Dianne Wadsworth runs a proofreading service for a variety of clients. We have referred authors onto her, and received very good feedback. Visit her recently revamped site to obtain a quote for your writing project. Needless to say, proofreading is a crucial stage in preparing your book for print.
For a glimpse of what a book promotion might look like when integrated with email and social media, this post is worth perusing. While it would probably seem somewhat exhausting to many authors, it does emphasise just how much work is involved in making a book visible to an audience, and encouraging readers to actually purchase it.
With the rise and rise of Audiobooks, some authors may be considering an audio version of their work. Whether they narrate it themselves (possible, but not always a good idea), or engage an actor at eye watering per-hour prices, there are many aspects to consider, most of which are covered in this excellent interview. Audiobooks are a powerful format with fairly high barriers to entry, platform independent, perfect for time poor people or those on the move, and only set to further expand. In my long experience as an audiobook consumer, the quality of the narrator is absolutely crucial — a good voice can make even indifferent prose sound oddly compelling. Some listeners will follow the narrator to different books just to hear his or her voice, which means some narrators are in massive demand.
Dr. Harald Osel works in the global oil and gas industry and has written four remarkably detailed volumes on the industry he knows and loves. We designed covers for all four volumes of his magnum opus and typeset the text. Every aspect from exploration to extraction and transport is covered, along with issues of environmental preservation and clean energy. Published by Aurora Publishing. We maintained common design elements for al four covers and used images that reflected the topic covered by the specific volume. Typeface used on the covers: Proxima Nova (various weights and widths).
Independent authors are often preyed upon by publishers. Writing a book is hard but a relatively linear task — write > edit> proofread, but the modern landscape of publishing and promotion is wide open, with a myriad possible strategies and pitfalls. Unsurprisingly, many authors find the prospect of self-managing their book overwhelming and sign up with ‘vanity’ presses. Many of these presses over-promise and under-deliver. With the amount of money they spend on signing up with a publisher, authors could have achieved a great deal pursuing their own promotional plan. There are many resources online to assist with this planning. Jane Friedman is also very helpful.
Independent publishing is hard, but it can be very rewarding. Many of the possibilities are very low cost, your reach is potentially global, an amazing thing in itself.
WorkingType Design has compiled a useful hints booklet for authors, downloadable here.
Most independent authors opt to upload their print-on-demand book files to Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly Createspace) or to Ingram Spark/Lightning Source. Hence, designers tend to choose book sizes that conform to the standard sizes supported by these two providers (the sizes are very similar between the two platforms. The pages that detail the standard sizes for KDP are here, and for Ingram Spark here. For a head to head comparison of the two services, check out this article. Others argue for using both services at once.
Audiobooks are currently the fastest growing segment of the publishing world. Listeners can login to audiobook services such as Audible, Playster of Apple Books on almost any device, and listen at home, the car or while walking. In short, it is a portable and very immediate format. Until recently, the process of recording a professional ebook has largely been restricted to publishers, due to the expenses involved. However, audiobook recording services have been established aimed at independent authors. An author client recently recounted their experience using Findaway Voices, and was vocal in praise of their service. This article posted at the Creative Penn in mid 2018 largely echoes his praise. Amazon’s own audibook recording service to authors is here.
From the Department of AI is Coming for Your Job: an algorithm that does a pretty fair job of separating a human in an image from its background. I uploaded the image of the woman at left, and downloaded the result at right, all in a few seconds. Check it out here. The free version works at limited resolution. There is a paid version (naturally) that works at much higher resolution. The underlying technology is pretty impressive.
Some recent cover designs with the usual variety of subject matter. Contemporary fiction, psychology, thrillers and family histories. Never a boring moment…
The book of the future was supposed to be an amazing digital, virtual thing, anticipated eagerly by every second futurist, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way. An interesting article in Wired about how we got to the current ebook landscape (hint: involves an all conquering behemoth named after a big river). And print books are still a thing, thank goodness. And here’s an interesting quote for all the independent authors out there:
Presenting an informative and inspiring post from independent author Mala Naidoo:
Starting out as a writer was a romantic inclination, a desire to bring my writing dream to reality.
Little did I realise how important it is to create awareness that you exist, first as a person and then specifically as a writer. Later genre and style become recognisable to readers who are also feeling their way through the stories crafted by a new author.
Striking a balance between writing and marketing your books is paramount, if you want your books in the hands of readers through online or in store purchases.
Starting off with friends, colleagues and family is necessary. Your supportive core, in your writing career, will always be vital for feedback on all your books.
Some of the ways to create awareness and promote your books
is by extending your readership.
How do we do this, let us count the ways.
- Promote your books in your local community, book stores, libraries and book clubs. Offer and accept speaking engagements at book club meetings, school talks and at your local library.
- Talk about your book covers and what they mean, the visual impact - colours, placement of images etc. This has value in eliciting interest.
Cover Design: WorkingType (www.workingtype.com.au)
- Hosting a book launch when your first book is out, attracts curiosity, interest and gets attention. An afternoon tea with light refreshments is a winner to draw a wider crowd. Friends and colleagues are excited for you and offer to assist on the day. As introverts, as most writers are, (we lock ourselves in solitude for days on end) it’s not easy to solicit assistance and market your books - but it’s an essential requirement. The after effects of a book launch are book leads - requests for more books and where they might be available.
- Befriend, online or in person local independent bookstores in your town or city, and through friends in other cities to get your book online and in stores, then encourage readers to purchase your books through these channels. This helps to get your print book into stores, maybe not on the same shelf as Stephen King or Lianne Moriarty, but it gets a space, a tangible space.
- Create a website to reach your readers through blog posts, and newsletters, invite readers in to take up your free offers, create fun giveaways for your subscribers. A simple fact file on a character your readers love is all you need to spur on their interest to read more of your books. It’s an ongoing, strategic process.
- Join online author associations to promote your books or at the very least to create awareness that you exist as a writer.
- Facebook ads are a great way to create awareness and invite the purchase of your book or sign ups to your newsletter. A permanent Facebook Ad for sign ups is necessary when you begin promoting your books, website, and blog.
- When you have a new book out, launch it through Facebook and AMS ads, send out friendly newsletter or messenger communication to your contacts telling them about your new book.
- Don’t overkill the advertising, do it tastefully to keep readers coming back for more.
- Online interactions with influencers of the craft, attending book fairs, writers’ festivals, listening to podcasts and attending webinars are great ways to connect with like-minded creatives, to extend the promotion of your books. Be selective in your choices because it’s easy to drown in a sea of algorithmic advice!
- Create awareness of all your books on Facebook (pin to top), Twitter,(pinned tweet) Instagram (create a cover story, add updated information related to your writing journey). Pinterest (pins that showcase your books with links) Google+, your website and blogposts.
At first I was awkward talking about my books. Fear held me back. Now I have a little story to tell: One day a lovely hairdresser probed into my silent, private world, I managed to slip in, amidst the heat and whirring of hairdryers, a quick biographical sketch, whispering that I was a writer too. Curiosity grew in the hairdressing salon from that whispered revelation as ladies, and the odd gentleman wanted to know more about my books. Having your latest book at the ready is a loaded gun for promotion, as is having an author business card, especially at the places like the hairdresser!
Writing is a process, just as marketing and creating awareness of your latest publication is. Both need equal attention. It’s a balance I continue to work on.
Happy reading, happy writing, happy creating!
A generously detailed look at running a creative practice and dealing with clients in a sane and fair way. Full of excellent tips on pricing, time management, project management, decision-making and the psychology of making a sale.
The founders of this site and app aim to bring selected snippets from the vast, vast ocean of books whose time has come and gone, and hopefully resurface interesting ideas and insights for readers. The selections are made by humans rather than algorithms.
Pawel has illustrated several books with us now, with a range of subject matter. He has adapted well to every request and produces illustrations with personality and energy. Here's an introduction from Pawel:
"My name is Pawel (the Polish cognate of Paul) and I’m a freelance illustrator based in Poznań, Poland. When I was a small boy, my father showed me a ballpen-made portrait — I've been drawing ever since. Being self-taught, I barely ever leave my pencil behind, wanting to be a better artist. Working almost my entire life in IT business has given me an interesting perspective on art, and at the same time equipped me with some skills that are helping me out with my art work. Coming from two such distant worlds is both advantage and a challenge which I take happily, having a great motivation from my family, especially from my beautiful wife Joanna.
I really enjoy black and white drawings. Book illustrations, comics and graphic novels were always something special for me. Being able to actually create book illustrations is like fulfilling my childhood dreams. This is also why I really enjoy working with Luke, for he is a professional, honest and friendly person, giving me the opportunity to do what I really love:)
If you are a book author and want to decorate your book with any kind of illustration I'm more than happy to help you. I always like to research the subject of the illustration to fit it best for authors idea. I usually do hand-drawn, pencil to paper sketches then scan and add some processing work on the computer with use of a graphic tablet. I always like to leave a hand-drawn feeling to the final effect. I can create book illustrations, portraits, caricatures, etc. but I stay open for any kind of drawing / art idea you might have!
We asked author Roger Mendelson, author of Eliyahu's Mistress, to jot down a few thoughts re. promoting his book in the age of social media:
"The days of publishers promoting novels are over, unless you are a high profile author. If you want to promote your book, you have to do it yourself. I am on this journey and despite my novel, Eliyahu’s Mistress winning the IPPY 2018 Bronze Award for best Australian/NZ fiction, am finding it difficult to gain momentum. There is no magic bullet. If you believe in your novel, you require more persistence with promoting it than writing it.I say this as someone with considerable business experience, so I can only imagine the frustration most authors must feel.
Traditional media is fast dying, so if you have a very low budget, social media is really the only option. For this to be effective, you need to define who your readership is likely to be and target this group. It needs to be very specific. Eg middle-aged country people, single older women, retired couples, young single men. I am not an effective Facebook user but I can see that with a very low budget, this really has to be the major medium to use."
The diagram below provides a breakdown of the steps involved in creating, designing, producing and publishing a book independently. There are quite a few steps involved, but with our assistance and those of other professionals, the process is not quite as painful as it might appear...
Most independent authors dread writing blurbs, and devote as little time to it as possible. Yet they are a critical tool for attracting potential readers. Seasoned author and promotional expert Joanna Penn enumerates several solid points to consider when engaged in the dreaded work of blurb construction. While many of the points (introduce key characters, describe the setting, a hint of mystery, etc.) might seem obvious, many authors opt instead for a leaden synopsis that gives away every important plot point.