Guest Post: The 3 Keys to Designing a Book Cover that Sells

Scarlett Rugers Design

Need a book cover? Visit Scarlett’s site by clicking here.

Book cover designer Scarlett Rugers is giving us the low-down on how to get a great cover today. 

Design can be overwhelming.

There’s so much to think about and consider when putting together a book cover, so to make sure you prioritise the right things.

I’m going to share with you what I consider to be the three most important things when designing it yourself.

1. Do you have a clear message you want to portray?

This does not have to be specific, as in, ‘an 18 year old German girl falls in love with a rock star and she also discovers a plot to steal the magic blue diamond’. A story like that, with so many elements, is probably best off not saying any of that. When I talk about a message I’m talking about a concept, a simple visual. Something that encompasses the cover’s personality, character, and mystery.

What single image can sum up your story? If you’re not sure, turn to brainstorming. Write a list of words you want your book cover to encompass. Love, passion, stormy, arrogant, dark, terror, family. By always checking this list you can ensure you’re staying on track for a well-designed cover

2. Consult other designs.

You don’t have to start from scratch, you’re allowed to be inspired by other design. See how others in your genre have done it, and learn by example. Some of the best sites to get feedback is the bookcoverarchive.com, goodreads.com and pinterest.com. Take note of the image layout, the type faces used, where the type has been placed, the colour schemes.

What sort of covers are trending? Is a whole face used, or perhaps it’s more about texture, or sweeping landscapes.

3. Get honest feedback.

I’m not talking about your mum, girlfriend, or dog. I’m not talking about your fan readers, I’m talking about people who are not afraid to give you feedback because they know it will help your chances, not hinder. This could be your beta readers, your local writing community, anyone in your circles that you believe are willing to give you constructive critique.  I’m not going to pretend it won’t hurt, but it will help your chances of higher sales.

Overall it’s important to be open to change. I confess that I’m a repeat offender when it comes to sticky ideas. I get an idea, even if it’s idea #2, and I think THIS IS IT, THIS IS THE BOMB. When I get feedback for it I’ve been known to defend and fight off all the critique I didn’t want to hear. It’s taken a long time but, in the wise words of my University teacher, ‘ideas are currency, the more you have the richer you are’.

Be prepared to let go of ideas that just aren’t working and start fresh. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it means you’re a scientist. You test, experiment, and analyse what works best for your book.

What do you think are some of the most important things to remember when it comes to designing your own book cover?

Scarlett RugersScarlett Rugers is a professional book cover designer, from Melbourne Australia. She’s worked with both self-published authors and traditional publishing houses, dedicating her time to make authors feel like best sellers.
Her goal is to help change the stigma of self-publishing and show it’s a professional field of high quality. She does this by designing beautiful book covers and working together with authors to produce the best book they can, and to encourage development of their skills in writing and publishing.
She has also been writing since 1998, and has published the non-fiction book of 1001 First Lines, and Oscar & Josephine, a fictional novella.
You can find her here:
http://booksat.scarlettrugers.com
http://www.facebook.com/scarlettrugersdesign
http://www.twitter.com/thebookdesignr

3 Ways Your Book Can Sell Itself

3 Ways Your Book Can Sell ItselfYour book is the best sales tool in your promotional arsenal. Leveraging the front and back matter of your book can help you to sell more books. Below you’ll find the three key areas you can utilize to increase your future book sales.

1. Your ‘Look Inside’ Sample

This is your first chance to grab a reader, so make sure you have a good sample available for them to check out. (The sample is the first 10% of your book.) Keep your front matter, acknowledgements and review snippets to a minimum in order to allow maximum space for your actual book.

If you’ve published a short book, short story or novella that is less than 40 pages, your sample may be brief or non-existent. If this is the case, consider packaging multiple short stories into one volume or writing a longer book. If readers are unable to sample your work, they are unlikely to hit that buy button.

1. Include a ‘Sneak Peek’Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

When you have more than one book for sale, make sure to include a teaser chapter for one of your other books in your back matter. Choose an intriguing, short excerpt and add a clear call to action and buy link at end of the sample.

This book sample doesn’t have to be long nor does it have to be the first chapter or introduction of your next book. Pick a standout section of your book that will leave readers wanting more. Make sure to include your excerpt in your table of contents so readers aren’t mislead about the length of your book. And don’t forget to include a “buy this book” link at the end of your sample!

3. Links 

Include a direct link to your Author Central Page on Amazon. When your reader clicks on this link, they’ll be instantly transported to a complete list of the books you have for sale. This page is optimized to sell you and your book and you can add all sorts of personalized content, including your recent blog posts and tweets. By including this one link, you’re actually linking to your website, twitter and putting them on a page where they can buy your other titles.

Take a few minutes to give your book a quick check-up using these tips. Streamlining your book’s front and back matter could have a great impact on your future sales.

How to Find Your Keywords

Find Your KeywordsKeywords are critical to your success on Amazon and beyond. Keywords help search engines to categorize your book correctly and display it to people who want to buy it.

Figuring out the right keywords will draw readers to your book through search traffic. Amazon gets a heck of a lot of traffic so it is worth it to spend some time on this. Your keywords can be single words or phrases. The phrases bring more targeted traffic, which is what you want because those are the people that are most likely to read your book.

Research Your Keywords

Get out a piece of paper and divide it into three columns. Label the first column Google, the second one Amazon, and the third one Combined.

Head over to the Google Keyword tool  https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool . (Login with your Google Account so you don’t have to enter the CAPTCHA.)

In the search box, type in a word or phrase you think people would use to search for your book.

Keyword Research for Authors

Make sure you are on the Keyword Ideas (circled) tab before you click the blue search button. Google defaults to the Ad Group ideas.

Once you click Search, Google will make suggestions based on what people are actually searching for. Google loves Amazon, so you can use the keyword tool to find an approximate list of keywords and phrases that people would use to find your book. I’d suggest trying to find 20 keywords for your book. Write these words in the column labeled Google.

  • Don’t select your keywords based on popularity–make sure you go for relevancy. For example futuristic detective novel is way better than detective novel because it is more specific.
  • Get creative when you are looking for keywords, use location, theme, genre etc. to search for relevant words.

Take a few minutes to go through Google’s suggestions. You can run new searches or run searches on the suggested keywords. When you find a good word or phrase, write it down. When it comes to search volume, look in the Local Monthly Searches. Google has localized search by country just as Amazon has Amazon.uk et al. So you want to make sure you are pulling data from the same pool as you are about to head over to Amazon to do the same thing.

As far as search volume goes, more refined keywords are the best but rule out the ones with less than 1000 searches. You want a keyword that you can rank on–so head for middle ground here. (Don’t worry too much about the search volume because we’re going to use Amazon to refine this list.)

Once you have a list, go over to Amazon and start typing your keywords into the search bar. (If you are only publishing for the Kindle, make sure the Kindle store is selected in the where to search part of the bar.) You’ll notice that Amazon will make suggestions to you based on what you are typing in.

  • Pay attention to those searches because that is what people are actually typing in when they look for books on Amazon. Using your Google list, cross reference all the key words and determine your top 7 keywords by both popularity and relevancy. You can even type in your main keyword and then every letter of the alphabet to get additional ideas. This takes less time than you would think.

Write down all of these words in your second column. Once you have a good list, compare them with your Google list and write those in your third column. You will need to pick your top seven to ten keywords from this list. Y

Use these keywords when you are uploading your book. It is really, really important to also use these words in your book description and tags as well.

When a customer types in your keywords, you want your book to come out on the top and the best way to do this is to use your keywords where-ever you can. Pick your best one and use it in your title…like Blue Moon Waning (A Futuristic Detective Novel). This has the added benefit of telling customers in the search results what they are getting when they click on your book.

You can and should use these keywords on your website, social media sites and anywhere else on the internet that you post. It just helps create a cohesive picture of you and your books for the Search Engines and they will rank you higher for it. Doing your keyword research does not take all that long and really pays off because it forms the base for your book promotion.Watch Froning The Fittest Man In History (2015) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Tutorial: How to Format Your Amazon Book Description (Add Bold and Italics plus more!)

Want to jazz up your Book Description?

One of the most common questions I get via email is how to add bold and italics to book descriptions on Amazon. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think and you don’t need to know any html.

Here’s how:

Download this Tutorial as a PDF. (Right click to save.)

1. Sign in to Author Central

Go to Amazon Author Central and sign in. (If you do not have an account, you will need to create one.)

1-Sign-in-to-Author-Central

2. The Welcome Screen

On the welcome screen, click Books on the blue menu bar.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

1-Sign-in-to-Author-Central