DIY Cover Design Checklist

Consider these items when designing a book cover. Don’t rush the revisions. Just because a good book is written, doesn’t mean anyone will read it. Packaging for a target audience is what sells the book. Compare the best in your genre, book size, and include the consider the readers.

 

Compare Genre Cover Art:
Example:
CEO at 20 would probably appeal to teens and college students. The imagery should reflect this. These 3 book covers appeal to that market.
MWA Inc-DIY Cover Design Art-www.mwa.company
  1. The Entrepreneur Mind is a best seller. The book thumbnail image is impressive and clear. Most people will not recognize your name, so the title needs to catch their eye.
  2. The College Entrepreneur has numerous reviews and a 5 star rating. It’s color is catchy and the image tells a simplistic story.
  3. Millennial Millionaire shows a young man, mid 20’s. Hire someone you know that looks the part of a CEO at 20. The CEO can be either an attractive male or female or both depending on your audience. My thoughts would be in dress shirt and swim trunks working in a fun environment. Not an office because, that’s cliche and probably not the case of entrepreneurs.

 

Compare Genre Book Size:

Example:

The Little Blue Book of Reasoning by Brandon Royal is small in size. Your book title says, “Little Book…” Why not make the print book small and within industry standards. One of my favorite business books, The Greatest Salesman in the World, is small enough to slide in my back pocket or cargo shorts. The dimensions are located in the book description online.

 

Request Reader Feedback:
Before you publish your book, get readers involved. Use RateMyCover.com to for feedback. Consider your reading demographic’s input for solid input. Or get input from publishing professionals.
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Cashing in on School Reading Lists

One of the most popular school reading lists is the Accelerated Reading (AR) list publisher program through Renaissance Learning, Inc. For all transactions surrounding quiz production, a Title Selection Coordinator works closely with publishers to coordinate the move from a contractual relationship to one of title selection. They are committed to working with each publisher to maintain relationships and provide their mutual customers with the quizzes needed and expected.

How does Renaissance Learning™ choose books for Accelerated Reader™ quizzes?

Renaissance Learning’s goal is to meet the needs of numerous AR schools. Fiction and Nonfiction titles are chosen across all grade levels, and use resource publications, recommended reading lists, reviews, and customer suggestions that school librarians use in book selection.

Titles considered:

  • Books that are national award winners
  • Books that have been reviewed by national review sources (see list below)
  • Books with a strong curriculum tie-in
  • Books in content areas that have been most often requested by customers
  • Books in series or from publishers that have high quiz usage
  • Books written by popular authors
  • Books that have been requested by multiple schools across the country

Recommended Reading Lists and Review Sources:

Customer Suggestions

  • Quiz suggestions from Accelerated Reader™ customers and encourage use of Suggest Quiz functionality through AR BookFinder™ or the quiz store.
What gives a title Quizzability?

The Quizzability is the Accelerated Reader™ program’s outline how they assess a text for inclusion into their AR Quiz production schedule. Accelerated Reader quizzes are carefully constructed and conform to well-established guidelines based on research, standardization, and consistency.

A sufficient plot- or fact-driven text is necessary to produce a valid, reliable 3-, 5-, 10-, or 20-question reading practice quiz. Content developers select the number of questions to represent the text in the fairest manner for the reader.  Accelerated Reader quizzes do not “sample” a text but deal with the main topics of a text of any given length. After review, some books are tagged nonquizzable.

To help Renaissance Learning™ gain a better understanding of a publisher and how to submit a title selection, an initial submission form serves for new title submissions going forward. It has specific information to help them form a base from which to select titles in future seasons. For example, knowing your print run for each title and which review sources you have or plan to submit your titles to will help us understand market exposure. The submission process happens within a one to two-week timeframe, at that time titles selected are included for quiz production.

The direct monetary benefit to publishers and authors is through indirect book sales. Many consumers base book purchases on reading lists for approved reading points and approved school reading. Book Lists are a great relationship for publishers to established titles in educational markets. Should your titles not meet the criteria above, consider either tailoring future titles or submit to alternate independent lists.

Additional resources are Schools: A Niche Market for Authors, Mark’s YouTube Channel, or these educational related posts:

5 Easy Tips to Grow Your Reader Tribe

While at IBPA’s Publishing University as FAPA’s IBPA Scholarship recipient, I searched for easy tips to grow my reader tribe. Below are five tips I will be using, and I think you will too!

1. Instagram:

#bookstagram is a popular way readers share books on Instagram. Authors can share the “Story Behind the Story” by posting images that relate to characters’ likes, products used, or locations within the book.

Examples:
Character Likes: Food, paint colors, furniture, etc.
Products Used: Vehicles, clothing, accessories, etc.
Locations: Australia, barns, monuments, etc.

2. Pinterest Boards:

Label Pinterest boards with interesting and relevant titles that relate to characters, products, or locations within the story. Within the board’s pins include the book cover and supporting art about the book.

Examples:
Barns of Kentucky: tobacco barns, racehorse barns, and a book cover image of “Southern Barns.”
Tasmanian Tigers: Tasmanian Tigers, Australian marsupials, and a book cover image of “Endangered Australian Marsupials.”

3. End of the Book Call to Action:

A popular practice in print and eBooks is including a call to action at the end. Here are a three typical call to action items.

• Visit the author’s website for beyond the book reading
• List all book titles within the series
• Include 1–3 sample chapter(s) of the next book in the series

4. Publishing Team:

Publishers host monthly conference calls with all their authors. Authors get to know one another, forming a team who mutually like, comment, and share each others’ information. This practice raises awareness about their combined books.

5. Amazon Author Page:

Don’t set an Amazon Author Page bio and forget it. Here are practices that build author tribes.

• Include a thank you message at the end of the author bio.
• Add “please follow me @SocialMediaSite” after the “thank you.”
• Personally thank each Amazon book review received.
• Host an Amazon Giveaway requesting participants to like the author page.

14 Florida/Georgia Conferences and Book Festivals

Florida/Georgia Conferences & Book Festivals

 

Amelia Island Book Festival

Hosted by: Amelia Island Book Festival

Website: Amelia Island Book Festival

Description:

The Festival is a community endeavor. More than 200 volunteers come together to bring this gift to people of all ages. Attendees come from far and wide not only to enjoy the festival, but also to explore this  beautiful island, located just north of Jacksonville, Florida, and a bridge span away from the mainland. Along with first-class restaurants, resorts and inns, visitors will find 13 miles of unspoiled, golden beaches, scenic marshes and rivers, historic sites, nature trails, fishing, golf and kayaking, art and of course—books galore!

 

National Book Club Conference

Hosted by: National Book Club Conference Foundation

Website: National Book Club Conference

Description:

Over the course of 15 years, some of the most famous and talented authors have been a part of what the NBCC calls “literary bliss”. Important to the NBCC, however, is to introduce new or lesser-known authors that have created stories that are entertaining, informative and important.

 

AJC Decatur Book Festival

Hosted by: AJC Decatur Book Festival

Website: AJC Decatur Book Festival

Description:

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country and one of the five largest overall. Since its launch, more than 1,000 world-class authors and hundreds of thousands of festival-goers have crowded the historic downtown Decatur square.

 

Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Hosted by: Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Website: Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Description:

Book. Music. Authors. Food.

 

Miami Book Fair International

Hosted by: Miami Dade College

Website: Miami Book Fair International

Description:

The first Miami Book Fair International, founded by Miami Dade College and community partners, took place in 1984. Since then, it has been recognized as the nation’s finest literary festival. In 2001, the Fair became part of The Center for Writing and Literature @ Miami Dade College, a cultural and academic initiative that promotes the advancement and appreciation of literature throughout the year.

 

FAPA Annual Conference

Hosted by: Florida Authors & Publishers Association

Website: FAPA Annual Conference

Description:

This networking and educational event will offer two days of sessions with a focus on The Business of Publishing.  Industry leaders share their expertise and a variety of tools needed to flourish in this evolving publishing environment.  Join your industry colleagues and discover innovative marketing ideas and sales strategies.

 

F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival

Hosted by: Donna M. Gray-Banks

Website: F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival

Description:

Fiction, Romance, Erotica, Spirituality, Health and more!

 

Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival

Hosted by: Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, Inc.

Website: Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival

Description:

The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival is an annual, cultural arts & music festival that takes place over the course of 10 days in Tampa Bay, Florida. They host an Author Village. Check out AALBC.com’s coverage of the Author Village in 2017

 

Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Hosted by: Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Website: Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Description:

There really is something for all ages to experience at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. Everyone enjoys the multiple stages with the celebrity authors who share ‘inside scoop’ about their latest books or what makes a story idea click for them. You will be able to buy books and have the authors personalize and sign them too! You’ll find our numerous book and educational vendors offering the latest in services and new ideas. Kids will be mesmerized by the storytellers.

 

Dahlonega Literary Festival

Hosted by: Lumpkin County Literacy Coalition

Website: Dahlonega Literary Festival

Description:

The Dahlonega Literary Festival is an annual celebration of books that takes place in March. Situated in Historic Downtown Dahlonega, the festival continues to grow and become more delightful as the years go on. Ours is an intimate festival about books and authors with a mission to promote interaction between readers and writers in a relaxed, informal environment. Visitors have an opportunity to meet and interact with the authors. In addition to attending speaking events and book signings, attendees can have lunch with their favorite authors at a local restaurant.

 

The Punta Gorda Literary Fair

Hosted by: Copperfish Books and Florida Gulf Coast University

Website: The Punta Gorda Literary Fair

Description:

Literary events take place Monday through Friday, culminating in the big one—Saturday’s street fair featuring artists, musicians, food, and lots of authors and books from 10 a. to 3 p.m. Authors will line the Herald Court Breezeway and adjacent streets. From a children’s garden of fun and games to musicians and art, lively workshops, and readings, the book fair offers fun and information for all ages.

 

Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

Hosted by: Pam Johnson

Website: Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

Description:

The Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival is a small, unique program hosting writers teaching writers on Friday night, and authors selling and signing their books to the public on Saturday. All proceeds from the Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival go to Venice Heritage Inc., the 501(c) 3 fundraising arm of two historic sites in Venice, the Lord-Higel House, currently under restoration, and the Venice Museum and Archives expansion project.

 

AWP Conference

Hosted by: AWP Conference

Website: AWP Conference

Description:

The AWP Conference & Bookfair is an essential annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers. Each year more than 12,000 attendees join our community for four days of insightful dialogue, networking, and unrivaled access to the organizations and opinion-makers that matter most in contemporary literature. The 2016 conference featured over 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels, and craft lectures. The book fair hosted over 800 presses, journals, and literary organizations from around the world. AWP is now the largest literary conference in North America.

 

Oxford Exchange Book Fair

Hosted by: OE Book Fair

Website: OE Book Fair

Description:

“It is our mission at Oxford Exchange to continually foster human engagement, spark meaningful dialogue and establish Tampa’s place as a cultural destination. We launched the OE Book Fair in 2015 to provide an open platform for local authors to connect with their community face to face. A broad array of genres and interests are represented, complimented by discussions and workshops throughout the day of the fair. We hope you’ll join us the discovery of local literary talent!”

BookExpo Publishing Shift

BookExpo was once a group of traditional publishers with a sprinkling of indies. As an expo attendee from 2008–2017, my observation of traditional publishing is stagnant content published with a 1950s business model. A new world of publishing has evolved due to the contagious enthusiasm of indie business models.

Indie publishers not only bring new and original content, but publish it well. This has created a shift within hybrid to self-publishing businesses, offering authors once unattainable reviews, awards, and national marketing opportunities.

In 2017 BookExpo changed their name and limited indie inclusion. The expo suffered in size and attendance. Ingram Content Group is now one of the largest BookExpo exhibitors, offering workshops at BookExpo like “How To DIY Publish.” Robin Cutler, an upcoming FAPA Annual Conference speaker, participates in Ingram’s growth and is a resource in FAPA’s vision for members’ success.

—Mark Wayne Adams, SYP Kids Creative Director & FAPA Past President

5 Marketing Tips During Book Production

5 Marketing Tips During Book Production

Don’t wait for a physical book to begin marketing. Authors can complete these five things while books are in production.

Facebook Author Page:  Create an author Facebook page that includes a “Shop” feature to capture book sales.

Create Contact Lists:  Create a contact list of schools, libraries, bookstores, gift shops, reviewers, and customers for the upcoming book. Export this list into MailChimp, Constant Contact, or a contact database. Publishers have their mail lists. Authors should have a mail list too.

Create Template Emails: Create a short two paragraph “introduction template” email introducing the author, book, and purpose for book event. Create a “pricing template” email regarding speaker fees. Create a “book reviewer template” email to submit books to reviewers. Create a “author bio” email that includes: author bio, book titles, book covers, and author photo.

Calendar:  Reserve dates of availability for book marketing events. Choose weekends, holidays, or evenings to attend bookstore signings, school events, book festivals, etc. Once the calendar is in place, start booking dates!

Create Blog Posts:  Schedule blog posts about “Beyond the Book” resources: photos, research, interviews, and other content from the book. Schedule blog posts that link to the author’s Facebook page. Release posts every few days over six months to engage new and existing readers. Link all mentions of the book to the Publisher’s website. When the book is available for preorder update the link.

If this article helped, Like and Share this article.

Mark Wayne Adams Books & Illustrations

Cashing in on Author Facebook Pages

Cashing in on Author Facebook Pages

“Does Facebook sell books?” No. Authors sell books being social. Social authors with products available to consumers sell books and much more through Facebook. Here are tips to setup a profitable Author Facebook Page.

  • Page Banner:  Create a Facebook banner displaying books in a creative setting.
  • Profile Photo:  Use an eye-catching author image. The best images are author photo, book cover, or logo.
  • Link Social Media:  Link Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts to the Facebook Page. This reduces posting time and allows tagging images.
  • Facebook Shop:  Create a Facebook Shop on author pages, linking to the author’s PayPal account. Note: Check PayPal every other day. Currently, there is no alert when an item sells.
  • Tag Products/People:  tag people, tag pages, locations, organizations,  and tag products in posts. Mobile devices limit the amount of tagging. Advanced features like product tagging are available online by “editing posts.” Once a Facebook Shop is created authors can tag previously posted images on their page.
  • Post Content:  “Book Titles!” in quotes and punctuated properly. Authors are writers and must keep posts as professional as possible.

Not all images appear correctly on multiple platforms. Test everything created on multiple devices: phones, tablets, and computers. Visit Mark Wayne Adams Books & Illustrations Facebook Page for a author page example. If this article helped, Like my Facebook Page and Share this article with fellow authors.

“How did you become Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards Judge?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You also served as a Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards judge. How did you win this job? Did somebody else nominate you or did you nominate yourself? You won several awards from this group, so did they automatically nominate you to judge when you hit a certain number of award wins? Beyond what appears on the official rules for contests, what practically makes a difference between illustrations that win an award and those that don’t? Is there an obvious difference between the winners and losers? And if so, what are the most common mistakes made by the losers?

IMG_0638Adams: I met the Readers’ Favorite founder, Debra Gaynor, several times in Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and Frankfort. She solicited me like every author who had a quality book that would grow the now international Reader’s Favorite Awards and Review program. Jilli, That’s Silly! written by Christa Carpenter, received a gold medal and I planned to attend the ceremony in Miami. Debra also invited me to present on the Value of Illustration during the Readers’ Favorite two night annual awards ceremony. While at breakfast, I sketched in my current Best Sketchbook. James Ventrillo, current CEO of Readers’ Favorite, introduced himself and began an impromptu interview for the Reader’s Favorite Illustration Awards judge position.

IMG_0523The awards won through their organization did not automatically make me judge. Professional experience earned the position. Several hundred books in various genres are submitted each year. Judging occurs throughout the year based on: character development, storytelling, cover design, layout, etc. Once a book is scored, the score is final. Until the scoring is complete, who the winner is remains a surprise for them and me.

We’ve all seen books that are obvious winners and losers. I judge on the criteria specifically. Common mistakes made are strong illustrations and a weak graphic design. Cover design is 10 points. If the cover design scores low, great illustrations may not win. Another common mistake is inexperience. The art must relay the story to a non-reader.

My biggest reward in participating as the Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards Judge is hearing a winner say, “I didn’t think I was that good,” or “There are more talented artists than me.” Receiving feedback from your peers is important!

 

Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

“Do you think awards and reviews are key to sales of new releases?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You boast on your website that over 5 years the authors you’ve published with MWA, Inc. have won over 50 major awards. To how many awards do you submit each of your releases to? How expensive is it to do a mass submission to so many awards for several books? Do you or your authors fund these submissions? Do you see a positive return in terms of sales after a book ends up winning awards? Do you think awards, reviews, or some other components are key to the sales of a new release in the illustrated children’s book category?

Christa Carpenter receives the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.
Christa Carpenter receives the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.

AdamsAwards—we all want them, but why? Most authors rely on publishers to submit for book awards. The publisher works within a fixed budget and may only enter a few awards competitions. What authors and illustrators may not realize is they can submit for book awards. Some awards offer monetary compensation, while all offer either local, regional, or national exposure. What value is an award? Awards offer something different for each person. Authors may use awards to validate their profession to consumers, peers, or family. Readers may see awards as a quality review from book professionals. Publishers may see the award as a reason to contract for future books. No matter what the reason, be confident that your book is of professional quality before submitting. Be open to the fact that not all submissions win. Being a finalist is as important as receiving a medal. For my fifty published books, only eleven have won awards. I use critiques from judges to enhance the next book or second edition printing of the current book. Not every book is a winner, so why not learn from each.

Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

3 Ways to Discover Indie Bookstores

Whether planning a book tour or book launch, locating indie bookstores is critical. Before packing your travel bag, map out the best bookstores based on your book genre, readership, and location. Here are 3 ways to determine which indie bookstore is appropriate for you.

#1: New Pages Guide to Bookstores in the U.S. and Canada is by far the most comprehensive listing of bookstores. NewPages.com offers valuable resources for indie authors and publishers wanting current information about literary guides, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

#2: Fellow authors and publishers are another resource for bookstores in your area. Ask not only for the bookstore name, but also for: past book signing experiences; special consignment requirements; previous sales; top-selling books; and for a manager or store owner’s contact information. PJ Boox and Bookmark It are two of my favorite local stores.

#3: When traveling be mindful to ask for directions to the nearest bookstore. Tourist destinations, historical landmarks, and gift shops often carry a selection of books. Ask not only for a contact name but their top-selling books, genre, and reason. Lula’s by the Sea, SunDog Books, and Downtown Books & Purl are examples of bookstores located in tourist locations.

When the relationship starts, ask if you can contact the store with you new products, events, or newsletter. Cultivating relationships with locally-owned and national indie bookstores boosts both authors’ and bookstores’ success.