Showing posts with label chaz desimone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chaz desimone. Show all posts

How to Assure Getting a Book Cover That Sells

 

Book Cover Tips Your Publish Might Not Know

 

How to Partner with Your Cover Designer

 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Award-winning writer of fiction and poetry and
author of the multi award-winning 
#HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

 

 

 If you have a traditional publisher, or a publisher who does your book cover for you, do you really need to read this article on what makes a great book cover and the booboos too many authors and publishers make with their covers? All I can tell you is, I wish I had seen it before my first book was released!

 

And you should know that the wonderful graphic designer who did all my #HowToDoItFrugally books before I found my much-loved publisher for the series, was also one of the “sharingest” friends one could ask for. He was creative and knew his book cover business. But he had another talent more seldom seen among his ilk—he knew marketing. More specifically, he knew book marketing.

 

So you needed to know that though I learned many of these great book cover tips after falling into a few big puddles on my own (failure is the best of teachers!), many of them came straight from him. I’m so glad he was in my life. But for a short time. Last year he died too young so this “sharing” celebrates him and his best of qualities. I have included a link to one of his covers in this article. Even the font is his, inspired by Times New Roman but combined with some others—some even more ancient--to subliminally appeal to an even broader audience of readers and writers.

 

So, these are “our” basic tenets, Charles DeSimone and mine, for a book cover that sells:

 

1. Use a subtitle. It is your second chance to publicize your book right up front. Even books of fiction can benefit from a subtitle.


2. Use another subtitle on the back—not the same one as on the front. How many times in life do you get a third chance? This one helps sell your book to browsers who turn it over in bookstores to read the endorsements. But if it is filled with keywords it also works miracles with those mysterious beasts known as algorithms.


3. Use enticing blurbs on the back, with lots of space between and around them. Use bold typeface, a frame or some other graphic trick to make them stand out.


4. Don't use borders on the books covers. Sometimes the spine doesn't align well in production and it will look like Mondrian painting gone awry.


5. Having said that, use a bright color or one dark enough for your cover to stand out online. White gets lost or looks ghostly on an all-white B&N.com or Amazon sales page.


6. Use big letters on the spine. Make them read up and down if the title isn't too long. 

When it is displayed on a shelf at the bookstore or on a TV host’s bookshelf, the reader won’t have to twist his/her head to see read the words.


7. Author bios needn't go on the back cover of your book. They do equally well in in the backmatter and you'll have more space to convince readers of your expertise or credibility as a writer with those endorsements.


8. An author's picture that tells more of a story than just a head shot is desirable. (If you would like to see an example of this, my picture is with my Great Dane, e-mail me at HoJoNews@aol.com and I'll send it to you. She is spotted and looks like an overgrown Dalmation so she catches everyone's eye!) Your photo should be taken by a professional. There are little things about shadows and the position of your head that an amateur photographer won't get right.


9. On the front cover, make the title and your name BIG. Look at the covers in bookstores. The real standouts are the ones that aren' t squeamish about shouting out these most important marketing tools. The title is at the top. The authors' name at bottom. Nora Roberts wouldn't put up with puny lettering, so why should you? (This is probably the single most important rule and it is most violated by amateur artists and professionals alike.)


10. Discourage your publisher from using a template. Some subsidy-, partner, or independent publishers make their covers as similar as seeds from a thistle.


11. If you are independently published, consider using a real pro for your cover, not your uncle who happens to be a graphic designer but knows nothing about book covers per se. (You might notice that Chaz broke his own white-background rule. Rules are made to be broken for a very good reason. The reason we used it that made his glorious original type face stand out.You know, the one meant to evoke memories for writers.

 

Unfortunately, Chaz’ website no longer exists but you can get an idea of his work by going to Amazon’s buy page for the second edition of my the flagship book in my HowToDoItFrugally series. The Frugal Book Promoter. It’s at http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo. Don’t buy it there, though! Use the Amazon widget located under the title to take you to the more complete and updated third edition designed by Doug West after Charles’ demise.


PS: I bet you want to know the biggest secret to get a great cover design.  Hire a great graphic/artist with book marketing chops, of course, but insist on being part of the process. Feel free to reprint this credited to Chaz and me with this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T.

 

MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG’s CONTRIBUTOR


Carolyn Howard-Johnson tries to share something she hopes might save some author from embarrassment (or make the task of writing more fun or creative) with the subscribers and visitors to Karen Cioffi’s Writers on the Move blog each month.

She is the author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally. Series of books for writers including the third edition of its flagship book The Frugal Book Promoter and, more recently, the third edition of The Frugal Editor from Modern History Press. Find both (among her others in that series) on the new Amazon Series page. The new edition of The Frugal Editor book was recently updated including a new chapter on how backmatter can be extended to help readers and nudge book sales.

Ampersands: Avoiding Affectations for the Betterment of Your Book

readers against one other writers’ affectation similar to the ones already in that book (and in the first edition).That is overuse of ampersands. They are all affectations that keep literary agents, publishers and others in the publishing industry from taking you seriously. So here is an excerpt from that book and a little freebie balm to make those who love the looks of ampersands as much as I do.

The ampersand is a real pretty little dude, but it isn’t a letter nor even a word. It’s a logogram that represents a word. Its history goes back to classical antiquity, but interesting history and being cute are no reason to overuse it in the interest of trying to separate one’s writing from the pack. Better writers should concentrate on the techniques that make a difference rather than gimmicks that distract. Here are some legitimate uses and not-so-desirable uses for the ampersand.
  • The Writers Guild of America uses the ampersand to indicate a closer collaboration than and, in other words, to indicate a closer partnership rather than a situation in which one writer is brought in to rewrite or fix the screenplay of another. For those in the know it is a convenient way to subtly indicate that one writer has not been brought in to rewrite of fix the work of another.
  • Newspapers, journals, and others choose to use it when they are citing sources. That’s their style choice, not a grammar rule.
  • In similar citations, academia asks that the word and be spelled out.
  • Occasionally the term etc. is abbreviated to &c, though I can see no reason for confusing a reader with this. Etc. is already an abbreviation of et cetera and the ampersand version saves but one letter and isn’t commonly recognized.
  • Ampersands are sometimes used instead of the conjunction to which we’ve become accustomed when the and is part of a name or when naming a series of items, though here, too, it feels like a stretch and more confusing than helpful. Wikipedia gives this example: “Rock, pop, rhythm & blues and hip hop” as an acceptable use. But it, too, is an unnecessary affectation when we could clarify our intent with the traditional serial comma like this: “Rock, pop, rhythm and blues, and hip hop.”
For a little style guide from the point of view of academia go to https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/. To see a graphic artist’s creative use of the ampersand, one based on the authenticity of its simply being visually attractive, go to http://amperart.com. Chaz DeSimone, the cover artist for my Frugal Editor and Frugal Book Promoter, offers you a poster featuring ampersands every month with a subscription to his monthly letter which is also free.

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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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