So here is the alternate cover reveal for Unhinged!
I didn’t use the squirrel because it could come off as “funny-horror” but it’s hilarious isn’t it?
Cover design by the lovely Bree: http://breeliantdesigns.com/
Since releasing my first book, and though it isn’t a novel, it still has been downloaded into the thousands and I’m now at over twenty reviews combining the various sites. Just some change to throw at the soda machine but I’ve learned a lot to say the least.
In retrospect I can’t say that I’d do a single thing differently. A few things will change going forward for new projects but I want to share some glaringly new aspects.
I’m not really qualified to help with much but people have asked me since my release.
Undoubtedly the most important thing is editing. This is crucial. More than crucial. I’ve found that people are surprised by good editing from an indie release like mine. This is sad but also eye opening. The most important thing about a book is its content. Not cover or blurb, though these things are vastly important and I’ll get to that, but your book is what people will remember if they buy it/test chapter read. It brings more buys later on. Readership is only as good as what’s there to read.
Editors, good ones, are priceless. They may charge a going rate but in essence if you succeed at all in this business it will be because you teamed up with a professional of amazing talent. Yes, editors have their own ranking in talent. The ability to spot more than just your average typo is equal to writing a good story. I can content edit the crap out of something but give me something grammatically incorrect and I’ll happily read it completely oblivious to what needs fixing.
Next. Your cover. Please stop chop shopping your book’s face. It’s ridiculous. People on amazon are seeing your pathetic graphic next to thousand dollar designs and if YOU don’t think it’s important enough to merit a nice cover then why should they? It’s really unfortunate to be passed over because you undervalue your own hard work. People have to care to buy. Make them care by showing them that YOU care.
Your blurb. This is crazy that I even have to say this. You can be the best writer in the world but blurbage is a whole new bag. I’ve done more beta on my blurbs than on my actual stories! Your stilted, scary blurb about “Jenny being a good girl” is going to turn away possible readers all because, again, you want to go into business for yourself and can’t see the forest for the trees.
Learn your skill set, man!
Could be blurbage ain’t it. That’s okay. People will help you if you ask!
Your book. It must be good. Hands down. Don’t be silly—it must be spectacular. It should be the FINAL product of the very best that you can do. Are you listening? Is this thing on? It must be perfect.
Look. A good writer gets away with all kinds of things, like running to the store after an eight week binge of finishing your novel looking like a defendant on Judge Judy. (Cough) Not saying I did this, but, ahem. But when it comes to those stringed together words. They better smell a lot better than you do after a weekend of editing. That’s all I’m gonna say.
Social media. This is the most overly estimated part of writing. Uh-oh. I know people are going to pull their hair out reading this but I’m speaking from my own experience. So I can, from that point of view say just about anything… It’s great to have a platform, truly. But let me give you an example. Unhinged and its thousands of downloads are 10-1 purchase/free downloads UK to America. Yup. Tea-drinkers everywhere are happy to buy my little ebook while Americans are dragging their feet.
Here’s the thing, I don’t have THAT many uk-ers on my Facebook and twitter. Trust me. Cause they can spell and stuff.
So what does that mean? That amazon, after the algorithm caught in the UK, has placed my book along with a thousand other titles in front of prospective buyers for me. Those buyers like my curb appeal (cover). They like my blurb (that I used other people to write) and lastly the test chapters (editing and content) enough to click download and buy. They also don’t come back to say they hate it. (book)
Now. America is where I have more reviews because of people on facebook and twitter. So this is important also but the algorithm is apparently not catching the reviews as much as purchase. So hear me out. Calm down. You can keep your FB/TWIT. What I’m saying is they have to buy to buy. I have to LURE them in with a nice cover and squeaky clean editing and blurbage. GASP
Again. So what does that mean? Well it means I could have looped around my blog and facebook and twitter and come out about the same. In English? I could have never come online other than to upload my book and my end result might have been the same. I said might. Put your hat back on.
OR does it?
Well this may help you climb back down. *Scrapes friends off the ceiling* The blogging, facebook, twitter has massive pros. I’ve connected with my editor, my graphic designer, my betas all through networking online. And some of the sales that kicked off the algorithm MAY have contributed. I needed the vehicle to get to the people to help me go indie and look good. I needed some starter buys…Ahhhhsoooooo we come full circle.
I also get to test the market this way.
And lastly my blog. I’ve written a lot of stuff before finishing Unhinged on here for fun that sharpened my little writer teeth. I’ve had people approach me for stories off my blog too, and writing them or working with various editors, new people, helped a lot.
There is a season for social marketing and a season to better your game. It can be a killer on your time management, draining your last bit of “on the pc” energy. Caution.
Personally I feel like self-learning is essential. I’m currently doing some writer homework and I love it! Practicing in solitude can also open you up for that nice creative flow!
To sum this up: Content, content, and a shiny face and blurb for it to find a home!