The Book Designer on the Road at the Central Coast Writer’s Conference

by | Sep 20, 2013

Well, I’m off driving down to central California today for the Central Coast Writer’s Conference, taking place in San Luis Obispo, on the coast roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

I used to drive this coast often, and it still has the majestic, primitive beauty it has long been known for.

At the conference I’ll be talking about book launches, a subject that’s always of interest, and book covers.

Book Cover Design

My presentation on book cover design was quite a challenge. There’s no way I can teach a roomful of people how to design book covers in 60 minutes.

So the challenge was to explain how to look at covers with a more educated eye, and with some easy tools to use to gauge how well the cover is doing its job.

Book Launch

Book launch is one of the most stressful, confusing times for new self-publishers. In this presentation we look at the tools available to help get organized, and one pathway for a sequence of events that can lead to a successful launch.

You should check out my Speaking page for upcoming events. Live presentations, especially at conferences where there’s plenty of time to network outside the sessions, are invaluable opportunites.

If you have a group that’s planning an event, I’d love to talk to you about speaking at your event, and sharing my passion for indie publishing and helping authors get up and running in the brave new world of digital publishing and social media marketing.

If that’s you, use my contact form to get in touch.

Next week I’ll have a full report. See you on Sunday.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Will Gibson

    Joel, one of the last times I commented on your blog was about your trip to Nebraska for a writer’s conference there. This time the ‘Central Coast’ tag line caught my attention because I live next to Monterey in Pacific Grove, which I think I read one time was also familiar to you. I didn’t know about the SLO Conference but will look forward to your report about it.

    Also your take on book launches would be interesting to know as I am just now about to release a second edition of my book. By the way, your last videos were great, very informative and professionally done and also entertaining with the added graphics. And for all of us, thanks for continuing to provide quality content about self-publishing to independent authors.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Thanks very much for your feedback, Will, it’s appreciated.

      I plan to eventually make all these presentations available as webinars when I have a change to do the necessary production work over the next few weeks.

  2. Charlie Livingston

    Will any of the presentations be available online? Would love to see the one about designing book covers…

    • Joel Friedlander

      Charlie, this presentation will be the basis for a webinar I’ll be giving very soon, so keep an eye out for that.

  3. Katie Cross

    Too bad I’m on the other side of the country or I’d love to make it out. Sounds like really valuable information!

  4. Anne R. Allen

    Have a blast in SLO-Town (and Morro Bay–there’s a great after-party at the Coalesce bookstore in MB–don’t miss it!)

    I’m under the weather and had to bow out of my scheduled appearances at the CCWC today and tomorrow. Meeting you was the main thing I hoped to do at the conference, so I’m seriously bummed. Maybe you’ll come back this way again. Hope so.

    • Joel Friedlander

      So sorry you won’t be here, Anne, I was looking forward to it. Feel better!

  5. Dan

    Sounds like they give you some pretty strict deadlines/timings for your talks! Hope you have a great time though and people learn a lot. :-)

  6. Michael W. Perry

    Good luck with your speech. It’s a much-needed topic. When I first began doing book covers, I simply thrashed about trying idea after idea until I found one that was tolerable. Occasionally I hit it lucky. Usually I didn’t.

    One useful tip is to visit bookstores and online retailers. Find covers you like and ask why they’re good. Find covers you don’t like and ask why they’re bad.

    Always keep in mind that, if your book is going to be in both print and digital, that cover has to work in both media. Since the image on a retailer is likely to be smaller than a 6×9 cover, that means the title has to stand out well, not too small and not lost in a too-small contrast with the background image.

    Perhaps one day it’ll be acceptable to have a digital cover that’s different from the print cover (much like hardback covers are often different from the paperback). But at present, the expectation is that both look the same.

    Personally, I’d love to see ebooks not only have the option of their covers looking differently, but allowing landscape as well as portrait covers. After all, there’s no literal paper being printed on. A digital book cover could be a circle or star-shaped if that worked best in some odd situation.

    A taller-than-wide cover forces design limitations that wouldn’t be as difficult in landscape. Titles could be more easily put on one line, for instance, and there’d be more flexibility in the layout. When I search stock photo services for cover images, I have to discard marvelous ones because it’s hard to fit a landscape image on a portrait page.


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