BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

How self-published authors can stop shooting themselves in the foot

A lot of self-published authors ruin the book they have worked so hard to create by thinking they can design their own cover. Many want to shoehorn in a lot of different images to represent the entire story forgetting that it is an advert, the most important advert that any potential reader will see, an advert that it is offer only displayed at the same size as your thumbnail.

thumbnailA thumbnail size picture of a thumbnail

If it is hard to get the image right, fonts can be a bigger problem. Most authors who haven’t also studied graphic art at college don’t understand the difference they can make .
Book designer Simon Avery says fonts are a graphic designer’s secret weapon.

Outside of the hundred or so fonts available on publishing software, there are thousands of other fonts and every good designer has a big collection. Professional fonts cost anywhere from $10-$50 and I like to buy at least one new font for every book cover (this cost is included in my pricing). A good font can even appear hand-illustrated – such as on my cover for The Modigliani Girl by Jacqui Lofthouse.

book coverYou can read more about what a designer actually does on the Reedsy blog. Simon designed the cover to Back to Creative Writing School. It’s simple, eye-catching and works well at thumbnail size. At first I wasn’t keen on the pink so Simon sent me different versions using different colours. He was right: I was wrong. The pop of pink jumped out of the screen.
Has the cover contributed to the guide’s success? Without a doubt.

Back to Creative Writing School 30

I don’t know much about design but I can spot an amateur cover a mile off (bet you can too). It screams lack of care and makes me think that what is inside the cover will also lack professionalism.

Book reviewer Rosie Amber has devised a five minute test which shows just how important a cover is in attracting a reader’s attention.

This is what she suggests you do:

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

Read more on Rosie’s blog if you are thinking of self-publishing. It is a gentle lesson on how to give your book the best possible chance.

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6 comments on “How self-published authors can stop shooting themselves in the foot

  1. Rosie Amber
    July 25, 2015

    Thank you so much Bridget, several fellow bloggers and authors have been joining me each Friday for this challenge and discovering the eye appeal and then importance of that 5 min window you have to sell your book. Get the cover right, the book description tantalising, the price competitive and find some genuine readers who will rave about it and you have a winner.

    But if you’ve already missed the potential buyer because their eye rolled right past your book cover then the rest of the dale is even harder.

    Any one can join the challenge – if you tweet it use #FridayFiveChallenge

  2. A.K.Andrew @artyyah
    July 25, 2015

    Good advice, even though it’s always hard to fork out the cash!

    • bridget whelan
      July 26, 2015

      I think it’s the one thing you should spend money on – provided you’ve got friends with the skills to copy edit

  3. ann perrin
    July 26, 2015

    Useful you brought the matter up but Rosie’s ‘five minute window’? Do people really take that long to choose? Self publishing certainly in poetry, is still considered to be a no, no whatever the cover looks like!
    I produced my book without professional help, it is the marketing that sells the book not the cover, in my humble opinion.
    My book is still selling, seldom on Amazon, but locally six years after publication.

    • bridget whelan
      July 26, 2015

      But the cover is marketing! I know poetry is a different but for fiction and non-fiction Amazon is potentially a very worthwhile global amrketplace.

  4. theowllady
    July 30, 2015

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

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This entry was posted on July 25, 2015 by in Muse and tagged , , .
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