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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How to Become an Indie Author

One study shows that 80% of people feel they have a book inside of them. If you have a book inside of you that is waiting to come out, now is a great time to make your dream come true.

Independent publishing is growing. The cost to produce a book is within the average person’s reach, and with the Internet, marketing opportunities are right at your fingertips.

So, becoming an independent author is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Simply write your book, publish it, and then start selling. Wait—is it really that easy?

Sadly, some new indie authors fall into this belief system. These authors fail to learn what is required to produce a quality book that resembles books published by traditional publishing houses. Then they get frustrated when their book doesn’t sell.

If you are thinking about publishing a book as an indie author, I encourage you to gain the knowledge you need to produce a quality book that meets industry standards and glorifies God. Here are two ways you can get that information:

1. Attend my “Going Indie” seminar at the upcoming Write to Impact Lives Conference.

The Write to Impact Lives Conference will be held in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, on February 9 to 10, 2018. I will teach a four-hour session on Friday afternoon that will cover everything you need to know to publish an industry-standard book. The seminar will cover:

  • Three things to do before you publish your book.
  • Preparing your manuscript for publishing including editing, interior layout and design, and your book cover design.
  • Publishing your book affordably.

If you do not live near Philadelphia, you have another option to get this great information.

2. Become a Member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Membership in Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is open to individuals who have published or are considering publishing a book. You do not have to have already published a book to join the association.

Members of CSPA have access to on-demand seminars covering all the information you need to publish an industry standard book. CSPA Members also have access to a Checklist for Publishing a Professional-Looking Book. Additionally, as a Member of Christian Small Publishers Association, you have access to free title setup and revisions with IngramSpark, a print-on-demand service that also provides distribution for your book.

Membership in CSPA is just $90 for the 2018 calendar year. You can join today on CSPA’s website.

Make 2018 the year you indie publish that book you have been wanting to complete!

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All Good Things…

It’s a familiar phrase: All good things must come to an end.

Sadly, another good thing has come to an end in the world of book publishing.

Since 2007, Goodreads has provided an online community for book lovers. This social networking site allows readers to catalog books they have read, keep lists of books they want to read, provide reviews of books they have read, talk about books they are reading, and enter contests to win free books. For authors, Goodreads is a wonderful place to connect with readers, gain wider exposure for books, and potentially garner more book reviews.

Up until the beginning of this year, the Goodreads book giveaway program was a free program for all—both the author giving a book away and the reader receiving the book. Starting January 9, Goodreads’ new policy goes into effect making this book giveaway program a “pay to play” arrangement.

Moving forward, to place your book into a Goodreads’ book giveaway contest will cost you $119 (if you want premium exposure, you can pay $599).

With the change to a paying program, Goodreads now allows authors to giveaway either a print copy of the book or a Kindle version of the book (remember, Goodreads is owned by Amazon). They have also added a few additional features including:

  • Readers who enter a giveaway automatically have the book added to their Want-to-Read list.
  • The author’s followers and everyone who has already added the book to their Want-to-Read list get a notification about the giveaway.
  • Eight weeks after your Giveaway ends, winners receive an email from Goodreads to remind them to rate and review the book.

I believe that one reason Goodreads has implemented this pay-to-play policy is because the number of book giveaways on their site has grown exponentially as the number of independently published books has grown over the past few years.

In creating a pay-to-play program, Goodreads can keep the number of giveaways contests running at one time to a more reasonable level. My most recent count showed that on one day in December, Goodreads was running 2,700 book giveaways. In other words, as a Goodreads member, I could enter to win 2,700 separate book giveaways.

The beauty of the Goodreads free giveaway contests was that they allowed authors to gain exposure for their books for free. Book discovery is a huge challenge for independently published authors—one that will only become greater as the number of books published continues to grow.

Sadly, there are no quick and surefire methods to ensuring that your book is discovered by dozens of readers. I believe that the best advice for promoting a book was given by King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 11:6:

“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

Heed this advice. Do a little of this and a little of that, and slowly people’s awareness of your book will grow.

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Photo courtesy of Skitterphoto.

A Little Yeast…

“Please note that if I review this book, I would have to give it a 2 star based on its poor punctuation and grammar. The story is great and wonderful, but the writing is sub-par.”

“For the story content and the impact it had on me, I would definitely award this book 5 stars. But, I could not give it 5. Sadly, the book is riddled with typos, wrong words, formatting mistakes, misspellings, and other editing issues that kept jerking me out of the story and making me wish the publisher had edited it properly.”

I cringe when I read comments like these from book reviewers. Indie publishing has come a long way in shedding the stigma attached to it. This stigma said that self-published books were sub-par. Poor covers, bad editing, and mediocre content is what people expected from these books.

Fortunately, the stigma attached to self-publishing is fading. However, every time a book reviewer writes a statement like the ones above, indie publishing takes a hit.

I often feel like a broken record because I repeat myself so much about this issue. If you choose to publish a book yourself, professional editing, layout, and cover design is a must. If your book is a Christian book, it not only has an impact on God’s reputation, it also has an impact on the reputation of indie published books.

After all, Paul says in I Corinthians 5:6: Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Is your yeast good or bad?

I interact with a lot of indie authors. Many are frustrated because they have trouble selling their books. However, I find that often many of the authors that vent this frustration did not take the care or money to have their books properly edited.

Indie publishing is an incredible gift. We live in a time when almost anyone can afford to publish a book. But, just because you can publish a book doesn’t mean you should. Before you decide to publish, be sure that have done your homework so that you know what an industry-standard book looks like and you know the basics involved in promoting and marketing a book to readers.

Part of the mission of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is to strengthen small publishers and independent authors in the Christian marketplace. One way CSPA does this is by providing tools and information to help you produce quality books.

Members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have access to the on-demand seminar “Create a Professional-Looking Book” as well as the “Checklist for Publishing a Professional-Looking Book.”

You can join CSPA for just $90 for the 2018 calendar year and have access to this great information and more. Join today at http://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/become-a-member.

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5 Free Tools Every Author Can Use

Limited budgets. Most of us live on them. We have limited dollars to spend on publishing and marketing a book.

The good news is that publishing a book is now very affordable, and promoting a book does not need to cost you a fortune. Here are five free tools to help you be a more successful author without having to spend a dime.

1. Get a Free Website

Every author needs a website. I am still surprised at how many independently published authors don’t have a website. In today’s world, you don’t exist if you don’t have a website. A website is one of your most important marketing tools. If you don’t have a website, you can create one easily and for free at Carrd. Now you don’t have any excuses. Go get a website.

2. Create Free Visuals

Every author needs to engage in marketing—promoting your book. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is on the Internet through your own website and through social media sites (think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). To grab people’s attention, you want to create interesting visuals for your website and social media posts. One website that lets you create all sort of visuals for free including blog graphics, social media pictures, infographics, and web banners is Canva.

3. Host a Free eBook Giveaway

Any author with a book on Amazon Kindle can host a free ebook giveaway through Amazon. However, doing so only gets your ebook into the hands of readers. It does not allow you to capture emails of interested readers so that you can continue to communicate with them. Instead, host your ebook giveaway right from your website using Instafreebie.

4. Track Your Business Income and Expenses

When you publish your own book, you can now call yourself a sole-proprietor and begin using this to your advantage come tax time. If you choose this route, you will need to carefully track your business income and expenses. You can do this easily using the free online program provided by Wave.

5. Never Forget a Password

If you are using the Internet to publish and promote a book, then the number of websites where you have to remember a password increases. These include the sites where your book is published, the sites where your book is sold, your own website and social media accounts, as well as the resources listed here. Now you can use this free resource to never lose a password. Generate strong passwords and store your login credentials, securely, and locally at LastPass.

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Photo courtesy of LUM3N on Unsplash.