Publishing through CreateSpace
What’s it like publishing through CreateSpace? It’s hard for me to say, since I haven’t done it myself. I design the covers, but in this digital world, I get little hands-on interaction with the final product. Last week however, an author mailed me a copy of the printed version of Bay Street, along with the business card and an air freshener promo. I wanted all of you to be able to see the actual printed pieces. The book was printed through Amazon’s CreateSpace, and I am very impressed with the quality of the book. I am especially in love with the satin finish cover. The author tells me that Create Space was great to work with and the process was pretty easy as well. To compare the advantages of the major Indie publishing companies, see my previous post How to Self-Publish an E-book.
I would love to know more of your experiences using publishing services like CreateSpace. Please leave your comments!
Excerpt from Bay Street, by Philip Slayton:
HOW TO SELF-PUBLISH AN E-BOOK
You’ve finally finished your book, and now it’s time to figure out how to publish it. It can feel overwhelming when you start to realize all of the choices that are now available in self publishing. Since Ebooks have become so popular, this post will focus on helping you sort out the ins and outs of how to self-publish an ebook. Before we go into how to format your ebook yourself, let me go over the advantages of having your ebook done professionally.
Professional E-book Design
Having your e-book designed professionally ensures it will be easy to read, flow properly, and lend credibility to your work. The digital formatting of your book’s content (book block and cover) should also function properly across multiple digital devices on the market such as the epub format for Apple’s iPad, the Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and the mobi format for Amazon’s Kindle. Your readers expect a quality look and style throughout your e-book that’s comfortable to read, and organized using the industry standards they’ve learned to expect.
Getting it right, the first time
Though some would have you believe so, e-book files cannot always be simply converted from PDFs and look or even function as intended from one e-reader device to another. To create your market-ready e-book files, we start from your manuscripts source file (typically Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Apples Pages) and build the interior to the exacting specifications required by these devices. Modern e-book design requires working with code such as HTML and CSS, and not every designer has that level of experience…we do.
E-book design considerations:
- Is the e-book cover design attractive? Does it create interest?
- Will the e-book cover design appeal to the author’s target market?
- Does the e-book “interior” flow properly and is it functional across platforms?
- Are your e-book files delivered upload ready in the correct formats?
- Is there a link to your Table of Contents on every page allowing viewers to jump back and forth through your e-book?
If you would like to try the do-it-yourself method, that’s fine too! After doing some research online, I came across this post from Publisher’s Weekly that does an excellent job at presenting all the major selling points from the top 8 ebook publishers, including Amazon, Smashwords, Nook press, etc.
“Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) — Amazon’s e-book publishing platform offers a royalty rate of 70% of list price minus delivery costs, with a few exceptions. One of the chief advantages of working with Amazon is the incentives it offers to authors through its KDP Select program. Authors who offer their books exclusively through KDP can have them included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (earning money every time their book is borrowed), and get access to promotional tools such as free copies for readers during specific periods. The disadvantage of this is that the author is limiting his or her discoverability by only offering the book through one platform.” keep reading.
I thought I would give everyone a glimpse into my latest book cover designs. These aren’t final, but we’re getting close. One of the things I love most about cover design, is how every project is different.
PREMADE BOOK COVER DESIGN
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to getting a book cover design. So, what about a premade book cover design? Is it a good option? Today, we will discuss the pros and cons.
#1 It’s cheap.
If you are on a shoestring budget, this may be a good way to go. Our premade covers are priced at $149 for the cover, spine, and back, compared to $495 for a custom paperback cover. That is a significant savings.
#2 Knowing what you’re going to get.
Sometimes it’s hard to shell out your cash for something when you aren’t quite sure what you will end up with. Luckily, at Book Creatives, we do have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, but if that is still difficult for you, you may be able to sleep better paying for a premade cover.
#4 It’s done, which is great if you’re in a hurry.
If you have a tight deadline, working with designer may take too long (usually 1-3 weeks). You may find it easier to choose a cover that’s already finished and skip the hours that would be spent in concept creation, design, and proofing.
Often, a premade book cover design is the rejected concept from another client, so it will not customized to your particular book. The chances of finding “the perfect cover” are small, and you’ll have to settle on something that’s “close enough.” If you’ve read our previous posts, you’ll know how we feel about a design being an extension of the book itself. A premade cover could have an end result of feeling like a poor cut and paste job.
#2 Going it alone.
Most of the time, when you purchase a premade book cover design, you are just buying the art, not the assistance of the designer. It will be up to you to find a design software that you can edit the cover in, add your own text and tweeks, etc. If you run into any problems, you may end up paying a designer to help you anyway, which will eat up the money you saved buying the premade cover in the first place. Again, luckily for you, if you choose Book Creatives premade covers, a designer will help you place your text into the artwork. Yay!
An experienced book cover designer will help you get your book ready for publishing. Does the sizing need to be adjusted? Did your page count change so now the spine width is off? Are the colors not printing right? Do you need a version for kindle, ipad, and print? Do you need additional marketing materials designed, like business cards, posters, a website etc? These issues occur with almost every book cover we design, so having a designer there to help you through these issues as well, will most likely be well worth your money.
Check out this infographic we came across this week. These are some visual design trends that iStock thinks will prevail in the advertising industry in 2014. How will this affect book cover design trends in 2014? That remains to be seen, however, we believe that book cover design is a different animal than advertising because while a book does need to look good on the shelf, the design also needs to possess a sense of longevity and timelessness. Advertising is a short term gig. Book covers will be around for a long time. Getting too trendy results in the telling disco fonts and mustard and brown tones of the seventies. While retro does have its place now, should it have been plastered on everything just because it was hip?
Book cover design should be an extension of the book, not of design trends. It should function to attract attention and help the prospective reader know what the book is about. That being said, yes, aesthetics are a big part of design, and those are often based on trends. But, just because iStock says beards are in. It doesn’t mean you need to put a guy with a beard on your cover.
What do you think? Have you already seen some of these trends in book cover design?
Here at Book Creatives, we wanted to give you a survey of our favorite book covers out there right now, so that from a designers perspective, you can get an idea of what is hot! This will be way easier to do by genre, so today’s post will be all about the best BUSINESS book cover designs out there, whoot whoot!
First off, before we give you our list, we just want to take a moment to calmly ask business authors who publish books with designs that look like wannabe software packaging boxes that fill every inch of space with bad fonts screaming “BUY ME! BUY ME!!” like a toddler throwing a tantrum, to please STOP! I’m not exactly sure who first started this trend, but apparently everyone else decided to copy your bad example, and now when some innocent person accidently gets caught in the business aisle at the bookstore, they have to run through a gauntlet of gaudy covers assaulting them from every direction, hitting, and crying, and stamping their feet until someone will just give them what they want. AHHHH!!!
Ok. Glad I got that off my chest. Now, onward…
Some authors and designers (thank you) have realized that because of the plethora of choices when it comes to badly designed business books, that they have an opportunity to stand out from the rest by simply using good design to sell their books. (I know, crazy concept, right?) So, after perusing Google for all the business books we could find, these were our favorites (in no particular order).
We liked this cover for it’s straightforwardness. The design doesn’t get in the way of the message of the book, but instead is essential in communicating the message, which is…Start. Just do it. Easy. We love the tongue-in-cheek checklist which is a refreshing retake on the old tagline. We also liked the toggle switch.
This cover is one of our favorites because of its unapologetically macho in-your-faceness. The bold colors and font usage complement the Zeus-like graphic and demand your attention on the shelf. We also like his book cover Tribes.
Again, the design supports the title. Notice the color and subtle separateness of the word distinction. The background color is also distinctive, as it was the only well-designed business book cover we found that was black.
This was our favorite by far because of the great use of concept and flawless design. The author and accolades take second-stage and allow the design to speak for itself. Breathtaking. The use of negative space is excellent. Fight the urge to fill up all the space. It is much more attractive to the eye when there is less to take in.
This design is fun. We liked the use of complimentary color and the clever typography. They both function to convey the message of the book.
We loved the childlike, playful nature of this design. It is appealing when it is surrounded by books about marketing tactics and business building strategies. Refreshing and fun. The yellow is a happy color and subtly hints that it is a “book for dummies” style book, simple. We also love the illustration of the hamster wheel. Great concept!
We have to like this book on principle since it talks all about how creatives like us will rule the world one day. Yay! We like the design too. Good thing, or else we might question Mr. Pink’s credability. We like how the design takes on a left-brained technological feel, juxtaposing with the message of the book. It’s bold and well done.
The best part about this design is the typography in the title. We like how it feels like the word positioning itself is vying for position on the page.
This design gets its power from the bold use of red. It demands attention. The typography treatment of the larger great also helps raise the level on the design.
We love the unique title and the unique design. This book definitely stands out on the shelf and intrigues readers enough to pick it up. There is a wonderful mixing of graphic and typographic elements at work here. Very refreshing.
We absolutely love the use of the duct tape! It looks so real that we had to order the book and feel it for ourselves. Awesome way to take the concept of the book to another level.
While this design does leave a little wanting with its font choices, we did love the concept and the color usage.
This cover is a work of art. We love the rich color softening towards the bottom, as well as the opacity used to soften the title. We also love the artful graphic and the wonderful use of negative space.
We love everything about this cover. Especially it’s “difference”. Font, color usage, negative space, typography in the title, the test-tube-turned-heart graphic…beautiful perfection.
This is an intriguing cover. We are intrigued by the title and the graphic and we would like to say “thank you” to the author for his assistance in helping us pronounce his last name in the design.
Trends in Business Book Cover Design
Ok, so to wrap it all up, here are the trends that we are seeing right now in the best business book cover designs.
#1 Negative space: less is usually more.
#2 Bold, flat colors and graphics. We noticed we gravitated toward the oranges, yellows, and reds, however, there are lots of orange book covers, so it might be adventurous to try something different.
#3 Sans serif fonts.
#4 Concepts are more powerful than just typing on your title. They make people pick up your book.
That’s our list! Let us know if you’d like to nominate a book to be considered for our best of book cover design series!
If you are looking for a designer to design your next business book, check out our portfolio.
We’ve all seen them. The quintessential self-published book cover that makes you cringe just looking at it. You hold it at arm’s length with two fingers to try to get as little of the hideousness on you as possible. Your great aunt says it’s a must read and you tuck it away to gather dust for a few months before giving it back, unread, and say “It was pretty good.” The bad news is that there are still plenty of these yucky covers circulating around, which is sad, because probably most of them are pretty good, but aren’t getting a fair shot since no one wants to open them. So, here is our advice on how to get a bestseller quality book cover:
#1 Don’t pinch pennies.
We all want to save money, and skimping on the cover design seems an obvious way to do that. But, you may be shooting yourself in the proverbial foot. Big publishing houses know what they’re doing. They know how to sell books. The way they sell books is to design killer covers that make you stop in your tracks at the book stand and pick them up. Your book cover is your marketing piece and you need to make sure that your book cover designer can do more than just slap a title over a piece of clip art, and actually knows how to craft a cover that will sell. Period. Bottom line. Depending on whether you are publishing an ebook or a paperback (which will cost more because it has a spine and back cover), you should plan on spending around $300-$600 at a minimum.
#2 Get educated.
Go to the bookstore and get to know the covers in the genre you are writing for. Pick out your favs. Search online for more examples of good book cover design. While you don’t want your book cover to copy another design, you want it to be able to hold up with and compete with the bestsellers. It needs to stand out from the rest and catch your reader’s eye.
#3 Trust your designer.
We recommend choosing a designer who specializes in book cover design, and has a solid portfolio to demonstrate it. The reason for this, is that even though there are a lot of talented designers that could create great covers, you could end up going through more hassle and paying more money for revisions if the designer isn’t familiar with print-on-demand and ebook publishing guidelines. We also recommend choosing someone that is professional and nice to work with. If you choose someone with the right qualifications, then you can put your trust in the fact that your designer will help you through the process of getting the perfect cover.
Make sure you let your book cover designer know if you have any ideas for your cover, and send him/her the samples of the covers you like, but you also need to give the designer some space to create-to go out on limb and push some boundaries. Your designer knows the elements of design and what will distinguish your cover in the marketplace. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by the amazing results.
Admit it. We’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it. Why? Over half a million books were published last year in the U.S. alone, so we can’t possibly read them all. I think we look to the cover of a book to quickly gather information about what the book is about…its genre, plot, theme, characters, depth, etc. Is the book’s intention to entertain, inspire, teach, or persuade? The great book designer George Salter once said that a good jacket “must be in perfect accord with the literary quality of the book. It must be even more if it is to function as an important sales factor, if it is to ‘stop’ the eye of the person passing by.” We look to the cover to let us know if it’s a book that we would be interested in reading. However, there is a balance in designing a book cover that gives enough information to intrigue a reader, but not so much that a reader assumes they know the whole story and don’t need to waste their time.
Sometimes, authors are tempted to give everything away on the cover–the whole story. They want all the characters, all the places, and all the events on that cover. In our opinion, this is publishing suicide. These types of covers tell the reader too much and there is nothing left for them to figure out. It’s best to assume some intelligence in your reader and let them feel that your book will offer them something new–something that will challenge their thinking, or give them an original story to get lost in.
This is why we think the best covers are covers that use concepts. A concept is an abstract idea or a general notion. At Book Creatives, we enjoy searching out key concepts within a book and designing around that. The concept hints at the theme of the book, just enough to let the reader know what the book is about, but not enough to give the story away. Here is an example of one of our recent conceptual book cover designs:
The premise of this book is to help youth understand that they are in control of their own destiny. The concept of the man cutting the puppet strings that “hold” him is a powerful visual representation of the theme of the book. Concepts take everyone to a common place–a place of universal truth. Concepts are ideas that we can all relate to and feel drawn to, appealing to a wider audience. Here are some other conceptual book cover designs that we love:
Check out the cover design for the exciting 2nd installment in the Huber Hill series!
The Dead Man’s Treasure has been stolen! Now it’s up to Huber and his gang to find it. But solving a mystery this big will mean traveling across the world and learning to trust some new friends, including a mysterious stranger. With humor, action, and a plot that keeps you guessing, this is one book you won’t want to put down.
How do you fight your greatest enemy when he’s living inside you?
We love this book cover design for its rich contrasts as well as its depth and texture. This cover is a great example of artwork that would appear in bestselling chick-lit, YA, and thriller genres. Here’s the scoop on the book:
Born from the ashes of the most fierce and powerful entity in all of Trivaesia, Darla was sent to grow up in the outside world with no knowledge of where she came from. When she finds herself wielding new power, she must decide which part of her will rule her heart—the evil from which she was born or the good by which she was raised.