Me, My Shelf and I blog, MMSAI Designs, and Book Nerd Tours. Amber has a lot of great insights about the art of marketing and selling eBooks, and the eBook self-publishing world in general, so we’ve asked her here to shake some sense into you. She wants to share some wisdom, gained through years of experience with Independent Authors, hopeful that it will rub off on at least a few of you.
WHY YOUR COVER MATTERS
I’m going to tell you something that might come as a shock to you, and maybe sound even a little harsh. But it’s the truth and frankly someone needs to say it. No matter how well your book is written or how intriguing your synopsis is, no one is going to even think about buying your book if you have a poorly crafted cover.
No one is going to even think about buying your book if you have a poorly crafted cover.
I know, I know, we constantly spout the phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ but let’s face it, when it comes to using this phrase about actual books, and not as just a vague mantra about life, everyone really does judge a book by its cover. Book Buyers. Book Readers. Book Bloggers. Book Sellers.
Think about it, it’s the books first impression. When someone is scrolling through an eBook store, what do they see? Not the synopsis, not an excerpt. They see the cover. Your cover is the difference between someone clicking on your book to see that masterfully crafted synopsis, and them scrolling past and never thinking another thought on it again. First impressions are everything and if you are not using the cover to your advantage, you have no one to blame for poor book sales but yourself.
Independent Authors have a wonderful opportunity that traditionally published authors don’t – they have 100% full control over their cover art. Do you know how many traditionally published authors would kill to have even a tiny say in their cover?
Independent authors constantly waste this opportunity by looking at their cover as a way to save money. Instead of spending a few days looking around the millions of able bodied and extremely well priced graphic designers on the internet, they blow the dust off that version of Paint Shop Pro that hasn’t been used since Madonna had her last top 40 hit, and put something together themselves.
Independent authors constantly waste this opportunity by looking at their cover as a way to save money.
These very same people who would never consider doing heart surgery because they weren’t trained as a doctor. People who wouldn’t even entertain the idea of teaching an advanced English class because they do not possess an English degree. These very same people are more than willing to jump into the shoes of a Graphic Designer without batting an eyelash and think they can do that job, maybe not as well, but well enough. In any job, “well enough” is never a good option and it never works.
Not only can this be detrimental to your book sales, but quite possibly to yourself personally. Did you know nearly all photos on the internet are copyright protected in some fashion? If you’re just grabbing things willy-nilly you could get sued. And that if you are buying stock images, you could be wasting money. A designer already has accounts with all these stock places, they get the images for far less than you would and generally they come as part of the cost you pay said designer!
I know you believe you book is great, and if people could just read it they would love it. I don’t doubt you – but let me share with you something to think about before you dismiss the thought that the marketing that comes along with a book cover isn’t as important as I make it seem. Before you fully subscribe to the idea your writing style alone will carry your career remember this: JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter Series published a book under a pen name recently. Even her fantastic and multi-award winning writing could not sell more than 1500 copies of that book in 6 months. When it was leaked she was in fact the author her sales jumped 500,000% in 48 hours. That day JK helped prove that writing doesn’t sell books – marketing does. You’re not JK Rowling, yet. Your name alone won’t sell your books, and it’s not ever going to if people don’t want to read them in the first place.
That day JK helped prove that writing doesn’t sell books – marketing does. You’re not JK Rowling, yet.
And make sure to stop by the Art Writers group if you need help with your cover!
What makes a self published book popular? How can an indie author create a buzz surrounding their work – or better yet, make it go viral? Sometimes it can be the right combination of self promotion and a bit of luck. But at BookRix, we don’t encourage our members to wait around for luck to strike. Self publishing is best when you have a plan in place. We’ve touched on various marketing opportunities, both before and after you self publish your book on previous blogs (How to Write Effective Book Descriptions: A Guide for Self-Published Authors, How To Have Successful eBook Sales as a Self-Published Author & Be Active On BookRix), but today we have something else that can help further your success.
An essential part of marketing your indie book is getting people to read it. Having your book read is fantastic, but in this scenario, let’s try to target the type of reader who is inclined to write a review. Book reviews serve as a form of promotion in themselves. When someone stumbles across a book with positive reviews, it often influences their decision to read or purchase it, thus increasing sales. Indie author Madeline Sheehan says her eBook sales grew drastically when her books were reviewed by online bloggers: “Cocaine & Cupcakes Book Blog and Totally Booked had gotten a hold of Undeniable [her third novel]. They loved it, they promoted it, and they contacted me for an interview, which led to Maryse’s Book Blog picking it up for review, which also loved it. All three of those blogs have huge, dedicated followings and after they reviewed Undeniable, I watched in awe as my sales skyrocketed.”
Take it from someone who has been there and done it themselves. In Madeline’s case, these book blogs found her book. But a lot of book bloggers take submissions! This week we came across The Book Blogger Directory, a wonderful site that categorizes bloggers by the book genre they enjoy reading and reviewing. Take a look at some of the blogs listed within the genre you write. Most of these bloggers have a Submissions link where you can see their requirements for book reviews. Don’t be discouraged if some of the blogs are no longer active or if the blogger cannot accept submissions because they’ve been inundated with books. Just move onto the next blog and see what you can do to submit your book.
If you don’t feel your work is ready to be reviewed by bloggers, use our BookRix community for feedback and suggestions. Remember, our community is filled with over 500,000 indie reading and writing enthusiasts who love to help.
We Love Indie Publishing!
Getting published by a traditional publishing house these days is tough. Ask any writer about their publishing experience and you’ll hear a variety stories with poor results. The process can induce nerves and anxiety, even for those who have a thick skin. But when you think about celebrities and the famous people of the world, it’s hard to imagine them on the receiving end of a rejection letter from a publishing house. After all, they’re popular. Don’t people want to read about them? That’s what we thought. But yesterday we learned about Patti Davis, Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s daughter, who struggled to find approval with her latest book. Although she sings her literary agents praises in interviews, she says she was unable to get a book deal for her latest book Til Human Voices Wake Us. This fictional piece focuses on a mother who falls in love with her sister-in-law while mourning the loss of her husband.
But this wasn’t Patti Davis’ first literary rodeo. She penned her first book Home Front back in 1986. Unfortunately, it was not well received. This was rumored to have been caused by her families’ political involvement. Since then she has written 8 more books. Her struggle with publishing Til Human Voices Wake Us was the motivating factor behind self publishing. “With each of my traditionally published books”, says Patti, “I felt like I was dropping off my child in a strange city, in the senseless murder district, with, ‘Hope you make it’”. Sadly, many authors are familiar with this feeling.
BookRix was created to give writers a platform to publish and distribute their work while having a sense of control. Self publishing also eliminates the waiting game many encounter with traditional publishing houses. Getting your book out there shouldn’t be that hard. And when people, even famous people, are taking control of their book, it’s really encouraging.
“There is now a boundary line in my career separating being conventionally published and self published”, Patti says. “And I’m very much at peace on this side of that boundary line.”
Good for you, Patti. Your determination is commendable!
With the weekend approaching, that means more reading time. So let’s take a moment to focus on BookRix author Stanley McQueen and his witty tales of the people within the Muddy Fork community. He has penned a variety of enjoyable eBooks on our site. Today we recommend Mail Order Bride.
Willie North is a successful, hardworking pig farmer, known all around Muddy Fork as a kind man and a good neighbor. However, due to his weight and looks, Willie couldn’t attract a woman, no matter how hard he tried. He was the only single man in Muddy Fork, so in an act of desperation, he pays $1000 for a mail order bride. When word spreads, the whole of Muddy Fork is at the train station to greet her. Will she turn out just as he imagined, or will he end up with a broken heart? A Muddy Fork Short Story.
The success of a previously unknown indie author inspires us. As writers, we love to hear a good rags to riches tale, especially when it relates to self-published indie authors. We want to believe that if our book is good enough, and if we try hard enough, we’ll sell our book and maybe, just maybe, be able to make a career out of writing. Imagining that day when we can finally fill out the form as “CAREER: Author” helps us get through anything, even rejection and writer’s block.
So there is one thing that I can’t understand: Why don’t indie authors support one another. If you’re a writer, why don’t you buy books from your peers? Sure, buying a New York Times Best Seller is showing that author that you care, but in all honesty, they aren’t noticing one more sale. If you buy a book by a self-published indie author, they are going to jump up and down and celebrate that sale. You could even join their blog and send them a message and you’ll hear back. They have no other reason to respond to your comment, other than the simple fact that they are grateful.
I’m not using the H word here… (ahem, hypocrisy), but in all honesty, if we’re not buying indie books, and more specifically self-published books, then why should we expect anyone to buy our books when we publish them? Find that diamond in the rough and be the first to discover the new and great authors that are out there, right now, waiting for you to buy their books.
SHOW A LITTLE INDIE LOVE!
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