How Your Cover Can Change Your Book Fair Experience

Book fairs give self-publishing authors the opportunity to expand their careers by making connections and promoting their books. These events are a great way to network with publishing professionals and learn about the industry. In addition to marketing your already published book, you can also do market research for future projects. But here’s the catch… if you want to be have a great book fair experience, you should make sure you have a great book cover to catch people’s attention.

Let’s face it. Everyone judges a book by its cover. The image on the front of your book is the first thing readers see, and if it isn’t professional and eye catching, there is a good chance they will never pick up your book. This is true even at book fairs. There will be many other authors an promoting their books there, so if you want to make a good impression, a great book cover is important.

For self-publishing authors, the key to a great book cover is choosing a custom design. While standard designs can look nice and professional, they don’t have the same pizazz as a custom design and they can’t capture the essence of your book in quite the same way. Check out the graphic below for excellent example of the difference between a standard cover and a custom cover.

Cover Comparison with Text (2)

Now that you understand the importance of a great book cover, it’s time to start displaying your book at book fairs. Here is a list of some of the most popular book fairs for self-publishing authors.

Book Fair, BEA

Book Fair, Beijing

Book Fair, Bologna Children’s

Book Fair, Frankfurt

Book Fair, London

Book Tour, Global

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps, publishing consultants and marketing professionals; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams and on assisting authors with marketing and promoting their book once published. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Self Publishing is Easy, Standing Out Isn’t

While there are many perks to self-publishing — easy to do, higher royalties, no rejection letters, and more — there is also a major drawback: competition. Self-publishing has become very popular, and it seems like everyone — new authors, previously published authors, professionals, even children — is doing it. While it is great for writers to have the freedom and control that self-publishing offers, it also makes the publishing industry even more competitive.

I’ll be honest about something — the majority of self-publishing authors aren’t best selling authors who make millions of dollars. That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, but it does mean you need to understand the market, have realistic expectations, and work hard to make your book stand out. The solution is “simple”: write a great book, publish a quality book and do a great deal of marketing and promotion.

1) The Writing

Consider submitting your manuscript for a comprehensive, professional and unbiased review before having it published; actually the more reviews you have done, the better. They help you fine tune your manuscript to make it the best book possible.

2) The Publishing

As part of the publishing process, be sure to invest in professional copyediting and a custom cover.  If your book is riddled with typos and grammatical errors, it won’t be taken seriously.  If your book has a plain Jane cover, it could be overlooked.

3) The Marketing

This is the part many self-publishing authors miss.  Along with self-publishing comes self-marketing.  It’s not enough to just have distribution. The most successful self-published authors understand the importance of great marketing. Some self-publishing companies offer services to assist you with your self-marketing. Whether you choose to do it on your own, pay someone to help, or do a combination of both, this element of the process is an absolute must.

Don’t be discouraged!  There are many self-publishing authors who have had success, and you can too if you approach the process correctly.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

The Cost of Self Publishing

In trying to contemplate the “most asked” question by authors considering self publishing, it is difficult to narrow it down to just one question.  There are several questions that self publishing authors frequently ask. Since I only want to focus on one question in this blog post, I decided to address the common question, “How much will it cost me to self publish my book?” (Don’t worry, I’ll address the other common questions in future posts.)

Authors considering self publishing often want to know how much it will cost to publish their book. My first response: That’s a loaded question.  The answer varies greatly based on the goals and budget of each individual author.

While there is no one size fits all price for self publishing, there is some information that all authors considering self publishing should know before figuring out how much their self publishing project is going to cost:

1) It’s an investment.

You can’t think about the money you will spend on self publishing your book simply as an expense. Instead, think of it as an investment. By putting money into your project, you are creating a book that has a value and will earn a profit. Unless your goal isn’t to make money off the book (yes, some authors have goals other than earning a profit), you need to think like a business person and remember the cliché, “To make money, you must spend money.”

2) Think about what you are getting.

Rather than focusing just on the numbers, you need to think about what the money you are spending will get you. For instance, paying for a customized cover is getting you a unique cover design that will help draw readers to your book and will literally be the face of your project. After all, research shows that readers decide within eight seconds whether or not to purchase a book. Similarly, paying a copy editor will get you a clean, professional manuscript. If there is one service that I suggest all self publishing authors invest in, it is editing!

3) Plan to make a profit.

Many self publishing authors focus on how much is this going to cost them now, instead of thinking how this can make them money in the future. If your goal is to make a profit from your book, you need to create a solid marketing plan. Think of your book as a business. Would you start a business and then not advertise it?  Of course not!  So why would you publish a book and then not market and promote it?   So when you create your self publishing budget, you need to factor in the cost of marketing and promoting your book.

That said… 

In my years of experience in this industry, I would say the average cost range to self publish a marketable book is $2,500-$3,500.  This allows roughly $1,500 for a good publishing package with a custom cover design, plus $500-$1,000 for professional copyediting, plus $500-$1,500 for marketing services.  You will likely spend more on marketing and promoting the book down the road, but this provides a good snapshot of the upfront expenses.

Like I said, there is no one size fits all price. Some authors will spend more than others. The key is to look at your goals, needs, and plans when creating your budget, and don’t forget to consider the value of the investment you are making. Remember, you can’t make money, if you don’t spend money.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

6 Ways Self-Publishing Authors Can Make Their Book a Stand-out

Hundreds of thousands of books are published each year. As a self-publishing author, it is important to make your book stand out from the crowd. Here are six ways you can make your book a stand-out

1) Hire a Copy Editor

Self-publishing authors are sometimes perceived as amateur authors because many choose not to have their manuscripts professionally edited. Copyediting is an important step in the publishing process at traditional publishing companies. As a self- publishing author, it is essential that you still complete this step. If you want your book to be perceived as professional, it must be edited by a professional.

2) Consider Cover Scribing

Even though we were all told by our English teachers to never judge a book by its cover, all readers do. In fact, your book’s cover is one of the most important factors when readers decide whether or not to purchase your book. If you want your book to stand out from your competitors, cover scribing is a great option.

3) Splurge on a Custom Cover

Another great way to enhance your cover is by choosing a custom cover. The art as well as the words on the cover represent both your book and you as an author, so you want a cover that is unique and appropriate for your book.

4) Consider an Enhanced Interior

The interior of your book is especially important if it includes many pictures or tables. Readers expect your book to be formatted professionally, so it pays to hire a professional to help format your book.

5) Don’t Forget About Pricing

The price of your book can prevent readers from purchasing it. You want to price your book competitively. This means that the price is high enough for you to make a profit and be seen as credible but low enough to attract readers.

6) Marketing and Promotion is Key

No one will buy your book if they don’t know it exists. There are many ways to market and promote your book, and many self-publishing companies offer marketing and promotion services. To learn more about the options available, contact your self-publishing company.

I’d love to know, how do you plan to make your book stand out?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in   sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services   for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department   is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants;   together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the   book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your   career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist   seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you   on the right path.

Should You Create Your Own Cover?

Many self-published authors debate whether they should submit a print-ready cover they have created or whether they should hire a professional graphic designer to create the cover for them. Like any self-publishing decision you will make, there are pros and cons to each method. Here is an overview of the two options.

Creating Your Own Cover

  • If you have the skills to create your own cover, you can save money by doing the work yourself.
  • Creating a professional cover requires both skill and talent. Most writers do not have the ability to create a great cover.
  • You need to know how to format the cover correctly.
  • If your cover doesn’t look great, your book may not sell well, even if it well written.

Hiring a Graphic Designer

  • When you hire a professional, you can expect a great cover every time. Afterall, that is what you paying the graphic designer for.
  • You have a lot of options. If you design the cover yourself, your skills and talent may limit your options, but when you hire a professional, you can tell the designer exactly what you want.
  • This option does cost money, but it is often well worth it.
  • Many self-publishing companies offer a custom cover option. This saves you the time and stress of finding a great designer.

Remember, your book cover has a huge impact on your ability to sell your book! Unfortunately, people don’t listen to the cliché “don’t judge a book by its cover,” so be sure to choose an option that will make your book look professional.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in   sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services   for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department   is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants;   together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the   book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your   career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist   seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you   on the right path.

Ask the Book Doctor: About Book Covers and Free Feedback

Ask the Book Doctor: About Book Covers and Free Feedback

Q: My book is being edited and will be soon be ready to be printed. Being short on cash, how can I put a nice cover on it as cheaply as possible? I don’t expect it to be on a bestseller list, but I do want it to be more advanced than my first attempt.

A: You are wise to be concerned about the cover. The cover often is the only thing that sells a book. If the cover looks bad, few people will buy the book, no matter how well written the contents may be. As in editing, the cover is not a place where you want to scrimp.

If you don’t want the cover to look cheap, don’t be cheap. That is, pay someone, even if it is only a design student, to design a book cover properly and well. Don’t create your own artwork for it unless you’re an accomplished artist. Don’t use the artwork of one of your children unless the book is a children’s book.

Getting the front, back, and spine looking professional takes much more work and knowledge than most non-designers can imagine, plus the file must be compatible with the printer’s equipment. Unless you have a design program, know how to use it, and have studied design, I don’t recommend designing a book cover yourself. If you want the cover to look professional, hire a professional to do it.

Barring hiring a pro, you can use one of the self-publishing companies that offers cover design as part of a printing package. You can check the Internet for such companies and see if they offer any covers that appeal to you at a price that is satisfactory, or you can surf the Web for cover designers and pick one with the best price. Through the miracle of the Internet your designer can be anywhere in the world and send the files to you electronically. Be sure to check out some of the lower priced book design companies in India, too.

Yours in writing,
Bobbie Christmas, author Write In Style, the triple-award-winning textbook on creative writing
Zebra Communications
230 Deerchase Drive, Suite B
Woodstock, GA 30188
770-924-0528
Bobbie@zebraeditor.com