Improve Your Ebook Sales: Create an Awesome Cover

stack of books black and whiteMany authors don’t know how to produce an appealing cover image of their own, and ugly ebooks don’t sell in the competitive ePublishing market. This article discusses a few simple guidelines any author can use to ensure their cover looks attractive and professional.
Ebook publishing has produced many success stories, and their numbers will only grow as eReading continues to grow in popularity. In fact, the market is already flooded with so many titles that it is very difficult to get a serious piece of the ePublishing pie. Many authors fail to realize that having an attractive cover is the best way to advertise their work. By following a few simple guidelines, any author can create an eye-catching cover that gives their work the best chance for success.
Make it unique.
Ebook marketplaces are filled with millions of books, many featuring generic designs. As with any media, communicating why your title is interesting and unique is key to generating sales. Instead of creating a cover with a basic layout, consider using an iconic image or distinctive style to capture your customers’ attention. Studying and using the same elements as popular ebooks is an easy way to make your work stand out from the crowd.
Keep it professional.
Along with being your unique, your cover should also look professional. Many ebooks struggle to sell simply because their formatting is sloppy. If you don’t have the skills necessary to produce a high-quality cover, consider hiring graphic artists or other specialists to help you throughout the creation process. Although websites do offer ebook cover construction tools, their design and formatting options are severely limited compared to what you can create for yourself.
Be willing to change.
Many authors don’t realize that customers won’t buy an ebook that looks unattractive or unprofessional. Since your cover is the first thing shoppers are likely to notice about your title, it is also the biggest factor in whether or not it will sell. If you get too attached to your own designs, you may fail to realize how your ebook is actually perceived by the public. By being willing to change your cover, you can find the layout that leads to the most sales of your work.
Pay attention to your feedback.
Feedback should be an important part of your ePublishing projects. Not only will listening to the opinions of your audience help you create better covers, but it can even help you develop valuable contacts in the publishing industry. Authors generate feedback a number of different ways. Some offer free promotions of their work, while others interact with online communities or ask friends and family for their unbiased opinions. Whatever method you choose, always take advice with a grain of salt and produce a cover you are proud of.
Although making a desirable ebook cover requires experience and hard work, anyone can learn how to create designs that lead to to the most sales!

Elise Celine Releases Inspirational Young Adult Romance Novel ‘John Dreamer’

John Dreamer Book CoverJohn Dreamer is a compelling and inspirational young adult romance novel by Elise Celine, published on February 1, 2014.
“There are eight characters in the story, and many of them play a very important role, but it all comes down to Andy and John,” says Elise Celine. “Andy is a troubled soul. She is very compassionate, but she’s so afraid of getting hurt that she guards her feelings and shuts people away. John is an enigma, a good-looking natural leader, who observes and learns, who waits quietly before speaking his mind.”
Synopsis: Andy wasn’t usually sure about much, but she was absolutely certain this was the weirdest day of her life as she stood stranded in the middle of a great white room with six strangers. Well, they were mostly strangers. She could have sworn she’d seen the guy with the green eyes before, and maybe that was why he kept staring at her. When a man calling himself the Guardian appeared and said they had come to make their deepest dreams come true, they embark on an adventure none of them ever imagined—where anything is possible—and the consequences of their actions would change them forever.
“Many of us have found ourselves in a place (our “Great White Room”) where we question the path we should take in life. I would have loved to have a “Guardian” like this to guide me through the process… This is what I like the most about this book, anyone can relate to it… it is heart warming, emotional and so much fun to read!” – Amazon Review
John Dreamer is about overcoming your fears, your obstacles, your demons and going beyond what you think you are capable of to find love and happiness. It’s about changing your life for the better and living your dreams.
John Dreamer is available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

 

Excerpt from John Dreamer:
I found myself in the middle of a great white room. No windows, no ceiling, no doors. I took a step and then another, not knowing where I was, or why. I could not remember entering the place, or dropping in: it was as if I had just appeared. Everything felt eerie, from the complete silence to the seeming absence of walls.
I was wearing my favorite denim shorts, white button-down shirt and flats, my usual casual attire, but I couldn’t recall putting them on. My hair fell loosely down the sides of my face, cascades of golden natural waves, the way I like to wear it when I have no one to see and nothing to do. My skin felt soft and warm, the way it does after a pleasant day in the sun, the air was cool and light. Everything felt fresh and comfortable, as if I had just awoken from a very relaxing sleep. Was I actually awake?
In the middle of the room I found seven chairs lined in a row. They were all in different sizes and shapes, from modern and classic, to eccentric and ornate; they were also labeled. I walked beside them to get a closer look and found that one near the middle had my name on it. It was rustic wood, the design simple and at the same time organic. It was worn down and aged, like a very loved object that has been passed from generation to generation. I looked again at the row before me and thought that, if I had been given the chance, it was exactly the one I would have chosen. The names on the other chairs I did not recognize: Marcus, Olivia, Matty, John, Linda, and Roy. Perhaps I wouldn’t be alone for long.
I walked around again, and had the odd feeling that the place was moving along with me. Every time I tried to get to the other side, the way became longer; if I retraced my steps, I returned to the same spot.
Was I in some sort of institution? I felt completely sane, even though everything around me seemed daft. I wanted a mirror so I could see my face. I needed that sense of self.
Then I saw him. I hadn’t noticed him arrive. He hadn’t seen me either since he was standing with his back to me. He was roughly my age, with wavy hair that fell to his neck, unkempt but clean. He was slender and fit. His head was level and he stood tall, giving me the impression of being self-assured, comfortable in his own skin. He was looking toward the other side of the room, getting accustomed to our new surroundings. I sensed he was as confused as I was.
“Do you know where we are?” I asked, and he turned surprised at the sound of my voice. It was then I got the first glimpse of his beautiful green eyes. There was such an intensity in his stare, conveying so much emotion, I could hardly hold his gaze. I felt electricity run through my spine as I dove into this stranger who was inviting me in. He kept looking at me without answering, making my insides aflutter. This had never happened to me before. So I stood there, frozen solid, averting my eyes from his, but coming back to them. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, eight and a half. Scientists state that it takes only eight and a half seconds to fall in love at first sight. So there it was.

 

 

author Elise CelineAbout Elise Celine:
I’m no princess. I never played with dolls. Climbing a tree was my idea of fun. When I was a little girl I lived on an estate owned by my maternal grandparents where all my aunts and uncles lived. The garden was immense with no boundaries other than a wire fence that we kids easily jumped over. It wasn’t fancy, but it was gorgeous. My best friend in the world was my cousin who lived a close walk away. Between oaks and walnuts and roses and pets and bugs, I had the idyllic childhood. The possibilities were endless, the adventures new every day. That changed when I turned 9 and my grandfather sold his property. Everyone had to leave, except for my family.
A big, ugly fence was constructed to separate us from our new neighbors. In a moment’s notice, the view from my window changed from a beautiful green field to a poorly-made concrete wall. I used to climb this wall and just sit there, looking for the childhood I had lost on the other side. This is when I became a writer. Fantasy became my way of escaping the grey, so I could continue to live in a world full of color and beauty. Then fantasy became life and life became writing.
Author Links: Facebook | Website | Goodreads

Blood and Fire: Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy by Tori L. Ridgewood

Blood and Fire Book CoverBlood and Fire: Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy, by Tori L. Ridgewood, was published in February 2014 is available for sale on AmazonSmashwords, and Lulu.

 

Book Synopsis:
What chance does one witch have against five vampires? Alone, not much. But Rayvin’s allies are gathering…
The battle between good and evil supernatural forces heats up in the long, cold November nights of the former mining town. But how will Rayvin’s motley crew of spellcasters and shapeshifters cope when they discover the threat they face is even greater than they imagined?
The Talbot Trilogy:
0. Mist and Midnight (prequel)
1. Wind and Shadow
2. Blood and Fire
3. Crystal and Wand

 

Excerpt from Blood and Fire:
Charlotte lay back in her luxurious double-wide lounge chair on the balcony and hugged her blanket closer, watching the sun come up over the Pacific.
In the distance, she could hear exotic birds welcoming the morning sun. Along the street below, Peruvian vendors were already beginning to set up their wares for the flocks of tourists to squawk over. But while the peaceful stillness of the morning should have been comforting, she felt disjointed and uncertain.
The sketchpad should have been filled with outlines of the gorgeous views in Lima, but its empty pages flapped in the early morning wind. She’d bought canvases in various sizes and a variety of new paints to reflect the exotic colours around her, but every time she took charcoal or paintbrush in hand, nothing happened. The creative spark flared only enough to invite the effort, and then it died.
She hadn’t been able to draw or paint for over a year. Not since the previous fall.
Not since being attacked for the final time by the disgusting vampire she’d imprisoned underground. She’d survived, and she was happy to have married Pike—overjoyed, in fact, to have found her match in him—but something had been irrevocably damaged in that encounter.
She played absently with the opal necklace Pike had given her to replace her golden ankh, left buried metres underground. It was beautiful, a blue Peruvian opal shaped into a teardrop about the size of her thumb, its tip wrapped in gold. Pike had found the original stone and had a craftsman shape it for her. According to local folklore, it was supposed to have soft relaxing powers, enabling the wearer to release tension in order to allow ideas to flow more freely. She had read more about it online one rainy afternoon. In addition to encouraging relaxation, the stone was believed to help lessen stress, heal the trauma of old injuries, and increase tranquility, especially for those with troubled minds and insomnia.
While it might have helped Charlotte to get to sleep, it wasn’t working on whatever was blocking her creativity. In addition, the bad dreams she’d struggled with for months after she had survived the vampire’s last assault had not only returned, they were getting worse.
Charlotte appreciated the thoughtful gesture of her husband, but she missed her ankh.
A hand touched her shoulder, and she jumped.
“Honey? What are you doing out here, so early?” Pike, her husband of only a few months, sat down next to her, clad only in his white boxer-briefs. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Charlotte tilted her head back and tried breathing slowly, to let her heart slow down. “It’s all right. I couldn’t sleep, but I didn’t want to wake you.”
His grey eyes were filled with concern. Gently, Pike reached out to run his fingers through her uncombed raven-black hair. “Another nightmare?”
She nodded, curling into his arms as he settled onto the lounge with her. The memory was with her even now. “It’s never the same, but it feels the same. I can’t quite remember the details, but I can see…fragments. People dying. His face, and his fangs, the awful way he grins. I can smell blood.” Her stomach heaved at the thought.
Pike held her close. “It took you months to stop having nightmares after last fall. And now they’re back. You haven’t had a good night’s sleep since before Hallowe’en.”
Charlotte took a deep breath. Her body was beginning to relax against the heat of his skin, the muscles supporting her tired body, the love she could sense in the tension of his arms. “I know. But it doesn’t have to mean anything. It’s probably just because our trip’s almost over. Or we passed the anniversary of the…of what happened.”
He kissed the top of her head. “It’s normal to remember. It’s part of the process when victims come to terms with trauma. We can take an earlier flight, maybe later today, even. Your mother’s fine, everyone is safe, but if it helps, we can go home.”
“That would make me feel better.” Charlotte sighed, drifting back to sleep in his arms. “Just keep holding me for a little while longer.”

 

Tori L. RidgewoodAbout the Author:
After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.
At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.
Tori is currently working on Crystal and Wand: Book Three of The Talbot Trilogy. She lives in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two children. She is a full-time teacher at a local high school.
Connect with Tori on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.
To learn more, go to http://torilridgewood.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

Tips For Ebook Publishing Success

ebook
Everyone has a story to tell. Not everyone has the knack for publishing their stories. Once you have a great idea, you try to write it down as professionally as possible, but then you have to go through the struggle of publishing it. Traditional publishers and agents are difficult to crack through, and even when you do land a publishing contract, you’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops to get your story up to your publisher’s standards. There’s nothing wrong with traditional publishing, but if it were easy to get into, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.
Fortunately for the millions of brilliant writers out there, traditional publishing is no longer the only option. Self-publishing is not only possible, it’s logical, easy, inexpensive, and more widely accepted than, say, a decade ago. If you truly are a talented writer, there should be nothing to hold you back from publishing your greatest works. But perhaps you are worried about the cost. If that’s the case, stop worrying, it’s very inexpensive to publish an ebook. Also, most authors don’t have million dollar trust funds backing up their efforts.
Start with an ebook
The first thing you’ll want to do is to test the waters, see if there is a market for your book. If there’s not a big market, you can grow one. Do this by first publishing your book in ebook format. Creating an ebook used to be complicated. A few years ago, you had to understand the various formats, such as epub and mobi. To convert a book from a typical MS Word document, you had to be pretty skilled in a publishing software, like Adobe InDesign. That’s not the case anymore. Electronic book distributors, such as Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Smashwords, Sony, and even Apple iTunes have worked hard to help great writers become published authors. If you can follow directions, you can easily turn your novels into professional looking ebooks. Amazon Kindle has a complete step-by-step guide that will help you set up your book in Kindle format. Not only is the service free, but you’ll have an option to exclusively list your book with KDP Select for 90 days in exchange for a monthly share of their KDP fund. Barnes and Noble Nook is also free and easy to set up. They actually accept your manuscript as a Word document as long as you format it correctly. If you’d rather reach all ebook outlets at once, your best option would be Smashwords, which is an incredibly author-friendly site that will take your manuscript (conformed to their style guide) and convert it into all ebook formats. Then they distribute your book to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple, etc. and pay all of your royalties at their one site. This service is one hundred percent free to you.
Tips for ebook publishing success:
1. Edit your book. This is extremely important. If you can’t afford a professional editor, do it yourself, but be extremely careful. First, run the manuscript through your word processor’s spell and grammar check. Next, since these automated checks are not one hundred percent reliable, borrow a copy of Chicago Manual of Style from the library and go through the manuscript again. Once you’re sure you have no errors, you probably still do have some, so have friends or family read it and mark corrections.
2. Create an attractive book cover. Again, this could cost money and our goal is to do it all for as low-cost as possible. For as low as $5.00, you can have a decent book cover created on Fiverr.
3. Make sure your ebook is reasonably priced. You can’t have your ebook listed at $80, it’s just not going to sell. Most ebooks are in the $0-$10 price range. Offering your ebook for free on Amazon for free for a few days is a great way to get the word out about your book and increase reviews.
4. Market your book through mass social marketing. Build a Facebook page for your book. Join Linked-In groups and share your Amazon author page. Use Twitter and RSS feeds and whatever you can find that will help spread the word.
5. Get reviews. There are hundreds of reviewers out there who are willing to provide free book reviews in exchange for a copy of your book. If you still want to keep this process going at no cost, some reviewers are willing to review a PDF copy of your book. To avoid looking like a cheapskate, request the reviews before your publication date.
Now that you know what it takes to get published, what are you waiting for? Get that manuscript finished, polish it off, and become the published author you were meant to be.

 

 

Stop Dreaming and Start Publishing

book with flowersIf you are a writer at heart, then you have no doubt dreamed about becoming a published author. With all the tools available for potential new authors, there’s no excuse to not fulfill your dream. This article covers the steps you’ll need to take to finally publish that best selling novel you’ve worked so hard on.
Once upon a time, thousands of writers slaved over their typewriters, pecking away at the keys for hours on end, hoping that their books would become the greatest best sellers of all time. Writing the masterpiece was just the first step in a long, grueling, and often disappointing process. Once the writer put years of his life into his book, he had to somehow convince a publisher that his book was better than all the others. If he couldn’t convince a publisher, he had to find an agent, which was just as difficult, if not more so, than finding a publisher. Manuscripts piled up and became dusty, and many great authors were never discovered.
But the story has a happy sequel to it. Part two takes place in a world where all writers have a chance to become published authors. This is where we are today. If you are a great writer, there is no reason why you can’t publish your book. Thanks to on-demand services such as Lulu, Create Space, and Lightning Source, talented authors can produce their own books and sell them on a per-order basis. There are some mild setup fees required to publish a printed book, but once the title is established, you can sell it indefinitely with little or no additional cost. The procedure is fairly simple, and usually these services provide you with a representative to help you through.
If you’re not sure you’re ready for print, or you don’t think you can afford the initial setup fees, try publishing your first book as an ebook. Ebook formatting used to be a tedious task, but ebook distributors like Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook have gone to great lengths to make the process as painless as possible. All you have to do is follow a style guide. If you’ve done any  professional writing or editing before, you’re already familiar with style guides, so you shouldn’t have any problems. If you’re worried about conforming to epub format or if you just want to hit all the distributors at once, Smashwords is a very good option. Smashwords sells only ebooks, and they are very author-friendly. They have a fairly strict style guide, but there is a very good reason. They take your properly formatted manuscript and grind it into various ebook formats so that it is compatible with a multitude of e-readers. Then they distribute the ebook to all the popular venues, including Kindle, Nook, Apple iBook, and Sony. They store your ebooks, sell them, display them, and provide you with monthly sales reports. And it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Getting started
The first thing you should do, of course, is write your book. Get your creative juices flowing. Spend some quality writing time every day, if possible. Next, hire someone to edit the book. Even though you’re a good writer and probably got all A’s in freshman composition, you are too attached to your work to do a quality job. Be sure to hire someone who specializes in editing genres like yours, because grammatical styles differ slightly between genres. For example, a journalistic style (like Associated Press), may omit grammatically correct commas to save space. Fiction style supports the writing out of numbers, while nonfiction uses just the number itself. It is important for your editor to know what style you want him or her to follow.
Format the book
Download the style guides for all of your publishing distributors, and start working your book into conformity. Start with ebook format, because it’s simpler. With ebooks, you’ll have to strip off most of your word processing formatting and will add it back for print. Save a separate file each for Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords, so you can easily upload and maintain each. Next, format your print version and save it to a separate file. The simplest print publishing venue is probably Create Space, but you may prefer another distributor. Make sure you follow the formatting guides exactly. If you don’t, the resulting errors could cause delays.
Create a cover
Whether you decide to e-publish or go straight to print, you’ll need an attractive cover. People do look at covers when shopping for books, and they do tend to be drawn to the better looking ones. If you can afford it, hire an artist. You don’t have to hire someone to create the cover, just someone to provide a visually pleasing front cover image. Lightning Source provides cover templates, whether you use their services or not, and you can work your new artwork into it using Photoshop or some other image editing software.
Upload your book
Finally, visit all your chosen distributors’ websites and upload the files according to their instructions. Because you are self-publishing and will not likely sell your books at brick and mortar stores, you can set your royalties at a higher rate than a traditionally published book. You’ll receive even more of a benefit by not having to share that royalty with an agent or publisher. Once you’ve got all your files uploaded to all the right places, all you need to do is wait for sales. To speed things up, be sure to research successful marketing methods for self-published authors, hire a publicist, and sign up for as many social networking sites as you can.
Write your next book
Just because you’ve published one book, it doesn’t mean you’re done. It’s time to get started on your next book. A true author produces many books and keeps his fans happy for years. Each time you publish a new book, the process will be easier for you.
Congratulations on taking the first step. Now that you have the information you need, dust off all those old manuscript and get publishing.

Three Rules for Writing Fiction

author writingThere are many so-called “rules” that every writer should know before even attempting a work of fiction. Some are easier than others to follow. While a writer should read up on the fundamentals of creating solid fiction, this article will focus on three main rules that a good writer must know of and must abide by during the writing process. They are as follows:
1).    Show, don’t tell. This rule has probably been mentioned so many times that every time a writer hears it he cringes. Too bad. It’s a rule that has to be followed. Imagine a character described by an author as tall, pretty, sad, and pathetic. It’s difficult to do, right? That’s because we don’t have specifics. How tall? What does the character look like? How sad? Without showing those specifics, the reader has nothing to visualize or grasp about a character. Now, change the character description to: “the girl with the symmetrical face couldn’t stop crying, even though she had no idea anymore what she was crying about.” That’s a much more creative way to say “the pretty girl was sad.”
2).    Start with a bang. Many writers might disagree with this rule, since a good amount of quality stories start slow and build. However, even a novel with a slow start has to begin with something worth reading about. Opening a story or novel with lots of exposition or scenery description will quickly lose any reader. Decide what your story is about first and inform the reader of your conflict as early as possible. Weave exposition, description, and any flashbacks in with the development of the plot. Do not “info dump” in the beginning and then start moving the plot along.
3).    There must be something at stake. There are too many stories written about nothing. Even Seinfeld, the show about nothing, had individual episodes about something. What do your characters have to lose? To win? What are they seeking? If you can’t answer those questions, stop writing immediately. They are the building blocks of conflict and tension. Do not write a story about a couple of characters floating around not doing anything and musing about their life. Your readers will tune out.
Anyone who sticks to those three main rules will be able to write compelling fiction. Without these rules, a story is flat, stagnant, boring, and uninteresting. Be sure that you are writing a story worth reading and worth the investment.