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Monday, February 28, 2011

Writer's Block

I don't know about you but I get writer's block every now and then. I seem to have a bad case of it right now. Sometimes I can sit down and write until my eyes start to droop but other's - well, I've found out that I can stare at a blank screen for hours....

Some authors tell me they reread their last few pages and inspiration hits them, others tell me there's no cure. I happen to think it's something in the middle. I had a dream a few months ago that ended my last bout of writer's block. Maybe because subconsciously it had been on my mind. All I know is that it worked.

Come on dreams!

What do you do for writer's block? What advise can you add to our small but important member list?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Cover Design

How Do I Decide On A Book Cover?

Now that you have a completed your copyright page, purchased an ISBN, and an editor (along with several other trusted people) have gone over your manuscript with a fine tooth comb, it’s time for you to consider your cover.
This, in my humble opinion is the most important part of your book. The front cover is the first thing a reader or interested buyer will look at. If it looks cheesy or unprofessional – no one’s going to look twice at it. Remember that most buyers only take 2-3 seconds when their scrolling down a long list of possible purchases. It’s not a lot of time to make a sale.

I did a small survey when I was working on my book covers. I, fortunately, had someone I hired to give me more than one cover. He was awesome and I will continue to use him as the designer. I wanted the cover to look professional, clean, and catchy.

I placed three possible covers in front of students, teachers, and librarians and asked them which one looked better. Which one caught their attention and asked them why. Many chose for color, picture on the front, title of the book, whether the cover had too much or too little, some even complained about the font.

I finally went with the cover that didn't show a full face. Have you ever read a book and then went to see a movie? Most times you don't agree with what the producer's vision is when selecting a character. Same with covers. If you give them a person to focus on when they are reading they will not be able to use their own imagination when reading the book. This is what my students have told me anyway.

I also realized (and later found several articles) that found that drawn or painted book covers are often overlooked especially by young adult fiction readers.

If you’re creating a book cover on your own, make sure you do your homework and have a professional program like Photoshop, InDesign, or find a program online you like. There are several available for free.

Go to the nearest bookstore, library, or browse through the books you’ve purchased and analyze books that are in your genre. Think about what it is that catches your eyes and draws your gaze to that particular cover. Take a look at the best selling books as well. Is it the font? The colors? The picture? What is it about the cover that made you look twice?

Also, be sure to follow the requirements set out by the publisher. Their printers will have specific specs that you need to follow. Many will have a template. I would download it and use it as a guide. Just be sure to delete the lines before you save for publication or they will print. Happened to one of my friends. Not a good thing.

I am interested to know what you, as the readers, have to say about cover design and programs. Post a comment for others or questions if you have any.

By the way, if you want a quote for cover design, shoot me an email and I will forward it to the right person.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Copyright Page and LCCN

Getting the Copyright Page Right.

My apologies to my new readers, I typically post every Sunday but I was unable to rid myself of the migraine that penetrated my brain this week. Finally it has let up enough to think - enough of that and on to more important information.

The Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program assigns a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) to titles most likely to be acquired by the Library of Congress as well as some other categories of books. An LCCN is a control number for the bibliographical record not the book record. The PCN number is a preassigned number given to work that has not been published yet. For a detailed explanation about PCN and LCCN, visit their site. Library of Congress.

Is an LCCN Important?

Absolutely. You’re going to see, in your search for the truth, acronyms like CIP, PCN, PCIP, EAN, BIP, etc. It's important to know and be able to distinguish which number(s) you must have on your copyright page. You want to register and apply at the Library of Congress for a number in advance so that you aren’t waiting for weeks to publish your book. In my case they gave me a number the same day but I’ve heard of nightmare stories where it’s taken weeks. Be prepared.

Along with all those important LCCN, ISBN and CIP numbers, you should also have a disclaimer, website, and publishing information in your copyright page. I also added important information like book, cover, and editor information.

In order not to mess up my beautifully constructed masterpiece with a copyright page full of errors, I went to the local library and checked out various books. I wanted to see what professional copyright pages looked like and I focused on copyright pages from books that were close to my genre. You can take a look at mine when you see the look inside feature on Amazon.

Don’t just look at one book either. Take a look at several and see which one fits your book and your message. Also, make sure you add your summary. In our library the first thing the librarian does when showing students a book is that summary in the copyright page. Make it interesting - something that’s going to grab the reader’s attention.

The copyright page should be a smaller font as well. Take your time on this and make it look professional.