Tag Archives: book cover design

5 Reasons to be an Indie Author

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It’s been an interesting week. The first few reviews on my new collection ‘And Not Forgetting Love’ are starting to appear on Amazon and Goodreads. For those of us who were once English Lit students, it’s a particularly strange and humbling experience having other people comment on your work – and I’m not sure I’ll ever really get used to it. Suffice to say, I’m delighted that so far the book has made a good impression. That’s all that I can ask. Even more pleasing is that the previous collection, ‘Beyond Words’ has started to pick up a few more reviews. This book has been out a few years, but has been swept up in the recent momentum of the ANFL launch. It’s rather like the awkward older brother has finally found his friends and is blossoming!

While storms Ciara, Dennis et al have been raging, I’ve started work on my next project, but I’m also making time to get back into the habit of reading. I’ve recently read a good book (“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce). I’ve also read a not-so-good book (which shall remain nameless). The latter was a traditionally published paperback, which presumably had the benefit of an editor, or some form of editorial process. The author was not a first-timer. And yet the quality (both in terms of plotting and the writing itself) was poor. It read like an enthusiastic first draft – perhaps the sort which might have been written in a rush, say for NANOWRINO where word-count was the thing.

I have no doubt that the author is pleased to see the book in print. They may be proud of their work, and if it sells reasonably, they can count it a successful venture. At one time, I would have been envious. At one time, I would have done anything to have a book traditionally published. I wouldn’t have cared if it was sub-standard as long as the publisher had deemed it worth a punt. The fact of it being in print would have been all I cared about. But now, I find I wouldn’t want to trade places with the author of the not-so-good book. I’ve got plenty of bad books hidden in a drawer. I haven’t done anything with them because they are bad. Writing them wasn’t a waste of time, because they all taught me a little more about the craft, but I’m very happy if they don’t see the light of day. And I realise I’m very happy being an indie author – and here are some reasons why:

  1. Indies retain their own rights – their intellectual property is their own. Many indie authors have eBook, print, large print, and audio editions of their work. If they want to publish in other countries, or decide to translate into other languages, that’s their prerogative.
  2. Indies control their own pricing strategy and keep control of discounts and free offers, and earnings from indie books go straight to indie authors (minus the cut from the publishing platform). OK, I won’t be able to retire on the money from my books (hot tip: if it’s money you’re after, short stories aren’t the best way of going about it!), but what they earn is mine, and their earnings don’t have an impact on what I might be able to publish in the future. Which leads me onto…
  3. Indies can choose what they publish, and when – they can update text, or bring out another edition when they choose, or even remove a publication from sale altogether. There are no “gatekeepers” throwing up barriers to new work. A book does not have to make money to exist in the indie world (though clearly it’s better if it does!). Traditional publishing takes a long time – indies can respond quickly to new ideas and publish fast.
  4. Indies have full control over their cover designs – they can update or change the cover if they want to. Traditionally published authors tend not to have a say over this aspect.
  5. Indie publishing is ‘SlightlyTurquoise’ i.e. it fits with the desire to minimize waste and live a sustainable lifestyle. eBooks and print-on-demand means a reduction in unwanted hard copy books being produced.

We are incredibly lucky to live in an age where indie publishing is possible – there are so many opportunities available to us now which previous generations simply didn’t have. I’m proud of all my collections, and don’t feel any the less about them because I have chosen to take the non-traditional publishing route. I’m just grateful that I can be an indie.

Cover Reveal – Short Story Competitions: A Writer’s Guide to Success

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I’m always over-optimistic about the amount of writing I’ll get done over the Christmas holidays. It seems glorious at the outset – a luxurious festive week stretching out before you. Granted, there’ll be visits to family and friends, and you know there’ll be a bit of over-indulgence, some time devoted to lounging in front of the telly, but surely there’ll be loads of time left over for writing, right?

So often, the answer is no, but this year, I’ve been making a concerted effort to use the time effectively getting my latest project finished – my first non-fiction eBook, Short Story Competitions: A Writer’s Guide to Success.

And of course, you guys have helped me by voting on your favourite cover design. Each of the three sample covers got plenty of votes (so a big thank you to Shar at Landofawes for creating all three). In the end though, one was ahead by a sizeable margin. I decided to make a few tweaks to this design, but you’ll recognise it as being not too dissimilar to the original. So this is the final cover design:

SScompetitionsKindle - Cover

The book has been released in time for New Year – so if perhaps you’ve been frustrated with your recent writing progress, or you’re just starting out and want 2018 to be the year you see success as a short story competition entrant, you might find the book a good place to start.

The book is available at Amazon here – and I’ll be posting about the book, and about New Year’s Resolutions, here on the blog, and also on my Facebook page over the remainder of the festive season. I hope you can join me for a celebratory glass of virtual bubbly over the next few days, to find out more about the book and get inspired for 2018! 😉

 

Attracting the Reader’s Attention: Choosing the best eBook Cover Design

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For us British, anything related to self-promotion tends not to come naturally. We’re brought up in a culture where mentioning your achievements is only a step away from boasting – and we don’t approve of boasting, ho no! If you’re a writer, the chances are you’re at the quiet and shy end of the social spectrum, possibly a little insular, with perhaps a tendency towards self-doubt too. I’d put myself firmly in this category.

This means I’m mostly doing the social media equivalent of standing at the back of a busy room, raising my hand and giving a polite cough to get everyone’s attention. Sometimes no-one notices. Sometimes I don’t even have the courage to do it at all. Everyone carries on talking, and I just stand there thinking I probably should mention what I’m doing, but maybe it’s not the best time.

But now I really ought to tell you formally about my latest project. I’m writing a book. Just a little one you understand (so that you know I’m not boasting!). It’s my first non-fiction book: “Short Story Competitions: A Writer’s Guide”. I’ve aimed to incorporate all that I’ve learned from my own experiences as both entrant and judge – the idea being the reader will be able to learn from my mistakes rather than having to make so many of their own!

Alongside drafting the text for the book, I pondered the cover design for a long time. There’s no way I’d attempt to create my own eBook cover, but I sent a couple of ideas to Shar, my cover designer, and she mocked up three designs for me.

 

As I’m pretty rubbish at making decisions, I decided to consult family and friends, Facebook and the Twittersphere. The results were really interesting – each cover got lots of support, and there were also some good comments, discussions of the relative merits of each, and suggestions for improvements. Of course, with an eBook cover, you have to think about how the design will work both large scale and in thumb nail form when the reader is quickly scanning through the available options.

If you’ve not chosen a favourite yet, or you’d like to make a further suggestion about one or more of the designs, I’ve love to hear your comments. If you’d like to see the final cover design before the book is out, please click the link on the right hand side of the blog to join my new mailing list. (Oh, did I mention…. *whispers* I’ve got a new mailing list!) 😉