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My Thoughts on Promo Art

Promo Art.

Wow, that is something I really do not know how to do.

I am expert at finding friends who do.  But for me, the only photo manipulation software I  can use is PowerPoint, believe it or not.

I have followed Canva’s tutorial, and still have no idea how to use it.  I can’t make heads or tails of Photoshop.  I was trained as a kid in school how to use Microsoft Paintbrush, but that was long ago, and I was never good at it unless I had the instructions open and followed every step.  As soon as I closed the book, I completely forgot everything.

So my hat’s off to anyone who can create promo art.  I think you are incredibly talented.

Well, that begs the question as to where my promo art comes from.  Easy.  One of two sources.  I either commission it or I barter services.  That works for me.  I like to BETA read, what I usually barter services for.

Thoughts on June Topics

JUNE INTRO

June, according to my schedule, is the month to discuss Promo Art, Radio Silence for Authors, and Author Retreats.

Well, considering I don’t know much of anything about any of the above, looks like I will be doing some research.

Let’s start the month off by chatting about Promo Art.

Promo Art is awesome.  I use teasers and book trailers all the time.  I use them on Pintrest, or I will use them on Pintrest whenever I get around to it.  I use them on Twitter for fun, they are all over my Facebook Page.

As a blogger who interviews authors on my personal blog, jqmserv.wordpress.com, weekly, I see a big difference in interviews with promo art and the ones that are just text.  Guess which ones I find more interesting?

Above are my two favorite promo images I use for The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1, thanks to Alicia Scarborough, a Photoshop Sorceress in her own right.  The Light bless the day I met her.  She understands these things a lot better than I, and is so generous with her time, and such a sweet person, that she willingly barters services with me.  To be honest, I think I do less for her than she does for me, but that’s why it’s important to me to have good friends I can trust.

Promo Art, it can be the difference between a best seller and lost in the crowd.  (no, that is not a quote from someone else, I just thought of it.  Hmm, maybe I can create an image with it on it.  *shaking head.  Nah.  We want someone who knows how to make good promo art do that, so maybe I will commission it to be done at some distant future time.)

Have a great night, and may June be a wonderful month!

The Benefits of Belonging to a Community of Authors when Publishing

The Benefits of Belonging to a Community of Authors when Publishing

Words fail to express how much my author friends have helped me in my publishing journey.

Without the help and support and bartering of services with Alicia Scarborough, I would have been forced to pay someone to create covers for my various self published short stories.

The various friends who have volunteered to either BETA read or edit my manuscripts saved me hundreds of dollars in editing fees for my self-published titles. While at the same time costing me many hours in BETA reading their manuscripts in return. However, reading their works is more of a pleasure than anything else.

I have said it many times, my favorite part of being an author is meeting new author friends.  Most my author friends will never be able to BETA read one of my stories. Nor will they join my ARC (advanced reader copies) team, someone who agrees to read your book before the release and post a review of your book on release day. My friends are there to help to support me when I feel depressed. Or when I want to talk out a certain problem or plot hole, and so on.

In short, I have benefited greatly by surrounding myself with other authors, sharing each other’s frustrations, successes, and literary discussions.

That is why I chose to create the Burning Embers Author Discussion Group on Facebook. And that is why Ally & I created this blog. It is another platform we can use to reach out to and help more author friends.

Publishing Costs

Publishing Costs:

Publishing costs can run anywhere from $0 – as much as you desire to spend.

I have not spent a single dime on any of my current publications, self-published or traditional published.

Here are a few various categories that may cost money:

Editing:

As I have shared before, I barter services for editing, so I am not familiar with editing costs.  I do know from previous inquiries that some editors charge you by the page, others charge by the word count.  If you confident in your editing abilities, then you may choose to edit your own books free of charge, but I am not confident in my own editing prowess, which is why I barter services.  Content editing gets very expensive, but I hear the end result is worth the cost, both in the quality of your story and in the value of the experience to improve your own writing prowess.  I know the one time I bartered services for a content editor, my content editor was instrumental in helping me see what did and did not work in my book, and helped me understand why.

Cover:

There are some fantastic covers out there that cost thousands of dollars, others that are fantastic and only cost a few dollars.  And you have everything in between for both cost and quality.  If you publish with a traditional publishing house, you do not pay for your cover, pending on your contract with your publisher.  If you create your own covers, which some of my authors friends do, then you also do not pay for covers.  And if you barter services, well, then you do not pay for covers with money, just time to accomplish whatever it is you and the cover designer agreed to.

Formatting:

So I get my formatting free in three different ways.  First, I barter services for formatting for some self published titles.  Second, I upload my books to either Amazon KDP Publishing or Draft 2 Digital, and they do all the formatting free of charge.  Third, my publisher formats my books I have contracted with them free of charge.  But if you want specific formatting done just the right way, you can research how to do it yourself,  you can barter services with someone who knows how to format well, or you can pay for it.  I don’t know if formatting services are expensive or inexpensive, but I do know it is one other cost that needs to be taken into consideration.

The one thing that all authors need to consider when looking at publishing costs is marketing and advertising costs.  The larger the publisher, the greater that publishers reach and marketing value, but that does not mean they do not do everything for their authors.  It does not matter who is publishing your book, you want to look into having a marketing and advertising budget.  How much you spend will depend on several variables that I cannot tell you, because they are not universal.  But, in general, if you want to find new readers, well, then not spending any money at all on any aspect of marketing or advertising will be detrimental to your sales goals.

My Thoughts On Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing

Why Self-Publish A Book?

I have multiple self-published short stories.  Most of them are related back to my Realm of the Light Series specifically or my Rai Saga in general.  Two are a children’s Fantasy Series, The Sykar Series, about a volkrog puppy who explores his world and meets new friends.  And a couple is stand alone short stories.

I chose to self-publish The Sykar Series because I wanted to write a couple books to share with my kids.  When the series expands, I may or may not choose to sign with a publisher of children’s books.

I chose to self-publish the other stories for different reasons, but the main factor in each was that I felt the best way to share the word about them was to just release them to the world.

There are a quite a few pros to self-publishing with a publisher. 

“I want full control over every step of the publishing process.”  I have heard this, or if not this phrase specifically, something similar to it from many, many, many self-published authors.  They want full control over pricing, marketing, promotional sales, book cover, book descriptions, etc.

What are the CONS to Self-Publishing?

Well, the cons are all the pros we talked about Tuesday with a Traditional Publisher.  For me, it is pretty much having do everything that a publishing house does yourself with your own resources.

You are in full control of your pricing.

You have to either create a cover or pay for a cover.

You are in charge of marketing and when to do a promotional sale.

You are in charge of your own book descriptions, or book blurbs.

You have to either create your own audio book or hire someone to do it for you.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Not all books are meant for every publisher.  Some books will do better if self-published.  Others will do better with a small press, others with a large press.  Every book has its own journey, its own ideal home.  I recommend you think about what you want to accomplish with the release of your current WIP (Work In Progress) before deciding how to go about publishing it.