Book Cover Designs – 5 Resources for Self-Publishers

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Custom Book Cover for Pearls Before Swine by Andre Hawkings, Kenosis Design Innovations

One of the most exciting things for me as a Self-Publisher is the Book Cover reveal, especially if it’s a really neat one. Personally, I like to get an early start on purchasing book covers. It helps me to get that part of the process out of the way, keeps me excited as I polish off the book, secures the cover so that no one else can get it (if its premade), and helps me to schedule the Book Reveal to build momentum. Nonetheless, custom book covers are expensive. To secure a really great cover will run you at least $300+ dollars if you want it done right. There is an alternative however that can save you money and keep your cover looking fresh.

Pre-Made Book Cover Designs

Pre-Made Book Cover Design from Self-Pub for Pearls Before Swine Vol. #2
Pre-Made Book Cover Design from Self-Pub for Pearls Before Swine Vol. #2

As the Self-Publishing Industry blossoms, the web is flooded with resources. Everything from marketing and promotion to editing services and even book cover designs. If you have deep pockets, you’d really be able to take advantage of even paying for marketing and promotion if that’s not your cup of tea, so why not book cover design? After all, we are writers, not designers.

But with the amount of information now available, I realize there is no reason for an unattractive cover. For this reason, I am in the process of re-vamping all of my book covers to look more appealing. So of late, I have been looking to purchase a few book cover designs and found some great resources for Pre-Made designs. I am re-editing my novel and I would like to add a better book cover for the next edition. I am also shopping for a cover for my early poetry books and the third installment of the Stella series.

The great thing about Pre-Made Book Covers is that once you buy them they are no longer available anywhere else, so there’s no reason to be selfish about where you got your covers since no one else will have the exact same one. Pre-Made also does not have to mean amateur looking (though some of them are). But there are lots of striking professional looking covers to match your story at great prices. Just make sure your pre-made cover doesn’t look like a four-year-old did it because those ones exist too.

#1: Fiverr

Number 1 on my list is Fiverr. For those who are not familiar by now, Fiverr is an online service where individuals with various skills hire themselves out at very inexpensive rates. You can purchase editing or Book Cover designs for as low as $5! Now, I warn that you get what you pay for, so it is not wise to purchase a $5 cover (just saying). I would also not recommend them unless you really have to but will list it here first because I know some of our finances will work with this option. Be sure to have additional work done (such as 3D stock images added) by purchasing the sellers additional services. Even still, you can spend under $50 and come out with a great book cover design (and be sure to purchase a back and spine).

#2: Self-Pub Book Covers

Next on my list is Self-Pub Book Covers. I love them! I have so far purchased two of their covers already. To sign up is free and I love their variety. You can pretty much find something that fits your book (especially if you spend hours strolling through every single pic. I know, I’m a bit thorough. OK obsessed, whatever). My only thing with them is that you have to purchase a back and spine at a cost separate from the cover. Even still, you’d come out spending far less than you would a custom cover. (If you can afford a custom cover please do so. It is the best thing. This list is for those of us on budgets).

#3: The Cover Collection

My next favorite is The Cover Collection. I have not worked with them but they have great covers on their site at reasonable prices (I think the prices are in British Pounds so you’ll have to convert that if you’re in the U.S.).

#4: Paper and Sage

Another awesome site is Paper and Sage. Find neat pre-made e-book and print book cover designs at low prices. I’m currently seriously looking at their site. Their variety is good and the covers are professional. You can also order custom made covers through this service.

#5: Author Marketing Club

On this site, you’d get to explore the work of an individual artist who designs their own pre-made covers. If you like one, you will email them through the site but you will buy directly from the artist just as you would if you spoke to them directly. Their prices are also extremely affordable. I’ve seen some really professional looking covers for as low as $20.

PreMade Cover for my 3rd Poetry Book.
PreMade Cover for my 3rd Poetry Book.

This is just a fraction of the number of Pre-Made Book Cover Designs available out there for Self-Publishers. I didn’t include 99 Designs because though the process is off the charts (I really enjoyed working with the various professional artist to see who could make the best cover), it’s not ideal if you are on a budget and falls into the custom book cover category.

The benefit of pre-made covers (if you can’t afford a custom cover) is that they are professionally pre-designed by professional artists who understands exactly how to position the font and combine colors and everything that is important to a cover. With all of this information at our fingertips, there really is no reason for a crappy cover.

Remember: Books are judged by their covers! And in this age of technology, there really is no excuse.

Self-Publishing: The Workflow

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You are not just a writer. You are not just an author. You do not have the privilege of having an agent or big publishing company to stand behind you. You cannot write a book, sit back and then watch things happen because you are not just a writer anymore. You are a publisher. You are a Self-Publisher. You publish your own books. This means you must stop being a writer. You are much more than that. Now that you publish your own books, you must now think like a publisher. You must organize and plan and live as a publisher. You must become a publisher.

“Self-publishing has gained a great deal of popularity over the past few years. Amazon has made it easy to publish our own work through Create Space and Kindle Select. Unfortunately, the fact it is easy to self-publish has resulted in a proliferation of poorly edited novels as well as novels that need a great deal of help with content and structure. Until these issues are addressed, self-publishing will continue to have an unnecessary stigma attached to it. Many authors just entering the arena of self-publishing have no idea where to start – how to find an editor, a cover artist, and formatters.”

– Editor Glenda Poulter of Rainbow Tales Literary Services

I like this quote because the tone is not bashing toward Self-Publishers, at least not to me, it’s just real talk. It’s hard language, but it’s true:  While I don’t think Traditional Publishers or advocates of Traditional Publishing should stigmatize Self-Publishers because of it, I do understand that because it’s pretty much free or extremely cost effective to Self-Publish, it has in many ways brought down the quality of work in some authors who feel that’s all they have to do. Self-Publishing alone does not automatically degrade the quality of work but  rather, the quality of work put in by the author can in fact degrade the business of a Self-Publisher.

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In certain situations it can benefit us to look closely at how to better use the components of everything we have to achieve a desired effect.  While certain things in our lives require a foundational stance (like morals and values no one should allow another to alter) other things, like Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing, can both be understood in a way that is helpful to both. It’s a good idea for Traditional Publishers to understand all that goes into establishing oneself as a Self-Publisher, that it is not easy, and that it does add value to the market by having all of these books now available that would have probably never made it had not some undiscovered genius never taken the chance. It’s also a good idea for Self-Publishers to take some ideas from the Traditional Publishing method to help to increase the professionalism of their work as Publishers. Traditional Publishing exist and  Indie Authors should use this as a resource.

For example: You may not have to worry about pleasing a publisher since you are the publisher, but you do want to create a good experience for your readers. After all, this is how you are going to make money. (Side Note: Speaking of making money, there are people out there making money off of your work. There are those writing Self-Publishing Help Books who have probably never Self-Published a book in their life. There are people conducting seminars, creating products, and overall profiting hand over fist because more and more of you are Self-Publishing. They’re making money off of your workflow. Why shouldn’t you? Just a thought, but I digress).

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A few years ago, I took a brief class on Career Empowerment and received one of the most valuable pieces of advice I could have ever used over the course of my career. It actually saved me from dying of boredom in that class:

“There really is no such thing as not working for someone. Everybody works for someone. A beauty salon owner depends on customers to come in to pay the rent on the building {mortgage or taxes}. She must pay for the electricity, the repairs etc. Everything about her business depends on customers coming in to get their hair done.”

I found this piece of information profound because I had never thought about it in this way.  When someone studies for an exam, they are not studying for themselves in the sense that they pick up a book and instantly understand what is being said. They first need to be taught by an instructor, they then take notes, and then they study those notes without having to be told, thus, they study on their own. The same applies to writing.  Sure, I can be my own boss and set my own hours, but there really is no such thing as an Entrepreneur in the sense that we make money all on our own.We do not make money on our own. What we do on our own that makes us Entrepreneurs is that we put in work. A Wal-Mart employee ultimately works for the owner, but as the owner, we work for ourselves. We put forth the work necessary to convince the public that our product is important enough to invest in. As a result, we get to set the terms and conditions necessary for the company to grow. That’s what we do. We put in work. We build.

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As I mentioned in a previous article: 4 Common Sense ways it will benefit you to Self-Publish”, Indie Authors actually put in more work than those who choose to publish traditionally. The reason is pretty much attributed to common sense: They must do everything themselves. For this reason, there are many Indie Authors who may not start off as educated about the book making process. They can be great writers, but they may not understand that the publishing industry is a little different than other businesses: there is a lot to learn. Without the power of a publisher behind us, indie authors are forced to become much more than just writers. We have to become business men and women. We need to have great communications and marketing skills and we have to be relentless in our quest to get our books seen. Indie authors have to do it all. There is no outside help. Sure we can hire an editor, but that comes at our own expense. We have to develop, or at least hire someone to develop, a quality cover; another expense that a traditional publisher would normally cover. Indie authors have to treat every day like a business day. They need both pre-publishing and post publishing plans, goals, and quality material that never wavers. All of this requires a lot of work and investment financially in order to be successful.

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While success can be defined differently to each person, every Indie Author, or Self-Publisher has the opportunity to produce quality material, but they also have an opportunity to become much more than writers if they are willing to learn something from both the Self-Publishing AND the traditional publishing process. Self-Publishers are publishers after all, and if we continue to put forth both the time and monetary investment necessary to be successful, we can quickly tear down the negative connotations associated with this industry.

And it all starts with that workflow. So let’s keep it moving. It’ll eventually pay off. Hard work always does.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

4 Common Sense Reasons It Can Benefit You to Self-Publish

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Twenty years ago, a book followed a routine process: You poured your heart and soul into a manuscript, and when you finished it, you started calling agents and editors who most likely told you to send them a query letter. 

The next step is the book proposal and a few sample chapters. Then the waiting game started, usually ending with disappointment. 

On the other hand, the option to Self-Publish was there, but it had a certain stigma that, thankfully, has waned in this digital era. That stigma can be identified by statements such as, “Your book isn’t really published because you couldn’t get it accepted by a ‘real publisher.'”

However, being a Self-Publisher only means you are in charge of the direction of your book. The publisher (in this case, you) is the one who puts up the money. If you invest in your own printing, you are a Self-Publisher. If you begin to take in manuscripts, you are a small publisher. If you grow, you become a large publisher. Still, many Self-Publishers still wear this “badge of shame” for choosing not to go the traditional route, as if they were the scarlet woman or something.

This list can help clarify and simplify things for you.

4 Common Sense reasons it can benefit you to Self-Publish

• Ownership

Self-Publishing can be the road to your independence. Do you dream of being your own boss? Do you desire more personal freedom? You can turn that dream into a reality. You own all rights to your book as a self-publisher, whereas a traditional publisher would likely own the rights. If they lose interest in your book, you cannot print additional copies unless you purchase those rights. Traditional publishers often require you to purchase your book from them to do any promotion you choose to do for your book. As your own publisher, you print as many books as you need. Here is a dynamic, proven way to shape your own destiny.


• Timing

Traditional publishers work on a long production cycle. They often plan a year to a year and a half—or even longer—to get a book out. As a Self-Publisher, you can do it in a fraction of that time. It’s your material, your career move – you can take control of when you want to publish.


• Increased Income

Self-Publishing offers the potential for huge profits. When you use creativity, persistence, and sound business sense, money is there to be made. Most publishers require their authors to do their own promotion, but if you have to do your own promotion, why not Self-Publish it anyway and make more money? Even if you don’t make much, Self-Publishing allows you to get back what you put in. If you set a plan and work hard at it, you’ll be “making it rain” in no time. Or, you can work hard for some big-time publisher to tell you that you’re just not good enough.


• Control

Self-Publishing gives you the final say on the direction of your book. It reflects your vision and not someone else’s. You can personally guide every step or hire professionals to be on your team. You can choose the cover you like, the typeface, and the title you want. You maintain absolute control over your own book.

Whether you publish Traditionally or Self-Publish, completing a book is a great accomplishment. As to whether or not you’re making money from it, that’s up to you. So go ahead, finish that masterpiece, self-publish if that’s what you want to do, defy the stereotypes, and live happily ever after.

5 Horrible Mistakes Self Published Authors Make

Saw this on twitter, thought I’d share. These are some good points:

The Following is by Laurence O’Bryan:

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Self publishing is a golden opportunity. For the first time in history authors can reach readers without going through the traditional publishing system.

But many self published authors are making horrible, beginner-type-mistakes, which will cripple their book sales. Here’s my take on these mistakes:

1. Not getting outside help. Writers can’t generally be editors, cover designers and marketing experts, as well as being writers. Not if they want to do these jobs well. And asking a relative or close friend to do these jobs for you is probably worse than doing it yourself. Your judgement typically goes out the window when someone close to you does something for you. If you won’t spend money on getting experts your sales will be poor. I know there are occasional exceptions to this, but they only prove the rule.

2. Having unrealistic expectations. Most books, up to ten years ago, sold hundreds of copies. Only 1 in 300 traditionally published books, which got good editing, covers and marketing support, became bestsellers in the past. Publishing became a giant game of throw-it-up and see-what-sticks. With printed books it became ever growing and almost criminally wasteful, when you consider the dirty secret that most of the books you see in book stores are destined to be pulped. Now that game is in decline. If you do get editing, covers and marketing right, you might expect reasonable sales, but publishing is always a gamble, so never risk more than you can afford to lose. Great books don’t always sell well. And Print on Demand is way better than ordering books to store in a front room and then a back room – forever.

3. Not building an email list of people who might be willing to read and review your book on Amazon. This is one of the main reasons traditional publishers take so long to publish a book. They often send review copies out to a large group of their reviewers three months in advance of publication. This policy ensures that positive reviews will be posted day one after the book goes up on Amazon. Self-published authors should consider the day a book goes live on Amazon as a soft launch. The day you have five reviews is the day your book gets launched. The day you have ten is when it can hold its head up. The day it has fifty is the day you can expect Amazon’s algorithms to start presenting it to readers near the top of a list of books someone searched for. Congratulations!

4. Not focusing on what makes your book different. Whatever you write, you need to find something unique about your book. That you’ve written a good me-too book, like many others in its genre, is simply not good enough, unless you are happy with poor sales. Sensational writing, words that jump from a page, a heart-stopping plot, and real recipes from your grandmother in a village in Sardinia, where many people live to be 100, are all potentially unique aspects of a book, which will help you find readers.

5. Not believing in yourself. Self-belief is critical to long-term success as a writer, as in many walks of life.  Writing is a profession where those who believe they can and who don’t give up, succeed. Perseverance and a willingness to learn, to edit the whole book again, for the twenty-seventh time, are necessary characteristics for a writer who is determined to become a success. Adopt these characteristics and your path will open up. In the past, it took most writers about ten years to find a publisher, from starting to write. Each year was spent improving, honing, learning. Be prepared for a long journey. If you love being creative with words, don’t give up because the road is hard. Use the journey to prepare for what lies ahead.

Finally, when you have done all of the above, you will know that you can move on. To the next book. And then the one after. Most books lead to another. One of the joys of writing is discovering what else lies inside us, waiting to be born.

#Book #Review – Eternal Traces by Shonda Brock @Shondabrock by @ahouseofpoetry #yecheilyah

Title: Eternal Traces (e-book)

Author: Shonda Brock

Website: http://www.shondabrock.com/

ISBN 13: 978-0-9904242-0-8(ebk)

ASIN: B00KH8VGT4

Published: May 20, 2014

Publisher: Shonda Brock

Pages: 248

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Multicultural, Multicultural Paranormal Romance, Fiction

Rating: 4/5

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review:

Eternal Traces is a Multicultural Paranormal Romance novel surrounding the life of Veteran and Cardiologist Meryt Brownstone. Brownstone is an African American woman who, despite professional success, struggles to lay claim to her personal and mental life. While Meryt dreams of a change of scenery, she does not like getting too close to people and prefers to fly under the radar. She has not been involved in any serious romantic relationship in some time, and frequents daydreams of an ancient world. Hardworking and driven, Brownstone is also an undercover agent for the government, and divides her time between work, chatting with her friend Cindy, secret missions, and experimenting with synthetic blood.

Speaking of blood, Meryt’s life takes a dramatic turn when she is introduced to two brothers, Dr. Fitzgerald and Dr. Rene Daniels, who begin work at the hospital and are highly interested in her synthetic hemoglobin research. Instantly, Meryt is caught in lustful trance at the mere sight of Rene. His attraction bonds with her soul on multiple levels and she is unable to take her eyes off of him. Guarded with her heart, Meryt dismisses Cindy’s nosy assumptions that she has feelings for the new doctor and is not easily willing to let love run its course. Yet, Dr. Rene’s allure surpasses her expectations and the tingling of physical wanting drives her up a wall. Not only are Rene’s dazzling blue eyes mesmerizing, but after meeting her for the first time he seems to avoid her at all cost. This only further ignites Meryt’s interest in him as her mind begins to ponder why. And while Meryt is an ex-military trained solider who spends occasional time conducting secret missions, Rene has a secret of his own to worry about; a secret that, despite his voracious wanting, keeps him away from Meryt.

As the story begins to unfold, I enjoyed the Egyptian and African connection and the parallels between the past and present as expressed by the author. As the story picks up, we see that ancient Egypt is a key figure in Meryt’s visions and an important mission to the Sudan becomes a major turning point in the novel as the lines between dream and reality become blurred. Historically, Egypt is blood brothers to the Nubian and they both descend from Ham whose name means hot, burnt, and black. This means the Egyptians would have looked just like the African American today. In addition, the Kushites (Ethiopians or Nubians), whose name means burnt face, lived south of Egypt in what is called the Sudan today. Meryt’s mission to the Sudan, therefore, was a nice complement. I also enjoyed the symbolism’s, of which there were many. One example being Meryt’s temper when she’s upset and her career as a cardiologist, paralleled against the details of Rene’s life. I think it created an interesting bridge of commonality between the two. How so? You’d have to read the book to find out.

As my first ever Multicultural Paranormal Romance novel, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take a plunge on this one. Not only am I not really into Romance novels, but a Paranormal Romance was extremely left field for me. However, I must say it’s one of those books where, even if you don’t agree with the concepts, is hard to put down; you just must get to the end and see how it all plays out. It also has a unique storyline so I am glad I took the chance. While some parts left me anxiously anticipating action, when similarities arise between Meryt’s life and that of Queen Nitocris, I was happy to see that my thirsts for answers were quenched as the plot thickened. Between Dr. Daniels charm, Meryt’s stubborn ways, and their colliding worlds, Meryt’s carefully composed life is sure to never be the same again. Shonda makes sure to have readers holding onto their seats and holding their breaths for one adventurous ride of Eternal Traces.

Ratings: Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5 Entertainment Factor: 4/5 Characterization: 4/5 Authenticity / Believable: 4/5 Thought Provoking: 4/5 Recommendation: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4/5 Also check out Part 2 “Eternal Burns”. To learn more about Meryt and Shonda, visit them online: Website: http://www.shondabrock.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/shondabrock

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Self-Publishing: Do Your Research!

When a writer sits down to write, he does not fully understand the capacity of that in which he seeks to embark. When he runs his fingers across the keyboard, or scribbles his heart into ink, he does not fully realize the power of his actions. Who would have thought a single chapter could change the world? The life of a Self-Publisher does not fully evolve until after the book is done. He does not see the many hats that must be worn in order writerwalksintothat the world may feel his voice, or sniff out his vision. What Self-Publishers are doing today is very powerful. Just by writing one book we are becoming professionals in fields that people have gone years studying in schools. People have invested in years of schooling in that they may understand how to properly market, promote, and format documents and here you understand this thing just by publishing a book alone. If that is not power, I do not know what is.

writers-block21The first book I published was a collection of essays that none of you would probably read. It started as an assignment from my English Professor in College “Does Racism in America Still Exist?” I wrote so much I could not stop writing. I wrote and read, and wrote and read, until the paper became a book, a 3 part  book to be exact. Then I had a brilliant idea: “I’m going to publish it!” When this thought entered my mental space it wasn’t occupied with much else. I didn’t even see it as Self-Publishing in particular. I did not say to myself, “Self, we’re going to Self-Publish a book.” For me it was simply, “I’m going to publish these papers.” And that was the extent of my brilliant idea. I had no intention of sharing it and no other ambition beyond that. In the end, I gave copies to some family members and college buddies but that was it. I was not interested at the time in Self-Publishing nor did I even know what it was. I always wanted to be a published author, but Self-Publishing in particular was not part of the plan. It would be years later before I actually took the concept  seriously and before I understood what it was in it’s full capacity.

selfpublishingWhen I first started out, The Self-Publishing Industry was not like it is today. In fact, it wasn’t really an industry at all. Of course, in 2007 Self-Publishing existed, but there was not the same amount of information available to Self-Publishers that there is now. We are in the age of information and in just a few short years Self-Publishing ballooned into a plethora of opportunity for authors. Self-Publishing blogs are going viral and men and women alike are making thousands, some millions, of dollars from the expertise they are able to provide on the topic. Regular, ordinary people are making something of themselves by being a part of what they were told only those with Master Degrees and PhD’s could do. But, to aspiring writers who wish to Self-Publish, I beg of you, please, do your research!

relaxed-writer_1I know we do not live in a fair world, but nothing is more unfair to me than a teenager who decides he or she will write a book and publish it and yet have no idea what is necessary to do this. There is nothing more aggravating than for me to hear a young person say that they are publishing a book, and when I ask them what POD company they are going to choose, or if they are going to purchase their own ISBN number, or their marketing plan, they have no idea what I am asking of them. All of this work, and someone’s kid is just going to write a book because its fun. How can you write a book and not understand the basics of print book formatting? Do you even know what that is? Do you even know what POD stands for? Most importantly, do you know there are tons of resources available to help you to find the answers to these questions? I am not talking about places that require hundreds of dollars of investment; I am talking about places that require only pennies. And if you do not have the penny, there are tons of free resources as well. In fact, you need to make sure that Self-Publishing is even a route you want to take. Self-Publishing is hated enough as is because big publishing houses are not making as much money. People are not forced to Self-Publish, people are choosing  to Self-Publish. The problem however, is that people are not researching this industry and making sure they understand what it means to be a part of it. Mediocrity in Self-Published books is not just because of poor editing, book cover design, etc. No, mediocrity is rooted in writers who do not research their field. This is how poor cover design and poor editing is even born.

But times are changing and the industry is not like it was in 2007. No longer can Self-Publishing be stigmatized as a field of nonprofessionals. With the amount of information out today, a nonprofessional product can only be the fault of the author and the author alone, not the industry in general. Being a Self-Publisher alone does not automatically degrade the quality of work, but the lazy work of the Self-Publisher can. I am not saying I have it all together but please research what you want to be apart of. Today, there is a host of information available to help us to get started or to sharpen our skills. So to those who are currently writing books and are seeking to be a part of the Self-Publishing field for the first time, stay encouraged. And please, I cannot stress this enough, do your research. You’ll be thankful for it in the end. You can start off with something as simple as a Google Search. And because blogs are doing so well these days, a lot of the information you’re looking for can be found right here in the blogosphere. One blogger who is always on her game with research for Self-Publishing is my good friend Colleen Chesebro. Colleen is writing her first book and is always on point with her research. She is a great example of what to do as you are writing. You don’t wait until you are about to publish a book to find out how to do it. Ttake some time out of your day and walk around the neighborhood. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.

Self-Publishing – DIY Promo Tools

free_resources5With the ever growing sea of Self-Published books, it is easy to throw up one’s hands under the pressure. One of the most challenging aspects of the process is finances. Many Self-Publishers do not have the money to invest. However, with Self-Publishing being the desired avenue for most authors, it has become an industry of itself and as such, there are tons of avenues out there we can follow to ensure a professional product. There’s Fiverr for example, where one can purchase a book cover design for as low as 5-$10. There is low cost editing options and even people willing to do free book reviews. Below are 15 DIY tools to help Self-Publishers to promote their books for next to nothing by Tony Levelle. I don’t believe you’ll have to use them all or that they will all work for you, but I think this is a good start for anyone looking to Self-Publish: I intend on using some of these bullet points myself and so I just thought I’d share them:

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No matter what kind of book you’ve written (or plan to write) there are many ways to reach your audience. Each of the DIY tools listed here is low or no-cost, and each of them works in its own way. One or more may be perfect for you.

1. Start Early
The most powerful and essential steps you can take toward promoting your book begin long before the actual writing of the book. Three years before the book is published–if you can–start building a network of supporters and reviewers. Keep track of everyone you meet as you research and write the book. Pay special attention to, and make notes about, those who demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for you and your project.

As the project evolves, keep in touch with these people. You might send them an occasional email or keep in touch via a social networking site like LinkedIn or Facebook.

For significant milestones–the signing of your book contract, the completion of the manuscript, the arrival of the galley proofs, and the arrival of the finished books–you might bring key people together for a house party. At the house party, you could read short excerpts from your book and answer questions about the project.

2. Contribute to Web Forums
Every field has at least one or two forums that people interested in your subject know and read. Find and join these forums.

Contribute to them freely. Give advice and reach out. Offer to help others. Put a link to your blog or website in your signature line. When you have a book contract and/or a book title, add the title to your signature line.

3. Start a Blog
Early in the process of researching and thinking about your book, start a blog. Add 120-130 words each day of helpful, inspirational information on issues in your field, which are related to the subjects in your book. Aim to create a genuinely useful body of knowledge over the following 12 months.

4. Write a Remarkable Book
Set out to write a remarkable book. If your book is not remarkable, keep working on it until it is. Give the manuscript to ten friends and ask for honest feedback. Find a brilliant editor (you can find such an editor at EFA) and pay him or her to edit your manuscript. Revise. Repeat. Don’t stop until your reviewers start saying things like: “I loved it! This book is amazing!”

A remarkable book will generate word-of-mouth publicity. One person will read it, and recommend it to his or her friends. They will recommend it to their friends. This is the best publicity you can get.

5. Cultivate a Positive Attitude about Book Promotion
Think of book promotion as storytelling. The story you are telling is why you wrote your book, how it can help others, and how the world will benefit from your book. If you can develop a positive attitude about book promotion, people will pick up on it, and tune in immediately. Some writers resent the chore of marketing. Their attitude seems to be, “I’m a writer. Marketing is the publisher’s job. Promoting my own book shouldn’t be my responsibility.”

Unfortunately–unless you are Stephen King or Malcolm Gladwell–the publisher probably won’t have the budget to market your book. If you don’t promote your book, no one else will.

6. Create a Media Kit
Your media kit should include:
* Professionally printed business cards with the book cover on one side and your contact information on the other side. Do not try to print them on your home printer. This is a time to invest in your product and yourself, not save money.

* A headshot by a professional photographer or a talented amateur. It should be well lit, with a neutral background. Your eyes should sparkle.

* A 100 – 150-word biography. The main purpose of the biography is to tell a reader why you are uniquely qualified to have written this particular book.

* A ‘one-sheet’ for the book: a single piece of paper with a glossy print of the book cover on one side and a one-page description of the book on the other side. Be sure to include a few short blurbs and recommendations from colleagues and friends in the description.

7. Create a Book Pitch
Consider writing at least three sales pitches for your book: 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds. When someone asks what the book is about, give them the 10-second pitch. If the person responds with interest, have a longer pitch ready! Practice your pitches on friends until they tell you the pitches work.

8. Build a Website
As publication day approaches, build a full website. The website should include:

* A book blog, in which you write updates, corrections, errata and respond to reader comments and suggestions. This book blog may become the basis for the second edition of your book.
* Sample chapters from your book
* A link to the Amazon page for your book, so people can buy the book online
* Your media kit (see step 5)
* Book reviews and blurbs.
* Your schedule of appearances, including bookstores, speaking engagements, and conferences
* Contact information.

9. Get Book Reviews from Individuals
Six months (nine if possible) before the book is due to appear in bookstores, start asking people for reviews and blurbs. Send reviewers a printed galley proof of your book. If you don’t yet have printed galley proofs, send a PDF containing the first two chapters, a table of contents and your bio.

Don’t be afraid to approach the ‘biggest names’ in your field. (This is important.) Ask for both reviews and blurbs. Busy people may only have time to write a few sentences. A word about PDFs: check with your publisher about their policies on review copies. Many publishers will NOT allow you to send out a PDF copy of the entire book. They are afraid the book will be stolen.

10. Write Articles
Every field has eZines, websites, and magazines that advocate or deal with the subject of your book. Find them. Once you know where they are, look through them and figure out which ones talk to the audience for your book. Contact those sites or publications and pitch articles that will be of interest to their readers. Schedule articles to appear around the time your book will appear in bookstores and on Amazon. For example, if your book is going to appear in bookstores and on Amazon in mid-June, schedule your articles to appear in July, August, and September. Remember to pitch articles early, because many magazines and eZines have a 3-6 month lead time. Mention your book title somewhere in the article. In online articles, link the book title to its Amazon page so readers can click over and buy the book.

11. Get Book Reviews from eZines and Magazines
Ask websites, eZines and magazines in your field to review your book. Some websites or eZines may offer to trade, to review your book if you write an article for them. For example, earlier this year I contacted Writers Store and offered to write an article about what I learned while promoting my most recent books: Producing With Passion and Digital Video Secrets. This article is the result of that contact.

12. Get 20 Amazon Reviews
Amazon reviews are amazingly effective. Everyone from book buyers to publishers reads them. Your goal is to get at least 20 reviews. Contact everyone you know and ask each of them if they would give your book an honest review. Let them know it can be brief. If they agree, send them either a galley proof, a promotional copy of the book, or a PDF containing a table of contents, two sample chapters, and your bio. Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers are another source of high-value reviews. Find the reviewers who deal with books in your area. Write to them. Tell them you have written a book they might be interested in, and that you’d appreciate a review. If they respond, send them a galley proof or a promotional copy of your book.

 

13. Get Mentioned in email Blasts
Look for organizations in your field that send large-volume emails. Try to get your book reviewed in their email or newsletter. When the number of people receiving the emails is 100,000 or more it’s sometimes referred to as an email blast.

 

14. Speak at Conferences
As a published author, you have the qualifications necessary to speak at conferences. Contact conference organizers at least 6 months in advance. At first, you may have to register and pay a fee to speak. Later, when you become better known, conferences may seek you out, and may even pay you to speak.

 

You should be prepared to give a 45-minute presentation. A useful way to structure a 45-minute presentation is to speak for 30 minutes, and take questions from the floor for the last 15 minutes. Plan to take a few minutes after your speech to circulate with the audience. Have a table in the back of the room where you or someone on your team sells books.

 

15. Make and Post Online Videos
Make a few 5 minute videos (or a series of videos) of yourself talking about key issues in your field. Put the book title and URL on the bottom of the video screen and in the credits.

Post your videos on several of the many video sharing sites including sites like blip.tv, jump cut, our media, Vimeo, vSocial and YouTube. Embed the video clips on your website.
Plan on following your promotion plan–perhaps an hour a day–for at least a year. Resolve to do something every day on promotion. Remember – follow-up and persistence are the keys to success.

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I hope this list has been of help to you. In addition, if you’re a Self-Publisher and you are interested in letting me read a copy of your book in exchange for an honest review, please send me an email and I will give you the details. I will read your book for free and offer my opinion. Why am I doing this? Because as a Self-Publisher I know how tight finances can be and that every little bit helps. I have some time to read and would love to see what you have to offer.

Email: ahouseofpoetry@gmail.com