Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adventures in Self-Publishing - Pt. 4

From my keeper shelf, Go Publish Yourself: Quick
and Dirty Tips for Successful Self Publishing

by Katie Salidas
I meant to post this last Friday, but life happened. Since the resource section is mainly going to be a list of links, there are just a couple of things about book covers I want to touch on before I close out this series of blog posts.

Book Covers

I recently saw a tweet (I can't remember who tweeted it, sorry!) that said, along these lines... Basically, a the cover is the first impression your audience will have of your book. If you can place your book beside a NY published book, and you can tell the difference based on the cover quality, you need a new cover. 

I've gone back through my twitter three or four times, and I can't find the source. I want to say it's a quote from an editorial service, but I'm not 100% sure. At any rate, I tend to agree with them.

I know, I know...Cora, don't judge a book by it's cover. The thing is, we all do it at some point. I do it every time I go into a bookstore. Or browse on Kindle. I'm drawn to a pretty cover, and I know I'm not the only person to impulse buy based on cover and blurb alone.

There are so many awesome places to buy book covers online. A very close friend of mine once paid $1200 for a custom, painted book cover "package". I nearly fainted when she told me that. It was a nice cover, but not $1200 nice. In my personal opinion, there is no need to pay that much for a book cover. You shouldn't have to pay even half that price for a basic cover.You can buy affordable book covers that are (and look) professionally made for roughly $20-$100 USD.

Sometimes covers cost a little more if you want a print, wrap-around cover with decorated spine and an ISBN space, but I've seen nice packages for those covers for around $75.00 USD.  Google is your friend. It's worth it to research prices. It could save you from getting ripped off.

Another thing to consider - if you know how to use Photoshop, Paint.net, The Gimp, or any other kind of photo/art program, you can potentially make your own covers for basically the cost of the stock photos.

Two of my favorite websites for beautiful, affordable custom and pre-made book covers are Razzle Dazzle Designs and Wicked Cover Designs. I do not get compensation of any kind for recommending them. I mention them because have bought covers from both sites. The covers were beautifully done and cost me less than $50 each.

My Favorite Self-Publishing Resources - Books, Podcasts, Web, etc.

Before I start making lists... Every self-publishing hub that I know of - Smashwords, Kindle Direct, CreateSpace, etc. gives away a free ebook how-to guide on how to use their publishing platform with tips for formatting, etc. For example: Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing. Smashwords has a similar guide that is suited to their site.

Self-Publishing Reference Books (Cora's Picks)

Reference and Self-Publishing Help Websites

  • Shelley Hitz also runs a website called Self-Publishing Coach. She is the author of Self Publishing Books 101. There's some really good information on her site, as well as videos, articles, and book templates.
  • Joanna Penn's The Creative Penn - my favorite Self-Publishing help website. She has text articles, audio articles and podcasts, and a free YouTube channel. Her website is a veritable gold mine for self-publishing information.
  • Dean Wesley Smith is a prolific writer and his website is chock full of brilliant writerly information. Not to be missed. 
Of course there are dozens of other websites, reference books, design sites, etc. out there. These are my favorites as far as content, layout, ease of use, and simply based on what I've learned from them. 

As I've said in past posts, I don't think there is one "right way" to self-publish. It depends on what your goals are and what you hope to get out of your personal self-publishing experience. Considering all the cost-effective options available to us writers, there has never been a better time to self-publish. I firmly believe that. So write boldly and publish yourself. I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors.

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