How to gain ownership of your self published book cover

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How to gain ownership of your self published book cover

Michelangelo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Did you write and self-publish a book that you’re embarrassed of?

Here’s a secret: we’ve all done that!

Ok, maybe not ALL of us.

But many creative, resourceful authors–who decided to bravely take a chance on themselves and release a book–have.

Michelangelo’s Creepy Robot Baby

Your first self-published book (and mine) is like the creepy robot baby in Mr. Peabody and Sherman (one of my favourite kid’s movies). After time-travelling to the 1500s, Mr. Peabody and Sherman are visiting Michelangelo, who expresses regret over a creepy robot baby he created which didn’t quite turn out as well as he hoped. Amongst Michelangelo’s jaw-dropping inventions (including the Mona Lisa), he had some epic public failures as well. In this case, a creepy robot baby which wanders the town and freaks everyone out.

Here, you are Michelangelo! And this is how we learn. By trying stuff, imperfectly.

Recently I read this incredibly inspiring quote by Di Brown, author and tech director of Puget Sound Educational Service District:

“You tried a thing. You assessed the thing, and now you’re adjusting based on the learning. never kick yourself for trying something, for doing the best you can with complex things that aren’t in your wheelhouse, and being willing to ask questions, learn, and adjust course based on your needs and the knowledge you gain!”

You did your best with what you knew at the time. You were brave. What more can you expect of yourself? In fact, you may have done the work of a entire publishing team, or somehow managed a project containing numerous moving parts you had no clue whatsoever about… You!

Your next book can’t help but be better; that’s just the way things work.

Here are 3 productive actions you can take now:

1) Assess how far you’ve come and what you’ve learned

Take a realistic view as to what you learned since you wrote and self-published your book. What unexpected benefits came from that experience? What did you perhaps learn that may have led to the next thing?

What role did it play in your life?

I am willing to bet the baby that however it performed in the marketplace, you grew from the experience of writing and self-publishing a book.

2) Consider re-releasing your book as a second edition

Of course, you may be over it.

But, if you believe in your heart that your book could still benefit your clients or audience, re-release it.

Consider whether the title/subtitle could be more powerful.

Hire someone to create a more professional cover

Get a new ISBN for the book

Add a Foreword by someone credible in your field

After you re-write whatever parts you want to re-write, have it proofread and formatted again

Create a pre-launch campaign and marketing plan

3) Be a good friend to yourself

You tried a thing, from start to finish. Now do that thing again, better!

How to gain ownership of your self published book cover

Andrea’s upcoming book Almost Done Writing: Now What? A Guided Workbook for Self-Publishing Authors (Nonfiction) will be launching Tues. July 13. Pre-order coming soon.

How to gain ownership of your self published book cover

Mar 24 · 3 min read

How to gain ownership of your self published book cover

Crowdfunding seems to be the latest way for people to finance their projects. As a writer interested in self-publishing a book, you might be wondering if crowdfunding is the answer to your budget concerns. Crowdfunding may seem like a good way to get fans and readers to support and directly fund your book while it’s being created, rather than simply purchasing a copy after publication. But does it always work? And should you crowdfund to self-publish a book?

Crowdfunding involves r aising money for your book project by collecting donations from your family, friends, readers, fan base, and even strangers. Usually, anyone who contributes will get a special reward from you, which could be a copy of the published book; an autographed book; a discount on the price of the book; exclusive behind-the-scenes insights; a gift that relates to your book’s genre, etc. For writers, a successful campaign could mean that some — or all — of the cost of hiring a professional proofreader, editor, or cover designer doesn’t have to come out of your own pocket.

Some platforms will take a percentage of the funds you raise, but they all allow you to retain 100% ownership of your project. You will, however, have a responsibility to use the money you raise appropriately and come through on delivering your promised product. Find out more about crowdfunding here.

Running a successful crowdfunding campaign will take time and effort — you won’t simply set up a crowdfunding page and then sit back and watch the money pouring in. You are essentially pre-selling your book to readers, which means actively marketing and building a fan base before your book is available for purchase.

You must also have a manuscript with a story, characters, or idea that will get readers excited enough to open up their wallets before the book exists. And depending on what pre-self-publishing step you’re at, it might be a long wait for anyone who donates. Offering promotional giveaways or promising to keep patrons up-to-date with an inside view of the process are great ways to build and sustain interest in your project.

Be sure your goal is reasonable: Don’t try to raise $500,000 to self-publish your novel. You’ll most likely be getting small donations from individual readers, not big cash outlays from corporations. Remember, any funds raised are supposed to go toward the costs of self-publishing your book, not to finance a vacation where you sit on a beach sipping piña coladas while you choose a font for the book cover. Misuse of the funds will damage your reputation and make it harder to sell any future books — you’ll be considered a scammer, not an author.

There are many crowdfunding platforms — some specifically for artists or authors — so you’ll want to do some research to determine the platform that’s best for you. Before you crowdfund to self-publish your book, compare the details, fees, and restrictions for each platform.

Kickstarter and GoFundMe are the big names in the business, but we recommend you also consider platforms that are geared more toward writers. You’ll find information about ten different platforms for writers here.

Successfully crowdfunding your self-published project might make the difference between being able to professionally prepare and finish your book — or having to abandon it or settle for more budget-friendly options. And if you hope to crowdfund your book, you’ll need to put lots of effort into marketing and building demand before you even have a book to sell. With a little research, you can decide if this fundraising trend will work for you.

How to gain ownership of your self published book cover

Books are generally divided into three parts: The frontmatter , the body of the book, and the backmatter .

Keep in mind that there is no book that has all of these parts. Use this list instead to make sure you have the right content in the right category, and that elements of your book appear in the sequence in which they are expected.

Normally, unless otherwise noted, each of these items should start on a right hand page.

Frontmatter

The Frontmatter are the pages at the beginning of a book before the body of the book . These pages are traditionally numbered with lowercase roman numerals.

Half title Page—Sometimes called the Bastard Title. This page contains only the title of the book and is the first page you see when opening the cover.

Title Page—Contains the title, subtitle, author and publisher of the book.

Foreword—An introductory essay written by someone other than the author . The Foreword is always signed, usually with the Foreword author’s name, and title. Please note that the Foreword (literally meaning “the word before”) should never be spelled as Forward.

Preface—An introductory essay written by the author that tells how the book came into being, followed by thanks and acknowledgments to people who were helpful to the author during the time of writing. The Preface is usually signed with the author name, place and date. .

Acknowledgments—The author expresses their gratitude for help in the creation of the book. The acknowledgement page should not be more than 1 page. If you have a Preface page that includes acknowledgements, then you do not need a separate Acknowledgements page.

Introduction—Here the author introduces the material that is covered in the work. Typically, an author tells the reader what will be revealed in greater detail if they continue reading.

Table of Contents—Also known as the Contents page, this page lists all the major divisions of the book including parts and chapters and their page numbers. Depending on the length of the book, a greater level of detail may be provided to help the reader navigate the book.

A Table of Contents should start on a right hand page, unless it requires the use of two pages, in which case it should start on the left hand side.

Prologue—In a work of fiction, the Prologue sets the scene for the story and is told in the voice of a character from the book, not the author’s voice.

Body

The Body is the main portion or body of the book. These pages are traditionally numbered with Arabic numerals with page 1 beginning with the first text of the main body (which means page 1 is usually the first page of the first chapter).

Parts—Both fiction and nonfiction books are often divided into parts when there is a large conceptual, historical or structural logic that suggests these divisions.

Chapters—Most fiction and almost all nonfiction books are divided into chapters for the sake of organizing the material.

Backmatter

The Backmatter are the pages after the body of the work.

Epilogue or Epilog—A short essay, in the voice of the author, that brings closure to the work.

Afterword—An Afterword either covers how the book was created (in which case you would not have a Preface) or it is written by someone other than the author, seeking to put work in some wider context (often done if the work is being reissued after many years)

Postscript— The postscript is a final “PS” note at the end of a book, providing additional information that doesn’t fit as part of the story or main point of the book.

Appendix —A supplement to the main work. An Appendix typically includes referenced documents cited in the text, or articles peripherally related to the subject of the book.

Notes— If your main text requires notes to amplify or document certain passages throughout the text, please arrange the notes by chapter in a notes section. Glossary—An alphabetical list of terms and their definitions, helpful in understanding the terms referenced frequently in the book.

Bibliography —The bibliography section lists the sources for works used in your book. Be sure to arrange the sources alphabetically by the author’s last name.

Index—An alphabetical listing of people, places, events, and subjects cited along with page numbers. This is typically done for a scholarly, non-fiction book.

About the Author—A brief biography, nor more than 1 page, about the author. This is typically the last page of a book and is on the left hand side. The author biography should either be on the last page of the book, or on the cover of the book (but not both).

Donna Fasano Shares Her Secrets to 4 Million Copies Sold

How to gain ownership of your self published book cover

Donna Fasano’s books have sold upwards 4 million copies worldwide and have been published in nearly two dozen languages. Originally published by a traditional publisher, Fasano decided to go the self-publishing route — and is now making a living off her books.

Here, “Donna Faz” imparts her tried-and-true self-published author wisdom about DIY distribution and marketing:

Make Your Books Widely Available In Multiple Venues and Formats

Valerie Peterson: What services do you publish and distribute through? Ebooks? Print? Any advice for authors there?

Donna Fasano: My books are available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and as iBooks (in the iTunes store). A few of my ebooks are available on ​Smashwords.com. Some of my books are available in print. I use CreateSpace for my print books, but there are other companies that offer POD (print-on-demand) services, such as Lulu.com, Print-To-Press, etc. My books are also available as audiobooks at Audible.com, Amazon, and iTunes.

My advice to authors is this: make your books available in as many venues as possible, in as many formats as possible — ebooks, print, audiobooks, and any new format that might come along.

I spent 20 years of my career putting “all my eggs in one basket” and I don’t intend to make that mistake again. There are voracious readers all over the world, and all of them have different preferences in how they like to read: some like to hold a paper book in their hands, some prefer an e-reader, some like to download books onto their smartphones, some read from their iPads or other tablets, while others are avid listeners. I want my books to be available to anyone who might like to try my romance novels.

Make Sure Your Book Packaging is Professional

VP: What book marketing tools do you rely on?
DF: First of all, packaging, meaning book cover and book blurb (aka, your product description). For anyone who wants to go indie, know that these are the first things your readers are going to see when they go to the Kindle Store or the Nook Book Store, or the iTunes iBook Store.

Paying a graphic designer to create a great cover is well worth the price. Unless you have a vast knowledge of Photoshop, don’t try to do the cover yourself.

And when you write your book description, use strong verbs in your blurb. Hook the reader by describing your protagonist or the world you’ve created. End the blurb with an open-ended conflict that will have the reader feeling that he/she must read your book.

Promote Your Book Thru Blogs and Targeted Ads

VP: So how do you connect with new potential readers?
DF: I’m just finishing up a 50-blog New Release Event for Reclaim My Heart that took place over 10 days. It was fun, but it was a lot of work. However, reaching out to review blogs is one great way to find new readers. An author can find a long list of review bloggers in just about any genre by Googling “[insert genre] blog directory” or “[insert genre] blog database.”

And as I think I mentioned, advertising is important. Ereader News Today is an economical place for new authors to start. Book Bub is more expensive, but your ad will get results.

Connect with Readers on Social Media

VP: Do you have a lot of interaction with your readers through social media or any other forums, like readings, signings, conferences, etc.?
DF: Many years ago, I participated in readings and signings in bookstores. I once went on a 4-city book tour. I gave workshops and seminars at Romance Writers of America (RWA) conferences, and also traveled around to local high schools and talked to the students about my career. I spoke at local book clubs. And although all of those things were fun, I’m not sure those activities did much more than stroke my ego. “Look at me, I’m a published author.”

These days, I meet and greet readers every day on-line. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr. I have a blog called In All Directions (because I never know what I might like to blog about) and I have a promo site that I run called Awesome Romance Novels where I promote other authors’ romance books.

The Poor Man’s Copyright

Why Authors Should Copyright Their Books

  1. Copyright registration establishes a public record of your copyright and puts everyone in the world on notice of your copyright.
  2. You cannot sue somebody for copyright infringement until you have registered your book with the Copyright Office.
  3. No award for statutory damages or attorneys fees will be made for any infringement of a copyright in an unpublished book which occurs prior to registration of the copyright. The same holds true for published books, unless the registration is made within three months after the first publication.
  4. If the registration of your book is done within five years from its creation, it is considered “prima facie” evidence in court. Prima facie evidence means that if you ever went to court, the registration of your copyright would be sufficient evidence of your ownership of the copyrighted material. The only way for another party to win would be for them to present evidence showing:
    1. That they had a pre-existing copyright claim to the work.
    2. That you permitted them to use your work.
    3. That you didn’t actually create the work.
    4. That you stole it from them.
  5. U.S. Copyright registrations are recognized by the courts in 167 other countries!

The remedies available for infringement are broad. A court can enjoin an infringer from continuing his infringement. The court can also order that all infringing materials be seized. As for monetary damages, the injured party can choose to receive either his actual damages and profits made by the infringer or statutory damages which can be as high as $150,000.

How To Really Copyright A Book

The Best Time to File A Copyright For Your Book

Donna Fasano Shares Her Secrets to 4 Million Copies Sold

How to gain ownership of your self published book cover

Donna Fasano’s books have sold upwards 4 million copies worldwide and have been published in nearly two dozen languages. Originally published by a traditional publisher, Fasano decided to go the self-publishing route — and is now making a living off her books.

Here, “Donna Faz” imparts her tried-and-true self-published author wisdom about DIY distribution and marketing:

Make Your Books Widely Available In Multiple Venues and Formats

Valerie Peterson: What services do you publish and distribute through? Ebooks? Print? Any advice for authors there?

Donna Fasano: My books are available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and as iBooks (in the iTunes store). A few of my ebooks are available on ​Smashwords.com. Some of my books are available in print. I use CreateSpace for my print books, but there are other companies that offer POD (print-on-demand) services, such as Lulu.com, Print-To-Press, etc. My books are also available as audiobooks at Audible.com, Amazon, and iTunes.

My advice to authors is this: make your books available in as many venues as possible, in as many formats as possible — ebooks, print, audiobooks, and any new format that might come along.

I spent 20 years of my career putting “all my eggs in one basket” and I don’t intend to make that mistake again. There are voracious readers all over the world, and all of them have different preferences in how they like to read: some like to hold a paper book in their hands, some prefer an e-reader, some like to download books onto their smartphones, some read from their iPads or other tablets, while others are avid listeners. I want my books to be available to anyone who might like to try my romance novels.

Make Sure Your Book Packaging is Professional

VP: What book marketing tools do you rely on?
DF: First of all, packaging, meaning book cover and book blurb (aka, your product description). For anyone who wants to go indie, know that these are the first things your readers are going to see when they go to the Kindle Store or the Nook Book Store, or the iTunes iBook Store.

Paying a graphic designer to create a great cover is well worth the price. Unless you have a vast knowledge of Photoshop, don’t try to do the cover yourself.

And when you write your book description, use strong verbs in your blurb. Hook the reader by describing your protagonist or the world you’ve created. End the blurb with an open-ended conflict that will have the reader feeling that he/she must read your book.

Promote Your Book Thru Blogs and Targeted Ads

VP: So how do you connect with new potential readers?
DF: I’m just finishing up a 50-blog New Release Event for Reclaim My Heart that took place over 10 days. It was fun, but it was a lot of work. However, reaching out to review blogs is one great way to find new readers. An author can find a long list of review bloggers in just about any genre by Googling “[insert genre] blog directory” or “[insert genre] blog database.”

And as I think I mentioned, advertising is important. Ereader News Today is an economical place for new authors to start. Book Bub is more expensive, but your ad will get results.

Connect with Readers on Social Media

VP: Do you have a lot of interaction with your readers through social media or any other forums, like readings, signings, conferences, etc.?
DF: Many years ago, I participated in readings and signings in bookstores. I once went on a 4-city book tour. I gave workshops and seminars at Romance Writers of America (RWA) conferences, and also traveled around to local high schools and talked to the students about my career. I spoke at local book clubs. And although all of those things were fun, I’m not sure those activities did much more than stroke my ego. “Look at me, I’m a published author.”

These days, I meet and greet readers every day on-line. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr. I have a blog called In All Directions (because I never know what I might like to blog about) and I have a promo site that I run called Awesome Romance Novels where I promote other authors’ romance books.

I am looking to write a book for the first time. i need a publisher, but need some direction as to how to select one. first, how do i protect my writings until they are published? do i pay a retainer or does the publisher issue me an advancement? should i retain an attorney before i go to a publisher? my book is a collection of personal anecdotes on life. thank you for your help.