By Amy Collins
This month, three separate authors who launched books recently gathered together and shared some great stories. Use their tales and learn from their experiences!
Laura Heffernan – America’s Next Reality Star
What She Did
She spent a lot of money on bookmarks and other printed SWAG. Laura was told that authors buy and give away bookmarks and print material during their book launches. Because she was promoting online these printed SWAGs were pretty much useless. She was told that she could “give away” the items as part of her promotions to bookstores and readers.
Laura did a giveaway campaign for the bookmarks and only three people asked for them. It was an expensive and costly use of resources. She could have used that money to give away more ebooks to readers.
What She Should Have Done Instead
If she used the money spent on printed materials (that even when taken, get thrown away) on online promotion and ebook giveaway, then she would have found more new readers. She is now, giving away Amazon gift cards. THIS use of marketing dollars gets her a lot more attention and she will be focusing on print and ebook giveaways in the future.
Remember what I always say… “Nothing sells a book like a book!”
Martha Miller – Times New Roman
What She Did
She choose Extended Distribution on CreateSpace. CreateSpace has an option in their distribution page that offers to make your book available to bookstores and libraries. She checked the box so she could have her books sold into those markets.
After she checked the Extended Distribution option, she called bookstores all over the US. She was told over and over that the bookstores would not order from Amazon-owned CreateSpace. She also found out that the discount offered through Extended Distribution is so low and non-returnable that stores won’t take it. CreateSpace uses IngramSpark to offer the books in this program to bookstores and libraries. But they use a very low discount and make the books “non-returnable” (unable to be returned.) Martha shares:
The non-returnable factor was just awful. B&N told me she loved the book, but she could not order it because she could not return it.
What She Then Did Instead
She fixed it. She signed up for IngramSpark AND kept CS for Amazon. She unchecked the Extended Distribution option and contacted CreateSpace and requested that they remove the book from their IngramSpark account. Then she used the transfer form found here: https://help.ingramspark.com/hc/en-us/articles/211155403-Title-Transfers
Melinda Martin – Hope for the Heart of the Homeschool Mom
What They Did
Melinda is an accomplished author and a graphic designer. She has seen a number of authors make the same errors and when asked which one was the most frequent, she had this to say:
They used an image for the cover that they were emotionally attached to.
At the core of our beings, we are very self-reliant on our own opinion. We often want what we want because we want it. Because we like something, we seldom give a thought to if it is the best choice. Authors are not immune from this creature-concept.
What They Should Have Done Instead
Let their designer design. Being a professional author means that they (and their editors) should write for their audience, the author/publisher should work together with their designer to create a cover with only the audience in mind.
Not all “emotional attachment” images are bad for a cover design (but most are.) Before settling it in their hearts that “I am using this photo on my cover,” the author should have kept a more realistic approach. “I love this photo, and I would like to be able to use it if at all possible, but I need to get a professional designer’s opinion first.”
A professional cover designer is going to look for certain elements when she is conceiving the cover: subject placement, color palette, quality of the photo, and that good ol’ standby–gut reaction. Just like you, the author, know when you have written a compelling story, your designer will also have a “this is it” moment when she is assembling your cover.
What They Can Do Now
Start fresh. Perhaps seek out referrals for a new designer. Neither authors nor designers are created equal. You not only want to find a designer that is talented, but you also want one who will be honest with you (without being rude.)
Granted, you may have used a “professional” designer who just did what you told her to do. “I want you to use this photo, use this font, put this here, move this there.” If you are going to start fresh, you will want to work with a designer who is going to be able to stand up for your project, who isn’t going to let you get in the way of what is best for your book. Or who is at least going to be able to advise you against making bad decisions.
So there are my three tidbits for this month. I hope you find them helpful. See you in May!