What just a few weeks can bring! Since the release of The Vapor we have seen several hundred readers get their copies! We have also seen several new readers pick up their copy of The Nephelium. As an author this is so exciting because a good writer doesn't write because of some big paycheck at the end, but a good writer writes in order to bring a thrilling escape to those who pick up the books! I personally want to thank all of those who have started the ride!
Because we have seen new fans and readers we have started seeing reviews come in! The jury has come back with a verdict and The Nephelium and The Vapor is an every growing and exciting thrill ride into the world of angels and demons from a different perspective than what you may be use to! Go check the reviews on amazon!
Since the moment I got the word from the editor that The Vapor was heading to retailers I have attacked the third and last book in the series! I still do not have a title for it at this point, but I can update fans that the third book's first rough draft is almost done! What a ride this has been! Again, thank you to all of those who have taken the chance on this series and universe!
The world for new authors can be daunting. Even as a current published author I still, every day, find challenges that seem almost to tall and wide! I remember the moment I finished my first novel! I never could have imagined that the writing would be the easiest part of it all.
If you have been working as a self-published author you, most likely, are aware of every gimmick, the torrent of waves crashing from every side, and the mountains of techniques that rise up at every turn.
Which one is the best? Which one will get you discovered? How do I make my book stand out from all those other books? How is that this "self-published author" over here can claim they have sold hundreds and maybe thousands, but I am over here trying to run free promotions just to get someone to notice my novel?
I am fairly certain that I could spend a month writing a book focused on those questions, and even that book would not be able to give you the golden ticket. No, because once you have finished the final manuscript you will not crossover into the world of sales and promotion. I have spent several years in recruiting and sales and I can tell you that there is a gimmick and technique for every single person under the sun.
I want to focus on a step that is very easy for you to take though. It is something that you have control over, and in many ways, is the start of your marketing and selling of your book. It is something that when I started several years ago I failed at big time, and even today can find it frustrating and difficult. The book cover.
Help, My Book Is Naked
I want you to imagine, for a second, you have just walked into a bookstore looking for a new novel to read, or maybe you are shopping online. What draws you to the books you are looking at? What makes you turn away from the books that you don't even bother to check out?
When I finished the first edition of The Nephelium I was beyond excited! I had a great story and I knew that people would love it! I had, at the time, been working as a graphic designer, and I had limited access to to graphic design programs on my own personal time. Why not make my own cover? This will be amazing! People will be excited about what is in the book, and I poured my heart and soul into it. So, throw a cover on it, and people will come running to purchase it.
Yeah, I was wrong. I wasn't wrong that those who read it did enjoy it. Where I was wrong was that dressing up my "supermodel" in sweats would make people want to buy the "model calendar". I still have a copy of the first edition with the 1st cover, and I look at it often to remind myself that even star actors go out in public wearing "frump" in order to not draw attention.
Finishing that novel is important and a success, but if you take your high performance engine and put it into a beater car, no one is going to want to ride. The outside is what draws people to want to check out what is under the hood.
What Will My Book Wear?
There are many ways of getting a cover for your book. When looking you will discover an overwhelming amount of people who are ready and willing for you to pay small money or over priced money to sell you a "dress" or "suit" for you book. You may even think that you are going to do it yourself, and then again, there maybe an uncle or friend who wants a crack of doing an "Extreme Makeover" for your words.
You have spent hours, days, months, maybe even years pouring yourself into the "birth" of your book. This is your gem! This is the one that will change the world! Don't put it in clothes that look like "hand me downs."
I am a member of several social media author groups. I would suspect that I see around 20 or more new book covers every day, and honestly the majority I would not even stop and read a blurb about. Why? Are they bad authors? Are they not good books? I have no idea, but I can tell you that the covers are HORRIBLE! Even as an author I can be drawn in by a great cover. As one who has made bad cover choices, I still find myself in shock at the amounts of covers out there (many that people purchase) that look like a student from my wife's elementary art class did them.
When I was a military recruiter I watched as each year we would get new graphics, commercials, flyers, posters. My office was covered in them. They were meant to inspire and to touch the heart and soul of potential recruits. Even today the well identified poster of Uncle Sam pointing a finger and saying he wanted young men to join resonates in pop culture. Your book cover should be the same way. No matter how many perks I could offer someone to join, I had to grab their attention first!
Your cover of the book is your 1st and maybe last recruiting tool you have. You either grab your potential reader or you are losing your potential reader.
What Do I Do Then?
There are a few steps that you can take that could change your game. Now, I will not join the gimmick parade. So, please understand that there are numerous things that you can do, but the fact still remains that the most important thing to understand is; MAKE IT POP!
- Readers want to be emotionally attached to the world they are entering into. So, get potential readers involved. Ask people what would make them want to read the book?
- Go look at books that are selling strong in the genre of your book. Pick out elements that you like. Take photos of them, or save them from online. This will help when you go to work with a designer.
- Ask potential readers. Do not just ask relatives or your drinking brothers, but people that you see reading. If you see someone reading see if they will give you a moment. Be polite. Explain you are an author who is doing research of potential readers, and would like to ask them one or two questions. Then just ask them, "What made you decide to read the book they are reading?" This question will provide valuable information on marketing, but then follow up with, "What, if anything, do they like about the cover of the book they are reading?" Readers, as I stated, are emotionally attached to whatever it is they are reading. They will tell you the truth; family and friends may not.
- Remember you get what you pay for, but what you pay for is not always what you should get. I am not overflowing with copious amounts of cash. I don't want to be pouring all kinds of money into my novel up front, but at the same time I understand from my time in recruiting, that I will need to spend some money, and need to balance bang for my buck. This can't be more true than with looking for your cover. I recently had some person from some far off country message through social media saying they would love to design my covers. The message was full of errors and had zero samples. I didn't even bother, and you shouldn't either. Remember the artist is not doing you a favor and you are the customer at this point. Would you purchase the first car or home you looked at from the first person you talked to? Your cover is the home for your words, and so shop around. Unless you have a publishing deal that is going to chose your cover for you, you control the process. Take your research and the idea that your cover, at this point, more important than content shop around!
Even if you do not have a large cash stash sitting around you can still get a great cover! I use Fiver.com and you can find a great designer who will do your cover for less than $100! There are other sites that range from $100 to several hundred dollars. My point is that in doing research you can find that cover that will pop and connect with your readers.
2. You are an author not a graphic designer (unless you are a graphic designer)
Appreciate your art form. Thrive in the understanding that you are the author. You wrote this amazing book that you want to get out into the hands of your readers! Let someone else be the designer, and you build that team to get your book out there.
If you woke up this morning and found your basement flooded and you had no experience in restoration would you try to fix it yourself? No, you would start shopping for a expert in that field; a professional who knows all the ends and outs! So, do that with your novel!
Ask questions about elements about how long has the artist been doing design work, do they have other samples, what is their background in elements of design? All of these are important, and will make or break your first impression of your book.
Start with these steps, and you will find an outfit for your amazing book that you have spent so much time working on!
Recently I was asked what I would tell new authors, and if I had to pick one thing I would say: Write you. Just write you!
Honestly, anyone who is jumping into the deep waters of writing will find a plethora of people who are writing. They will discover publishers who want the manuscript to say certain things. A new author can become swallowed up with in the shark frenzy! What if people don't like what I write? Look at all the people writing books! How is it that I am struggling to write, and so many people seem to pump out novel after novel?
I not only write, but work in the motivational field. When I am public speaking or working one on one with someone I tell them two simple things:
1. The world that we have grown accustom to is, many times, a facade of what people want you to believe.
2. No matter how the lives of others may seem, do your life. Be you, but be the best version of you.
I bring this up, because writing is the same. Sure, there are people pumping out novels, but are they quality? Sure, there are all these websites for companies willing to publish your work quickly, but at what cost? The world of being an author can seem like looking at someone's Instagram! You see this life that they appear to be living, and you can quickly become discouraged that you are not living it.
Just as I tell individuals who attend our motivational workshops, or that I work one-on-one with, I would tell new authors: BE YOU! When I began to write I found myself attempting to hold my head up in the the drowning pool of being an author. It wasn't until I realized that I had to be me, and write me. If I did not, I may get books out, but would I be proud of them? Would I be able to love them?
When I began to write MY books and just DO ME an amazing thing happened! I began to love writing! I began to write a log. I understood the law of attraction that the universe is written on! I saw that if I loved my what I wrote, because I was writing me, then I attracted like minded fans to my writing.
If you are writing to make money and get that huge publishing deal then maybe this isn't for you, but then again the universe may decide that if you are focused on writing the way you want, your story, your characters may be the ticket to the big dance. Don't worry about it either way - JUST WRITE YOU!
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