One sunny day, which is a miracle in Seattle, I struck a conversation with Ned on Twitter about book covers. How it all started, don’t ask me, I don’t remember, but what grew out of it was my continuing wonder on what really makes a book cover successful, especially for a 1st time novelist who doesn’t yet know whether to go indie or traditional. Right. That was a long sentence. In short, Ned asked me to write a guest blog post. On anything. I think I’ll talk about book covers as a newbie and the dilemmas they present.
It’s not just a book cover anymore. What I’ve seen in the indie world is fantastic beautiful book covers that are absolutely illegible when it comes to little tiny icons on the screens of people’s phones or Kindles. And that’s new. A book cover used to be a book cover, nothing else. Well, perhaps a picture of it was printed in a newspaper or a magazine, but still it was never as small as, say, on Amazon’s website offered as an additional choice when you browse for your book. And you know what that’s called? An icon. Really. It’s a small thing that has to be STILL readable and STILL make an impact. That presents my first dilemma. If I do go indie, how do I make sure it’s readable in all sizes? (Pick a good designer, like Ned! Oops, I’m straying from the topic.)
Design. Design is everything. With the advent of self-publishing, Amazon’s Create Space and other places where you can print a book at a push of a button, anyone can do whatever they want. As a result, the indie world is flooded with ugly looking books. It’s not that those authors are not trying, they are, but often they simply can’t afford to hire a professional designer and opt out for uploading a picture they like with some random font they chose and then wonder why nobody is buying the book. Because, as much as we don’t like to admit, we judge things by their cover, and books especially (unless a friend recommended it). It’s all about the right design, so my dilemma number 2, IF I go indie, to pick out the designer who can translate my novel into one image.
A book is a personal brand. This is something I’m thinking about because I used to do branding for companies, but I find many indie authors dismiss. My 1st book has to not only be designed well, it has to be designed with an idea of matching every other book I will produce to my personal brand, my personal look, so that the reader will know my book from any other just by glancing at my cover. That includes picking out a font and not changing it, and picking out elements of composition, or a theme, or a particular look that will be mine for a long long time. And with that comes my 3rd dilemma, it’s not not just my 1st book cover that has to stand out, it’s me and my name. Oy.
These are my 3 major worries. I’m finishing Draft 4 of my novel next week, and am still far away from publishing, but already thinking about the cover, because, as you can see, if I go indie, it will make me, or break me. Yeah. No pressure, Ksenia, no pressure.
Ksenia’s “tell it like it is” style combined with her strategic use of social media in business development sets her apart as a clear example of the contemporary female entrepreneur. She has been named one of the 100 Top Women in Seattle Tech, Geek of the Week of Seattle PI, and yearly judges the UW CIE Business Plan Competition.
Ksenia spoke in the past on entrepreneurship and social media to corporate audiences in Seattle, WA, including MIT Enterprise Forum, City of Bellevue, Good Chemistry, University of Washington’s Graduate Program in Digital Media – COM597 – Web Strategies for Storytelling 101 Class, StartupDay 2009 – The Conference for Pre-Entrepreneurs, and on Social Media at KBCS 91.3 FM (Voices of Diversity).
To ask Ksenia to speak at an event, or to simply say hello, drop her a line at kseniaanske | AT | gmail | DOT | com.