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How to gain ownership of your self published book cover

There is no escaping the fact that great book covers or ebook covers will give a book the best chance of being noticed by potential readers.

The opposite can be said of a terrible ebook cover, as it is a sure-fire way of telling book buyers to stay away. People do judge a book by its cover.

It doesn’t matter how well-written your book is, having a cheap, unprofessional book cover, similar to the one below that I quickly created for this post, will handicap a book’s sales potential.

There are three ways to create a great ebook cover for your book.

1. Pre-made ebook covers

There are thousands of ebook covers already created by graphic designers, and they can be found easily by doing a Google Search for Pre-made Book Covers.

These sites offer 1,000s of book covers in all genres, which usually consist of two merged images so that they are unique. They only require your title and author name to be added. It is why they are an affordable price.

They range in price from $40 to $120, and for an indie author on a budget, they are an ideal means of obtaining a well designed and high-resolution ebook cover.

If you want to use the same cover for a paperback or print book version, there will be an extra charge to create a more complex cover file that will be suitable for Blurb, Lulu, or whoever you use to publish your paperback.

Expect to pay between $100 to $150 for this service.

2. Custom made book covers

Then there is the option of a fully custom-designed ebook and print cover.

Most of the graphic artists who offer pre-made covers also offer this professionally designed book covers.

Prices vary widely but start from $150.00 and upwards for a unique original cover.

If your needs are very specific, or if you wish to have graphics created especially for your cover, the price could rise well past $1,500.

Unless you have money to burn, I would recommend looking at ebook cover design in the range of $150 to $250.

For this price, expect that three images will be merged to create your unique cover and that you will have the opportunity to discuss your needs with the artist, and have the chance to make two or three modifications during the design process.

3. Do it yourself ebook covers

Unless you have some experience using Photoshop, GIMP, or similar graphics programs, and are willing to open an account to buy high-quality stock images, I would strongly advise against making your own book cover.

Here is the result of my quick and dirty attempt at designing a great cover. As you can see, it is not great at all. It’s awful.

But you see many ebook covers similar to this one on the Kindle store. It is not likely to attract any interest from potential readers and book buyers.

Dropping an image into Word that is of low resolution, and putting a title and author name over the top, and then exporting in pdf or jpeg will not create a high-resolution image.

For Mac users, Pages does a slightly better job, but the file has to be exported into pdf and then re-exported into a jpeg file.

It might look okay on a screen, and of a size suitable to Smashwords and Kindle. But the resolution is not up to standard.

The other factor to consider if you want to make your own book cover is copyright.

You must have the rights to use an image, so be very careful in this regard, and that you add the cover and image credits required by the rights holder in the credits area of your book.

After taking so much time writing your book, spending just a little money on a book designer will give your book a far better chance of being sold and read.

Unless you really know what you are doing when it comes to book cover design, spending a few dollars on a professional pre-made or custom-designed book cover will give your book its best chance of success.

Another option is to use an online free ebook cover maker that can help you create the basic style elements that work for ebook covers in particular.

A good option is Canva because it offers so many ebook templates. You can also create book promotion images for social media.

More reading about the best ebook covers

If you are still unsure about how to create your ebook cover, there is a terrific article from The Frontispiece you may like to read.

“Design is hard. But sometimes you need to try your hand at it to figure that out. “

How To Design Your Self-Published Book Cover—Even Though You Really Shouldn’t. It gives you an in-depth look at DIY book covers and is recommended reading.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

We’re doing “Ask the Agent” for the entire month of April, so you have a chance to send in that question you’ve always wanted to discuss with a literary agent. The other day someone sent this: “What does it take for a book to transition from being self-published to being picked up by a traditional publisher? If an author wanted to make that transition, what would you recommend? Do I take down the manuscript and pitch as fully revised?”

Great questions (and there were a bunch of other questions asked by this author, which I’ll try to speak to in my answer). Let me try and cover some important ground with ten thoughts…

First, just to be clear, I am very supportive of indie publishing. We represent more than 100 authors, and all of them have heard me say that I think they need to at least consider self-publishing as a means of helping to make a living in a competitive and changing publishing environment.

Second, I don’t believe that indie publishing is second class citizenry, and that traditional publishing is necessarily the preferred means of making a living. I think authors need to look at all their options. (For the record, I also don’t believe in the myth that all you have to do is post your book on Amazon, and watch the Publishing Fairy show up and sprinkle you with golden coins. Both traditional and indie publishing can work — but both can also fail. Making a living writing is a lot of damn work.)

Third, if you’re successfully self-publishing, selling books and making money, you’d have to think long and hard before transitioning to a legacy publisher. The benefits they offer include giving you potential distribution in stores, more marketing muscle, and obviously taking on the production, warehousing, and order fulfillment of your books. But you’ll make less per book, and have less control over things like cover design. Traditional publishers also tend to be far less nimble than you doing it yourself. But, of course, there’s the rub…

Fourth, when you’re indie publishing you’re doing it all yourself. So it’s all on your shoulders, and you may not have the experience, knowledge, time, or money to run your own company. I always tell authors they have to treat their writing as a business. In essence you are setting up your own publishing company, with all the attendant issues to be faced.

Fifth, if you’re not successfully self-publishing (that is, if you’ve posted a book and it’s not selling), then you face a hurdle with publishers: You’ve done your own book, and demonstrated that you can’t help them sell many copies. That’s the danger of self-publishing a manuscript you want to take to traditional publishers. If it tanks, you’ve basically told the world “I can’t really sell this.”

Sixth, if you want to make the transition from indie-published to traditionally published, I think you need to show the publisher you have the ability to help them sell copies. Again, this can be complicated. If you’re selling a bunch of copies of your indie title, you have to ask if it’s worth giving that up to someone else; and if you’re not selling copies, you have to ask if the publisher is going to see it as worthwhile and valuable. So in approaching a publisher, you have to find that balance.

Seventh, for these reasons, it’s my opinion that you take down the self-published book you’re hoping to land with a traditional publisher, unless it is doing really well. Let the publisher feel they’ve got something fresh and strong.

Eighth, understand that it is really hard to “rescue” a failed indie published book by going with a legacy press. Sure, we all know about someone who did it — but that’s the exception, not the rule. Most of the titles that started as indie-published books but then sold a bunch with a traditional publisher (that list would include The Shack, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunger Games, Divergent, etc) were doing well as indie-published titles.

Ninth, to find success you focus on building your platform, so that you can help yourself sell more copies no matter where your next book is published. To me, this is the key to succeeding in this area — build your readership, so you can tell a publisher, “I have this big platform to help us sell copies.”

And tenth, this person asked if I’m seeing this happen more and more in publishing. The fact is, I’m seeing a lot of authors try to move their indie-published titles to traditional publishers, but I’m not seeing it work very often. Frankly, I’m seeing much more success when an author brings a strong platform and a new book to a legacy press.

Let me know if that’s helpful. Happy to answer any questions you have of a literary agent — just drop your question into the “comments” section below.

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Although you can’t judge a book by its cover, publishers have long known that readers actually do. In fact, cover design can increase a book’s visibility by 50 percent or more. Major publishers have sales and marketing departments that specialize in ensuring a book’s title and cover design are eye-catching enough to appeal to their target audience. Whether readers are browsing a bookstore or scanning book recommendations on Amazon or Goodreads, every cover competes for attention, just as products on a shelf do.

If you’re a self-published author, standing out can be especially difficult. You don’t have a full marketing team at your disposal, so you won’t have access to the data those teams employ. You may not, for instance, know that simple covers with subtle teasers sell better than cluttered covers without. But there is one thing you can do to give your book a chance to stand out in an overcrowded marketplace: finding a great cover designer to work with. Here’s how!

Getting started

Get your details straight

Before you can even think about your book cover, you need to log some research hours. You likely know your book better than anyone else, so you’ll be the best person to decide what the cover concept should be. A good designer can help with that, but the more information you can give, the better. A traditional publisher often uses a cover design questionnaire that asks the author some important details, including the main character’s hair and eye color and possibly any pivotal scenes that might make a good cover image.

Research what’s out there

Now that you have all of those things in mind, head over to Amazon or, better yet, take a field trip to your favorite local bookstore. Look at covers for books similar to yours and note details that stand out. If you plan an online-only book, shop for new books to download and notice what stands out to you. What looks good on a bookstore shelf may not be ideal for an Amazon Kindle screen.

Finding a designer

Consider your options

Although you could try to design the book cover yourself, unless you’re a professional designer, it isn’t a wise idea. Lots of graphic designers specialize in book covers, thanks to the large number of self-published authors looking for them. The best way to find the perfect designer is to search book cover designs and find a designer whose style works with your own concept. It can also help to choose someone who has experience designing books in your own genre. If you write dark horror novels, you might choose a different designer than someone who writes lighthearted romantic comedies.

Another option is to host a design contest on a site like 99designs, where designers will pitch you their concepts. This is a great way to choose the best concept out of different options and working with multiple designers to find the one that fits your book perfectly.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book CoverBook cover design by Martis Lupus.

Pricing

Chances are, one of your top concerns is pricing. You likely don’t have a fortune to pour into your cover design, especially since you need to get your book out there so you can start making money. The good news is, you can usually find a designer for a few hundred dollars. If you try to push the cost down much further, your cover may not be the quality it needs to be to convince readers to see what’s inside.

Get clear on the terms

During your search, avoid becoming so dazzled by a designer’s talent that you forget to settle business matters. In addition to talent, your designer should also be responsive and reliable. There’s nothing worse than having your book launch delayed while you try to track down a cover designer who has disappeared. Ask the designer questions on how the work will be done. Will you be presented a rough sketch to get a general idea first or will the designer do a full design, then be open to revisions as needed? Will there be time to get feedback from beta readers or your writing friends before finalizing the design? How open are they to your own input throughout the process?

Working with a designer

Provide details

Once you’ve hired a designer, the real work begins. Be open with the designer about the concept from the start. The more detail you can provide on the front end, the more time you’ll save both of you on later edits. If you have samples of covers you like, feel free to send links over and even sketch a rough outline of what you’re hoping to see.

It can help, from the start, to understand how cover design works to get a feel for what exactly your book needs. A good designer won’t just jump in and start working. Your designer may ask to see sample chapters, try to determine what you want your author brand to be, or ask questions like in the above-mentioned questionnaire to help clarify details of your book. If you find you aren’t seeing this, put the information together yourself and send it over. It may help to request a phone call to expedite a conversation that would span hours or days over email.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book CoverBook cover design by Pulp ART.

Ask for feedback

If you’re torn between two concepts or you feel like the cover design is missing something, send it over to a few trusted friends. They don’t have to be writers—you’ll likely find that some of the best people to offer feedback are friends who simply love to read. Even the smallest detail can make a book cover pop, and someone who isn’t directly connected to your book or its cover design may be the best person to ask.

The right designer will have you covered

Good cover design sells books, whether they’re on bookstore shelves or an Amazon search page. By hiring a designer that has experience in designing for readers in your genre, you’ll up your chances of getting a cover that works well for your book. Once you start working, make sure you’re closely involved in the design process so that the end result is better than you imagine.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

When you are publishing a book, there inevitably comes a moment of truth. This is a moment that you’ve been anticipating, waiting for, excited about. This is a moment of truth for you as both an author and a publisher.

The printed proof of your book arrives on your doorstep.

Until now, the book you’ve been creating has existed only in your word processing files, in the printouts you’ve been editing, in the layouts and typography on the screen.

Now you see the book for the first time, you get to hold it in your hands. There’s no denying that this moment has the power to move people, and rightly so. You’re on the edge of publication. If you’re like me, you’re both excited and a little frightened. But wait! Don’t push that “approve” button just yet!

Why You Want to Review a Physical Proof

Putting a book together is a complicated process involving a manuscript, editing, page design, cover creation, and a lot of other things you’ve dealt with to get to this point.

The point of the proof is to prove that you’ve done it correctly. Many errors that were invisible on screen or in printouts suddenly leap off the page. Misalignments, wrong fonts, weird spacing, and typographical errors can all creep into our files without us noticing.

I’ve produced hundreds of books over the years, and these bugs still happen to me. So, as a professional book designer, what’s the difference between me and a newbie self-published author?

I check those proofs like my job depends on it. Because it does. You can proof your book like a pro, too. Just follow along.

How to Check Your Book Proof

First, prepare yourself. This is the last stage in producing your book, so spend the time to do it right. Books last a very long time, and so do the errors that sneak into them. This is your opportunity to make this book as error-free as possible.

I’m going to suggest a 3-step process:

Proofing Step 1. Read the Book

If at all possible, read the entire book. While you are reading, you’ll be checking for typographical errors and inconsistencies. Is the text complete? Did a paragraph get left out somewhere along the way? Is part of a sentence cut off at the bottom of a page?

All of these things can happen at one end of a book file when you’re looking at the other end. Check to make sure everything that’s supposed to be there is actually there. While you’re reading, be aware of the following:

  1. Fonts – Are they used consistently throughout the book?
  2. Inch vs. quote marks – Good typography uses proper curled quotation marks, not the straight inch marks. Check the ones in your book.
  3. Hyphens, ems and ens – Each type of dash has a different use. For instance, numbers or dates in a range are separated by an en dash, not a hyphen.
  4. Line spacing – Is it consistent in every paragraph throughout the book?
  5. Word spacing – Do you have some lines that are much looser or much tighter than the others? Watch out for forced line breaks that might be left in the file.

If you can, have someone who hasn’t seen the book before also read through it. You’ll be surprised by the errors that can be uncovered by an observer who’s not directly invested in the work.

Proofing Step 2. Look at the Book

What do I mean by “look”? I mean ignore the text and instead concentrate on everything else. Here are the things you’ll typically be looking for, and some tips on how to find them.

  1. Orphans/widows -Those pesky single lines at the bottom of a page or parts of lines at the top of a page. If you can get rid of them, do so.
  2. Running heads need to be consistent and have the proper information, like part titles or chapter titles. It’s easy to make a mistake with these, so check them thoroughly.
  3. Chapter openers should also be consistent. Does each chapter start in the same place on the page and contain the same elements in the same order?
  4. Folios or page numbers need a look. Blank pages should have nothing on them, and also check that your pagination is accurate with all odd-numbered pages on the right. It pays to check!
  5. Page references are another trap. If you referred to something “in Chapter 2” or “on page 112” is it still there?
  6. Paragraph indents ought to be consistent throughout, no matter what style you’re using.
  7. Subhead spacing and alignment can be controlled by styles in your software, but you should check them anyway to make sure they are uniform.

Here’s a trick for you: Hold the edge of the book in one hand and allow the pages to flip quickly through your fingers. You’ll spot misalignments because they “pop” out compared to the other pages. Try it.

Proofing Step 3. Proof the Cover

The front and back covers of your book are the most important two pages in terms of book sales. Here are elements of your cover to check on the proof:

  1. Is the overall design and the colors what you expected?
  2. Is your title clearly visible?
  3. Is the type on your spine clear and straight?
  4. Make sure no important elements are too close to the trimmed edges of the book. I recommend you have .5″ minimum around the edges.
  5. If you have a barcode, or if you’ve printed the ISBN on the back cover, make sure they match the ISBN on your copyright page.
  6. If you included a category and price, are they correct?
  7. Don’t forget to proofread the copy on the back cover.

Proof, Revise, Upload, Publish!

Don’t be surprised if you need to upload revised versions of both your interior and cover. That’s actually pretty normal.

Go through the trouble of checking your proof, correcting your files and uploading the revisions. When it comes time to publish your book to the world, when it goes up for sale online, you’ll be confident you’ve put the best product you can on the market.

Congratulations, you’re now a published author!

Take hold of your job with passion and commitment

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How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Every job you do, from the simplest of management tasks to leading and guiding the most complex projects, is a direct reflection of you as a professional. In a world where your economic security is a function of your skills, knowledge, and reputation, it is essential for you to take ownership of your work and ensure that it reflects positively on you as a professional.

Cultivate Passion for Your Work

One way to firmly establish your reputation with your team members and co-workers is to display a genuine passion for your work. As humans, we take our cues from others, often mimicking their emotions and attitudes. If you have ever worked around or for someone who is enthusiastic about their job you know that their passion is infectious. No job is too small or too difficult, and time spent working with those who are genuinely enthusiastic seems to fly by at amazing speeds.

Contrast this positive experience with the alternative of working for someone who is somewhat ambivalent or negative about their work. Work takes on a sense of drudgery and time slows to a crawl with these sour or disengaged individuals.

There is little doubt which of these leaders most of us prefer to work for. Likewise, it’s clear that you are much better off being known as someone enthusiastic and committed to their work. Every project, meeting, or task is an opportunity to showcase your enthusiasm. This is true regardless of your position in a company, but it’s especially true if you’re a leader or manager.

Owning Your Role as a Manager

While we often compare and contrast leadership and management as two different roles, they are part and parcel of the same position. Whether in leadership, management, or both, there are several ways to display your ownership. Let’s look at each in turn.

  • Recognize that the work of management is noble: As a manager, you have a unique opportunity to create value for your firm, your team, and for yourself by pursuing your activities with the passion described above and by exhibiting the commitment necessary to move your organization closer to achieving key objectives. As a manager, you engage team members, colleagues and customers, and you are engaged in a great many process activities.
  • Run efficient, purposeful meetings: Learn to lead with an agenda; focus on the task at hand and ensure that all ideas are heard and considered in a respectful manner. Be efficient with time usage. Strive to start on time and end early. Avoid managing these events by using them to simply plan more meetings.
  • Ensure the clarity of your team’s and organization’s objectives: People do their best work when they have context for how their efforts fit into the bigger picture. Make certain to reinforce key goals and highlight results on a regular basis.
  • View process problems as opportunities to improve: Much of our daily work revolves around ensuring follow-through on key processes. Great managers look and listen for opportunities to simplify complex or inefficient processes and improve quality and service delivery. Your team members will appreciate your efforts for continuous improvement.
  • Focus on delivering remarkable experiences to your customers: It doesn’t matter whether you are serving customers in the marketplace or internal customers in another department. Strive to deliver remarkable service at every opportunity. Your reputation for creating these “Wow” experiences will serve you and your team well.

Great managers focus on results and try to create great experiences for employees, co-workers, and customers. They simplify complex tasks, ensure that the right measures are in place to gauge progress and ensure accountability, and they recognize their ability to teach others how to do the same. Carry this type of attitude through your daily work as a manager, and your reputation for owning your job will grow at every encounter.

Owning Your Role as a Leader

There are few activities in your professional life where you have a greater opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, than serving in the role of a leader. The role of a leader by definition is focused on guiding others safely and securely to a particular destination. During the journey, you have an opportunity to teach, support the learning and development of your team members, and help individuals navigate the challenges of life and career. Here are some great opportunities to show that you own your role as a leader:

  • Embrace your role: Ask and answer, “At the end of our time working together, what will my team members say that I did for them?” Strive to define a mission statement for your role and share your mission widely. Great leaders constantly remind themselves of their purpose and strive to align their daily activities with this purpose.
  • Succeed one encounter at a time: Instead of looking for the magic formula for success as a leader, recognize that every day offers a series of great opportunities to make a positive impact on those around you. Focus on succeeding at each of these opportunities. Remember that exhibiting respect for others, even in challenging circumstances, is your admission ticket to leading effectively.
  • Teach: Great leaders teach. The role is less about telling and much more about supporting the development of key skills and practices. From helping your team members improve as decision-makers to identifying and supporting emerging leaders on your team, you are in a unique position to serve as an educator.
  • Stand for something: Great leaders are values-driven. They identify with, share, live, and lead by core values, whether they are the firm’s or their own.

Decide to Take Ownership

You spend a tremendous amount of your life at work. You have the choice to invest yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually in your daily activities, or to approach them transactionally. The win in terms of satisfaction, enjoyment, and success goes to those who make the conscious decision to own their jobs.

Professional Self Publishing Made Easy

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Photographs and images in your book can help you tell your story and add interest, clarity and excitement to your book. A powerful image on the cover of your book, can do a lot to help sell your book.

However, the laws and regulations for when you can and can’t use a photograph in your book can be confusing and, if you aren’t careful, can get you in trouble. Here are some simple guidelines to help end the confusion and keep you out of trouble.

Permissions

As a rule, if you didn’t take the picture yourself, you have to have written permission from the copyright holder to use the image in your book. The two exceptions to this are:

  • Public Domain: Under United States copyright law, all images published before January 1, 1923 in the United States are now in the public domain. Just because something is posted on the World Wide Web does NOT mean it is under public domain. In fact, most images on the World Wide Web are copyright protected and cannot be used without permission.
  • Fair use: Fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. You can read more about Fair Use here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use Please keep in mind that if you intend to profit from the sale of your book, the images you use in your book will probably NOT be covered by Fair Use.

Getting Permission

If you have a specific image you want to use, you will need to write a letter or send an email to the person who holds the copyright of the image and ask permission to use the image. In some cases, the copyright owner of the image will allow you to use the image for free, but in many cases they may request you pay a fee for the right to use it.

There are a number of stock photo sites that will sell you images and the right to use the image in your book for a nominal fee. My favorite image sites are:

This is a FREE stock photo site with over 350,000 images:

Wikepedia offers a list of image resources for public domain images:

Wikepedia is a good spot to search for images as the copyright restrictions on images are clearly labeled and many have been released into the public domain or are available for restricted use.

Images of People

If you took a picture of a group of individuals you may or may not need to get their permission to use the image in your book.

If you are using the image for editorial purposes, it’s usually okay to use them without permission.

If you are using photos with people in them for advertising, you need their permission. People have the right to profit from their photograph or likeness and this right continues after death and is given to their heirs

Usually, using an image on the cover of your book would be considered an image for advertising purposes (since your cover is used to promote and sell your book) and using an image inside your book would be considered for editorial purposes. For example, If you have pictures inside your book showing people white water rafting down a river, you will probably not need their permission. If you put that same picture on the cover of your book, however, you should get their permission.

Logos and Brand Names

Be wary of using logos, symbols, brand names, company names, and trademarks in an image. Even using very old images of a brand name or trademark still in use, can get you in trouble.

Please note that I am not a lawyer and I am not engaged in rendering legal services. When working with legal issues, or if you have any questions on using a photo in your book, you should always seek experienced, professional counsel.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Joi Ito — Director of MIT Media Lab — made a clear difference between education and learning in his TED talk:

Education is what people do to you, and learning is what you do to yourself.

Taking ownership of learning means independence. It’s exciting to decide what you’ll learn and experience based on your own interests. But it’s also scary, since you become solely responsible for both success and failure.

When taking ownership of your learning, you have to ensure that time invested in learning a new skill was the right decision and you’ll find application for it in real life. While in college, there is an academic program and professors who determine your education and guide you for the most part. A lot of people trust them and it’s OK. However, when you’re an independent learner, you have to trust yourself. You are the only person to decide what and why you’ll learn.

By taking ownership of your learning, you have to be open for feedback and constantly seek environment that will stimulate your personal growth. Every single learning process consists of two parts:

  1. Independent hard work to master the new skill;
  2. Feedback from experts who already mastered the skill;

The first part is easier than the second one. With first part, it’s only you who is responsible for deliberate practice. For second part, you have to find a mentor who will help you move in the right direction. The second part determines the pace with which you’re going to grow and master a new skill. Obviously, it is way faster with the right mentor who helps you set the right direction for growth.

Taking ownership of your learning implies having intrinsic motivation for growth. Intrinsic motivation is directly opposite to one based on the grade in the class, praise from the boss or higher pay-сheсk. There is no doubt that grades, money and promotion contribute to motivation, but it is the why component of learning that has to become a driving force. The learning process is faster and way more efficient when your motivation comes from the desire to master the new skill to become a better version of yourself.

Taking ownership of your learning is hard, but it is also extremely rewarding as you gain independence and understanding of what you’re capable of.

Thank you for reading till the end. You can always reach out to me directly through Twitter , Facebook or email 🙂

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Joi Ito — Director of MIT Media Lab — made a clear difference between education and learning in his TED talk:

Education is what people do to you, and learning is what you do to yourself.

Taking ownership of learning means independence. It’s exciting to decide what you’ll learn and experience based on your own interests. But it’s also scary, since you become solely responsible for both success and failure.

When taking ownership of your learning, you have to ensure that time invested in learning a new skill was the right decision and you’ll find application for it in real life. While in college, there is an academic program and professors who determine your education and guide you for the most part. A lot of people trust them and it’s OK. However, when you’re an independent learner, you have to trust yourself. You are the only person to decide what and why you’ll learn.

By taking ownership of your learning, you have to be open for feedback and constantly seek environment that will stimulate your personal growth. Every single learning process consists of two parts:

  1. Independent hard work to master the new skill;
  2. Feedback from experts who already mastered the skill;

The first part is easier than the second one. With first part, it’s only you who is responsible for deliberate practice. For second part, you have to find a mentor who will help you move in the right direction. The second part determines the pace with which you’re going to grow and master a new skill. Obviously, it is way faster with the right mentor who helps you set the right direction for growth.

Taking ownership of your learning implies having intrinsic motivation for growth. Intrinsic motivation is directly opposite to one based on the grade in the class, praise from the boss or higher pay-сheсk. There is no doubt that grades, money and promotion contribute to motivation, but it is the why component of learning that has to become a driving force. The learning process is faster and way more efficient when your motivation comes from the desire to master the new skill to become a better version of yourself.

Taking ownership of your learning is hard, but it is also extremely rewarding as you gain independence and understanding of what you’re capable of.

Thank you for reading till the end. You can always reach out to me directly through Twitter , Facebook or email 🙂

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

It’s been a trend ever since I worked full-time as a book acquisitions editor: Blog-to-book deals. I acquired or oversaw the publication of more than a dozen bloggers-turned-book-authors. Sometimes it translated into book sales, sometimes not.

Point is: I know that blogs can lead to book deals.

However, I want you to think twice before you decide this is your path. Here are 4 reasons why.

1. Blog writing is not the same as book writing.

Blog posts, to live up to their form, should be optimized for online reading. That means being aware of keywords/SEO, current events/discussions, popular online bloggers in your area, plus—most importantly—including visual and interactive content (comments, images, multimedia, links).

It seems almost silly to have to state it, but blogging (as a form of writing) holds tremendous merit on its own. Writers who ask, “Can I blog to get a book deal?” probably think of the blog as a lesser form of writing, merely a vehicle to something “better.” No. A blog has its own reasons for being, and blogs do not aspire to become books if they are truly written as blogs.

Never use a blog as a dumping ground for material that’s already been written for the print medium—or for book publication—without any consideration for the art of the blog.

2. Blogs can make for very bad books.

If you dump your blog content into a book without any further development or editing, I’m willing to bet it will be a bad book (unless, of course, you wrote the book first and divided it into blog posts!).

It’s true that many bloggers offer a compendium of their best writings as an e-book, for the convenience of their readers, or repurpose their blog content in a useful or creative way. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about lack of vision for how the content ought to appear in print, or how it ought to complement, extend, or differ from the online version. How can the content benefit from a print presentation? How does it get enhanced or become more special or valuable?

To give a couple examples:

  • Kawaii Not(a book that I oversaw publication for): This is an online cartoon that was adapted into a spiral, stand-up book, with perforations at the top of every page. The book was tremendously functional: Cartoons could be easily torn off and given to someone. We also included stickers.
  • Soul Pancake: This is a colorful activity-like book, based on the many questions and discussions that happen at a site of the same name. If you were to compare the site and the book, you would definitely find the same themes, styles, and sensibilities. However, the experience of the book and the experience of the site are two very different things!

I must admit, though, much depends on the genre/category of what’s being written/published. For instance, when it comes to a book that’s illustration-driven, there may be little difference between what’s posted online and what goes into the book. But that’s a book that sells based on its visuals , not its writing!

3. It’s more difficult for narrative works to get picked up as book deals.

This is a generalization, but most authors who ask me about this blog-to-book phenomenon are either memoirists or novelists. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to score a book deal with such a work. The blogs most likely to score book deals are in the information-driven categories (e.g., business and self-help) or humor/parody category (e.g., Stuff White People Like).

Furthermore, I only know of memoirists who’ve scored blog-to-book deals, not novelists (remember, we’re talking about BLOG form, not community sites like Authonomy). A couple examples of memoirish blogs that made the leap: Julie & Julia and Waiter Rant.

4. I love books that delve deeply into a topic and make no sense as blogs.

I read hundreds of blogs each week. Much of my reading is done online, in fact. So nothing makes me more irritated than when I sit down to read a book—expecting something meaty, in-depth, and worthy of my full attention—than to find it reads more like a series of blog posts. Unfortunately, due to the blog-to-book deal (in part), this is becoming more common. (Also, some books now mimic the online world by chunking the content so the book reads “faster.”)

In my mind, a book is a great medium for delving into those topics where the simplified, keyword-driven, ADHD world of blogging has no place. If I read a book and think, “I could’ve gotten this from a series of blog posts,” then I consider it a failure.

What are some indicators that a blog-to-book deal might work for you?

  • You’re blogging in a nonfiction category, especially if your blog focuses on how to do something or solves a problem for people.
  • You’re focused on your blog for the joy of blogging, and you have the patience, determination, and drive to keep blogging for years. You won’t get recognition overnight, and it takes time to develop a following. Ultimately, it’s the buzz you generate, and the audience you develop (your platform created by the blog), that attracts a publisher to you—not the writing itself (though of course that’s important too!).
  • You agree that the book deal isn’t the end of the road, but another way to expand your audience for your blog (or services/community connected to your blog).

If a blog-to-book deal path is appealing to you, then I highly recommend checking out Chris Guillebeau’s 279 Days to Overnight Success. He landed a book deal in about 1 year based on his blog. But he was laser-focused in his strategy and single-minded in marketing and promoting his blog to all the right people in the blogging community (not the publishing community). In other words, he has the mind and heart of an entrepreneur. Do you?

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

I want to self publish a children’s book. I have a friend who is an illustrator and I am not sure how much I should pay her to do the artwork. I hope you can give me some help on how much to pay her?

You should discuss it with your friend, and decide on a price that is fair to both of you. Different illustrators charge different rates. The prices are all over the board. I definitely recommend having a work-for-hire contract so you’ll own all rights to the artwork in your book – forever. You need to be able to use that artwork not only in the book, but also in marketing and, if the book takes off, you’ll want to be able to use it when creating related products in the future as well. You don’t want to have to pay additional fees each time you want to use artwork that you paid the illustrator to create. Of course, you may need to pay a bit more up front but it will be worth if you can use it freely in the future.

CLICK HERE TO SEE FREELANCE ILLUSTRATORS WE RECOMMEND.

There are plenty of artistic styles to choose from!

WARNING: Many POD publishers claim ownership of illustrations even though authors paid THEM to create those illustrations. Even if you don’t use us, we strongly recommend that you *not* pay a publisher to illustrate your book. If you want to leave their service someday, you will have a very difficult time doing so because your book will need brand new illustrations. Publishers that claim ownership of illustrations are greedy, and should be avoided. They are simply trying to force authors to stay with them forever.

RELATED:

90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it – a lot more.

We know what you’re thinking. You’re an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we’re going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online. and almost all of our techniques are FREE!

Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor, which makes it fun for creative folks like you!

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90. and beyond!

BOOK PROPOSALS THAT WORKED! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K – $100K Publishing Contracts – by Angela Hoy

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover Peek over the shoulders of highly successful, published authors to see how they landed publishing contracts worth $10,000 to $100,000! An enticing yet professional book proposal is the key!

BONUS! Successful ghostwriter, Anton Marco, shares his secret for landing ghostwriting clients. Don’t miss Anton’s real ghostwriting contract at the end of this book! It provides an example of what he charges and the payment terms he requires from each client.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Note from Jane: The following post is the first in a series that will offer tips and advice from successful authors about self-publishing, specifically those who use Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press as part of their overall sales, marketing, and distribution strategy. This series is sponsored by Nook Press, which means they have paid for these posts to run on my site. However, because I do not pay my guest bloggers, I am using the sponsorship money to pay these authors for providing guest posts. I think it’s a win-win for everyone—for the authors (they get paid), for Nook Press (they get attention), and for me (because I like to pay writers for their content whenever I can). First up in the series: Colleen Gleason (@colleengleason). Keep reading for her insights.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

This post is sponsored by Nook Press.

One of the best things about working independently with NOOK is that I can change the packaging and positioning of my books at the drop of a hat. I can test things out with readers to see what sorts of covers and book descriptions work better than others.

Recently, I did a repackaging—for the third time!—of some of my romantic mysteries/gothic romances: The Shop of Shades and Secrets and The Cards of Life and Death.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

This isn’t the first time I’ve changed my covers, but this is the first time I’ve made such a radical change. (When I repackaged my medieval romances, I stayed with the same sort of look—just different models and colors.) I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why these books weren’t doing as well as I thought they should, given the reviews and responses from readers and editors alike.

Originally, the covers looked more like a traditional gothic mystery cover—like a Barbara Michaels, Antoinette Stockenberg, or Mary Stewart book, with mysterious looking houses and dark colors. There is a ghostly/supernatural element to both books, so I thought that would be a good way to showcase that element. Those covers were beautiful, but didn’t seem to capture the attention of the market I was trying to reach: the romance market. So I had the covers tweaked to showcase the couples/romantic element.

However, the sales still weren’t where I thought they should be, given the positive reviews and excellent feedback from readers. So I started asking people—readers and other authors—what they thought about the covers. I was surprised when several people told me they thought the covers were too dark and scary looking—that the books were funny and witty, and the covers made them look too dark, especially with a title like The Cards of Life and Death.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

I knew that humorous mystery and romantic mysteries were doing quite well in the market, so I started looking at the covers of those successful series. I realized that with titles that sounded so dark and ominous, I needed to have a cover that indicated the lighter elements of the stories. I found a cover artist who actually read the books before she began to work on the covers. (She also has done covers for other humorous/romantic mysteries.) She was able to bring in several important elements to a fresh, new design: the lighter colors, a more humorous feel, and something that had been missing before—the animals. In both books, there are cats (plus a dog in one) that are critical to the story.

As one might expect, it took me a while to find this designer who could come up with a fresh enough concept for the repackaging. When I initially hired a designer to do the third versions of the covers (another designer did the initial two versions), she wasn’t able to come up with a concept that fit the story, and so we parted ways. It took me another couple of months to find another, who did this final, bright, fresh version.

There are many options for cover designers, and I’ve worked with five different ones

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

over the last few years. I use a variety because after looking at their portfolios and work samples, I can see what type or genre each artist does particularly well. Since I write in a wide variety of genres (from historical to post-apocalyptic to erotica), when I have a project that needs a cover, there’s usually one particular artist who fits best. I also change cover artists when I’m looking to repackage a book, to give it a set of fresh eyes.

When selecting a cover artist, not only do I look at the actual cover images that have been created, but I also pay attention to the artist’s use of typography. I discuss this at length in a chapter of The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing (The Indie Voice LLC, 2013), but let me say here that to me, excellent typography is probably even more important than the cover image. Good typography—meaning the correct use of fonts as well as layout—is the mark of a professional cover designer, and one that sets amateur covers apart from excellent ones.

My cover design costs range from $100 to $600, though it’s not unusual or unreasonable to pay more. The cost depends on what you’re looking for, how well known the artist is, and whether you want just the front cover or the spine and back. Some artists charge extra for the stock photos they use as well. And if you’re like me and really get into the font choices for a cover, you might have to pay extra for a specific font.

All this work was completely worth it to me, however, because I love the new covers for my gothic romances and my readers seem to also. Sales have increased several hundred percent over the last month since I unveiled the new look (complete with some advertising and social media support).

11. Guest post frequently and strategically. Guest blogging is one the best ways to increase visibility, gain influence in your genre or topic and draw targeted readers to your online ‘bookstore’ or author site.

12. Create bookmarks. Include an image of your book cover as well as your website and contact info. If you think your audience will understand and use a QR code, include one on your bookmark or other print materials. Check out How to Create a QR Code at – blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29449/How-to-Create-a-QR-Code-in-4-Quick-Steps.aspx

13. Update your email signature. For every email you send, ensure that you include info on your new or upcoming book and a link back to your blog or book website.

14. Design a launch strategy that works. Your book launch requires a lot of prep and strategy. Plan a party, launch at a unique venue that relates to your book’s content or team up with other authors announcing their new release to heighten the excitement across several author platforms and audiences. Here’s a great post on book launch strategy http://www.firepolemarketing.com /flop-proof-book-launch/

15. Writing is your business. Make sure your on and offline presence (website, social media profiles, print materials) is professional and doesn’t portray a hobbyist, if you’re not committed, neither will your purchasers be. Good reference: http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/author-website-elements/

16. Create urgency. Use time-limited coupons, giveaways and contests. Host a contest on your website. Offer bonuses or special extras to readers who purchase your book prior to a certain date.

17. Join forces with local merchants. Team up with store owners and other businesses to offer certificates, prizes and merchant coupons to be shared or given away during your book promotions. Advertise these perks on your site and on printed materials.

18. Time and coordinate promotions. Try to time your guest posts, author interviews, giveaways, advertising and other promotions to run at the same time, so that each promotion gains momentum from the other. The perception of ‘being everywhere’ will strengthen your chances of creating the word of mouth marketing momentum we’re looking for.

19. Video clips. Record your readings and share on your YouTube channel, Facebook Page, Google+ and on Goodreads.

20. Promote others. As you help promote other authors in your genre, by sharing their blog posts, reviewing their books and the like, you will build good will and a strong network of peer support for your current and future projects.

21. ‘Consign’ your book. Consider trying a consignment style approach in gift shops, specialty stores, boutiques and galleries. The store owners may not want to purchase your books outright, but may display and sell them in their store for a cut of the profits.

22. Sell some promotional merchandise. Give your fans the opportunity to promote you and your work offline by creating and selling themed merchandise on your site. Purchase via – http://www.empirepromos.com

23. Donate. Build goodwill by getting your book into the hands of people that might not normally have access to your work. Considering donating your book to hospitals, shelters (FYI my teenage son works with kids at Center for Hope and Safety in NJ and I’m sure I could arrange something – at no cost), churches, libraries, doctor/dental offices, hair salons, organizations or clubs.

24. Sell your books using Pinterest. Use Pinterest to relate to the fans you already have as well as intrigue new readers with ‘visual’ stories of you, your brand and your work. Pinterest has 70 million users, with approximately 80% of those being women. And stats show that about 70% of Pinterest members use the site to get inspiration on what to buy.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Here’s why self-publishing authors love working with us

And we hope you’ll become one of them

We bring all your ideas to life until you say “Wow, that’s what I was looking for!”

No premade templates. Your book is unique, the same should be your cover.

See the final result – get excited – grab your credit card.

Get your first concept within 5 business days.

After the book cover design is completed, you get a whole month of free revisions.

You own all the copyrights and source files of your cover design.

Our art

Enjoy the examples of our book cover portfolio

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

How we design your book cover

Here are the steps we make to create a design that piques curiosity

We ask you to fill in the creative brief to grasp your requirements, catch the hook of your story and reflect it on the book cover.

We research typography, layouts, and color themes common to your genre to make sure that your book cover design will fit the market.

You get a first concept in just 5 business days for custom book cover and 7 business days for illustrated one.

We understand how much time you’ve spent mastering your work and want to do the same for the cover. That’s why we don’t limit you with the number of revisions.

Our Awards

We are proud to be connected with
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How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book CoverHow to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Our services

Affordable and professional book cover design services for self-published authors

Impress your audience with a professional ebook and/or print book cover design for any publishing platform.

Offer readers a sneak peek at your book scene. We’ll draw each and every detail from scratch.

Get ebook and print book formatting optimized for your publishing platform

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

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Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by attorney Helen Sedwick (@helensedwick), an attorney licensed to practice in California only. She is the author of Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook.

This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an attorney authorized to practice in your jurisdiction.

Most writers don’t realize that their memoir, short story collection, children’s book, or novel could mean money in their pockets, even if sales are disappointing.

Suppose you spend $5,000 hiring editors, designers, and other freelancers to publish your book. At the end of the year, you’ve made $2,000 in sales, which you offset with $2,000 of expenses. Can you deduct the remaining $3,000 from your “day job” income and reduce your income taxes?

Yes, if you treat your writing as a business and not a hobby.

U.S. tax code encourages new businesses by permitting entrepreneurs to offset losses from one business from other income as long as the owner has a serious intent to operate the business at a profit. The IRS wants you to succeed, so they can tax your income later.

For a long time, the IRS followed the rule that an income-producing activity was considered a hobby unless it showed a net profit during three out of five years. (If your writing is a hobby, then you may deduct book-related expenses only from book-related income.)

In practice, the hobby rule is not that strict. If you have a serious intent to make a profit from your writing (and quit your day job), a little advanced planning and discipline will help convince the IRS you’re an entrepreneur.

Treat your venture as a business.

Set up a website and advertise. Print business cards and bookmarks. Promote yourself and your book on social media and other venues. Hire experts to advise you. If you don’t treat your writing as a business, no one else will.

There is no need to incorporate or form a business entity. Your business is just as legitimate as a sole proprietorship. Maintaining an entity is simply too expensive, unless you are making $5,000 or more in net income. In that case, don’t worry about hobby rules, but discuss forming an entity with a tax professional to save on self-employment taxes.

Give your business a name.

Having a name helps you and others separate the business from your personal activities. File a Fictitious Business Name Statement (also called a DBA, doing business as, filing) with your local county. I suggest using a service, such as the DBA Store.

Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Even if your business is a sole proprietorship and you never have employees, get a separate EIN, the equivalent to a Social Security Number for your business. Be sure you go directly to the IRS website. Sham sites that look like the IRS site are popping up every day. They ask for your Social Security Number, mother’s maiden name, birthday—all the tools for stealing your identity. Don’t use them!

Apply for a resale certificate.

Unless you live in a state that does not charge sales tax, obtain a resale certificate, sometimes called a seller’s permit. Put the certificate in the name of your company and use your new EIN.

Find out if you need a local business license.

Many cities and counties require some businesses to obtain a business license. Search for “business license” and the city and county where your business is located. The Small Business Administration website has helpful links.

Invest time and effort into making a profit.

Attend conferences, and even better, speak at them. Join and host readings. Arrange school visits. Keep working on new books. Pitch new projects.

Follow tax rules.

  • If in any calendar year you pay an independent contractor (other than a corporation) $600 or more for services or $10 or more in royalties, ask the freelancer for a W-9 and report the payments on a 1099-MISC and the equivalent state form. This does not apply to payments to a corporation such as BookBaby, CreateSpace, or Lightning Source.
  • Report your business income and expenses on a Schedule C. If you have kept separate financial records, this is easy.
  • If your net income (gross revenues less deductions) from writing and self-publishing is $400 or more in any year, you may be required to pay self-employment tax on that income. If taxes on that income exceed $1,000 per year, you may be required to pay quarterly estimated taxes. Once you have reached this level of success, it’s time to consult a tax professional.

Separate personal finances from business finances.

Set up separate bank accounts and credit cards to cover business income and expenses.

Don’t jump the gun.

Wait until you have reasonable writing income before “launching” the business for tax purposes. Limit your deductions to those related to your self-published book or freelancing efforts. If you try to deduct ten years of writing conferences, you are inviting IRS scrutiny.

Maintain good business records.

In tax audits, more people are nailed for losing receipts than for cheating. If you don’t have a file cabinet (real or virtual) dedicated to your writing and self-publishing business, then get one. Invest in a simple business accounting software program.

Keep all records for seven years. Some people say three, but I suggest seven years to support your position that writing is your business.

What records to keep:

  • receipts
  • royalty statements
  • sales slips for direct sales (the ones you make at conferences and readings)
  • appointment books
  • brochures, business cards and handouts from conferences
  • manuscript critiques
  • thank-you notes from libraries or schools after readings
  • fan email
  • contest entries and notifications
  • correspondence with freelancers, whether or not you hire them
  • letters from agents and publishers, including rejections
  • bank and credit card records
  • printouts of PayPal summaries
  • W-9s and 1099s
  • sales tax returns

Final note

This tactic won’t work forever. If you have too many years of losses, the IRS is likely to question you or audit your returns. So don’t go overboard.

This nitty-gritty is the unromantic side of writing. But take the time to do it right, and you could save enough taxes to enjoy several lovely, romantic dinners, if not a wonderfully passionate vacation.

Disclaimer: Helen Sedwick is an attorney licensed to practice in California only. This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an attorney authorized to practice in your jurisdiction.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book CoverNote from Jane: I highly recommend the Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook. I received an advance copy and found the information useful and essential for just about any author. Click here to learn more and download a sample.

Not long ago, you couldn’t get published unless a traditional publisher accepted your manuscript. Today, you can publish a religious book online by using the many tools available to self-publishers. When you self-publish a book you retain all rights and profits, and make decisions about the cover and cover price. You decide whether to create an ebook or a print book — or both. Doing it yourself doesn’t mean handling every detail. Hire professionals for jobs you are unable to handle.

Publishing yourself

Finish the book. Hire a copy editor to polish style, fact check and ensure your manuscript is free of typos and grammatical errors. Lay out the book yourself if you have the skills, or hire a graphic artist. Hire a cover designer or create the cover yourself. The cover is the “face” of your work, so spend some time to see what’s selling in the marketplace. Whether you handle every aspect yourself or hire help, make sure the finished product is professional.

Decide whether you want to publish an ebook, a print book, or both. The decision you make will determine the platform you decide to use. An ebook is less expensive to publish and offers wider opportunities for distribution. Ebooks are growing in sales as reading devices become more functional and drop in price. Publishing a print book is more expensive and some readers find it more rewarding. You can also use print-on-demand to eliminate warehousing and distribution.

Publish your ebook on one of the many ebook platforms available. These include Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iPad and Sony’s Reader. Submit your ebook to each of them yourself. Or use a service that converts your book into the proper format for each reader, and submits them for you. One such service is Smashwords, which takes a percentage of your profit and also allows you to offer your ebook for free. Lulu has a similar service. You have to use a service like Smashwords or Lulu to get into Apple’s iBookstore. Sell ebooks as PDFs or Word documents from your own website, or through a third-party site such as Clickbank or Scribd.

Publish your print book using a print-on-demand (POD) publisher. Books are printed as they are ordered so you don’t have to worry about storing a large quantity of books. POD publishers handle all the details for you such as editing, book cover, ISBN and typesetting, with packages ranging from $500 to more than $5000. You can purchase your own International Standard Book Number, a 13-digit commercial book identifier, for about $125 from R.R. Bowker. Publishers will make your book available at Amazon and other online stores. Such companies include CreateSpace, Lulu, iUniverse, and AuthorHouse. Other POD companies aimed at the Christian and religious markets include ACW Press, Bethany Press and Xulon Press. Lulu and CreateSpace allow you to upload your book for no upfront fees. Both take a percentage of each book sold.

Form a publishing company for maximum control, using POD only to print the book. You make more money if you go this route, though it involves more work. Lulu and CreateSpace are printer options. Some self-publishers opt to go directly to Lightning Source. You’ll have a learning curve and some upfront fees, including buying your own block of ISBNs. Many authors find that it’s worth it. Working directly with Lightning Source results in a lower print price per book. The company also provides ebook formats.

Upload your properly formatted manuscript. Whether an ebook or a print book, it is critical to upload a properly formatted file. Each publishing platform has its own guidelines. In the case of print books, the company will send you a proof to review and approve before publishing the final product.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Flamboyant illustrator Sarah McIntyre – it’s hard not to notice her!

At The Bookseller‘s recent Author Day, author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre made an impassioned plea for the campaign that she founded, #PicturesMeanBusiness, calling upon authors, publishers, publicists, and everyone else in the world of books, to give due credit to illustrators.

As if we needed a reminder of the enormous talent of the illustrators that add interest and value to our books, Sarah spent most of the conference creating fantastic cartoons of all the speakers, including ALLi founder and director Orna Ross. The Bookseller‘s editor Philip Jones was sufficiently impressed to use her portrait of him in his editorial column the following week, duly credited, of course! Over to Sarah…

When asked, everyone I know says they love illustration and support illustrators wholeheartedly. Yet illustrators continue to suffer career setbacks when:

  • Illustrators’ names are left off covers of books they’ve illustrated (even highly illustrated). Sometimes publishers even forget to put illustrators’ names inside the book. (This happens most frequently with ‘middle grade’ illustrated fiction.)
  • The artwork is used as branding for a writer (for example, on the writer’s website), but the illustrator never gets mentioned, implying that the writer did the artwork.
  • Publicists launch illustrated book cover artwork to great fanfare, mentioning only the writer’s name.
  • Media interviews and articles talk about a picture book as ‘by’ the writer, leaving out the illustrator’s name even though the book is mostly pictures.
  • Many award websites list only writers of books.
  • Reviewers neglect to mention illustrations in their reviews, even when the pictures tell much of the story.
  • Teachers lead their classes in studying a book without mentioning the illustrator or studying the book’s illustrations.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Sarah McIntyre illustrates her point

How to Support Illustrators

  • Publishers (including self-publishers/author-publishers) – be attentive about your Nielsen data! Whoever is entering the data, make sure they know it’s essential to include the name of the illustrator. Nielsen can only work with what you give it. If a book is highly illustrated, include the illustrator’s name on the front cover of the book.
  • Agents – insist on this in the contract.
  • Authors – when you show off a beautiful new book cover for the first time, mention the person or people who make the cover happen, and credit the illustrator on your website.
  • Publicists – mention illustrators and cover artists. Be sure your Advance Information sheets include illustrator data.
  • Illustrators – research metadata issues. Ask questions. Get a Twitter account, even if just to have a website link. Be vigilant about your contracts. Get credits in writing. Sign your artwork whenever possible.

Find out more about the campaign at its website, www.picturesmeanbusiness.com.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Credit where it’s due: evidence of the genius of illustrator Sarah McIntyre!

How to Copyright a Children’s Book

If you’ve written or illustrated a children’s book, you might wonder how to protect your work under U.S. copyright law. Copyright is a form of legal protection for intellectual property that grants the authors of original, creative works, including literary works, the exclusive rights to reproduce and sell such works (and license others to so), to create derivative works based on the original work, and to prevent unauthorized third parties from exercising those rights.

How to Gain Ownership of Your Self Published Book Cover

Copyright Protection Laws

According to U.S. and international law, your book automatically has copyright protection the moment you create it and fix it in a tangible form that is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device; an idea for a children’s book is not protectable. A version of the book written, drawn, or printed on paper would count as a directly perceptible tangible form, and a digital version qualifies as a tangible form perceptible with a machine.

Copyright protects books for a long time: the life of the author plus 70 years. If a book’s writer and illustrator are two different people, each of them is an author of the work, and the duration of protection would be the life of the longer-surviving author plus 70 years.

Advantages of Registration

Although you do not have to register for basic protection, registering your book with the U.S. Copyright Office does provide some additional advantages:

  • More detailed public notice of your rights. Applications and registrations are searchable, and you can obtain copies of the paperwork for registered works by submitting a request to the U.S. Copyright Office and paying the required fees.
  • Access to U.S. federal courts, if you decide to sue infringers.
  • The right to receive automatic damages and reimbursement of your attorneys’ fees if you win your case.

How To Register

If you want to register your book for copyright protection, you can follow a few simple steps, including filling out the registration form, paying the applicable fee, and submitting a deposit regardless of whether your work is published or not.

1. Fill out the registration form.

You can register a literary work by submitting Form TX for literary works to the U.S. Copyright Office. Use this form even if the book has multiple authors with different types of contributions to the work. For example, one author can be the person who wrote the text, and the other can be the person who provided the cover art and illustrations.

2. Pay the applicable fee.

All applications for registration require payment of a fee. Electronic filing is cheaper than filing a paper application, and filing an electronic application for a single work with a single author involves paying an even lower fee. U.S. Copyright Office Circular 4 provides information about the current registration cost and other fees charged by the office.

3. Submit required deposits.

When submitting any application for copyright registration for a literary work, you must include deposit material, which differs depending on whether you published your work prior to submitting your application. In this case, “publication” refers to distributing your work to the public for purposes of selling it.

If you have not published your children’s book when you submit your application, the required deposit is a complete copy of the book (which can be in digital form). If the book includes illustrations, the digital file should reproduce them in color. A paper copy of an unpublished manuscript would be another permitted version of the deposit, but the U.S. Copyright Office prefers digital submissions whenever possible.

If you have already published the book by the time you submit the application, you must submit the best edition of the published work. Books that are available only in digital form require a deposit of the digital file. Books published in both digital and paper form require a deposit of two copies of the tangible paper book.

Keep this information in mind when registering your children’s book. While your book is protected as soon as you write it, you’ll still have to follow these steps when formally registering your book. This will protect you from those who might try to infringe upon your rights.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

Looking for something that hit the shelves in the last few years, so they’ll know what ‘social media’ actually means.

Unfortunately there’s not really one good book on it. However I’ve found that marketing and networking is the best way to get started. You want to get your name out there. Go to the library and ask if you can donate a copy, find local bookstores and see if they do signings. Find and hook up with other authors, get social media going and garner online attention. this works better when you are marketing yourself, basically being yourself as a writer in your posts/tweets/comments/etc. Goodreads is a good place to get author attention. Put your book up for reads and request reviews. Those are the most important component of getting noticed in your quest. and it is a quest. Getting reviews for your book gives it attention to other readers and with that comes more interest and notoriety so make sure your story says what you want it to. Also, an eye-catching cover is really helpful in getting it noticed. Marketing begins with finishing and dressing the book and ends with you working the communities. Both local and online. See if you can participate in events happening at the library or advertise your own event like a class or something.

All these things help, this has been my experience and it works well. For social media, Twitter is the easiest place to gain interest with other authors, once you learn how to use the hashtags.

Would recommend looking into podcasts. Don’t know of any books myself.