In the article Book Covers: Do They Matter?, Melanie Figueroa from The Poetics Project discusses the importance of book cover design at marketing level, after having stumbled upon some statistics about booksellers’ view on the visual factor. She wittingly quotes Terri Giuliano Long’s article to argue that many readers do factor cover design into consideration when purchasing books online or in a bookshop, and while I agree with her that authors may not always be responsible for the quality of cover design, they certainly should take this aspect more seriously. True, the book writing itself is a piece of artwork and it is a shame that readers would not purchase your book because of the bad cover design, but wouldn’t a good design help you get across your message even more directly and add to the book’s artistic value?
In this interview with Jane Friedman, the bloggers of Book Venture share their view on why authors should pay attention to book design and hire professional designers, common mistakes that indie authors make during their book publishing process, how much a typical trade print paperback novel is expected to cost, and whether a print book and its electronic version should have different cover designs.
If you wish to go for a short read about visual design in book production, I recommend you check out Layout & Design: Good Looks Sell Books, in which Ahmad Meradji outlines the factors that you need to consider for layout & formatting and cover design, as well as introducing the roles of graphic designer and illustrator in publishing services.
Image Credit: Writely Designed
New Generation Publishing’s annual Self-Publishing Summit in London, and in the article “Self-Publishing Reaches the Summit“, he features several themes of the new trends in self-publishing, which include “starting to self-regulate” and “emphasising on quality”.
talks about his experience of participating in the 2014
Going beyond the dichotomous argument of “traditional publishing vs. self-publishing”, the 2014 conference shifted its focus to seeking possible routes to a successful writing career. Writers seemed to start reflecting on their self-publishing experiences (and each other’s sharing) with a critical eye, “acknowledging the huge potential challenges” and hopefully preparing themselves for the tough road ahead. When commenting on the quality of self-published books, Chalmers states,
It is ultimately that and nothing else that will provide self-published writers with long and successful careers.
Finally, authors at the conference generally expressed their concerns (and possibly anxiety) about marketing, to whom Chalmers suggested that they should not be too “hung up on social media” but should turn to physical copies and try to sell them through local bookshops instead. Sensing an increased degree of self-regulation and professionalism, Chalmers will not be the only one who feels positive about the future of self-publishing in the industry.
Image Credit: She Writes Press
Emily Craven describes author branding as an experience of Being Judged by Your Cover, and claims that “branding yourself as an author” is the key to success. She points out that readers do consider cover design as a factor when purchasing books, and book cover can influence your sales at different stage. Craven further introduces the concept of branding and how to take advantage of some “branding parameters”. Another article posted on The Huffington Post goes with the title “Why Every Writer Needs An Author Brand“, and it is written by a staff from Writer’s Relief. The article emphazises on the importance of having a clear idea of how to market yourself and your work, essentially through “maintaining continuity in your voice as a writer”. Other factors including book cover design (once again…), author website, and social media, but whichever platform you use, it is consistency that helps set your professionalism off an amature. In addition, Nancy Blanton has published a series on author branding, including Part 1: A royal undertaking, Part 2: A royal legacy, Part 3: Author branding and Henry VIII: Royal persona, Author branding: Like Good Queen Bess, Author brandin fog à la française: The Sun King, Author branding: 3 lessons from Napoleon. She takes historical figures as examplars of author branding, and offers many insights on what we can take home from these stories.
Image Credit: Raul Taciu for The Art Times
A blog named Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors is dedicated to introducing tips and advice on writing, publishing, and book promotion. I would like to briefly showcase three of their pieces on author branding: writing partnership, developing websites, and writing reviews.
Guidelines to Making a Writing Partnership Work: Some issues to note when you are co-authoring a publication, including picking the right partner, drafting a contract, assigning work, and sorting out arguments. An example contract is provided at the end of this article.
Developing Effective Websites: For author websites, it is important to define your site/blog clearly, and keep it consistent. Pay attention to not only the details of content but also the visual design, with a particular focus on readability and accessibility.
Writing Reviews: Tips on writing reviews which can work “in your favor as an author”, including commitment to honesty, structure of the review, development of a clear rating system, and frequency of review posts on your author website.
Image Credit: The Creative Penn