One of the stumbling blocks for the self-published author is the question of ISBN numbers.
Lots of authors come to us struggling to get their heads around what’s required:
- What’s an ISBN?
- Do I need one?
- How do I get one?
- Where from?
So we’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions about ISBNs, and some answers to help you.
Are you stuck for what to include on your author website? Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be complicated. But it does need to be easy to read, and convey your message in a simple way to your fans.
Include the content listed here, and you can be sure you’ll have an author website that will keep your fans happy, be easy to maintain and update, and will help improve your book sales.
Author Q&A with Andy Bailey
Andy Bailey challenged us to create a cover design for the first book in his ‘Martin Dash’ trilogy.
It’s a tale of twists and turns; a hybrid novel, part thriller, part mystery, and part romance. Throw in some satire, and you have quite a mix for creating a book cover that Andy wished to have starkness as well.
Andy’s cover evolved, and along the way we had the pleasure of working with a fantastic writer who likes to challenge convention.
Andy was kind enough to answer a few questions so we could delve into what makes him tick. He told us how he’s come to feel he was born to write, that at the tender age of 52 he’s not sure there’s much left to learn about himself, and much more…
We know how hard authors, especially self-published ones, work to fit in their writing; around the day job, night job, the school run, and hobbies.
We speak to authors every day and many of them ask us if there’s anything they can do to make life a bit easier, and utilise every second of their precious time.
So we thought it would be helpful to list some resources, products and software that can help you to shortcut some of the hard work involved with writing your book.
I’m baking a cake tonight.
Last night I made a list of the ingredients I’ll need, checked I had the right baking tins and got my piping bags ready.
I wouldn’t start cracking the eggs in the bowl tonight without having done the preparation. If I did, I’d end up with a cake that’s flat, dry, and disappointing.
Self-publishing is a bit like this.
There are a few things you need to have in order before you start. Get your ducks in a row before you take the plunge into self-publishing, and you’ll find the whole process much easier to navigate.
Keep reading to find out 5 essential things you should have thought about before self-publishing your book.
Imagine if Krispy Kreme introduced a new and amazingly flavoured donut.
But didn’t tell anyone about it.
You went into the shop, browsed the menu, and went ahead and ordered your favourite flavour, the one you always buy. You had no idea that triple-chocolate-pecan-caramel-with-sprinkles flavour even existed. It’s not that you didn’t want to try it…
….you just didn’t know it was there.
It’s the same with your book.
You may make the mistake of thinking it’s enough just to have your book listed and for sale on Amazon. But unless you put in some effort to promote it, no one will know it’s there.
So how do you go about marketing your book?
Author Q&A with Peter Dudgeon
At Bespoke, we work with lots of amazing self-published authors. Have you ever wondered what inspires other authors like you to dedicate their time and energy to writing great fiction?
Peter Dudgeon is a part-time consultant, part-time writer, and full-time Stephen King fan. He has just published ‘Chance’, and has his next novel waiting in the wings. He talked to us about stopping writing fiction as a teenager, how his father’s death years later motivated him to start again, and how he often writes with his eyes closed…
Q. Peter, tell us about how you got into writing
As a teenager I had a ferocious reading appetite, devouring mainly Stephen King books; loving them. I dreamt of being able to write that well, of having an imagination strong enough to grip readers. So I wrote short stories, some weird, some ghoulish.
I recall writing a story about a man trapped in a disused amusement park with a homicidal maniac. I remember clearly a scene where the protagonist managed to get to his car. He had only a few moments before the maniac was upon him. His hands shook as he ‘fought the key into the lock.’ I remember the line clearly because I nervously shared my work, looking for feedback and was told that, “you don’t fight a key into a lock.”
I have a vision of an elegant lady, her dark hair styled in a vintage bob. She’s wearing cream pearls around her neck, and is perched at a mahogany desk with a silver fountain pen in her hand, a notepad balanced on her knee.
The desk lives in the Oval Office of the White House, and the lady is Jacqueline Kennedy – yes, before she was First Lady, Jackie O had a career as a book editor.
In this modern age of self-publishing, you may think you don’t need to use a book editor like Jacqueline, but what are the pros and cons of using one? Is an editor something you can do without, or is it a crucial step to publishing success?
Tap, tap, tap on the keyboard.
Last paragraph dissected, pen down, gulp of cold tea….
So, your book is finally finished. And now you have the not insignificant task of commissioning a cover to do all your hard work justice.
So where do you start?
We all know the saying ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’, but your cover is the first impression your prospective readers will get of your book. So how can you make it stand out and connect with your audience?
Here are 7 top tips to help your cover stand out from the crowd:
1. Employ a professional cover designer
Designing the cover yourself can look amateurish, and give a poor overall impression of the quality of your writing. It’s worth using a professional book cover designer to get a great final product and do your writing justice.
2. Make it simple
Don’t make the design too busy. You want a cover that’s easy on the eye, and your readers can interpret easily to get an understanding of what your book is about.
3. Theme your design around the genre of your book
Look at other book covers on Amazon and see if there is a common theme to the designs that fall into your genre. This is the type of design your readers will be used to seeing, and they will be able to identify with your cover more easily.
4. Think thumbnail
Think about how the design will look as a thumbnail image, and as a black and white image. Most online sellers will preview your book cover as a thumbnail image first, so the design needs to be clear enough to see at this size. Also consider how your design will display on e-readers with black and white screens.
5. Make sure the title is legible
It sounds obvious, but don’t get carried away with fancy typefaces if it means the clarity of your title is compromised.
6. Work the spine
Don’t underestimate the impact of the spine – if your book is displayed on a shelf, it’s the only impression that readers will get. Make the design clear, but impactful.
7. Be selective about the cover imagery
You don’t have to tell the whole story on the front cover. Your audience will be curious if you give away just the right amount, and will want to read more.
Question: What do you think makes a great book cover? You can leave a comment below…