Friday, November 22, 2013

Watch Out for the Shysters of Self-Publishing Part II: Graphics

Yesterday I reviewed what to look for to protect your own interests when it comes to self-publishing on the editorial side. Today we're going to address graphic services and production. The funny comments I have heard from misinformed people who don't know what they are talking about goes like this: How hard can it be to push graphics around on a page? My answer: it's harder than you think and it takes education, knowledge and skills. Graphic artist is a true profession not a kindergarten class where you learn to draw squares, which is what that comment suggests. Further, production is a whole other part of the process, and it requires respect for the capabilities of the graphics person. Graphic art is an entire degree program at college. So, the misunderstanding that it's pushing pictures around on a page is very ill informed.

When it comes to graphic design, what I'm going to do is share information that will help you as you move through the publishing process. I hope this information clarifies the value of working with a professional graphic artist (and most importantly someone with real talent). The cover of your book is your first line of marketing to attract readership. People are visual, and they are attracted to covers first and foremost. A bad cover can kill sales. Yes, you've heard me correctly. A bad cover kills sales. A great cover can actually create a best-seller. Yes, you heard that right. For example, an author released a book and its sales were near zero. The same author switched covers, and overnight its sales skyrocketed. Yes, that is a true story. So graphics in some respects are the most important part of the book to get those sales moving.

Two choices in cover art is limiting and often comes up close but not quite right. Let me give you an example. A 3L Publishing author used one of those famous self-publishing services that includes two cover choices in their packages. This woman was given her choices and forced to select a cover that "kind of" worked. While the book was about a grandmother, her closest choice was to select a cover that had a woman who looked no older than 40. How many grandmothers do you know who are age 40? Did that cover serve the story contents? No. But she had no other selections to choose so she was stuck with it.

Cover art is not flat and one dimensional and you can't just type a title over a picture or image. This information related to those who falsely believe you can slap graphics on a page and voile! Cover done. I will give you an example of how complicated cover art can be. See the Vengeance is Now cover art above. Looks like one seamless image, right? It's not. It's actually three different images seamlessly married together to create one image. Do you know how to marry imagery? I will wager that doesn't qualify as slapping a title on an image. Did that cover art cost $50 as part of a package? No, it most certainly did not. If you paid $50 would you ever get that kind of artwork? Absolutely not. Don't fool yourself: cheap is as cheap does ... always.

 What you don't know about production -- it's a science. Do you know how to prevent the printer from doing a poor trim cut and cutting your book off incorrectly? Do you understand kerning? Do you know how to make the spine of the book match the size of the book? Do you know how they center the words on the spine? Do you know how to upload files to the printer? Do you know how to select a printer that will provide good-quality print jobs? Do you know paper pounds? Do you know different kinds of paper? I could continue, but I'll stop there. The average person does not know this information. But if you plan to self-publish you'll need to know it. I always feel bad when an author presents a book with imagery where the trim was wrong and the images are cut-off. It happens, but it doesn't have to happen to your book. Not if you work with qualified professionals.

Want your book to look as good as Vengeance is Now? Call us at 3L Publishing at 916-300-8012. We offer a variety of publishing services and packages. And we promise you'll never have to embarrassingly explain why your cover doesn't match your story.

No comments:

Post a Comment