A Facebook acquaintence suggested I try GetCovers in my quest to see how a new cover affects sales of my two earlier horse mysteries, King of the Roses and Blood Lies. The price was astonishing, to say the least: $35 for the ebook and paperback package. Certainly worth a try!
GetCovers is part of the “Miblgroup family of brands,” which, my author friend wrote on FB, has a somewhat pricier line of covers, but one that is still highly affordable (starting at $100). It would be interesting to know how the services differ: for example, whether the extra expense gives you access to a different group of designers, perhaps with more experience. Anyone know?
I can report that the experience was positive. A major plus: they were fast. I received my first drafts within a week, and subsequent revisions arrived within a few days. The final cover for King of the Roses (below) was okay, well worth a try to see if it earns more clicks in my ad campaigns. After an off-base first submission (the persona of the woman was too cruel and scheming), I supplied the image of the woman; this is the same image as the one on the prior King of the Roses cover, though that designer did some tweaking to soften the woman’s stare a little.
The only indication I had that the designer was just possibly inexperienced occurred in the back-cover text. In the first paperback submission, the first short paragraph contained multiple hyphenations. I indicated that I’d rather not have hyphenations in this short text and suggested centering the blurb to remove them. In the next submission, the text had been centered, removing hyphenation from the top paragraph—but introducing it into the second! I suggested using strategic returns as necessary to force the breaks to appear between words rather than inside them. I believe the final version used spacing to achieve the necessary result.
Because the process was so quick, these corrections took only a single weekend.
In any case, I will go back to GetCovers for an experimental revision to my Blood Lies cover. At such a reasonable price, I can afford to give it a try.
The Amazon sages have to deliver final judgment, but the proof looked fine, so I’m assuming I’ll pass muster.
I’ll post some pyrotechnics once the paperback is live.
In the meantime, if anyone reading this is thinking of paying a “packager” even a few hundred dollars to “publish” a book, whether an ebook or a paperback: THINK HARD before committing your cash. Yes, it takes a bit of time and some hassle to format your own books. But you don’t have to pay for this!
Of course, if you can write three new books in your best-selling series in the time you spend making formatting decisions and wrestling with templates, then the arithmetic comes out different. But like everything else, as you repeat a process it becomes easier and goes faster. In any case, don’t hire a packager because you think you can’t do it without one. You can.
It took longer than it should—no surprise there. I kept getting an error message in my ISBN block. I asked for an Amazon callback and got an immediate response. Turns out that the “imprint” I was supposed to enter meant my name as publisher, although what it said was to enter where you bought your ISBN, which was Bowker. Danielle, my Amazon helper, was incredibly patient, waited with me until both the pdf and the cover were successfully uploaded.
This will teach me to wait so long between books. If it hadn’t been so long since I uploaded my paperback files for King of the Roses, I might remember more of the process.
I reviewed page-by-page in the Previewer, but have ordered a proof copy. When I get a look at it, I will announce
I’ve read articles like this before; this one is clear and useful to remind us all why it’s important to keep doing what we love. As is so often the case these days, it’s an indirect plug for self-publishing. I hope you find it helpful.
Here’s a very helpful post from that wizard, Jane Friedman, via Chris the Story Reading Ape (also a wizard). I am not a wizard, but to this comprehensive description of the ways you can publish, I must add this: If you really want to publish, don’t go on Facebook or Twitter and ask, “Can someone tell me how to publish a book?” Your respondents would have to spend the rest of their afternoon telling you what’s available on sites like Friedman’s—she’s an excellent portal. Check through my posts for links to many, many other terrific sites for directions and advice.
My point is, if you really want the answer, it’s out there. Do your research! You can jumpstart your process by following Chris and Jane.
Since 2013, I have been regularly updating this informational chart about the key book publishing paths. It is available as a PDF download (from Jane’s original blog post)—ideal for photocopying and distributing for workshops and classrooms—plus the full text is also below.
One of the biggest questions I hear from authors today: Should I traditionally publish or self-publish?
This is an increasingly complicated question to answer because:
Via today’s New York Times, there’s an extremely strange phishing epidemic that affects both established, big-name authors and newbies alike—basically anybody involved in a querying and/or publication cycle. Someone is impersonating editors and agents, requesting drafts of manuscripts in progress toward publication, then “disappearing” the manuscripts. No one thus far has an adequate theory as to what happens to the drafts that have been stolen. They’re not being published online; there’ve been no ransom demands, no threatening follow-ups. The perpetrator seems to be someone with extensive expertise and contacts in publishing.
Since I’m not querying at the moment, I’m out of the loop that might be affected by this weird business, but it looks as if those of you who are should be extra vigilant. Confirm with your agents and editors that the requests for your latest draft are legitimate. Inspect email addresses carefully. A tactic appears to be substituting “rn” for “m” in some names.
The article will fill you in with more detail. Let us know if you’ve experienced a version of this.
I’ve been AWOL recently because I’ve been busy writing! I’m trying to slide Book 3 of my mystery trilogy into a channel where it will start floating right along (I suspect you get that metaphor), and I’ve been keyboarding the longhand draft of my “Horse Show Book” (great titles, huh?) that I just completed last week. My hope is that the closing scenes of this psychological suspense/mystery will work as well when I type them as they seemed when I (literally) penned them. We’ll see.
Apropos of that milestone, I had the following conversation with a non-writer friend the other day. I wonder if only writers will “get” this:
Friend: When are you going to publish your Horse Show Book?
This column reminded me how I’m constantly surprised by some of the questions aspiring writers ask on self-help Facebook sites. Yesterday, is grammar important? Today, should an author get a web site? This column offers some advice I think everyone hoping to publish needs.
Me included. Realizing that writing is a business—never a comfortable home territory for me—but also that it really has to be something you just can’t help doing: These are the reminders I need.