Shining A Light

Some blog posts are easier to write than others, and this is most certainly one of them.

It's a well known fact that the book market is a remarkably difficult one in which to keep afloat. There are hundreds and thousands of books out there, with new ones released every day. As a self published author your job to get noticed is even harder. If your debut novel is traditionally published it has instant credibility, if it's self published however, no-one really wants to know your book. I must say at this point that other authors, bloggers and communities are hugely supportive, but the book buying public are the ones we need to convince after all.

I could write for hours about the do's and don'ts of self publishing, but I'm far from being an expect and there are many much better articles than any I could write on the subject. Today I just wanted to share with you my own recent experience of the world of self published book covers.

So picture the scene. You're on Amazon, scrolling through the pages of recommendations for your next read, and what you can see of each book's cover is less than an inch square. However, every now and again your eye is drawn to something. Is it the catchy title, the price, the author's name, or the cover? ... because nine times out of ten, I bet it will be the cover. Never mind that old adage 'never judge a book by it's cover,' let's face it, we all do it. It doesn't matter what your favourite genre is, or your personal taste, we are all drawn to particular books and that's a fact. Now if you're anything like me, you'll have spent hours on Amazon doing this; seeing what works, what doesn't work.

You see I've known for a long time that the cover for Letting in Light wasn't really as good as it could be, and before you all shout well why didn't you change it earlier you ninny, let me explain. The budget for getting Letting in Light out there was zilch, our family finances just didn't stretch to spending money on what might turn out to be a very expensive whim. Letting in Light is my first book, and although I have always had a strong confidence in my ability as a writer, I've seen enough auditions of Britain's Got Talent to know that sometimes that confidence can be misplaced. So, I did the best that I could at the time, and set about proving Letting in Light's worth as a book, and do you know what? Take a peek at Amazon, I think I'm getting there.

The time had come therefore to think seriously about a professionally produced cover which would stand my book in good stead for whatever comes after.

Forget the paperback cover for a moment, which is frankly dreadful (whole 'nother story!), but I will always have a soft spot for my last e-book cover. The illustration came to me from a very talented artist friend in the form of a beautiful watercolour. We were helping each other out, and I did the best I could with it, but my skills in desk top publishing let it down if truth were told. So now I needed to think seriously about what I wanted my new cover to say, which is harder than it sounds when you're personally very close to it. In the end, although the book is not a frothy romance and deals with some quite difficult subjects, reviews have consistently made reference to its warmth, and both the strength of its characters and the setting, and so it made sense to me that the cover should covey these messages to it's readers.

What happened next is alarmingly simple. There are a huge number of book cover designers available to hire, and prices vary wildly depending on whether you buy a premade cover or have a bespoke design. I have looked at lots of these over the past year and always been turned off by the number of raven haired beauties gazing adoringly into the eyes of semi naked men. No thank you very much. So I did the most sensible thing; I looked at the Alliance of Independent Authors website (see details below). From there I found a few designers and one in particular caught my eye, don't ask me why, but I just knew that she was the one. So I sent off my query email, and less than a week later I had my finished cover.

Initially from my ideas I was sent four mock ups and the very first one was the one I fell in love with. She tweaked, we discussed, she tweaked a little more, and then it was done. Very professional. Very accomplished. Very Straightforward, and very fabulous. Jessica Bell, take a bow!

So here it is; my new cover, shining a light on the book within.

If you are a self published author and not already a member, or thinking of becoming one, do have a look at The Alliance of Independent Authors' website (ALLi) It's a must have really.

You can join the organisation here:

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