After about a year of writing (half of which has been procrastination) I've ended up with a finished manuscript that I think I'm about ready to put out there. I've tweaked and proof read it to death to the point that if I don't do something with it soon it's going to end up being just an albatross round my neck preventing me starting anything new. Being a bit of an old hardcore punk at heart, the whole DIY ethic appeals to me immensely and publishing electronically offers me just that. I've had it proof read by about five other people, ripped major parts out, added a couple extra, trimmed characters, added new ones and am basically sure that it's now or never.
So I've prepped the whole thing for uploading to Amazon for Kindle and am ready...nearly.
I've taken to designing a cover myself. I've taken a ton of photos, shopped them into a couple presentable images and have started tweaking them so much it's obvious that I've hit another procrasination loop.
Therefore the question is, how important do you think the cover of a book is for a first time writer?
Is this really worth all my effort, or is it going to be crucial to attract someone to want to pick it up and give it a whirl?
And if it is important, what aspects do you think need to be considered?
The book is a UK set detective story, with hints of noir, and the possibilty of a supernatural element as the story unwinds.
Any feedback would be very much appreciated.
It's very important for every book. If you can't design a good cover yourself, hire someone else. It isn't just a matter of attracting readers. It's also a matter of repeling potential readers if the art and/or design are poor.
I think it is INCREDIBLY important. We all know the adage you quoted above, but when faced with a couple hundred books on a shelf (or a few thousand in a genre on Amazon), we look for something to grab us. That's the title and the cover, for the most part. No one is going to read every single book description and preview the pages inside.
For suggestions...er. I don't know. I've never tried it out myself.
Make or break whether people will give it the time of day. That's why I hired my favorite character artist, Rohan Harrison from the almighty Australian fastcore unit, Extortion, to draw mine). People literally stop in their tracks and check my book out over all the others whenever my publsiher has a booth somewhere because the cover is so damn crazy, and of high quality.
I feel sorry for small-time authors, like myself, whose book has a crappy cover. They're fucked before they even had a chance.
Yeah, what they said. You putting it up any place besides Amazon?
Amazon first as that's the easiest option. I've got a website prepped and ready to go as well, where I'll stick a link to the Amazon download, but offer some short stories for free download just to give a taste. I'm looking into how to get the book uploaded for Sony reader and other such formats and there's a couple of websites I'm investigating where (although you have make the sales a bit more expensive) they will print to order for hard copies. I think I'm just getting to that point that I really want to get the book out there, and I'm trying to ensure the whole package is just right. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated.
If you were going to print, you'd need both an artist and a designer (some can do both), to get the layout and specs right, so at least you only have to worry about one good cover image with an e-book.
I'm a pretty good designer and know the digital tools very well, but I can't illustrate or draw or paint, so I hired a friend to paint something for me (based on a bunch of imagery ideas I gave him) in the correct proportions for my current book, which I then layed out myself with all the text and whatnot (thinking print first). The added bonus being that I now have something cool to hang on my wall as well. . . Did the artwork for my first novel by myself, being a decent photographer, but certain images and themes lend themselves better to specific mediums.
I'd suggest maybe hitting up someone on DeviantArt and working out an arragement.
I think you can sell books for Sony Reader through Smashwords.
If you're already doing Kindle, I'd suggest using Amazon's CreateSpace for paperback copies. It doesn't really cost you anything, but you gotta be able to set up and lay out the book—interior and exterior—fairly professionally (they'll provide all the necessary templates, if you know what you're doing).
Smashwords can get you in Sony, Kobo, Nook, etc. pretty conveniently (plus the ability to gift it to people with coupon codes), and they'll give you a free ISBN and submit it to Apple's iBooks store (though my iBook just went live this week after a 15-week delay for reasons unknown). The other stuff is pretty quick. You can't use Smashwords if you ever want to make your book temporarily free in the Kindle store, however, as Amazon requires e-book exclusivity (through their KDP Select program) to set a $0.00 price (you can make it $0.99, however), though some say as long as it's free everywhere else, you can get around this via some price-match loophole.
Yeah. If you make a book free on Smashwords, Amazon will eventually change it so it's free there as well. But you lack control as far as exactly when you want to change it back. After you start charging again on Smashwords, places like Sony and Kobo often don't change it back and the book will continue to be free on Amazon until they do so. So as far as giving away a book for free, it's better to use KDP Select because you can control when and how long it's free for, although you're only allowed a limited amount of days for every bunch of months.
You could just give it away on Amazon, and charge on every place else.
Smashwords.com as have been mentioned above, and pay 85% of the income.
Smashwords.com, they sell on their own site. Also as of today have libraries can buy large numbers of books on there in bulk orders.
Aldiko, See Smashwords
Atom/OPDS Catalog, See Smashwords
Apple, iBooks, http://www.apple.com/itunes/content-providers/book-faq.html (easier use smashwords or xii?)
Barnes & Noble, Pubit, http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home
Kobo - self publish Requires email, smash words
Sony eReader, See Smash words
Stanza, See Smash words
Ohter Ebooks Sites
xinxii.com/ who also sell on Amazon which you already have. They also sell on their own site, Casa del Libro, B&N, and iBooks. They give the author 70% of the net income AFTER the others sites take out their share even though they pay less. Seem to have more of the international iBooks sites, so mite be the way to go with them.
Google Books, http://books.google.com/ although that seems a bit complicated. Does have the upside of making a small amount of extra money from Google Ads. See below.
For Ad and redirect revenue for better redirects from you site. I think Smashwords has one, but I'm not sure.
Amazon, affilate, https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
Google Adclicks, http://support.google.com/books/partner/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=106173
Kobo Affilate, http://search.diesel-ebooks.com/affiliates/
For physical books with little/no cost till someone orders
Amazon, CreateSpace, https://www.createspace.com/ already mentioned I know.
Cafepress, http://www.cafepress.com/ Also allows you to sell t-shirts and stuff from you site, small source of extra income/promotion.
Audio books, http://www.audible.com/, itunes (unsure), I don't think you can on Spotify.
Some other sites you might want to try, although I'm not a 100% how trust worthty they are. Not saying as a group they aren't, for the most part I literally have no clue about them.
My ebook, http://www.myebook.com/index.php?option=sell_your_book
Click bank, http://www.clickbank.com/index.html but they seem very used car sales man like. Lots of how to seduce girl guides, stuff like that on there. Also have annual charges for using which seem shady in this day and age.
Pothi, http://pothi.com/pothi/e-book-publishing-pothi-com sells to India and mostly other south Asian nations through a few other partner websites. They claim to have a bunch of partners sites, http://pothi.com/pothi/partners but I don't know any of them.
Many thanks for all your suggestions. There's loads of useful stuff here - I'll start trawling through and seeing which ones (if not all) I can use.
Smashwords has been bookmarked for investigation later. CreateSpace was something I was already looking at, and need to set some time aside to have look at how to use the tools.
It's not possible to give an ebook away for free on Amazon unless it's enrolled in the KDP Select program, and then you can only give it away for free for a limited amount of time. But as Gordon said, if you enroll your book into the program, you give Amazon exclusive rights to the ebook so you're not supposed to sell it on other sites. I think giving an ebook away for free for as long as you wanted was an option in the past on Amazon, but no longer.
@Sands - Yeah, https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A301WJ6XCJ8KW0
Hey, if anyone needs a book cover designed, I own a graphic design company and I've been wanting to do more book covers. I charge $50 for a standard cover (you can see all the ones I've done so far in my portfolio). I just really want to help people put their best product forward, because the artwork really is an important aspect of the whole process.
I concur with the others above that a cover is important. If it looks amateurish, then I assume the writing will be the same. I own a bookshop, and it's usually painfully obvious which books are self-published (and rarely sell). Honestly, some of them look like a five-year-old made the cover using MS Paint.