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Marketing and Promotion Advice > Marketing Forum #3: Q&A on Book Design and Editing

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message 1: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
Please welcome Ellie Augsburger, Creative Manager of Creative Digital Studios, who is here to talk about book design and editing and answer your questions.

But first a bit about Creative Digital Studios:

Creative Digital Studios provides professional quality design services for self publishing authors and indie publishers. We can get your book ready to publish from start to finish with our top notch editing, formatting, and design services. You can get everything you need in one spot with people you can trust. Here at Creative Digital Studios, we genuinely care for each of our clients and strive to do everything we can to help them succeed. Contact us today to see what Creative Digital Studios can do for you, and ask about our free editing samples and consultations.

www.creativedigitalstudios.com

Now let the discussion begin.


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Hello everyone!

I am Ellie Augsburger, the owner and head designer at Creative Digital Studios. I am so excited to be discussing the book design and editing process and would love to hear all your questions!


message 3: by laurie (new)

laurie (lo96hasty) | 1 comments Hi, I'm Laurie and I was really excited to receive the notification for this Q and A session. I've always loved reading and began to write some of my own stuff so i just wanted to ask how the editing process works and what makes a good design for a book?


message 4: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Brown (PamelaKayNobleBrown) | 25 comments Hi Eillie and everyone else. Hope you're all having a wonderful Friday and looking forward to the weekend.

I have a question. Once your book is established with a cover, is it a good idea or bad to change it? Does it shake things up and jump start renewed interest in people browsing? Or will it upset people who have purchased print copies with the old cover?


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Hi Laurie! That's nice to hear that you are excited. Hopefully my answers will give you some new insight.

With the editing process, one of the most important factors is that there is an open line of communication and trust between the editor and the author. The first thing one of our editors will do is read your book entirely to get an idea of where the story is going and what's happening through the whole story. Then we'll go through the book and look for grammar errors and wording choices, as well as ways you can add to the story to strengthen the overall plot, with foreshadowing and other techniques. We check in on a weekly basis and show you what's done so that you can see your edits as we make them, instead of waiting and getting a big lump at once. From there we start an open discussion with author with the notes from the editor so that the author's voice still there.

Good design for a book should reflect the content without giving anything away and also be eye catching. The design needs to attract the readers who will enjoy your books, so using techniques and trends that connect to those readers. Good design stands out as unique as well as stays relevant to your content.


message 6: by Creative Digital Studios (last edited May 01, 2015 10:21AM) (new)

Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Pamela wrote: "Hi Eillie and everyone else. Hope you're all having a wonderful Friday and looking forward to the weekend.

I have a question. Once your book is established with a cover, is it a good idea or bad t..."


Hi Pamela,

That's a good question. I think a lot of that would depend on how well your book is selling and which market you want to bring your book into. If your book isn't really selling much, a fresh design might be the answer to catch a reader's eye, because we do all judge books by their covers. And what we judge is how professional it looks. If the cover looks amature, then the reader will assume the content is as well. Also, trends do change over the years and adding updated covers keep you looking current and fresh.

An example of changing your cover to appeal to different markets would be the Harry Potter Series. The iconic and beautiful illustrations were the originals and I think the best, but in order to appeal to a more adult reader, there are also versions of the book with a darker and more simple design.

I would also say that changing your design is not something you would want to do often, as it might be confusing to get consistent marketing. The design's purpose really is to sell your book, so the decision on what to use should be a choice made to boost sales.

I don't think I've ever heard of someone being upset that they have a book with an older cover. It's usually a plus in that they've got an original copy and adds value.

One thing to consider too, is that if you build a following you can make sure all your books are similar in design to help market not only your book, but you as an author.


message 7: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
What would you consider the most important elements for great cover design?


message 8: by Creative Digital Studios (last edited May 02, 2015 01:44PM) (new)

Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments A.F. wrote: "What would you consider the most important elements for great cover design?"

Knowing your audience is the most important part of the design. One thing that I get a lot is that people what their book to be for everyone. And it can be. Anyone can enjoy your book, but if your book is science fiction then you should make sure that your cover reflects that and appeals to Science fiction readers. Same thing with romance, thriller, mystery, or any other genre.

Design does have rules and tricks beyond making something look good. Certain colors have different meanings and will make a viewer see different ideas and emotions. Faded and golden covers give a nostalgic feel to it. Contrasty and jewel tone covers tend to feel more angsty and exciting. Using these rules and tricks can help attract readers that will want to read your book. Knowing your audience will also help the designer decide which direction to take the design in so that it best represents your book and attracts your readers.


message 9: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Clare (merke) | 3 comments what qualities/skills do you recommend looking for when selecting an editor?


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Kelly wrote: "what qualities/skills do you recommend looking for when selecting an editor?"

Because finding an editor is all about trust and building a relationship I would say that you should look for one that not only has the professional experience but one that you can discuss ideas with and who will at the end of it all, want your voice to shine through.

One comment that I hear a lot of is about editors who push their own ideas of what your book should be instead of helping you push your own idea further. The other big comment is that there doesn't seem to be a lot of availability to discuss the notes. Aside from someone who is good at grammar and giving feedback, you need one who is really good at communicating with you and who won't let their ego get in the way of your story.

Editing is a long term and trusting as well as working relationship, so you should aim to find someone who works well with you.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our own editing services. Because we understand that relationship, we offer free editing samples of the first 2,500 words of your book. It helps give you an idea of what the editors look at and what kind of notes they have to offer. And then if you have any questions about the sample, you can always reach out and they are happy to help. The last thing we want is for any of our clients to feel stuck with us, and you deserve to know if the working relationship will work for you.


message 11: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinhallock) | 60 comments A question about presenting that one's book has a professional cover and editor. I include those facts at the end of my book descriptions on Amazon, etc., because many indie published books do not have them, but some people have told me they think it's amateurish to do that because all "good" authors do that. What is your opinion on an indie author advertising they have used professional services to improve their books?


message 12: by Creative Digital Studios (last edited May 03, 2015 07:20AM) (new)

Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Kevin wrote: "A question about presenting that one's book has a professional cover and editor. I include those facts at the end of my book descriptions on Amazon, etc., because many indie published books do not ..."

I don't think it is amateurish to give credit when credit is due. Many Authors give special thanks to their editors and designers, and not just self published authors. And as someone who offers those services I love this idea.

I would say that the description of your book is your place to shine, not an editor or designer. I am not sure I would include the information about your editor and designer there. That's all for you. When you upload your information onto Createspace there are places where you can add that information if you wanted. For the most part I would say site your artist and your editor in the acknowledgments and in the copyrights section, when necessary. You can also include their information on your blog and social media.

While I don't think including it on your description is amateurish in the slightest, I do think that your description on Amazon should be written to persuade people to read your book.


message 13: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinhallock) | 60 comments I agree that it should encourage people to read my book, and that's why I included the information at the end of my book description. I felt it would aid in marketing the book. Judging on reviews posted on Amazon, some readers care if a book has been professionally edited.


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Kevin wrote: "I agree that it should encourage people to read my book, and that's why I included the information at the end of my book description. I felt it would aid in marketing the book. Judging on reviews p..."

That is a fair point. There is a stigma behind self publishing, and the more you can do to break that stigma the better.


message 15: by Nora (new)

Nora Weston (noraweston) | 15 comments Hi, Ellie!

Can you name a few book covers you think are outstanding, and tell us why? Also, what are some appealing fonts for science fiction?

Thank you.


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Nora wrote: "Hi, Ellie!

Can you name a few book covers you think are outstanding, and tell us why? Also, what are some appealing fonts for science fiction?

Thank you."


The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #2) by Charlie N. Holmberg Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge Called Again Love and Triumph on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis Cargo by Michael Berrier The Secret World of Sleep How the Nighttime Brain Creates Consciousness by Penelope A. Lewis An Excerpt from The Ocean at the End of the Lane Chapters 1 - 3 by Neil Gaiman

I'll pick covers that I haven't designed. That kind of seems fair. :) Whenever I see a cover that inspires me and really wows me, I save a copy of it so that I can let it inspire me and my other projects.

With The Glass Magician, I really think this design along with the rest of the series, really steps out of the box and shows up something modern while also staying true to the time period of the book. Also the glass texture in the background just really makes it pop for me.

I think Cruel Beauty is a great example of cleverness in a cover. Having not read this book, this cover really makes me want to. I love the cleverness of combining the spiral staircase and the rose, that hint to the mystery and the femininity of the story. From a design standpoint, I think this is pretty fantastic.

Called Again, makes me feel this sense of nostalgia and wistfulness along with a hint of melancholy, which I think sets the tone for the text. Also I love how it steps outside of the norm here with the text box, which is a common design tool. I feel like just that bit of texture so that it is more interesting than a solid box in the middle of the image is really what draws me to this book. It uses a common tool in a way that makes it stand apart as unique.

Cargo just jumps at me because of the use of texture. Look at all that texture! It's amazing! And the design doesn't try to do a ton of elements. There's the text, a fairly plain picture of a person, and then the texture. It's a great example of how texture can really set your cover apart in a good way.

The Secret World of Sleep, to me is a great play with typography. I know for a lot of designers the temptation would be to just place the text on top of the images of the pillows instead of layering it in as this designer has. Playing around with the text is way to get more out of a design for less, and tends to make your cover look a little more intriguing.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Is a great example of letting your text shine using the less it more philosophy. A lot of times I get requests for really intricate and detailed designs and then small text. The text is just as important to a design as the imagery. I'll even go so far as to say that in most cases the text is the most important part of the design. And in Neil Gaiman's cover, the text is king. The actual imagery of the girl is small and tucked to the side and adds instead of distracts from the title. It's there to add mystery, but there's not a lot of detail going on here. And I love it.

Fonts can be a little tricky. I think science fiction tends to lean more towards all caps and sans serif fonts; something more geometric.


message 17: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinhallock) | 60 comments I am surprised that you highlighted The Glass Magician's cover, since it is such a turn off for me, but I guess no cover will please everyone.


message 18: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
Kevin wrote: "I am surprised that you highlighted The Glass Magician's cover, since it is such a turn off for me, but I guess no cover will please everyone."

That's certainly true. I rather liked The Glass Magician cover, but thought the Called Again one a bit bland.


message 19: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
Still on the topic of cover design, colour is usually what attracts me to a cover. Do you feel certain colour schemes have more appeal or does it make any difference? Also, do certain colours play better for different genres (such as red for romance, black for horror, etc.)?


message 20: by Belle (new)

Belle Blackburn | 6 comments I have a question about the interior. In my book the start of each section has an ad from the paper from the 1860s. How should that appear on the page? Centered, justified or what?


message 21: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Ferrante (bonnieferrante) | 23 comments What is a reasonable amount of time (weeks or months) for an editor to return the ms with feedback? How many years is reasonable for a book to be tied up in edits?


message 22: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Crocker | 1 comments In regard to making changes to a book once it's been published, when is it appropriate to use a new ISBN?


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments A.F. wrote: "Still on the topic of cover design, colour is usually what attracts me to a cover. Do you feel certain colour schemes have more appeal or does it make any difference? Also, do certain colours play..."

I think color does make a difference. Different colors read with different emotions to a viewer, and knowing how to mix colors to make an appealing palette takes a little skill. The appeal with color is a very subjective thing. Personally, I like blue tones, but my close friend prefers things warmer. When thinking about color on your cover, you should think more about how you can use color to convey an idea.

Absolutely do colors make a difference between genres. Young adult books tend to be more contrasty and jewel toned. Thrillers run dark and bold, with primary vivid colors. Romance novels tend to be softer in nature with lots of rose tones. I don't mean this to say all of the covers do that, but it is a common trend that is known to attract readers of a certain type.


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Belle wrote: "I have a question about the interior. In my book the start of each section has an ad from the paper from the 1860s. How should that appear on the page? Centered, justified or what?"

I would make it look like you took a newspaper clipping and glued it to the page. I think that would really sell that idea and make it stand out as something special.


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Bonnie wrote: "What is a reasonable amount of time (weeks or months) for an editor to return the ms with feedback? How many years is reasonable for a book to be tied up in edits?"

Unless you are dealing with a publishing company with a full time editor, you're probably going to be dealing with someone who edits part time, outside of their day jobs. And even if you are working with a full time editor, chances are he/she is working on multiple books at a time.

I can only gauge this by what the editors I work with personally do. I am sure that everyone is different, and if there are any editors who would like to comment as well, that would be wonderful.

We do about 10,000 - 15,000 words per week. That's about standard from what I've gathered, and our editors are constantly in contact with you and keeping you posted of the progress. I would say that if an editor cannot give you an estimate of time and keep you up to date on their progress, that they might not be the right editor for you.

As for being tied up in edits, I would say that somewhere around 6 months for the whole process is pretty reasonable. That's about average with what we see. If you feel like you need more or less than that, then trust your gut and do what's best for you. I don't think there should be a limit on that, but if you're in edits for years it might be time to reevaluate your working relationship with your editor.


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Ruth wrote: "In regard to making changes to a book once it's been published, when is it appropriate to use a new ISBN?"

I have this great page that I saved a long time ago for ISBN info. I'll quote it.

"If you only correct typographical errors, and don’t make any substantial changes to the text, you don’t need a new ISBN because it’s considered a reprint. A new edition would contain substantially new material, a major revision, or the addition of completely new elements. Anything that makes it a new book is likely to create a new edition and, therefore, need a new ISBN."

If you want more information on ISBN you can check out the rest of the article here.

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/0...


message 27: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinhallock) | 60 comments What design innovations do you consider promising for ebooks? For example, Joe Konrath has experimented with an animated cover.


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Kevin wrote: "What design innovations do you consider promising for ebooks? For example, Joe Konrath has experimented with an animated cover."

I think that an animated cover might be good for marketing your book since it would be so attention grabbing. I don't think that they actually work as an eBook cover though. I don't think eReaders would translate the animation. My understanding is that they serve mainly as advertisements on the web. I think the danger there would be being gimmicky. It would be easy to really miss the mark with the idea.

I find that with a lot of the trends they lean more towards fads than anything else. Like book trailers, for instance. I am sure that people can be successful using a book trailer if they had one that was well made. I looked into starting that service at my company and 87% of the authors I asked said they would never want one. And that trend seems to be becoming less common.

One idea that I see a lot of and that I do find to be very successful are the teasers - the images with excerpts that are meant to excite readers about your book. Even the ones that look less than professional still have success stirring up the buzz. I would say out of all the new fads for books that have started in the past few years, teasers don't look like they are going anywhere.


message 29: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinhallock) | 60 comments Thanks! What sort of advertising channels do you think work the best?


message 30: by Creative Digital Studios (last edited May 07, 2015 05:09AM) (new)

Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Kevin wrote: "Thanks! What sort of advertising channels do you think work the best?"

Blogging and Social Media, hands down. With the internet being so big in our lives doing your marketing through it is the best thing for your book sales. It takes a lot of time and work, but if you're willing to put in the time, blog tours and Facebook Takeovers work really well, and Goodreads is pretty amazing for finding new readers too.


message 31: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
The Q and A is now over. I'd like to thank Ellie Augsburger for joining us and for her great insights.


message 32: by Belle (new)

Belle Blackburn | 6 comments Thanks. Good idea.


message 33: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
Belle wrote: "Thanks. Good idea."

Hopefully we can do something similar in future, with another topic.


Creative Digital Studios (creativedigitalstudios) | 15 comments Thanks for having me!


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