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A closer look at book cover design, Part VI: Marketing your book

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In this series, Visual Designer Anita B. Carroll has offered valuable information on the importance of investing in the right designer who can compose a book cover that portrays a visual story of the book’s interior and equally serve as an eye-catching design. Finding a designer who can create that perfect book cover will attract potential buyers into picking up that book and maybe even buying it!

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In this last installment of A Closer Look at Book Design, Carroll offers helpful advice on marketing based on her own experience designing brand identity concepts for multiple business owners throughout the years.

Selling a book is all about the packaging, delivery, and the value.

When setting out to sell your book—as a business owner, you should run your marketing campaign as such. The brand is essentially YOU. You are the brand, the book is your product, and it is important to present yourself in the best and most accurate way in the public media. In short you have to think like an advertising agency and become a sales person.
For more information on this, I wrote an article about this located on my portfolio site, titled: Branding for Authors in the Self-Publishing Industry.

You can write as much as your heart’s desire but if you don’t look the part, no-one will take you seriously.
When conducting user interface designs and testing and gauging the usability of a cover design (marketing research) we study the user’s behavioral patterns. The best way to market your book is to understand your reader’s habits. In essence, what does a reader look for in a book and what is the deciding selling factor? This is known as target marketing.

Once you have the cover in place and have a kick ass description on the back cover, consider this information that I have gathered from usability research that I think most self- publishers will find very useful when trying to get their books into their targeted reader’s hands:

• Think about where the readers shop. Don’t waste your valuable time on marketing within the author community since they are not your customers.
• Get reviews. Use sites such as www.kindlebookreview.net. When they purchase your book, their reviews appear as Amazon’s verified purchase reviews adding credibility to your book. Go to libraries and ask them if they would like a couple of free samples in return for a review. Librarians are always looking for new books to read and if they like it, they will feel compelled to tell the world about it—including everyone who stops by the library. The same thing applies for bookstores.
• Advertise on reader sites and have postcards created that includes information about your book and where to get it. Send these out to your friends and family. Drop some off at the post office, restaurants, coffee shops, doctor waiting rooms, hospital shops—any place where people have to wait.
• Set up a blog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter handle to post things such as your recent works, where you take inspiration from, where you write, how long it takes you to write a story, your process, and also find ways to be personable to help connect with your readers. Write about yourself. Readers love learning more about the authors.
• Use the social media platform to inform—not to sell, and always, whether in person or in social media, display professionalism and positivity.
• Enter writing competitions and contribute short stories to book sites such as GoodReads, and Wattpad. Post about your free to read stories, and highlight positive reviews or competitions your story won or even received an honorable mention.
• Publish your book in as many online publishers as possible. I tend to use only Amazon and GoodReads, but support many authors that uses other outlets. I use Amazon to read reviews and purchase my books. I also use GoodReads to read reviews and write my own, in addition to connecting with the author of the books that I really enjoy reading.

In conclusion, the best advice I can offer an author in the process of selling their book, is to ensure you represent your brand, professionally. Everywhere! Ensure all of your marketing media looks professional and this includes everything from the book cover to your appearances both in social media and public appearances.

Anita B. Carroll has over 17 years of experience within the visual design field, starting out managing creative initiatives for Fortune 500 Businesses in Silicon Valley, California for five years. She is specialized in Heuristic Evaluation, Web User Interface Design with focus on online usability testing—a valuable skill when designing book covers for the rapidly growing digital market. Anita is also an avid reader. Discovering book cover design has provided the opportunity to combine her works in photography and graphic design skills. To learn more about Anita Carroll and her visual design business, Race-point, visit her official website here.

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