Category : Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks

An Image-Based App for a Text-Centric Industry

Marketing your book requires branding.  Putting aside that nearly 70% of brands are using Instagram as a marketing tool and that it boasts an impressive worldwide user count of 700 million, humans are 90% visual beings able to process images 60,000 times faster than text.

 

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But we’re in the business of books and you’ve recently published a book that may be more than a little too word-heavy to be considered a “picture book”. So, how can an image-based app like Instagram be useful to you as an author?

Social media gurus would say, if you’re not active on social media, you don’t exist. Active social media doesn’t just mean hosting a website or having a Facebook account. Today, being active online means posting content often and engaging with other users on all major platforms – the big three being Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Let’s focus on how authors can best utilize a picture-driven platform like Instagram.

Instagram is fun! It offers the opportunity for you as an author to give readers and fellow writers an insight into who you are as an individual, your process, your life beyond the cover of a book and a brief description of yourself. While Instagram certainly can be an enjoyable app with many cool features, like the rules of writing, you’ve got to know them in order to break them.

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Tips & Tricks

Why authors should have a media kit

Whether you’re looking to gain some media attention, attract book reviewers, pique the interest of bookstores, or develop relationships with key figures and organizations from your niche market, having professional materials to outline your project will be an essential asset to your pitch.

These materials can take many forms, depending on how best to showcase your work, but in the publishing industry, the package you put together will commonly be referred to as a media kit. At Tellwell, we call this package a Book Backgrounder, because it can and should be used to pitch your project to more than just media contacts. In fact, these promotive materials should be attached to every email you send out to inform someone about your book, and you should have copies printed and ready to bring with you for any in-person networking.

What makes up a media kit?

Think of a media kit as a 2-5-page portfolio that outlines your project and what sets it apart from the rest. Much like a resume, the most important information should be featured up front, and in many cases, the kit can be kept to 2 pages in length.

Here are some components to consider adding when putting together your media kit:

  • A fact sheet which would include the book synopsis and cover image, your author bio and headshot, and other details about the book, including ISBN’s, the genre, your publisher and retail information.

Why it’s useful: This component is crucial if you plan to use this kit to get your book into physical bookstores. The store managers will benefit from having both the product details and a description of the book, to determine if they think it will sell well in their store. These elements are also commonly requested from book reviewers when considering review requests from authors and publishers.

Tellwell Tip: Even though the fact sheet will display the contents of the front and back cover of your book, it still helps to bring in a sample copy of the book for the store manager to review.

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Tips & Tricks

Writing Festivals Around Canada

We know that summer has only just begun, but that means that writing festival season is just around the corner! From August until November, Canadian cities both large and small host a wide range of international writing festivals that will re-ignite your passion for literary arts.

Vancouver Writers Fest

Vancouver, British Columbia

October 16-22

For 30 years, the Vancouver Writers Fest has brought writers together on Granville Island to celebrate storytelling, and continues to foster a community of passionate writers from across British Columbia each year. Visit their website to find out more information.

 

International Festival of Authors

Toronto, Ontario

October 19-29, 2017

The International Festival of Authors (IFOA) has been gathering world-renowned authors since 1974. From poetry to playwrights, IFOA provides a space for Canadian writers to present their work, and connect with international novelists, short story writers and more. Visit their website to find out more information.

 

Writers at Woody Point

Bonne Bay, Newfoundland

August 15-20, 2017

If you’re looking for a unique experience in a historic seaside town, the Writers at Woody Point might be your ideal literary getaway. Hosted by CBC’s Shelagh Rogers, this 5-day writing festival fosters community like no other, and will inspire you to share your passion for writing with artists from around the world. Visit their website to find out more information.

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Tips & Tricks

Picking a perfect 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

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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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Tips & Tricks

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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