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6 Posts tagged with the cover tag

Years ago I attended a seminar on book cover design that was hosted by one of the Big Six (at the time) publishers. As an indie author just getting started, I wanted to know all the secrets of the industry. What I discovered is there are no real secrets. There's a quote that comes from John Wanamaker, a department store mogul in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, that embodies what I learned that day in the marketing/cover design seminar. He famously proclaimed, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."


The only thing that didn't match in his quote is that the success rate in traditional publishing is only about 30 percent. Keep in mind, there are entire departments in major publishing houses with the sole purpose of researching the best way to market a book. These are folks with advanced degrees in some cases that conduct focus groups and use scientific studies to determine what a color represents to a consumer. What font is more appealing on a cover. Are people more likely to buy a book with a human face on the cover or an inanimate object. They explore every little detail.

The presenter at the seminar talked about one particular case involving the European release of a book that had done well in the States. They researched and created mockups and conducted focus groups, and they chose a cover that was nothing like the American version. The book failed miserably in Europe. With all their resources, they couldn't find a cover that helped the book sell. 

You probably don't have the resources of the major publishers. With that in mind, here's how you should go about picking a cover design for your next book. Pick something that appeals to one person, you. Whatever grabs you, that's the cover for your book.

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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The will

Don't burn yourself out

1,119 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: cover, marketing, design, formatting, promotion, cover_design

Some writers are fortunate enough to never have to overcome writer's block, or so I'm told. Every writer I know personally has had to deal with it at one time or another to varying degrees of severity. I wrestle with it virtually every book I write. In fact, I still have unfinished manuscripts in folders on my computer just waiting for me to get back to them and add meat to their underdeveloped bones. I will.


And when I do, I will most likely read what I've written, open my graphics software, and start designing a cover for the book that it will one day be. I do it for one reason: envisioning a cover and constructing the various visual and design elements that go into it totally immerses me in the story. My mind takes all those thoughts I've had about the story and gives them order. I see the book in a single image. While I tinker with every little detail of the cover, I am forced to justify why they belong and explain to myself what they represent. More times than not, this technique will unblock me. The difficulties I had with the story become clearer as the cover takes shape.


The good news is if you want to try this method of beating writer's block, you don't have to know anything about imaging and graphic design software. You can cut pictures and words out of magazines to build a mock-up of a cover on a piece of cardboard and achieve the same results.


Sometimes beating writer's block simply takes seeing the story from a different vantage point. Creating a cover design can give you a fresh new perspective that may have eluded you in the past. Good luck and happy designing.


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.



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More Tips for Completing Your Manuscript

Can Visualization Help You Finish That Manuscript?

1,390 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, cover, writing, craft, branding

Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.


A New Way to Hook Readers: Stories in Cigarette Packs - Publishing Perspectives

This strangely innovative idea offers an alternative to a popular package design.

Book Cover of the Future? - GalleyCat

Are you ready for interactive book covers? Check out GalleyCat for a really cool example of an interactive cover.


From Lighting 8 City Blocks to DIY Clamp Lights

Director of photography Shane Hurlbut discusses how digital cameras have changed the lighting tools needed to shoot a film.

Best Scriptwriting Advice Ever - Projector Films

The Projector Films folks have created a PDF of legendary film instructor Alexander MacKendrick's actual notes he used when teaching writing.


Is Music a Commodity? - megatrax

An interesting conversation on the practice of retitling, or releasing the same piece of music under different titles.

Google Plus for Musicians Update: How to Build Your Page -

A veritable treasure trove of links to articles on how to build and manage your Google Plus page.


Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - November 8, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - November 1, 2011 Edition

1,650 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, cover, music, film, screenwriting, lighting, scripts, screenplay, google+

Money, Money, Money!

Forbes released its annual list of highest paid authors, and I was devastated to learn that I am not on the list. Seriously, the earning figures of these authors are, in the words of Chazz Michael Michaels, mind bottling. For me, it is both an inspiring and depressing article to read. Who knew a thing like that was possible? In the interest of all things karma, I wish them well with their big piles of money.


Patterson is a prime example. In the period from May 2010 through April 2011, he was again the world's top-earning author, with total income of $84 million. (Our income estimates are based on sales figures supplied by Nielsen Bookscan, year-end sales totals submitted by publishing houses to Publishers Weekly, and input from numerous agents, managers and editors.) That's a major increase from the $70 million he booked the year before. The jump comes courtesy of a 17-book, $150 million deal Patterson signed with his publisher, Hachette Book Group, in 2009. The peerlessly prolific Patterson, who works with a team of co-authors to boost his output, published 10 of those books during this period.


You can read the entire article on Forbes' website: The World's Highest-Paid Authors


Short Film Leads to Big Break

Short films aren't just great tools for honing your filmmaking skills. They can be showcase pieces that land you feature film works. It's not an everyday occurrence, but from time-to-time you do stumble across a story that entails a novice filmmaker catching the eye of a studio with a top-shelf short film. Troy Nixey happens to be one of those rare filmmakers.


Big breaks rarely happen quite this way. Aspiring filmmaker Troy Nixey submitted his short film "Latchkey's Lament" to Guillermo del Toro, looking for some guidance; what he got was the opportunity to direct his first feature, "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." An update of the 1973 TV movie, the R-rated  film, co-written by Del Toro and Matthew Robbins, traces what happens when a precocious young girl (Bailee Madison) is sent to live with her father (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Katie Holmes) and begins to hear strange voices issuing from the basement of the historic home the couple is restoring.


You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' website: 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' director's guru: Guillermo del Toro



Downsized Designing

The chance to design an album or CD cover used to be a dream gig for graphic artists and designers. It was an opportunity to not only showcase your skills as an artist, but to do so in a grand and bold way. After all, record companies are known for shaking things up and shocking people. The rise in music downloads from the internet has the music industry looking to drive digital sales, and as a result, graphic artists are faced with a challenge of designing "covers" for small screens.



Art directors and designers say they've never been given blunt directives to be more elementary. Yet they admit the transition to easily grasped images is an inevitable part of the move from 12-inch discs to MP3s. "The album cover has become just a pictographic button, some little thing on a Web site that you can click on to listen to or purchase some music," said Frank Olinsky, a designer who has worked on covers for Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth.



You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: The Incredible, Inevitable Shrinking Album Cover




Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.



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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - August 19, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - August 12, 2011

2,209 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, cover, cover, album, album, design, design, money, money, short_film, short_film, films, films, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers

Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.




Judging Books by Their Covers - CBS News

A bad cover can kill a good book. So, what makes a memorable cover?


Self-editing: 10 Ways to Tighten Your Copy - Alexis Grant

If you "start to" read this article, I would advise you to stop starting and just read it.




The Price of Quality Filmmaking - Rope of Silicon

Is $120 million too big a budget for a comedy? James Brooks didn't think so.


Seven Things I Learned from Blake Edwards: A Filmmaker Remembered - Hit Fix

What can the man who originally brought you Inspector Clouseau teach you about filmmaking?




Cold Weather Tips for Voices - Judy Rodman

Now that winter is in full swing, you want to do everything you can to protect that voice.


Schedule in Your Creative Time in 2011 - Music After 50

As long as you're making New Year's resolutions, why not work in some time to be creative in 2011?



Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - December 21, 2010 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - December 14, 2010 Edition

1,602 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, cover, cover, book, book, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, editing, editing, creativity, creativity, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers

I was going through some old notes from a seminar I attended a few years ago hosted by an acquisitions editor from one of the major publishers. She covered the entire publishing process from her point of view. She had the unenviable job of finding manuscripts that were destined to be bestsellers. In short, her job is more difficult than trying to hit a 98 mile-per-hour fastball with your eyes closed.


She told one story of acquiring a manuscript by an author who had been published before. She loved the manuscript. Her boss loved it. Everyone who read it loved it. They were all sure it was destined to be a huge success. The editorial staff massaged the manuscript to make it perfect. The marketing team worked on a fail-proof launch. Everyone decided that the manuscript deserved a large initial print run. A fairly large marketing budget was put into place. Everything was going smoothly until the design team started to work on the cover. They went through cover after cover after cover, but they couldn't find anything that worked. The author gave suggestions, the CEO of the company even put in his two cents, but they couldn't decide on a design. They vacillated until a decision had to be made in order to meet the publication deadline. They went with the least objectionable. Pre-release industry reviews had been glowing. They were sure they could overcome a mediocre cover design.


The book debuted and quickly flopped. Those who read it loved it, but nobody was buying the book because of the cover. In the meantime, they created a cover for the international release that everybody loved, and as a result the book did phenomenally well overseas. Here's the thing: the change to the cover wasn't a major change. They tweaked the image, but the biggest change was going from a muted yellow background color to a more passionate red. It fit the genre and did the trick.


The lesson? People do judge a book by its cover. The cover isn't just an artistic decision. It is a marketing decision. Don't settle for something that you're not completely happy with. Don't sell yourself short. If you have the budget for it, work with a professional designer to come up with something that will capture people's attention.




Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Designing Book Covers Tutorial

Marketing: The Art of Making Connections

8,925 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, cover, marketing, selling, book, design, self-publishing, promotion, writers, publishing, writing, promotions, craft, branding