Category : Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks

Choosing your cover image

There are only ever a few reasons as to why we are compelled to pick up a new book from Amazon or our local bookstore:

  • It’s one of those “must read” titles.
  • One of our friends or family members mentioned it.
  • It’s mandatory to pass our upcoming high school test.
  • Our favorite author finally finished another book… like maybe the sixth book… George?
  • Or, we liked the look of the cover.

I can easily think of a few books that I picked up for one of those reasons, and I bet you can too.

The importance of a cover

Your book cover is the first thing a reader will see, it will determine if they look past it on a shelf, or if they keep scrolling down while shopping online. Your cover is important, I can’t stress this enough; it is also one of the biggest contributors of creating a successful book as a self-published author.

Let’s break the cover down to its elements: a cover is essentially a title and an image. While the title is usually a few words or a phrase that describe the content or the story of the book, an image is a bit more than that. The image is a picture that introduces readers to the story. It can be used to convey themes, plot points, characters, and it can even foreshadow events to come.

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Tips & Tricks

The picture really is worth a thousand words, so make it count!

“No one knows or cares who I am from a hole in the wall, so why do they need to know about me, the author?”

This is a common thought among many self-published authors, and a fair point, especially if this is your first book. But remember, your name is on that book, and readers do care about that. Just as we can’t help but judge a book by its cover, as readers, we can’t help but judge whether we want to invest in you by your author photo.

You’ve put a lot of thought into the content, editing, and design of your book, and that same careful calculation should go into taking the perfect author photo for your platform. While it may be tempting to boycott the author photo altogether, having a professional photo can go a long way.

If you look at Amazon’s top 10 bestselling authors on any given day, you’ll find they all have headshots that accompany their author bios. So, if you ever aspire to be the next Stephen King, or Margaret Atwood, get yourself camera ready!

The most important reasons to have an author photo taken right from the start are to give readers a sense of what kind of book they can expect from you, and to reinforce your credibility as a published writer. There’s a lot you can convey about your writing persona and style by the way your photograph is taken. Not only that, this photo is your key to being taken seriously in the literary industry.

While the central purpose of an author photo is to accompany a bio on the back cover of your book, they can also add professionalism and transparency to your website, promotional materials, and be quite handy during press opportunities.

So, here are some Tellwell tips for getting that perfect picture:

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Tips & Tricks

Affordable online advertising for authors

More than 2.34 billion people are using social networking, and there are more than 3.6 billion internet users worldwide. Online marketing is integral to building your author platform to reach your target markets and promote your book. One of the best ways to boost your online presence is advertising.

As an independent author, you may not have the budget to invest thousands of dollars into online advertising, but don’t rule it out just yet. Here are some affordable online advertising options to consider:

 

Facebook Advertising

facebook

Facebook advertising is open to anyone who has created a Facebook Page, to promote their business, product, or brand. Facebook ads are broken down into three parts: the campaign, the ad set and the ad itself.

When setting up an ad on Facebook, the first step is to identify the objective or goal of the campaign. Authors can use Facebook advertising to promote their Facebook page or their website, boost a post from their Facebook page, or promote an event. Facebook ads are most effective for driving traffic to you page or website, to boost your subscribers. They can be a great tool to develop your online following.

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Tips & Tricks

Using BookBub to boost ebook sales

screen-shot-2017-03-29-at-2-42-56-pmAs an independent author, having an ebook edition can be integral to book sales. Indie ebooks control somewhere between 10% and 20% of the publishing market, so maximizing your online e-book sales should be part of your marketing plan.

BookBub is a well-established email service, notifying subscribers of discounted ebooks. It was originally designed to help lesser-known authors – specifically independent authors – connect with their target audience. BookBub subscribers have the option to choose from 40 distinct genre categories and receive daily featured deals based on their interests. With more than two million members, Bookbub can be a great way for you as an author to gain readers, reviews, and an increase in ebook sales.

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Tips & Tricks

Tips for writing an effective back cover blurb

You’ve written a book, so how hard can it be to write a couple more paragraphs for the back cover? It may seem easy in theory, but, writing a condensed yet enticing summary can be quite the feat. As an author, you know the contents of your book inside and out, but what does your audience need to know to convince them to read the book?

Here are some tips to write an effective and engaging back cover blurb:

Think of your back cover blurb as a roadmap for readers.

It’s your job to highlight the key things they will get from the book.

  • Start with a hook, something interesting to grab the reader’s attention right from the start. A poignant quote, pressing question, or pithy summary may be a great place to start. This is essentially the “pick-up line” of your book, so grab your audience’s attention with something powerful.
  • Your blurb should include context or background information to set the stage. For non-fiction, this could establish the premise of the book, and for fiction, this might be the setting of the book.
  • Next, you’ll need to introduce the main character(s) of the book along with some detail about their role in the plot development. Use adjectives that would help to characterize while keeping the description succinct.
  • Now that you’ve established a premise, you’ll want to tease the reader with the main conflict or problem in the book. For non-fiction, this could identify controversy, challenges or struggle in the book, and for fiction, this could hint at the climax of the story – although avoid spoilers.
  • It can be quite effective to end the roadmap with a twist or cliff-hanger to intrigue your audience. The twist could be phrased as a question or a dramatic statement, which tells your audience that reading the book will answer it.
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Tips & Tricks

Using NetGalley to Market Your Book

 

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One of the biggest challenges as an indie author is gaining exposure, so your book doesn’t get lost amongst the millions of other titles listed on Amazon and other online retailers. Getting book reviews is one of the best ways to gain some initial publicity, especially for fiction authors.

NetGalley is an online marketing and publicity tool used to gain readers who will read and review e-books. Authors use this as a portal to provide digital files to an online community of more than 310,000 ‘professional readers’ including bloggers, book reviewers, media professionals and booksellers. Many bookstore buyers, librarians, and well-established book bloggers subscribe to NetGalley as a source for new titles to review and/or buy. It is open to Canadian, US, UK and Australian markets.

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Self-published printing options: matte vs. gloss, perforation and duplex covers

 

You’ve submitted your manuscript and now the project you’ve been pouring over is materializing into a book. As an independent author, you get to determine the look and feel of your book. The print-on-demand company we work with, IngramSpark, offers a variety of options when it comes to printing your self-published book. Here are some options to consider for your work.

Cover finish

IngramSpark offers a glossy cover or a matte cover. These two options give the reader different visual and tactile experiences.  A glossy cover is considered to be the classic choice and will give a rich and vibrant look to your book cover. A colourful photo like a sunrise or ocean scene will pop with a glossy cover. It’s more durable so it can repel small coffee or water spills, within reason. The downside to glossy covers is that they scuff and scratch more easily.

In comparison, matte book covers are trending right now. The finish is professional looking and can give a contemporary look to your cover design. Not to mention the feel of a matte cover is quite unique – its smooth, soft surface will give the reader not only a visual but a tactile experience. Matte lends well to more subtle cover art and will absorb and hide scratches more so than a glossy cover. However, a matte finish may dull certain colours.

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Tips & Tricks

How to plan a book tour

Now that you’ve published your book, it’s time to think about ways of generating buzz. A book tour can be a good way to engage with potential readers, make connections, and get exposure. In some cases, you’ll be able to talk about the book, read a sample chapter, and answer questions. It also gives you a hook for contacting local media and material for social media promotion.

We talked to Tellwell author Sharyl Rains to get her advice on planning a book tour. She’s held dozens of book signings and author talks across Canada and the United States for her book The Holy Tudors. She lives in St. Albert, Alberta.

sharyl-library-signing

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11 ways to promote your book on Goodreads

goodreads

Tens of millions of passionate readers use Goodreads to search for new books, read and write reviews and connect with authors and other readers.  Unlike other social media platforms, this one is exclusively dedicated to reading enthusiasts! It’s the perfect platform to promote your book and build your reader fan base.

Becoming a Goodreads author comes with privileges such as the ability to add book cover images, post events, write a blog, upload videos, start author groups and launch a giveaway campaign.

You’ll also have access to a special author dashboard that contains useful links and statistics about your books. For example, you’ll be able to track reviews and see how many people added your book to their “to-read” shelf. You can also upload an excerpt from your book or the ebook in its entirety.

Many readers will check the Goodreads reviews and ratings of a book before deciding to purchase it. You want to do what you can to have a strong presence on Goodreads!

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Tips & Tricks

Twitter tips and tricks for authors

twitter

Twitter is a powerful tool to spread the word about your work, and interact with readers, other authors and publishing professionals. This guide will give authors insight on building a following and promoting their work.

Personalize your page

1.Choose a useful handle. If your name is already taken, try a variation of your name, include a middle initial, add numbers or an underline. You could also add key words about what you do in your handle such as writes, books, or author. For example: @Oliverbooks, @Jacqwrites, @aharmon_author.

2. Choose a good profile pic. Your followers will want to see who you are, so pick a high quality head shot that clearly shows your face. If your Twitter page is specifically about your book, you can use your book cover as the profile image. Keep in mind that the profile image thumbnail will be square so you may need to edit your book image to fit the format.

3. Fill out your profile. A strong Twitter bio narrows your specialty, tells the Twitterverse why they should follow you, and shows personality. You have 160 characters to sum this all up. Not an easy task, we know. Your Twitter bio will show up when people Google your name, so put some thought into it. If you have a personal Twitter account and a separate one for your book, make sure you are tagging each account in the bio using the @ feature. twitter-profile-example-renee-ahdieh-2

In this example, best-selling author Renee Ahdieh promotes her latest book, and the next one, with the release date. She’s tagged her publisher, agent and included her place of residence and author website.

Independent authors may want to include popular hashtags such as #indieauthors and mention their book is now on sale at #Amazon.

4. Pick a background image. The background could be the cover image, a photo or illustration from your book. It could include text that highlights your website, your achievements, or lets people know where to buy your book.

background-sarah-j-maasIn this example, author Sarah J. Maas’ background image includes part of her book cover, with large text of her name and status as a New York Times bestselling author.

5. Provide a link to your website. Twitter has a distinct field to add your website. If you don’t have an author website yet, add your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or Amazon page. Provide a link for people to learn more about you or your book.

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