Author Q&A with Natalie Debrabandere
Natalie Debrabandere is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. We first worked with her on a cover for her book ‘Switch On!’, a non-fiction book about NLP. Then we were thrilled to help her update her covers for two of her novels, ‘Strong’ and ‘Unbroken’.
We talked to Natalie about her writing career, and found out about her preference for background noise when she works, that she likes to acts out the scenes from her book when editing, and how one day, she might just travel into space.
Here’s how it all started for Natalie at 11 years old with her sister, her dad and a hand-made newspaper…
Last week I was reading some content online about self-formatting the interior of a book, typesetting and making the layout work. I was struck by how ‘jargony’ the terminology is, like a lot of industries I suppose.
Don’t forget, when typesetting language was first created, all type was set in blocks, by hand. Not on computers!
So here’s a summary of some jargon you might come across when formatting your book ready for self-publishing, and what those terms actually mean:
We all know the importance of a book cover.
It’s the window to your book’s soul. The thing people will judge your book on in a split second.
But don’t forget it’s main job is to get people to buy your book.
NOT to convey accurately the small freckle on the left ear of your heroine.
NOT to show the exact shade of sandy brown of your leading man’s hair.
NOT to depict a purple octopus with yellow spots and the wings of a dragon, attacking a troll with rainbows for eyes, all set in a post-apocalyptic backdrop complete with high-rise buildings and flying cars.
You get the idea.
First and foremost, the purpose of your book cover is to make people pick up your book, or click on your virtual book.
This is a question we get asked a lot by authors.
I don’t know about you, but I had never really thought about books being published in different sizes. When you stand in a bookshop, it’s obvious of course, but it’s not your first consideration when you’re thinking about self publishing.
These are the traditional sizing conventions publishers tend to use:
One of the best ways to sell more books is to build a relationship with your audience. Once they engage with you, your stories, and your characters, readers are much more likely to continue to buy your work, and will become lifelong fans, just waiting for your next publication.
A great way to communicate with your readers is by email.
You can set up a form on your website to capture visitors’ email addresses. Then you will be able to keep in touch, and build your relationship with them. Here’s how to do it:
Has your book been on sale for a while, but suddenly your sales have taken a dip? Or maybe your sales never really got off the ground in the first place.
Identifying a drop in sales is the first step to getting your book selling again.
There are a few reasons sales can drop, and the good news is, there’s lots you can do:
Many literary geniuses would confess numbers are not their strong point.
But when publishing your book, there’s one number you’ll need to get your head around – the ISBN.
Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. There are just a couple of key things you need to know.
Recently we published an article about ISBNs which you can read here.
But one question we didn’t answer was the difference between a 10 digit and 13 digit ISBN number. It’s a question our clients often ask us, so we thought we would explain it in more detail.
A couple of months ago we bought a new TV for our front room. We went to the shop and looked at all the TVs, the different sizes and prices. And then what? We came home and looked at all the reviews on Amazon.
What better way to find out the quirks and quibbles of a range of items than by looking on Amazon at the reviews?
The views of ordinary people like you and I, with no vested interest in convincing you to buy a product, just their honest opinion on what they thought.
When readers are browsing online, they will do exactly the same for your book. They’ll look at its reviews for the social proof – should they buy it, or not. Bad or negative reviews are bound to put potential readers off.
So, can you do more to encourage positive reviews on your book? Of course you can. Here’s how.
It’s the holy grail for busy writers. Building your audience in advance of publication, so that when you launch your book, there’s a steady stream of interest and sales.
But for self-published writers who have day-jobs, kids, and a million other things going on, this can seem like a mammoth task. Without chunks of time to devote to plans and action, how can you go about building your audience?
Don’t despair. You can make an impact in as little as 30 minutes a day. Here’s how.
Does it seem a little strange that we’re writing a blog post about how to start writing blog posts?!
Well, lots of people will advise you as an author to start a blog. We advise it ourselves too – see point 7 in our blogpost about how to sell more books.
A blog is a great way to help readers who are interested in your topic or subject to find you online.
When you are looking for something online, you probably open Google and search from there. The more content you create online, the more likely Google is to show you as one of the search results to others.
So, more fans and readers will be able to find you online.
That’s effectively the purpose of starting a blog. And you have a HUGE advantage over others, writing is your thing!
So, how do you start blogging, and what do you blog about? Read on….