IndieReCon Recap: Cover Best Practices

If you’re anything like me, the existence of a free online indie writing con thrilled you to bits. Fortunately (unfortunately?) the videos are up all the time, so unlike a live-action con you have no limitations on how many sessions you can “attend.”

I’ve decided to post some short recaps of a few of the interesting videos I’ve watched so far. Please share your own recommendations below!


 

 

indierecon posts (2)

Cover Best Practices: Finding the Right Designer for You

Summary: Guido Caroti, an art director and graphic designer, lays out the in the simplest terms how to find and work with a cover designer–or how to go it alone.

Grade: A. The post was very sparse (I’m not clear if there was a video at some point. There’s only text there now) but it answered my questions and was a good primer to read before beginning my search for a cover designer.

Quotes:

“Make a trip to the local book store. Review recently published books [and] look up the designer’s name in the credits section.”

“Having a wider pool of choice candidates will enable you to shop around and negotiate [prices].”

“A lot of people in publishing will disagree with me on this, but I think the cover should only be true to your story and avoid clinging to visual cliches typically associated with the genre. A cover that doesn’t resemble other titles in the bookshelf will stand out among the herd.”

Takeaway: My burning question was answered about halfway through the post: What should I do if I already know exactly what I want my dream cover to look like? Answer: Talk it out with potential designers and stay flexible. A designer has a better idea of what will work on a cover. In fact, whether you have a design in mind or not, open communication is the best way to get a satisfying result. Make sure your designer knows your specs, your schedule, your target audience, your competition, your story synopsis, and your personal vision.

 

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IndieReCon Recap: How to Find Your First 10,000 Readers

If you’re anything like me, the existence of a free online indie writing con thrilled you to bits. Fortunately (unfortunately?) the videos are up all the time, so unlike a live-action con you have no limitations on how many sessions you can “attend.”

I’ve decided to post some short recaps of a few of the interesting videos I’ve watched so far. Please share your own recommendations below!


indierecon posts

How to Find Your First 10,000 Readers: Nick Stephenson, Orna Ross

Summary: Orna Ross, director of the Alliance of Independent Authors and IndieReCon 2015 interviews Nick Stephenson of YourFirst10kReaders.com, where he offers video training on building email lists. They discuss Internet marketing with an emphasis on the importance of an email mailing list.

Grade: A. As someone with marketing experience, the importance of building an email list was not new to me. However, I think this will be a good video for beginners. It doesn’t walk you through each and every step, but it does lay out the importance and gives good tips and tricks in several areas of Internet marketing.

Quotes:

“Most authors can identify with…putting your heart and soul into this book and you release it into a void…you don’t know how to influence [sales].”

“We not selling books…we’re trying to get visibility on a search engine…Amazon and the other ebook retailers are search engines for books.”

Takeaway: Stephenson preaches the same marketing approach for books as any other product. Instead of counting one-time sales as a measure of success, authors should be building relationships with readers, which can then be turned into loyal followings. Authors should take “every opportunity to prove [their] brand” by bringing value to their customers. Stephenson does acknowledge a learning curve, but states that once you get going, this type of marketing should run on autopilot in the background, which will give you more time to write.

 

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IndieReCon Recap: What Authors Need to Know in 2015

If you’re anything like me, the existence of a free online indie writing con thrilled you to bits. Fortunately (unfortunately?) the videos are up all the time, so unlike a live-action con you have no limitations on how many sessions you can “attend.”

I’ve decided to post some short recaps of a few of the interesting videos I’ve watched so far. Please share your own recommendations below!


D E S I G N (4)

What Authors Need to Know in 2015: Mark Coker, Orna Ross

Summary: Orna Ross, director of the Alliance of Independent Authors and IndieReCon 2015 interviews Smashwords founder Mark Coker. They cover the founding of Smashwords, the current market, and Coker’s thoughts on the future.

Grade: A. The narrative wandered a little at the end when Coker started talking about an April Fool’s joke (funny but not as interesting as the rest of the vid). Otherwise I enjoyed hearing Coker’s story and his opinions on the future of indie publishing.

Quotes:

“We [Coker and his wife] were going to build our business around books that publishers wouldn’t publish.”

“Writers write for reasons that are different than why publishers publish.”

“You should plan on toiling in obscurity for years…you need to hold on to your vision.”

Takeaway: Coker’s best points were about best practices. He strongly encourages authors not to waste time on things like cover design or even marketing. Writers should be writing! He is also against exclusivity, saying that authors should not limit themselves to any one market (ahem, KDP). There is more competition for indie writers so “now more than ever it’s about the book.”