Showing posts with label book covers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book covers. Show all posts

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Three Most Important Components for Publishing Ebooks

Three Neglected E-Book Considerations 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.

A website owner was asked what the “three most important components are for publishing a professionally produced e-book” and he referred the question to me. As long as I was figuring out the answer to this all-important question, I figured I’d pass it along to you but publishing an e-book is harder than reading one so I thought it better to simplify a bit. I took the liberty of qualifying it with an introductory clause and here it is. 

A self-publisher must be a jack-of-all publishing trades and many readers are still not comfortable with e-books I want to tackle the question with those considerations in mind. I also believe in frugal publishing and e-books are ideal for that. So, the three most important components of publishing an e-book are:

1. The cover. Visuals are powerful tools. A great book cover may be even more important for an e-book (even though it's virtual) than for a paper book. It will probably be the only visual a reader will have to connect the reader to the author's (and publisher's) credibility. Self-published authors can do a pretty good job of producing a decent cover using the free app provided by Createspace/KDP on the website. 

2. Great editing. Too many authors and e-book publishers think that great editing is merely the process of eradicating typos, but it's a lot more. It's grammar. It's the conventions of writing (like punctuating dialogue correctly). It's even the formatting. And it’s knowing about the things that your English teacher may have considered correct, but they’re things that tick publishing professionals like agents and publishers off! If an author can’t afford (or won’t!) spend the money for a full-service editor, read The Frugal Editormake corrections as you go and then get a few extra pairs of eyes to give you additional input. 

3. Formatting. I list this last because most e-book services like Amazon, Createspace, BookBaby etc.  make it clear that formatting is essential and provide guidelines for getting it right.  I included expanded step-by-step instructions for formatting your book for Kindle in the Appendix of my multi award-winning book on editing, The Frugal Editor

Note:You should know that when a reader buys your e-book on Amazon, he or she gets to choose what reader format they prefer for his or her preferred device after clicking the buy button. When you use Createspace/KDP, you reach most everyone short of those who refuse to buy from Amazon and you save accounting time tracking different online e-book distributors. You will also saves time reformatting from a print version to an e-book and get distribution and marketing benefits when you use them exclusively. 

PS: The fourth most important component of e-books is marketing. No e-book—no book!—is truly published if it hasn’t been marketed. It’s part of the publisher’s job no matter how it is published or who the publisher is. And if it is self-published, marketing is as much the author’s job as the writing of the book. Everything you need to know to market your book the way a professional would if you had the money to hire her is in The Frugal Book Promoter 

MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER


Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more about her and her books on her Amazon profile pagehttp://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor Visit Carolyn at http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com



Monday, March 3, 2014

Increasing Visibility on Amazon


I attended the IndiRecon, a free online conference for writers.

One of the things that struck me most was this point, by David Gaughran. New authors tend to spend a lot of time promoting on social media, blogging, etc.

 But think about this. “If someone is on Facebook, they're probably chewing the fat with friends or looking at cat pictures.

On Google, they're searching for something—their wallet is only half out. On Amazon, they are ready to buy.” It makes sense, then, to focus more on Amazon until you get well known enough that social media and blogging will help you connect with the readers you already have, and through them expand to new readers.

So here's the advice I compiled from several presenters who held similar opinions, all about how to increase your discoverability on Amazon.

Make Your Title and Cover Work for YOU

-Do NOT confuse anyone with your title or cover. This includes, but is not limited to: unpronounceable words, cutesy non-fiction titles that don't explain what the book's about, titles completely at odds with the genre listed, titles too small to read on the thumbnail, books where the reader isn't sure which is the title and which is the author.

-Remember that shorter titles tend to sell better.

-Make sure the title and cover convey at very least the genre and tone of your book. Better that they convey some of the story too.

Choose Categories Strategically

-Get as specific as you can. In the Kindle store, “Fiction—General” may have a million books in it, and the chances of a browsing customer just happening upon your book are extremely slim. “Genre Fiction-Sea Adventures” has less than a thousand titles, and will bring you and potential fans together better. Provided, of course, that your story really is a sea story.

-Find smaller categories. They make it easier to get into top-100 lists.

-Decide on your ideal categories by looking up popular books similar to yours. You can also browse categories by clicking on the“shop by department” drop down menu and then drilling down (you'll often have to scroll to the bottom to find the department subcategories).

-If the category you want is not available to you through KDP, select non-classifiable as one of your categories and then e-mail Amazon, giving them the exact path you want to be in. Example: Kindle Store>Kindle eBooks>Teen&Young Adult>Historical Fiction>Ancient Civilizations.

Test Keywords

-Brainstorm keywords and phrases for your book, then run them through a keyword analyzer to see which ones have the most searches. One program is the Keyword planner on Adwords. To get ideas for more words, you can also type your keywords into Amazon or Google and see what it autosuggests.

-Remember that Amazon allows you 7 keyword phrases, so “Young Adult Paranormal” is counted as one keyword.

-Test your keywords by putting them in the Amazon search box and see if the right sort of books pop up.

-Use associated words to improve SEO (search engine optimization), so if “young adult dystopian” and “teen science fiction” both apply, and you think people will search by both, use them both. Search engines think this makes your content a more reliable.

-Use your keyword phrases in the title, subtitle, or description. Repeat your classification/sub genre in the keywords, even if Amazon tells you it's unnecessary.

Pretty Up Your Book Description

-Think of your description as sales copy. It's not just your back-of-the-book blurb.

-Use headlines, sub headers, and bullet points to draw the eye. Bullet points in fiction, you ask? If nothing else lends itself to bullet points, use blurbs from reviews.

-Use html to get bold, headlines, etc. A list of approved html: http://www.tckpublishing.com/amazon-kdp-kindle-book-description-html-update/

-Use actionable words.

-Show social proof that it's good (awards won, best-seller status, etc)

-Include a call to action, like “Scroll up and grab a copy today.”

-Repeat your title in your description. You can also include excerpts. Especially for non-fiction books, include the table of contents in the book description. It's a really slick way to get your keywords in without sounding forced.

-Try using keywords in a subtitle, like “An Inspirational Romance.” Just don't make it too cheesy.

Price to Sell

-Price your books competitively.

-Johnny Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright advocate always having some way for readers to get a complete, stand-alone, satisfying entry into any book or series you've published. This is not the same as the standard e-book sample, which comes with the understanding that the reader will reach the end of the sample—maybe mid sentence—and have to buy the rest. It shouldn't simply be an excerpt on your blog or Facebook, which isn't the same experience as a book. Possibilities for free entries:
'
a) For a series, make the first book free.

b) For a stand-alone novel, publish a free short story or novella set in the same world or with the same characters.

c) For a non-fiction book, publish a free essay on a similar theme or a stand-alone chapter on one specific topic covered in your book.

-Don't fear giving your books away. This may seem counter intuitive if your goal is to make money, but people love free things. They'll be more willing to gamble zero dollars on a new author. Then, if they like it, they may very well buy others. But these people never would have been exposed at all if that first bite weren't free. Think of it as a loss-leader in a grocery store.

-Amazon won't allow you to simply price your e-book free. However, they match other sites. So, if you want it perma-free, make it free somewhere else, like Smashwords, and then have someone report it to Amazon. They'll turn it free.

Get Reviews

-Ethically-obtained reviews legitimize your book and attract customers. For ideas on how to get more, join me next month.

Think like Amazon

Understand that Amazon's mysterious algorithms are all to help customers find things they will buy. Set up your product in a way that helps Amazon link you with the right customers, and your sales will increase.

Resources:

Michael Alvear's The Guerrilla Marketer's Guide to Selling Fiction On Kindle
Optimizing Searched on Your Book [Metadata/SEO] by Lori Culwell
Jim Kukral's Webinar: The Amazon Power of Selling by Jim Kukral from Author Ad Network
David Gaughren's article: Understanding Amazon's Recommendation Engine
Write, Publish, Repeat: How to Turn your Art from a Hobby into a Real Business Live Podcast with Johnny Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright.
(Sorry, but none of links work so had to be removed!)


Melinda Brasher loves to travel, write, and play difficult card games.  She has short stories and travel writing published in various magazines, and is the author ofFar-Knowing, a YA fantasy novel. Visit her blog for all the latest: http://www.melindabrasher.com


Friday, August 24, 2012

To Be or Not To Be--A Self-Published Author

How To Publish A Book?

Just under a week ago, Bob Medak wrote an interesting article for Writers on the Move discussing when is the best time to build an author platform. But the last line stopped me in amazement.

"Authors," he wrote, " should have their book published the way they wrote it."

To my surprise, no one even queried the statement, far less took him to task. But as a judge for the recent Global e-Book awards and member of an enthusiastic Kindle publishing group, I have to disagree or at least urge caution on any author thinking of going it alone.

So many potentially good books cannot achieve the success their authors deserve because 
  • poor editing leaves muddled sentences, glaring grammatical mistakes and confused plot lines.
  • poor formatting renders books irritatingly untidy and difficult to read
  • poor spelling and proofreading stop the reader from concentrating on the story or information provided.
  • the cover does not have sales appeal.
A reader who is disappointed in the presentation of a book will not buy from the same author again in a hurry.

Advantages of Self-Publishing

  • Publish the book the way you, the author, wrote it--but please employ an editor and proofreader.
  • Have the last word in the design of your own cover--but consult a good graphic designer or at least visit a site like The Book Designer.
 The designers' comments here on the great range of book covers submitted for awards are helpful and informative and teach what makes a cover attractive to buyers.
  • Check and recheck your formatting till it is absolutely perfect.
  • You have complete control over your own work. 
  • You can publish as fast or as slowly as you like. You make your own deadlines.
  •  You have the joy of learning all the ins and outs of the business.

Advantages of Traditional Publishing
  •  The editors, proofreader and cover designer will be provided. They are professionals and will advise on what sells.
  •   The formatting will be handled by someone who knows the job and the pitfalls.
  •  A good publisher, editor, cover designer will listen.
  •  You will have more time for writing. 
There is of course the downside.
  • The length of time between contract signing and publication date.
  • Less income as you have effectively outsourced the work of publication.
  •  You may not have the book published the way you wrote it but then and again it might just be a smidgeon better. 

 Anne Duguid is a senior content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and   her New Year's Resolution is to blog with helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers far more regularly than she managed in 2011.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Design an eBook Cover Webinar

Writers on the Move has its next FREE webinar set up: 

Design Your Own eBook Cover in 10 Easy Steps Using Microsoft Office 2010


Title: Design Your Own eBook Cover in 10 Easy Steps
Date: June 22, 2012
Time: 7 PM - 7: 45 EST (U.S.) - May run a bit longer
Presenter:Karen Cioffi
Cost: Free
Format: Live Webinar
Handout: YES (after workshop)

We will be recording the workshop. Any handouts and the recording link to the workshop will be provided after the event. Attendees will be added to A Writer's World ezine for updates on Writers on the Move upcoming webinars, along with writing and marketing information.

DESCRIPTION:

What author today hasn’t thought of self-publishing a book through Kindle? If a poll were taken, the results would probably be close to 100 percent. Most will have either considered or are considering this new wave of publishing freedom.

In fact, ebook authors and marketers, such as Jim Edwards, consider traditional publishing as a weak link in your writing armor, especially in regard to information ebooks.

Whether you want to publish with Kindle or you prefer selling your ebooks from your own website, you’ll need a cover. But, not just any cover, you’ll need a unique and appealing cover. A cover that may very well be the determining factor as to whether a potential customer clicks on the BUY button.

You might be thinking that you’re not tech savvy and don’t have any special programs for the job. Well, if you have Microsoft Word 2010, you don’t need anything else. Most of this is possible with MS 2007, and possibly MS 2003. You’ll have to test it out.

And, aside from creating great book covers, you can create amazing business logo designs with the same process.

Join Karen for step-by-step instructions as she actually creates an ebook cover on this screen-sharing webinar.
To register for the webinars email Karen at karenrcfv - A T - yahoo

Please put "Design an eBook Cover" in the Subject box.

Details and the actual REGISTRATION to attend the LIVE WEBINAR will be provided upon your sign-up request.

You won't want to miss this. To register, email Karen at:
karenrcfv - at *yahoo* dot *com*

Want even more information in an in depth ebook? Check out:
http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com/books-on-marketing/design-your-own-ebook-cover-in-10-easy-steps/


If you get the ebook, you can attend the webinar to see the information in action!

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For more on marketing check out:

Websites That Work: 7 Key Factors (Part 1)
Book Promotion: The Foundation

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To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars - signup for A Writer's World Newsletter on the right top sidebar!

Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer

Find Karen’s eBooks on writing and marketing at:
http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com


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