Is Your Book Cover Too Cluttered?

Writers love words. They often try to convey as much information as possible in words. This is great for a story or book, but not for marketing material.

Marketing material is all about catching someone’s attention. Good marketing or advertising copy draws the viewer in creating interest and intrigue so that the viewer wants to learn more. It doesn’t answer all the questions. It simply whets the appetite.

A book cover is marketing material. Like all advertising or marketing copy, its purpose is to draw a reader in.

One BookCrash reviewer recently said the following about a book she reviewed:

“The cover is attractive as well and I’m one of those who pays attention to such things. This one is nice and clean; not all cluttered up.”

The most attractive designs whether architectural or graphic are generally uncomplicated and streamlined. Your book cover should also be clean and uncluttered.

Take a look at the following two book covers. Which one does your eye gravitate to?

Notice whether it is the simpler or the more complex design. Is it the one with more white space?

The best way to ensure that your book cover is uncluttered is to limit the amount of words you put on the cover and make ample use of white space. White space simply refers to areas of a design that are not filled in with text, images or embellishments.

Proper use of white space focuses the viewer’s eye to the key elements of your design.
Think “less is more” when designing or choosing a design for your next book cover.

Leave empty spaces and ensure that your book’s cover does not look cluttered. Uncluttered book covers are more appealing.

Consider the following four design elements to help keep your book’s cover uncluttered and engaging:

  1. Use white space to create focus.
  2. Use spacing between letters in the title.
  3. Make one aspect of your design prominent so the eye knows where to focus.
  4. The title and picture should be easily seen from a few feet away and in a thumbnail sketch.

Your book’s cover is your book’s number one marketing tool. Cleverly designed and uncomplicated book covers grab readers’ attention.

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Book Cover Design Tools to Know
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Is Your Book a Work of Beauty?

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Making Smart Use of Your Marketing Dollars

The number of books for sale every year grows exponentially. Add to that, the books previously published don’t vanish. With digital and print-on-demand technology, books remain available for sale in the cloud indefinitely.

Consider these numbers of books published independently from just four years:

  • 2016: 786,935 books
  • 2015: 727,125 books
  • 2014: 599,721 books
  • 2013: 460,064 books

This means that each year about a half-million books get added to the existing books available for sale. So, this year, there will be another half-million more books competing for readers’ attention.

Since the reading rate in America is holding steady (and has been since 2012), while the number of books is growing exponentially, this means that the ability to attract any given reader’s attention with your title diminishes exponentially each year.

Any time competition heats up, the cost to compete increases also. For example, it is becoming more expensive to reach readers with both Facebook Ads and Amazon Ads as these ads have gained in popularity. Again, thousands of Indie authors, along with traditional publishers, are using these ads and competing for readers’ attention.

The folks over at Written Word Media put it this way:

“The upshot of this increased competition is that authors will have to spend significantly more time on marketing to maintain the results they saw in 2017.”

The CMO of Reedsy, Ricardo Fayet, predicts that as Indie publishing becomes more competitive and requires more and more business and marketing skills, many Indie authors will experience marketing burnout.

I believe that it is more important than ever for Indie authors to be connected to an association or group that provides them support in their efforts. Staying on top of trends and making smart use of your marketing dollars is a must moving forward.

If you are an Independent author or small publisher producing Christian books, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is a resource for you. Membership is just $90 for the calendar year and provides you great return value including:

  1. Cutting-edge information and training on marketing your books.
  2. Cooperative marketing opportunities to save you money.
  3. Discounts on advertising and other services.
  4. Free title uploads and revisions for IngramSpark.

Here is the deal. If you are publishing a book via IngramSpark, the cost to upload your title (print and ebook) is $49. If you find mistakes and upload two revisions, that cost is another $50. So, the cost to print and distribute your book via IngramSpark ends up costing you a total of $99.

Instead, you can double the return for that money by joining Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). With your membership, you will get your book printed and distributed via IngramSpark for free plus get all the other great benefits of membership with CSPA.

It’s better than a two-for-one deal. Don’t miss out. Join CSPA today at http://www.christianpublishers.net.

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Five Trends Authors Should Know for 2018
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Are You Thinking Like an Entrepreneur?

You may not think of yourself as an entrepreneur, but if you have independently published a book, you are.

I often tell people that every book is like a start up business. A book needs a mission statement, a marketing plan, and a budget. As the producer of a book, these are your responsibility, making you an entrepreneur. Are you thinking like one?

Successful entrepreneurs have a number of things in common. These individuals have a way of thinking and acting that is different from other people. The good news is that anyone can learn to think and act like an entrepreneur and reap the benefits. Following are six distinct traits of entrepreneurs.

1. Have Passion

Entrepreneurs tend to be highly passionate about their work. In truth, this passion is what often propels them to success. After all, passion is contagious. As an author, no one else is going to be as passionate about your book as you are. Don’t expect others to sell your book for you. As the author, you are the one with the belief in your message. Let your energy shine through when you talk with others.

2. Willing to Take Risks

Little is gained without risk. Entrepreneurs have to be willing to take risks to move their business forward. As an author, both publishing and marketing your book involve risks. Sometimes you have to risk money for advertising and promotion with no guarantee that you will have a return on your money. Be willing to take risks, but be wise about the risks you take. Do your homework to minimize your losses.

3. Network with Others

Business is all about relationships. Solid relationships are the pathway to success. After all, the number one reason people buy a book is because they are familiar with the author. The more you work on building relationships with readers, the wider your audience will be for your book. Building relationships with other authors can also help pave the way for more success. Collaboration is a powerful tool.

4. Think Outside the Box

Entrepreneurs are creative problem solvers. They are able to apply unconventional approaches to overcome challenges. As an author, your challenge is to get your book noticed. This takes creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Being able to brainstorm creative techniques for your book promotion strategies is important.

5. Ready for Roadblocks

Entrepreneurs understand that they will face problems and challenges. Being mentally prepared to deal with these setbacks is crucial for success. Life and business are not easy. As an author, you will run into roadblocks and become frustrated when your efforts don’t produce fruit. A mindset that is ready to overcome challenges will serve you well.

6. Are Determined

Determination is all about the firmness of your purpose. Determined individuals don’t easily give up. They stick it out for the long haul. Entrepreneurs know they must do hard work to succeed. Determination will get you where brains and brawn cannot. So, be determined, be resolved to do what it takes to get your book and message to the people who need it.

I encourage you to incorporate these six traits into your life and act like the entrepreneur you are. With God’s help, you can succeed.

Related Posts:
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What Are You Learning?

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Photo courtesy of David McEachan.

Social Media Predictions for 2018

Last month, I shared “Five Trends Authors Should Know for 2018”. One of those trends is that video will continue to dominate engagement on the Internet.

In fact, short video content generated the most engagement in 2017. This month, Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) monthly newsletter for Members of the association contains an article on strategies for using video in your marketing efforts. Two statistics shared in this article include:

  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
  • Video posts on Facebook have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts.

If you use social media to build your audience, take a look at this infographic “Social Media Predictions for 2018” by Social Media Today. It contains predictions for each of the following social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Note that a focus on video is mentioned for most channels.

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Five Trends Authors Should Know for 2018
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How to Make Your Social Media Interactions More Fruitful

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Three Tips for Selling Books to Millennials

Maybe you are wondering “Why so much emphasis on Millennials?”

Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, form the biggest generation in U.S. history, even larger than the Baby Boomer generation. Millennials are moving into their prime spending years, and, as such, command a good percentage of purchases, including book purchases. Therefore, it is important to understand what drives this generation and how to best reach them with your marketing message.

Do you want to sell your books to Millennials? Then consider these three characteristics of this generation and adjust your marketing accordingly.

1. Millennials are readers.

Reports from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) and Pew Research reveal that individuals aged 18 to 35 outmatch other age groups in the number of books purchased and read each year. Millennials are also more likely to visit a library than other generations. A study by Pew Research found that 53% of Millennials used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months.

This is good news for authors. However, just because Millennials read does not mean that they will read your book. Keep in mind that Millennials are also socially conscious. They aren’t so much concerned about the product, they want to know the back story. When marketing to Millennials share with them the back story to your book. Hook them with the uniqueness of your book and its message and how it relates to the things they are most concerned about.

2. Millennials are social.

This generation is connected via social networking sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. This is their primary means of communication. This generation knows what their peers are reading and purchasing. Social influence is a big factor in what Millennials choose to purchase.

However, Millennials are not fans. They want to be active participants. They want to be part of the conversation and have influence. To reach this group, you need to show up where they hang out on social media. Join the conversation and invite them to interact with you. Respect their intelligence and ask for their input.

3. Millennials are bargain shoppers.

Millennials get marketing. They grew up with it. They are smart and don’t fall for the usually marketing tricks. Millennials want bargains. Over half (57%) compare prices while shopping. This generation wants maximum convenience at the lowest cost. After all, they have huge student loan debt.

When selling your books to Millennials, offer them a bargain. Give them a coupon or discount that they can make use of.

Have you had success in reaching Millennials? If so, I would love to hear what has worked for you.

Related Posts:
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Millennials: A Substantial Market
Are Millennials Buying Your Books?

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Photo courtesy of Zachary Nelson.