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
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
Developmental editor Susan Mary Malone speaks on the Constant Changes of the Literary Field, covering both bright and dark sides of the changing landscape of literature.
Malone calls our attention to one aspect of the publication process that is often “neglected” — the writing itself. Authors often leave their manuscript to be taken care of by the agent/editor once it’s “done”. And indeed it is a traditional publisher’s responsiblity to oversee the entire publishing process, except for one thing: the writing is never done. While authors in traditional publishing have to wait anxiously for months before they can move on to the next step, Malone suggests that they should take the time to “focus on the book” by joining critique groups, working with an editor, and writing some more, perhaps not for adding to the quantity but reflecting on the quality of your previous drafts. She makes a final comment by saying:
“the publishing world is changing… it’s important we know what those changes are and what does it mean for authors. How will these changes affect my chances of publication?”
There’s no need to rush when it comes to publishing. And if I have learned anything from the discussions that I have with fellow authors/publishers since this site was launched, here are two things: (1) books doesn’t just sell themselves; the quality of writing should always be your priority thing, particularly if you intend to self-publish, and (2) don’t panic over “knowing nothing about publishing” as it is not going to help you get published. No one is born with a knowledge of the ins-and-outs of publishing, but it’s never to late to start learning, especially when it is so essential to the authors, because not only will it protect your rights, but it may also help you succeed in the highly competitive literary world.
Image Credit: Susan Mary Malone