We are now getting into the last part of the marathon of writing a book for publication.
How your book looks will help it sell or not! Several key factors here
Your Book’s Title Will Make a Difference – I don’t know that discussing the book title really fits in this blog, but I’ve not addressed it elsewhere. Before going to print, come up with a good, descriptive and quick-hitting title that will get your potential reader’s attention. I’ve had books with great titles – You Wouldn’t Want an Ostrich for Your Mama! (This is a book about disciple-making, based on Job 39 and a mother ostrich’s dereliction in her duties.) and some that are mediocre to poor. In my opinion, one of my best books is Healthy Church – Start Here! For some reason, the title has not resonated with the intended audience, so that particular book has not sold well.
Take time to develop a good title. From a sales vantage point, the best title may not be something you even like yourself. To get some pre-publishing feedback, you can use social media to present several potential book titles. Doing something of this sort with social media, also serves to give some preliminary marketing for your forthcoming book. David Garfinkel’s book Advertising Headlines that Make You Rich is a worthy read that suggests ways to phrase concepts to gain attention. If possible gain access to this book through your local library. Garfinkel’s book is also a good source for sermon titles, and lines for marketing on Twitter and Facebook.
Cover design matters a great deal, particularly if you want your book to sell. Don’t go cheap or amateur on cover-design. Unless you are truly gifted with graphics, your cover is not a place for a “do it yourself” effort. The cover of your book will either entice people to pick it up for a look or to ignore or overlook it. I’m not graphic or capable with visual art at all, so I need total help with cover design. Hire someone who does cover professional graphics work design your book cover. Since you “hire” the person, you don’t have to accept their first suggestion or concept.
Selecting Your Cover Design Artist – I suggest choosing someone who has done cover design before. It is wise to have potential cover designers show you work they have done on other books. If your book will be the artist’s first cover design, your book cover should be free or relatively inexpensive. You are taking a risk with using an unproven person for cover design. I currently use JoLynn Mills with Savvy Design Solutions. (firstname.lastname@example.org) JoLynn does good work. She is proven and for a decade has done overall design of at least one magazine as well as church marketing projects.
What Will a Cover Design Cost? – This is quite varied, and may depend on the amount of work the artist is doing at the moment, or how elaborate your design will be. There is also what we called during my time with North American Missions, “East Coast/West Coast pricing.” If simply means that on either coast prices tend to be more expensive than in the middle of the continent. Regardless of where you live, with modern technology, your cover design person can be anywhere in the world. Inexpensive is not necessarily the best option! Of course, be sure you know what your cost will be and be prepared to pay the bill when it is due.
Things to Know BEFORE Selecting Someone for Cover Design – What is your time-line for going to print? What is your book title? If you are not sure on the title, the design person may be able to offer some suggestions. What size will your book be? The most common size of perfect bound book is 6″ by 9″. How many pages will be in the book? The number of pages will determine how wide the spine of the book is going to be. What information do you want on the back cover of the book?
Working with a Cover Designer -You may have an idea of what the cover should look like. If so, share your idea with the artist. If you are open to suggestions, or simply don’t have any idea you can send JoLynn enough of your your content for her to develop some cover concepts for your book. Designing the cover is give and take. You are working with professionals designers who want to make your project a success. If you don’t care for some of the early concepts keep working at it until you are content. Most graphic artists are able to make changes rather quickly. They understand how to make computer software do things that a novice will not know. Again – go professional!
In working with a graphic artist for cover design realize that your project is not the only project currently in their portfolio. Make sure the cover can be designed, with time for edits within your time frame. Even with that being said: connect, reconnect and follow-up on the time-lines that you and the cover designer decide on. The squeaking wheel really does get the grease.
Front Cover – This is widely varied but does need to be in colors that are currently in vogue. The cover needs to gain attention as well as reflect the content of the book. Encourage your artist to use colors that “pop.” Since the first year will be the time when most of your sales happen it is not as important to use traditional colors with long shelf life, but a color that is attention getting at the moment of publication.
Back cover – The back cover is also important. A prospective customer has picked up your book. What does the person do? Almost immediately, they turn the book over to see what the back cover says. Your back cover must not be wasted space. It can give a short description of “why” a person should purchase this book, along with the author’s picture and a brief biography. The biography would be a few sentences that validate the person as an author. Finally, you can include one or two short recommendations from influential people who may cause others to purchase your book. When you ask for these recommendations, realize that the people who give you these statements will likely write a longer response than you can include. Have each person’s permission to edit their paragraph, letter or email down to a single pithy sentence.
Quality creative work costs money.
Quality creative work makes money.
Don’t be foolish and skimp on your cover design.
Christmas sale available for only five more days!!!! I’ve quite a number of books already in print – an omnibus of almost all my writing (18 books out of a total of 22 written, the others are either out of print or not under my control) is now available for a limited time at almost 50% off cover prices. This would be a great Christmas gift for your son, or son-in-law who is a developing minister. We need to get these in the mail soon. Visit CarltonCoonsr.com for this offer and for other options.
ALSO, for a few more days, four of my earlier books are available for only $10 per title:
My latest book Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper has been my best seller within the time frame it has been available. This would also make a great Christmas gift!