Friday, April 25, 2008

Vol. 8 / The Importance of a Great Book Cover Design

The Front Cover

In the old days, books were sold without a cover and buyers would bind them according to their own desires or needs. Now, the books cover has become one of the most important selling components to a book. Over half of booksellers feel the cover design is the most important component.

If you are accepted by a traditional publishing house, they will design a book cover for your book. If you use a POD (print on demand) publisher, you can hire them to design a cover, or you can submit your own design. When you self-publish you either hire a freelance cover designer or design your own.

The average person spends 8 seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds on the back. It is a fact, that the front cover of a book is what draws the initial attention from the buyer, if he doesn’t like the cover, he won’t look any closer at the book.

There are specific points to a cover which seem to attract the most attention. The title, size and clarity of the text, the colors, and the size of the book are amongst the top four. Make sure your title not only represents the books contents, but is clear and comprehendible to the potential buyer. The color red seems to attract the most attention to book covers. But since red is also the color most commonly associated with danger, depending on your title and subject matter, red may not be an appropriate color for your book. The size of the book is not so relevant as long as the colors are good and the title is the appropriate size for the books cover. Children’s books may be the exception to “size matters.” Children prefer larger books with many colors on the cover.

Take a trip to the library and pick out several books of different sizes and colors. If you lay them all out together and stand back six or eight feet, you will notice which sizes and colors attract your attention best. To get more feedback for you own book, pick only books similar to your subject matter. Your books title should be easily readable from at least six feet away.

An average of 13 hours is spent designing a book cover. The cost of a professionally designed cover can be as low as $500 and as much as $3,500. It could cost less if you already have artwork picked out, or if you have a good idea of what you want the cover to look like.

The back cover

Since 15 seconds are spent by the average person looking at the back cover of your book, you need to be sure it will sell the book. The buyer is looking at the back cover for a reason to buy the book. He will want to know what the book is about, who’s endorsing it, and why. He also wants to know how the book will solve his issue, whatever that may be; or how the book will entertain him. If all his questions are answered effectively, he will then briefly scroll through the book; now he may buy.

For non-fiction books, your back cover description should start by asking a question about the book subject, or address the problem that the book was written to resolve. For instance, a book about stress-relief might start with “Do you often feel stressed?” Follow that by explaining briefly how your book will solve that problem, or what the potential buyer will learn by reading your book. In other words, how will your book benefit the reader? Most likely, there are other books similar to yours, look at their back covers to see how they have formatted them and what information might attract the reader, then improve on that. Give the reader a reason to choose YOUR book instead of another.

For a fiction book, your back cover should lure the reader into wanting more. An intriguing lead into what lies ahead, but only to those who buy your book.

Testimonials sell books. You should have testimonials from professionals willing to endorse your book included on the back cover. Testimonials for your book should be done by professionals related to the book’s subject matter. If you have written a medical journal, you’re testimonials should be written by medical professionals. If the subject matter is golf, your book should include testimonials from golf professionals, and so on.

Include your bio on the back cover or inside the jacket cover. People like to see a photo of the author as well. They want to be able to relate to you and what you are saying in the book; it makes their reading experience more personal. In your bio, tell them why you are qualified to write this book and why you wrote it.

Make a professional looking picture of your books front and back cover for all promoting and advertizing. JPG is the most popular and most requested format to use when adding an image to online ads and promotion sites.

Take your time to present a well formatted and attractive book cover and you will see positive results when your book is released.

Covers Sell Books

E-zine Author: Carol Denbow
Visit Carol’s new website at

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Copyright © May 2008 by Plain & Simple Books, LLC
All rights reserved. The text of this publication, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher.

We are always happy to share the information provided in our e-zine as long as credits are included. For reprint permission please e-mail

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Anna Cleary - Harlequin Presents & Mills&Boon Author

I recently picked up Anna's April release My Tall Dark Greek Boss and absolutely loved it! When I went on the Internet I also noticed she was featured on The Pink Heart Society and I Heart Presents as well.

Here is Anna's bio from the Harlequin website:

Anna Cleary was born in Newcastle, Australia. She had the good fortune of growing up in a household where there were lots of kids, books and music. Inspired by her passion for reading, Anna loved writing poems and stories from an early age and dreamed of being an author and living in a cottage by the sea. As a teenager she adored Georgette Heyer’s regency romances. In addition to delving into the world of literature with the works of Dostoyevsky and Lawrence, she wasn’t above curling up on the bed with Wodehouse’s hilarious Wooster chronicles, or sneaking behind the garden shed to engage with the gorgeously sensuous adventures of Sergeanne Golon’s Angelique.

Anna earned an education degree in Queensland. When a friend suggested they make a pact to each start writing a romance, Anna accepted the challenge.

She was hooked from her very first line. Anna’s first published novel, My Tall, Dark, Greek Boss, explores the dilemma of a woman who longs to exchange her lovely, successful career for the joys and trials of motherhood.

Anna now lives in southern Queensland and besides books, she loves music, movies, meeting friends, holidays, dining out, trees, gardens and animals.

Anna's April release My Tall Dark Greek Boss is a wonderful love story, and if your interested you can read my review on Amazon or Marilyn's Romance Reviews.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vol. 7 / Should I Copyright My Work?

One of the most commonly asked questions of new authors is “Should I copyright my work?” Authors are concerned their work might be stolen by some smuck (sorry, couldn’t think of a better descriptive word) who reprints their work and claims authorship for it. Well, the truth is, it could be. But whether filing a legal copyright will make a difference; that’s uncertain.

Since the 1976 Copyright Act, the need to file a legal copyright has changed. The new copyright act states, “Copyright protection now subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.”

If you find that someone has reprinted your work under their name, the process of claiming copyright follows about the same path whether you have legally or assumedly copyrighted your work. The first step to take is to contact the U.S Copyright office and report the infringement. Also contact Writer Beware (listed below).
For legitimate authors, a rule of thumb is never copy more than three words in sequence of another persons work. If you want to use someone else’s work word-for-word as part of your book, such as a quote or research document, you will need written permission from that person (See Vol. 6).

If you loose sleep worrying that someone will steal your work, by all means, file a legal copyright. The journey to becoming a published author can be stressful enough without this additional concern.

If you’re concerned about the total protection of your work, or feel better with the guarantee of register copyright, visit the U.S. Copyright office online to learn more about the copyright process (see resources).

Copyright symbol © - wrapping the letter “c” will automatically create a copyright symbol on your word processor. Include the month and year, i.e., Copyright © April 2008 by “your name”.

U.S. Copyright Office, “Copyright Office Basics,” Who Can Claim Copyright,, Washington, DC, 2006

U.S. Copyright,
Writer Beware,

E-zine Author: Carol Denbow
Visit Carol’s new website at

Click here to receive this e-zine every month!

Interested in contributing to our monthly e-zine? Please send your comments, stories, requests, and questions to
Copyright © April 2008 by Plain & Simple Books, LLC
All rights reserved. The text of this publication, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher.

We are always happy to share the information provided in our e-zine as long as credits are included. For reprint permission please e-mail

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter- Kim Edwards

"The Memory Keeper's Daughter"

An all-star cast featuring Dermot Mulroney, Gretchen Mol and Emily Watson stars in the adaptation of the New York Times best seller. Enter now for a chance to win an autographed copy of "The Memory Keeper's Daughter." Borders is proud to partner with Lifetime Networks for its original movie adaptation.

Premieres Saturday, April 12 at 9 pm et/pt.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

NH Dini

Several weeks ago I attended a sort-of promotion book of ARGENTEUIL by one senior writer in Indonesia, NH Dini at RUMAH SENI Semarang located at Kampung Jambe number 280. NH Dini herself as the main speaker, with Adhyanggono from Unika Soegijapranata as the moderator. NH Dini called ARGENTEUIL her autobiography which she wrote in the form of novel.

The first thing attracted my attention was when Dini said she has made herself accustomed to writing anything daily since she was very young in one special book she labeled ‘a red book’—because the cover of the book is red. The way she wrote in the red book was not like writing in diary—at least my way in writing diary --because she often used kinds of symbols recognized by herself only. From this ‘red book’ she improved her notes into many novels.

I asked whether she continued writing in her ‘red book’ after getting married. The background of my question was in the patriarchal culture—at least what I learned when I was a teenager from articles I read in magazines/books/newspapers—people believed that after getting married man and woman became one, each was the soul mate for the other. Therefore, women were not supposed to ‘confide in’ anybody else—including in their dead diary, the reflection of their own self—but to their husbands (I call ‘living diary’) that could be considered as the substitute of the dead diary. Husband and wife were supposed to be open to each other, no secrets between them. Dini said she continued writing in her diary—still using her secret symbols. Her husband let her do that and she was not ‘beaten’ by the so-called culture that I illustrated previously so that she didn’t teach her husband how to read the symbols. In other words it can be said that Dini kept doing her hobby and her husband let her have secrets. One moral lesson I was supposed to learn when I was in teenager—it was not sinful to keep something secretly from your husband—so that I wouldn’t have been beaten by the culture. Consequently, I would have had one most loyal friend, my ‘dead’ diary, when I was ‘buried’ under my sorrow because I couldn’t tell a human being. As a result, I wouldn’t have needed to be so depressed.

This is one thing I admire from NH Dini: as a Javanese woman who was born in the patriarchal Javanese culture, she already had a very progressive way of thinking. I believe this had happened before she moved to western countries to follow her husband where of course she was somewhat westernized.

The second thing I noted down from the discussion was when Dini said her two novels—PADA SEBUAH KAPAL and LA BARKA—were forbidden to be in the library of some schools in Jakarta in 1970s. The reason was because the two novels illustrated many inappropriate scenes. Surprisingly when she went to Indonesia to visit her mother in that decade, she was invited by Pondok Pabelan to give a talk about her writing career, and she found the two novels in the library there. She was questioning if some public schools in Jakarta—usually considered more receptive to anything since it was the metropolis city—forbade the students to read the novels, why Pabelan, the Islamic school, provided the novels in the library. It means Pabelan let the students read them.

When Dini asked one teacher there, the teacher explained, “We tell the students that these ‘inappropriate scenes’ are a part of western culture. We as eastern people are not to imitate what they are doing.”

This reminded me of what Ayu Utami said about her novel SAMAN. Ayu wanted to offer a new way of thinking to view women’s bodies. Women must listen to their own bodies, and not just listen to what patriarchal society demands from women. I also remember what Dewi Lestari said when she promoted FILOSOFI KOPI in Semarang around two years ago. When someone asked her converting to Buddhist, Dee explained “For someone who is going to sink in a wide sea, she/he will consider islands she/he sees the same. In Indonesia, the government (un)fortunately only gives six choices: Islam, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Luckily, the ‘island’ closest to where Dee was about to sink was Buddhism.” In her SUPERNOVA series, Dee illustrated her spiritual experience, to share with her readers. I could draw one similar conclusion between Ayu and Dee; that was to give a new paradigm.

This inspired me to ask Dini about her motivation to write her novels, especially the two novels I mentioned above. To my surprise (or disappointment), she said, “I didn’t have such a motivation when writing the two novels. I just wrote my experience.”

“What kind of moral lesson did you expect to convey to your readers?” I continued asking.

“Well, I just wanted people to know that this kind of experience happened, especially in an intermarriage involving one Indonesian and a westerner.”

Furthermore, when someone asked her why she wrote, Dini gave four reasons:

First, she realized that she had a talent in writing, so she improved that gift.

Second, her mother knowing that she had a talent in writing asked her to write books. It means Dini wanted to make her mother happy.

Third, she could earn her own money by doing her hobby.

Fourth, she got satisfaction when knowing that other people enjoyed reading her books.

And I was not supposed to expect ‘deeper’ and more critical reasons just like the contemporary writers.

PT56 12.40 060408

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Brenda Novak's Jr. Diabetes Auction

Brenda's Online Auction for Diabetes Research

The 4th Annual On-line Auction for Diabetes Research is almost here! The auction starts May 1st and runs through May 31st, 2008. If you’d like to get involved, drop Brenda an e-mail. There are lots of ways to help.

My very first auction ran in 2005 and was a huge success. Together with my generous donors, which included some of the biggest and brightest stars in publishing, I raised $34,982, which went directly to research. In year 2, we did even better and raised $62,705. In year three, we more than doubled at $141,700. We’re definitely on a roll. The auction takes a full year to plan and pull off, but it’s a labor of love—for all the people who, like my son, suffer from diabetes. This year, we’ll be shooting for $150,000. Please help me make it happen.

Each year, I offer a fabulous prize package to the person who places the most bids over all (even if that person doesn’t end up winning a single item). This year, the prize package includes:

A brand new Camcorder (retail value of at least $1,000),
Your Name in My Next Book,
An autographed copy of TRUST ME (6/08--the first of The Last Stand series),
and Chocolate (lots of chocolate!)
So once the auction opens again in May, get in early and keep at it and the next winner could be you!

And this year, we have something new to offer: Raffle prizes! Get ready to buy some tickets for some amazing items.

If you have any ideas you think would make the auction bigger and more exciting, please let me know. Thanks to everyone who donated and to all who are shopping!

Here’s to making a difference…

Brenda Novak

Auction Site:

I encourage you to check out the prizes this year, they are fabulous and go to such a good cause. Happy bidding! Marilyn