Most of you know how to use the basics…or do you? I thought I was good with Facebook, when one day a course in our local region we found a tutorial on how to use Facebook for business. It blew what we thought we knew right open. OUCH. Luckily there was no re-learning, there was extra learning.
In the last twelve months, many of our Social Media websites have updated. Things have moved, changed or disappeared. Even we’ve had issues finding various items. Sometimes the frustration creeps in and takes over. The better you can use Social Media, the better you can MARKET your business and grow your AUTHOR BRAND. With saying that, we need to give you a few ways to make more out of a post and images.
We’ve always been taught that images get more people looking at your posts. However, what sort of image do you need to use? Have you ever looked on Facebook to see which type of images get the most likes and shares? Why do they get so much attention. Why do people stop scrolling and read?
Next time you find something you like and read, think about what you notice first. Is it the writing? Which part? A title? A font? Large fonts? The mission into marketing is endless trying to find out what will work for us and our books. RESEARCH…yep that word again. Weird how it keeps cropping up.
Advert for Shattered Badge, Shattered Trust by Sandra Brewster.
We’re going to make a Facebook Post. It was a new release for one of our clients. The novel is called ‘SHATTERED BADGE SHATTERED TRUST’by Sandra Brewster. It is available on AMAZON. To the left of the screen is the book cover. For those who are sight impaired the image shows a police badge which has been broke into pieces the the book title across the middle. At the top of the cover is the Authors name. The background is a greenish blur of a crime scene.
First things first is to make a 3D cover so it looks like a book rather than a flat image. This will make it stand out better and hopefully grab a readers interest. It is obviously a story which involves a character who is a cop. Though what is the relevance about the Shattered Trust? Who’s Trust was destroyed and why? Maybe a bit of the synopsis will tell us what’s going on. Can we add it to the Facebook Post?
This depends on what type of Marketing you are looking at doing. Who are you aiming your ADVERT at? Are you doing a PAID ADVERT or a post in a group? Will you make a TEASER for the story or a POSTER. On that note…if you can’t use photoshop, GIMP, Krita or similar graphic apps then please use CANVA. It’s FREE and easy to use, even for those who think they aren’t good with technology.
CANVA – AUTHOR INTRODUCTION IDEA
In the first PNG image you have all the different areas, all giving you different information. Obviously this is a small image of what the poster would be if it were printed out. Looking at it digitally and asking a few friends, I see what they like and don’t like. The BOOK BLURB is to pale and needs to be BOLD FONT. The eBook app in the image above the authors profile image needs to be put in (can’t do this on CANVA FREE). I don’t like is the BOOK LINK.. it looks to big and untidy. We may make it smaller or use a QR Code.
We have made some adjustments on this second image. The book cover has been placed into the eBook app on the image. In the next image we have put the BOOK BLURB in bold to show what it looks like.
The main issue with the poster is having to use two different apps to make the poster. We started in CANVA and played around, asking for opinions… Now we need to put all of this together. This same poster only needs the book cover adding to the eBook reader along with the QR Code and then it is finished. For now we’ve left the book link in though made it smaller and bold.
My next question is: What do you think? Is it good? Are there any changes? What do you get from reading the poster? Would it make you look up the author and read her books?
A while back I posted about the psychology behind FONTS and COLOURS, then I discovered SHAPES had various meanings as well. Pulling all three together to make a LOGO or ADVERTISING MEDIA when you’re starting your business would be a bit of a nightmare. The more I think about what I missed over the years while education myself as I went is horrifying. This is something I don’t remember covering in any business course I did in 2015/2016 and I did three, the last being a Diploma in Business Enterprise. It goes to show these courses don’t cover everything.
PSYCHOLOGY OF SHAPES
What do you know about SHAPES? Which one’s appeal to you? What draws you in? Great questions and it makes me wonder what you notice when you watch adverts on TV or see adverts on billboards, in newspapers or social media. What shape do you see most often? Does it appeal to you? If you’re on social media, what makes you stop scrolling? The SHAPE, COLOUR or FONT! Perhaps all three, because someone got the right combination for their business.
How do you choose a SHAPE for a Logo? Good question. My logo is based on Family History of my partners line going back to the 1820s in London two hundred years ago. The Lamp still stands on Woolwich High Street, outside the building which was a pub. The last I heard, the building is now a hairdressing salon. This shows how much thought I put into my business when I first started in 2014. Not much at all. I was learning as I progressed. However, I will keep my logo. I like it as does my husband.
What do you need to do? Research the psychology of SHAPES. Watch Adverts and understand what you’re seeing, what they mean to the business who created it. Make a list of the ones you like along with the colours and hunt down fonts you can use. Bring them together by starting with a black and white design, edit the graphic until you’re happy with what you’ve drawn or had your graphic artist draw. Choose a font which matches your business and then you have millions of colours and shades to play with.
Last week, we travelled to Sanson and visited Viv’s Kitchen for a lovely morning tea of cream horns and iced chocolate drinks. It was sublime. What catches the eye though are the colours. They used various shades of a gorgeous mint/pale green along with a retro style. It draws customers in and we had time there. Below are a set of photos from their website. The link you can find above.
This is just one example on how to get things right. The café has been busy everything we’ve visited. This lovely café has also been on TV and is famous for their cream horns. A lush pastry horn coated with sugar. In the centre is jam and cream. Most delicious.
Starting a business, then get your thinking caps on and research what you need to make you stand out from everyone else.
Hurray, 2022 is here, well in New Zealand and a few other countries… Looking forward to you all joining us and celebrating a brand new year where positivity will move us all forward in leaps and bounds. At least I hope so.
Lots to do and a business plan for this year to sort out before work commences on the 6th Jan 2022. We have five books to work on over the next couple of months with another touching down in April. It is going to be great fun working with these clients, they are awesome writers and people.
Part of the plant this year is to take Monday’s off and do a course on Marketing. Though I have some marketing skills, I need to up my skills to move this business forward to the next stage. As many of you not, our business says Publishing House in the title. At this stage we don’t actually publish any client’s work, we only prepare work for distribution. I work as an Author Consultant and Formatter. This is due to the fact, USA business tax is complicated (to say the least) With saying this, we will eventually look into publishing in New Zealand, though the costs are much higher than KDP,Smashwords etc. This is because printers in New Zealand don’t understand the POD (Print on Demand) system or don’t use the system the same way as overseas. They have a single price for one book, it is set out… the more you buy the cheaper the books are. This means it can cost thousands to print books and is sadly out of many writers pockets, which is why we use places like KDP.
Sadly KDP can be tricky and terminate accounts and not pay-out royalties whenever they so choose. Considering those of us living outside an Amazon area/country, we only get paid after we’ve earned $100USD, POUNDS, EURO etc. With this warning, please be careful out there and read all the policies of the places your distribute your work through.
As well as up-skilling my marketing, I am also updating my graphic art skills, mainly on GIMP, learning to do layers etc. I had a blast about ten days ago with a new client and their book cover. Slightly frustrating, though enhancing my skill.
I have several new clients coming up this year, though will blog about them at a later date, when they are ready for publishing. An interview is a great way to introduce you all to new writers. Along with this I am hoping to have an Instagram day, where I will post about books once a week… first though, I need to learn how to use Instagram a bit better than I do. I’m not good with a phone and wish we could post via computer. I’ve heard some can, so will see what happens this year. We also need to finish updating this website and adding the links we are missing. If you see a broken link, please let me know.
Lots of learning. Weekends will be for family. We will have set hours, though we will also always answer Fb messages when we see them due to the time differences around the world.
If you have books on Kindle Unlimited and they are in a genre we read, then please let us know and we will read and review. Reviews will be fair and only done if we can give 4 or 5 stars. Anything less and we will message you… the author, instead and let you know what issues we’ve found, be it formatting, or editing, etc.
Brand Storytelling is a new Marketing idea which has taken off. Since many of us are Authors and Publishers we should have some great stories to tell… and below, they show you what you need to do. For those authors who do Outlines…this should be a breeze. Start reading and click the link at the bottom for more information.
You can also download their ebook about brand storytelling from their website. 🙂
Have a wonderful day
Last year, a buzzword ripped through the content marketing space that most marketers were surprisingly thrilled about and eager to implement. Shockingly, it didn’t start with “virtual” or end with “intelligence”. Instead, it was what attracted most marketers to the industry in the first place — “storytelling”.
Content marketing’s steady adoption of storytelling is an exciting new opportunity for content creators. The human brain is wired to respond to well-crafted narrative — neuroscience proves that storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention, bake information into their memories, and forge close, personal bonds. Your audience is programmed to crave and seek out great stories — that’ll never change.
However, since we’ve spent the majority of our careers optimizing content for algorithms, it can be challenging to flex a creative muscle that’s slowly withered away from inactivity and, in turn, move people emotionally and sear your brand into their memories.
So, to help you strengthen that creative muscle and write compelling stories again, we’ve created a guide about the fundamentals of brand story structure and provided examples of three small-to-medium sized businesses who have leveraged their brand story to resonate with huge audiences, despite their comparatively small size.
What is a brand story?
A brand story recounts the series of events that sparked your company’s inception and expresses how that narrative still drives your mission today. Just like your favorite books and movies’ characters, if you can craft a compelling brand story, your audience will remember who you are, develop empathy for you, and, ultimately, care about you.
When HubSpot first started, we noticed traditional, interruptive marketing didn’t appeal to consumers anymore. Due to the digital age, people were in complete control of the information they consumed — and they were sick and tired of receiving direct mail, email blasts, and cold calls. People wanted to be helped, so we started creating educational content that aided people in solving their marketing problems.
Today, we’ve built a passionate community of inbound marketers, expanded our inbound marketing approach to the sales and customer service industries, and strengthened the inbound movement more than ever before.
This our brand story — a simple, digestible narrative that explains why HubSpot began, and how this reason still serves as our purpose today.
How to Write a Brand Story
1. Highlight your story’s conflict.
Check out the following story. Does it resonate with you?
A girl wearing a red-hooded cloak is strolling through the woods to give her sick grandma some much-needed food and TLC. She passes by a wolf on the way. They exchange a slightly awkward soft smile-nod combination that random colleagues usually greet each other with as they pass in the hallway. She makes it to her grandma’s house without a scratch. They eat lunch and play a game of Clue together. Grandma wins by deducing that Colonel Mustard killed Mr. Boddy in the Billiard Room with the candlestick — what a shocker! The End.
So … what’d you think? Did this story keep you on the edge of your seat? Or does it feel … off? For some reason, it doesn’t work, right? That’s because there’s no conflict. Despite the intense game of Clue at the end, there’s nothing at stake. There’s no tension. The wolf didn’t try to eat the girl. He didn’t even go to Grandma’s house. He barely acknowledged Little Red Riding Hood.
At their core, stories are about overcoming adversity. So if there’s no conflict presented, there’s no drama or emotional journey that people can relate to. And if your story has no drama or emotional journey, it won’t hold anyone’s attention — let alone resonate with and inspire them.
Unfortunately, in the business world, brands are horrified to reveal any adversity or conflict they’ve faced. They believe that spinning a rosy, blemish-free story about how their company only experiences hockey stick growth will convince people that they’re the industry’s best-in-class solution. Any adversity or conflict during their company’s history will expose their imperfections, deterring potential customers from buying their product.
But, in reality, this is a huge misconception. Nothing’s perfect. Everything, including companies (especially companies), has flaws. Plus, people don’t relate to perfection. They relate to the emotional journey of experiencing adversity, struggling through it, and, ultimately, overcoming it. Because, in a nutshell, that’s the story of life.
Conflict is key to telling compelling stories. So be transparent about the adversity your company has faced, and own it. The more honest you are about your shortcomings, the more people will respect you and relate to your brand.
2. Don’t forget about your story’s status quo and resolution.
Happy New Year to all our followers and friends. It has been a wow of a year with many of us working from home. The toll on the human race is still growing though with vaccines, perhaps we can beat this virus and the many strains. Please be safe and take care of each other so we can grow and help each other. We are lucky to be based in New Zealand, where though we are on level one, our lives are closer to normal than it is for many other countries around the world. Be careful out there.
Thank you for continuing to be with us over 2020 and on into 2012. We look forward to sharing your work, books, interviews, educational articles and helping out clients – past, present and future. Let’s get those manuscripts built into books and uploaded to distribution platforms.
We have a great team here at Plaisted Publishing, our contractor list just keeps growing. If you know a small business contractor who works in Editing, Graphic Design or Marketing, please contact us. We’d love to help you help our clients and grow each others businesses.
This year we will be introducing you to our contractors, each with their own expertise in a certain area of publishing. You will get to know them and what they can do for you if you are planning to publish a book. We do Interior Book Design in house and have over six years experience in Fiction, Non-fiction, Anthologies, Memoirs, Poetry, Children’s Picture Books and Family History Books/Family Reunion Books.
We also off help with Family History Research and have twenty years experience gathering information for various books we’ve made over the years for reunions and birthday celebrations. If you’d like to talk to us about Family History, please contact us here or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also looking for Content Writers within the publishing world. If you write educational material for Independent Authors, please contact us, we’d be delighted to hear from you. It is important for us all to continue to learn and grow in the publishing world with the ever changing technology we use.
We will also be opening a page to favourite weblinks for educational purposes. If you know of a great website please email us the link and we’ll check it out prior to posting the link on the page.
At present we are updating out website. We will have a library of all the books we’ve assisted with over the last six years along with a list of Author Names. Eventually we hope to also add a profile of each author as well and send those links out to each client so they can share and celebrate each others work.
Our magazine has been on hold for the just over two years now. We hope to re-establish the magazine with a new title, new and easier layout with less formatting work involved. We hope this magazine will be every two months. Here is hoping all this scheduling will work. By the end of this year, we may need a PA…
Distribution Platforms we use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Lulu Ingram Spark Smashwords Draft to Digital
Looking into using Kobo Barnes and Noble (Nook)
Here is hoping for a wonderful year. Take care and be safe.
There was a bit of confusion on my first post. I’d like to say, this series of posts is aimed at writers who wish to be Authors and make an income of some kind or another. As an Author, you run a business. In business, NOTHING is FREE, most certainly not your TIME.
You’ve made your choice. You’ve written a few short stories and sent it out to friends and maybe family. The replies you get back are positive. ‘We Want More’ (Yes I know this doesn’t happen to all of us). Strangely enough, this is what happened to me, however, I also had a lot to learn about writing in the English of today. There are many changes since I was at school. A lot of stuff I didn’t understand, though with examples (like Cathy who write Word Wars) a lot was instantly understandable.
“You should write a book.” and this is when you start your research. Most writers don’t have a clue where to look, how to research, who to trust. However, it had improved in recent year with Facebook Groups, with saying this, there are still plenty of Scammers and Spammers in those groups. Many get removed and blocked when they are found. The first question I asked myself was “how do I connect to agents and publishers?’ I had no clue and I’d never heard of Independent Publishing back in 2012. It was a bit of a nightmare. Once I found an Agent, I found out they didn’t understand my genre. I still laugh about it. As for publishers…or editors, well they wanted things set out in a certain way or your email would go straight into a bin never to be seen by anyone.
What’s this got to do with Websites and Social Media you ask. Well as you learn how technology works, your start to realise there is more to writing a book than you thought. I’d never heard of AUTHOR BRAND back then, it wasn’t something I was even aware of. SALES and MARKETING can be done via your WEBSITE and SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS, though you need to have the knowledge to do this. You need to learn or find a tutor. A traditional publisher won’t touch you if you can’t format a document how they wish you to. They also prefer you .to have a following which helps to add up to SALES.
Where and how do I find or make a website?
A great question. We started our first one way back in about 2012/13 and it was a complete disaster. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, though we were pretty good with technology, even with continual frustration. Where was our first website? WORDPRESS.
In 2014, we tried WIX, it was easier to use with a few learning curves to find out how to design and use templates. It was enjoyable to use. In fact, we still have an Author Website there, which needs updating. The thing with WIX we didn’t like was not been able to download our website content to take elsewhere if we found a better deal. By this stage we had a few author friends on Facebook and they suggested trying WORDPRESS again. One friend, Markie, helped us through the process until we knew what we was doing. It was great. WORDPRESS had lots of tutorial if you needed them. These days we’re happy helping others with WORDPRESS, however this year they’ve updated and though the basics are the same, the editing isn’t. It’s still annoying and post take a lot longer to produce.
Your Website on WORDPRESS
Due to knowing how to use WordPress better than any other I’m going to show you the ropes. Some simple steps. I’ve included images for those who have a hard time with technology. I know we all learn differently. The will also be a description for those with sight impairments or who are blind.
Below is a view of the page which opens up to create the first step of your website.
The first thing you need to do for you WEBSITE is pick a name for your Business or Author website. In the image below it will show you what is available. My advice…is to start with the FREE WEBSITE as indicated by the tabs circled in the image. You can always buy later if and when you can afford.
This next image looks a bit scary, though it really isn’t. It shows the pricing for the different types of websites you can have. However, right above those panels it says ‘Start with a FREE Site’ You need to click on this. I have drawn a circle around it so you can find it.
Now it’s time to build your website. You have a name and if you look at the image below…
As you can see it is straight forward. There is a bright pink tab saying GET STARTED in the middle of the page and on the RIGHT there is a list of things you need to do. As each one is done, they will get a GREEN TICK.
Also note you can go back and change your website at any stage if you find you don’t like something. It’s a good learning curve to be able to do this because you get to find your way around.
You’ve hit the GET STARTED tab and it takes you to a page to NAME YOUR SITE! Something you seriously need to think about. Remember this is part of your marketing and AUTHOR BRAND.
Is this site for a BOOK SERIES or for you as a writer? Is it for an anthology of multi-authors? The ideas for your website are endless though it is worth playing with different names until you find what is right for you, be it your actual name, pen name or book series name. Remember once you know what you’re doing you don’t have to stop at one website, however you do need to publish posts to each one at least once a week.
This image shows you where you fill in the blanks…Again…with your business name. As you can see on this sample, I am building a website for Jenny Raven Gifts, who has recently started an online business with recycled items and upcycled then into new items. Under her business name it asks for a TAGLINE. (something under discussion still for Jenny). This is another important part of your marketing. My own TAGLINE is – Building Books One Step at a Time. This shows that the Author Services we offer will help our client turn their manuscript into an professional book file for online distribution websites or local printers to where the client lives.
You have your website name and tagline, so what’s next? Continue to follow the list until you are ready to launch your website to the world. Play around and learn how it works. There is still plenty of work to do. MENUS, CUSTOMIZING, WEBSITE TEMPLATES…
The list includes, Updating your HOME PAGE, CONFIRM YOUR EMAIL FOR THE SITE AND CREATING A MENU (this is where your pages show and in what order). After you are happy with your website set up you can LAUNCH your website. This is great, you’ve done it. One last thing to remember BEFORE SHARING YOUR LINK…ASK A FEW TRUSTED FRIENDS TO HELP YOU PROOFREAD THE CONTENTS AND MAKE SURE ALL THE PAGES WORK.
The last few images are to help guide you around your website to make changes. You need to know about WP ADMIN. This takes you do a new page where all the things you need are listed in a black panel down the left-hand side of the website. Have a look through the list to see what you can do. The following two images are to help you customize and choose a theme. Once you open customize as shown on the image to the right of your screen, you will be able to change COLOURS, FONTS, BACKGROUNDS. You can add WIDGETS, SOCIAL MEDIA, PAGES and sort out your MENU and what order you’d like your PAGES in.
First you need to look for APPEARANCE, which opens a new list and you then click on CUSTOMIZE. The best way to learn is through PLAY, just don’t play for to long or you’ll get totally frustrated and none of us want that. If you still need ASSISTANCE, then ASK!!!
We know we haven’t shown you the CUSTOMIZE PAGE, we thought it would be fun for any of you making a website to have a look around on your own. LEARN BY PLAYING.
This image shows you how to find THEMES. It will take you to a page of TEMPLATES you can use for your website. There are a lot to try out. You can choose to PREVIEW them before you pick the one you wish to use. Take your time and find something that suits you, your genre and or book series.
Below is a screen shot of the TEMPLATES. You can do a SEARCH for what you want. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT NOT ALL THE TEMPLATES ARE FREE. MAKE SURE TO CLICK ON THE FREE TAB ON THE TOP RIGHT SIDE OF THE IMAGE.
Once again, choose wisely. We have updated my websites a few times of the years and we always use a template which shows WIDGETS down the right hand side of the screen. We also prefer the smaller Header Photos. This is of course a preference for YOU TO THINK ABOUT.
HOPING THIS HELPS YOU WITH YOUR WEBSITE AND BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR BRAND. PLEASE SHARE WITH THOSE WHO NEED A HAND WITH RESEARCH. THERE IS SO MUCH MIS-INFORMATION OUT THERE ALONG WITH SCAMMERS AND SO MANY STILL GET CAUGHT OUT.
PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH IF YOU WISH TO BE AN AUTHOR, AFTER ALL YOU CAN’T BE A CERTIFIED PLUMBER WITHOUT THE CORRECT TRAINING!!
Our next post will be about SOCIAL MEDIA SITES and how they work
Who likes Nike, Adidas? Who’s your favourite Movie Star, Poet, Author? The first two are BRANDS which people love. The Second are people who can be turned into BRANDS and generally are. So, how do they do this? What does it mean to have a BRAND?
If you get a big enough BRAND you can sponsor others, the same way Nike and Adidas do. They are MARKETING MACHINES, but how did they do it? How did they get so big and noticeable? It’s a bit of give and take. The big businesses sponsor the big names in sports and movies. If a movie star loves the shoes, clothes, drink…whatever the business sell, then the public will buy and support the person being sponsored which in itself supports the MARKETING MACHINE. It continually circles around, making money.
As authors and publishers we need to do something similar. The trouble is getting your foot in the door. How is this achieved. Well it’s time to ask some of the Independent Authors who’ve made a success of their books. There is one lady I know you’d all love to chat with. Sadly she is busy heading for a deadline right now though Jami Albright has given me permission to share how she went about her first book launch, which also shows how she used her BRAND to her advantage.
Find Jami’s Podcast HERE. Other details are below. This Podcast is mainly about a Book Launch, though it shows the process she went through to get SALES and REVIEWS, both an important part of how we use our AUTHOR BRAND.
This article was written by Jami Albright in 2017. Jami has since released another three books in her series.
The minute you decide to sell your book it stops being your baby and becomes a product. A product that needs to be launched into the world. Which, frankly, is a dubious task when you consider that there are millions of books on Amazon alone, not to mention the other platforms such as, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Google Play, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
Did you hear me, people? Millions!
So how do you launch your book so it will sell, but also stay sticky in the Amazon rankings and therefore, continue to sell? We have to have a plan. A launch plan.
On April 11, 2017, I released the first book in my Brides on the Run series into the top 3000 in the Amazon paid store and had 50 reviews within the first three days. Eleven weeks later (as of this writing) my book is still ranked in the top 5000 and has over 200 reviews. It’s sold 1100 copies, and has 700K pages read in Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited.
My little book has made over $5000, y’all! (I’m a Texan. We’re excitable.)
When I was asked to write this article about my book launch, my first thought was, Surely, there’s someone more qualified than me to talk about this subject? Because, while I’ve done well, other indie authors are knocking it out of the park with their numbers. But like most of you, I’m a part-time writer with family responsibilities, and a day job, who’s doing everything I can to figure out this indie publishing thing. What I’m trying to say: If I can do it, you can do it.
My launch plan began months before I put my book on Amazon. I started by understanding my genre and making sure my book met the expectations and conventions of that category. How did I do that? I read books like the ones I wanted to write. I familiarized myself with the tried and true tropes that readers want, and then worked very hard to make sure I delivered on those expectations. You can choose to write outside of the parameters of a genre, but know that you are going out on a limb to do it. And you might find yourself alone on that limb with your determination to be unique and no audience. Readers come to a genre knowing what they want. If you disappoint them because you decide to break convention, they will not be happy. They’ll then share their displeasure by leaving a nasty review.
The same is true of covers. When choosing a cover for your book, check out the top one-hundred best sellers in your genre. Are there themes, colors, and fonts that are used to signal that the book is a YA fantasy or a cozy mystery? I’m not telling you to copy those covers, but you should use them as guidelines for your own design.
I write romantic comedy. In the rom-com sub-genre there are three camps as far as covers go. One camp is full of sexy, shirtless guys. The second is illustrated covers with quirky characters, and third features women in flirty skirts, that only show their legs. My book didn’t fall neatly into any of those styles. It’s kind of a combination of all of them. It took several iterations, but I came up with a compromise that I think works. It’s flirty, quirky and sexy, just like my book.
A reader should be able to look at your cover and tell immediately what kind of book it is. If your cover and your content don’t match, then you’ve confused the reader. And a confused reader is one that moves on to the next book by another author.
In addition to a great cover, you also want a blurb or book description that hooks the reader. If you don’t know how to write good copy, learn, or pay someone to do that task for you. Bryan Cohen’s How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis is an excellent resource on the subject. If done well your cover and blurb can sell your book for you.
Before we move on, one more quick word about covers. Put down the mouse and step away from Photoshop. Now! You should not be making your own covers unless you have an extensive background in graphic design.There, I said it. Someone had to.
Hire a professional cover artist. A good cover can cost as little as $25 for a pre-made all the way up to $3000 for an artist commissioned cover. Mine cost me $200, it would’ve been less, but much to my designer’s annoyance, I kept changing my mind. The two most important things you will spend money on are the cover and editing. You should have someone other than your mother or your high school English teacher edit your books. You need a professional editor. Period.
I know these things cost a lot of money, and if you’re like me, that money isn’t in your budget. But it’s important, so important that I worked odd jobs to make extra cash and, ultimately, sold plasma to pay for it all. Was it hard to travel thirty minutes to an unfamiliar part of town, sit for hours in a small room filled with people I didn’t know, and get stuck with a needle twice a week? Yes. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I have a book I’m proud of. A book that looks professional on the inside and out. A book I paid for with actual blood, sweat, and tears. Damn right, I’d do it again.
Now that I’m off my do whatever you have to do soapbox, I should say that you can sometimes barter with an editor to get the services you need. Or find a graphic design student that has experience and wants to build their portfolio.Or just wait and save up until you have the money.
I know you want your book out yesterday, but we’re playing the long game. Smart, professional authors don’t rush something to market that isn’t ready because it will hurt them in the long run.
To re-cap, we need to know our genre expectations, have a fantastic cover that we don’t make ourselves, a well-written blurb that hooks readers, and professional editing and formatting.
Finally, I can’t encourage you enough to get involved with the indie community. Once I realized that indie publishing was the route I wanted to take, I immersed myself in learning everything I could about the business of self-publishing. I listened to podcasts, I got involved with Facebook groups geared toward publishing and marketing, I went to the Smarter Artists Summit, and I tried my best to be a good community member and make meaningful connections with other indie authors. Little did I know how those connections would be a driving forces behind my successful launch.
In the beginning, I had very little to offer other writers other than encouragement. I could share posts, give moral support and be a friend. So can you. It requires a little effort, imagination, and courage, all things you have because you’re a writer.
How do you feel? Do you think you’re ready to release your baby… um… product into the world?
Please continue to read our blogs for the processes about Author Brand and Book Launches, and please remember the first step to building your book is RESEARCH
Our next article will cover Social Media and Website Building. What to expect, what you need to do and learn. Much of this also depends on your budget. Can you afford it or are you willing to LEARN what’s needed to get your BRAND working for YOU.
There are lots of new writers out there each and every day. There is also a heck of a lot of confusion in writing groups. The same questions get asked constantly, people give inaccurate information to each other, few do their own research to find the information they need to publish a book. The main issue is paying for publishing.
Paying for Publishing – Confusion
What is the new writer really asking? What should your reply be if you’re trying to help them. We really need to look deeper than saying things like ‘don’t pay for publishing it’s Vanity Publishing and Publishing is FREE’ If you say publishing is FREE then you obviously don’t value the time it took you to write, to learn the processes of how to publish. Not everyone is good with computers, websites, marketing, graphic design, etc. And these aren’t even the start to building your Author Brand
There are steps to publishing a book and getting it accepted by a distribution website, the same as there is a process if you wish to try traditional publishing. It doesn’t matter which way you go, you will PAY for various things along the way. Now you want to know HOW or WHY, or WHAT THE HELL…
With Traditional Publishing you will pay for the work they do via royalty share for the life of the book. This is how they make their profit. If they don’t see a profit in your book, you won’t get a contract. Of course prior to that is the time it takes to find an Agent, write proposals, etc. It is all time consuming and your time shouldn’t be FREE.
With Independent Publishing you will pay one off FEES for various areas you don’t have the skill set to do yourself. If you are willing to lean, it makes it cheaper, though please remember your TIME is not FREE. Everyone should have an Editor even if it is your job in life. We all miss things in our manuscripts. The best part of Independent Publishing is you get to keep all your royalties and copyright. If you’re good at Marketing, you may earn a decent income.
AUTHOR BRAND – AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Step One: Writing a first draft of your manuscript. WRONG. The first thing you need to do if you wish to earn a decent income as a writer is research your Author Brand. What is this? you ask. Well it’s developing you and showing everyone who you are and what you can do. A bit like a Resume. Once you’ve listed what you know about yourself you can REASERCH what you need to do to get there. What do you need to learn? What way do you wish to publish? How does Publishing work. Do you want to try Independent Publishing or Traditional Publishing. Both have different processes you will need to learn.
At this stage I’m looking into Independent Publishing. You’ll need to research the genre you write. Who’s in the top 100 on Amazon? What are their book covers like? Why are they a best seller? What is their book blurb like? How many novels have they written. How did they find their fans? What are their websites and social media sites like?
There’s so much to research before you even start to write and though you can learn from other writers and authors, you will find some things don’t work for you or are incorrect. RESEARCH is still the key to develop your Author Brand and any learning curve processes you will need.
Step Two: Social media and websites. To build your fan base you need to start chatting, sharing teasers, photos, information about you, your stories. It depends on which social media sites you use. This is where your learning curve begins. Guess what you need to do…Yep RESEARCH… This time you need to learn how to build a website and how to use social media to your advantage and which ones are best for you! How to make a newsletter and get readers to sign up. Once you decide what you need to learn and how to use them, the real work begins. For many, it’s not as easy as it seems, especially when social media keeps updating their technology, causing frustration due to having to learn something new…AGAIN.
Also remember you’re supporting yourself at this time. (unless you have another job). Think about how much you’d expect to earn each hour you research, each time you do something to move forward. How much an hour are you worth? This is the FREE part of publishing, though only if you consider your time is worthless
Nothing is FREE when you publish independently unless you’re a tech expert and know everything. EDITING, INTERIOR DESIGN (Formatting) BOOK COVERS & MARKETING, etc. Can you do everything? I know I can’t which is why I use CONTRACTORS for my manuscripts and developed a business to help other Independent Authors. I’ve seen so much BAD INTERIOR DESIGN, it makes me want to leave reviews with one, two or three stars. Never mind the lack of flow and EDITING in stories I try and read, along with BOOK COVERS. The worst part is, most of these books could be saved with some professional help.
This post is about INTERIOR DESIGN, something I love to do. In fact I’m pedantic with formatting books, be it choosing a paperback size, a FONT for headings and Chapters, INDENTS or an image to use as a break between paragraphs. It all makes a difference and those little STARS used as breaks are—in my opinion about as unprofessional as you can get.
The fonts an author uses for Titles, Author Name and Chapters can be hard to choose. However, I like to look into the genre of a manuscript when making a choice with my own work and I advise my clients what may work for their story.
When writing romance I’d chose a type of Calligraphy with swooping curves that draws the reader to the book cover, catches the eye though readable. Some of these fonts can be over the top and unreadable. Leave those well alone. For Romance I like Tangerine. Not overly fussy like some Scripts and is FREE for commercial use.
For Horror, Thriller and Ghost Stories who want something that looks a bit scary. One of the ones I like is Chiller, though if you look online you can find plenty to use. Make sure the fonts are FREE and can be used Commercially or you could be sued for Copyright Infringement.
Murder and Mystery fonts can stay with the romance or thriller fonts there again, what about the age group you’re writing for? What would you use for a book aimed at Teens or Young Adults? Something simple or…Scooby Do…ish? Like the one below.
How about this one?
There are so many different fonts to use in your writing which could attract readers to your work. Think carefully before you choose what to use. Talk to your graphic artist about the font to use on your book cover (if you’re contracting out to someone), they know the ropes on what to use. Some of these can be used in the interior in the front matter of the manuscript as well as Chapter Headings. Think outside the square and be daring.
All the above fonts are for commercial use and downloadable at 1001 FONTS.
FONTS FOR BODY TEXT!
Nothing is simple, though the body of the text is much easier to decide. It has to be readable to the literacy age of the person you’re marketing your books to – better known as your audience. Most authors of adult books use Times New Roman size 12. It’s generic and usable in most books. Some in the book industry tell you not to use this font, ever. However, like everything with Independent Publishing, it is up to you, the writer. Always do your research and ask others who have been publishing for advice. Everyone has an opinion. Some authors decide to blend their Title and Chapter Fonts with the body text, this can mean decided the line spacing is different as well.
I use Garamond size 12 at 1.08 – 1.15 cm spacing. When it’s an indented line I use 0.3 – 0.5 cm indents, this is decided on the size of the paperback you are making, the smaller the paperback size the smaller the indent. Putting it mildly it looks ridiculous with large indents in a pocket book. I find Garamond is easy to ready and goes with all the Title and Chapter Font’s I use. However, children’s books are totally different.
Childrens’ books should always have a bigger font size, so as they learn to read they can follow the words with a finger underneath the sentence. This also means your spacing can be bigger. There is one font I love for childrens’ books and it’s close to how children form their letters when they first learn to write. Comic Sans size 16 (at least) with spacing at 1.15 – 1.5 cm. The spacing depends on the literacy age of the children or even the adult who is learning to read or reading a new language, after all, English isn’t everyone’s first language and it is a complicated language to learn due to word usage.
Remember to do your RESEARCH and have fun with your creativity!
Who is your Audience? Do you know? Do you care? Remember choosing your Audience also affects the marketing you will need to do.
Editing is not my thing. I do my best work helping with the flow and structure of a manuscript. I’ll call it proofreading for now.
Some things are easy to see and catch, others not so much. If you can get your manuscript flowing nicely it will be easier to edit. Then you have to find an editor who fits and this can take some work and lots of research. I’m not going to get into the research. This time it’s about the English Language you use and who you want as your audience/readers.
Most people write in the English Language where they grew up and were educated. It can, for some also be a second language. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the right English for your readers. If you’re aiming at an American Audience, then most writers would use American English, including grammar, spelling and punctuation.
What if the book is set in another country?
If you go traditional publishing they will generally set books in American English with dialogue in the English of the setting (Australian, British, etc). However, I think this is wrong. My thoughts are on genre as well as where the story takes place.
I’ll tell you why I don’t like the above idea. This is from way back when most books were traditionally published. I loved to read Regency Historical Romance, though many were a bit long winded. What a didn’t like was the fact they were written with American spelling with Regency words in place. Now…yes, I am fussy. In no shape or form were Londoners in Regency England speaking or reading American English in the early 1800’s. So why were they published like this? Simple, their audience/readers were American. It’s a pity they didn’t do a British version, mind that may have cost them to much and Traditional Publishers are all about profit.
With saying this, British authors or other authors who use British English due to setting do get the odd review from readers about how their books are full of errors. Those are the readers who don’t realise British and American English are different in spelling, grammar and punctuation. This is also why I recommend you learn what English you should use and also add what English you are using on the copyright page and even as part of the description if you’re self-publishing online. The difference is a bit of an eye opener.
English Spelling and Different Words.
What do you know of the different spelling and words used for the same item. Do you research what you need? Does your editor understand the spelling you use. There is quite a variety out there, however I will stick with UK, USA & NZ, mainly because these are the ones I use most.
Most New Zealand spelling is the same as British until you hit Te Reo Maori, which is an amazing language to use and write. What is different are the words we use. I can tell you now, going back thirty years and not only was it the words used it was the accents as well. Hilariously funny at times and embarrassing at others. I don’t think I’d ever rolled my eyes so much as I did back then when I was new to New Zealand. I remember once asking where the nearest ‘Chippie’ was. “Oh you can get them here,” and the young lad at the pub/bar held up a packet of—what Brits call Crisps, in the UK. I rolled my eyes, still not realising how different the language was. “I mean the Fish and Chip Shop.” Of course my future husband—a Kiwi, laughed his socks off (not literally). In fact, we didn’t even understand each other much of the time. I eventually became a Kiwi speaker, so much so, that when I visited family in the UK eighteen years later, my siblings kept correcting me. Annoying as hell, especially since they knew what I was on about.
Anyway, slightly off tangent there. In US English you’ll find the difference in spelling. I’ve always wondered why the spelling changed since a majority of colonists were English. If anyone can tell me, I’d be interested to learn. There are hundreds of words you’ll notice with different spellings. Things like COLOUR/COLOR, REALISE/REALIZE. Then you have the words. CANDY/SWEETIE/LOLLY…US, UK & NZ, and there are plenty more which I will list at the end.
First I’d like to get this … out there. PUNCTUATION IS DIFFERENT IN EACH ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY!
Yes it is true, though some will slice and dice and disagree. It depends who taught you, where you were taught and in what generation you’re from. Then you have the accents used and how you speak or how your characters speak to each other. This is one of the many things you need to discuss with your editor. You can give them a generic manuscript which has no country setting as such which is when you can discuss which English you wish to use, remembering you also need to use the correct words. Many people know that US English uses more commas than British English. I have seen the different with Editing apps I use to help me tidy a draft novel.
I use Grammarly Pro. It can give you questionable suggestions and sometimes make you laugh because it’s off base with changes. So, if you’re using an Editing App, make sure your English is proficient.
Grammarly is set up for four different types of English Grammar. Uk, US, Canadian and Australian. Unless I’m helping a client, then I have it set on Uk English.
During the last week I’ve been going back and forth with UK and US English do to proofreading. You can see the difference straight away. One of my own books I’d used UKGrammarly on, was clear of errors, though I still had several steps of editing to do. I accidently clicked on my manuscript when working through an American Clients work and it picked up…over a thousand errors. I nearly panicked until I realised what I’d done, after which I laughed. Yep. It caught the spelling, grammar and punctuation but in American English. It just shows how different it can be. I was pleased I didn’t have to start over.
Different Words, same Item
Chips or Fries
As you can see New Zealand is a mixture of two English Languages, similar to Canada and probably Australia, though they both have their own Idioms There are so many which will confuse a person with the words used and their actual meaning being totally different. Many of these Idioms I had to learn not to use thirty years ago because they were just not understood by the local KIWI population. Then of course you have KIWI Idioms to confound visitors along with place names, many of which are pronounced in totally different way from what they are written.
Te Puke — Tea Pu Key Petone — Pea Toe knee (Not Pet One as I’ve heard some Americans call it) Bring a Plate — It means take a plate of food to share at a party, not take an empty plate. See ya laters — They are not literally going to see you later the same day. It could be tomorrow, the following week. So don’t wait around and yes, people used to do this too.
You can find more Kiwi Idioms HERE American Idioms HERE British Idioms HERE