Author Topic: Good forums to promote my novel?  (Read 5434 times)  

Offline Almyrigan Hero

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Good forums to promote my novel?
« on: November 20, 2020, 09:48:25 pm »
Just published my first book a couple weeks ago; sales were climbing (very) slowly but (kind of) steadily for the first week, but now it's completely flatlined at a mere 5 books sold. To preemptively answer your question, yes, I have strove - if largely in vain - to build up some kind of following prior to release. While I'm considering what sort of publishing deals and ad campaigns I want to get myself into, though, I'd just assume have a more hands-on approach in the mean time. I'm talking less in terms of book promotion services, for the time being, and more in terms of message boards and similar communities where I can simply spread my word a bit farther, and perhaps make a few friends.


Qualities I'm looking for in sites:

* Reasonably friendly to newcomers.

* Good source of balanced negative and positive feedback.

* A large focus on fantasy, sci-fi, and stories which blur the line in imaginative ways.

* Actively browsed, but not absolutely swamped with constant new threads. More of a readers forum than a writers forum, but one where self-promotion is allowed.

* A userbase which somewhat overlaps with DeviantART; simply because that's my most active/'hub' site, of sorts, where I share concept art and worldbuilding notes.


Obviously I don't need all of those bases covered, but the more the merrier.

KBoards.com

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    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #1 on: November 20, 2020, 10:40:01 pm »
    Sorry to break this to you, but I think you'll find most reader forums have been swamped with authors trying to self-promote over the years, and it does not go down well.

    I would recommend looking into paid advertising instead, either via AMS/FB/Bookbub, or with the deal sites where you can offer a 99c special to generate sales and interest.

    You'll find a big list of promo sites here: https://davidgaughran.com/best-promo-sites-books/

    Hope that helps.
     

    Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

    Online alhawke

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #2 on: November 20, 2020, 11:36:58 pm »
    You'll find a big list of promo sites here: https://davidgaughran.com/best-promo-sites-books/
    Nice up to date promo resource. Thanks for posting, Simon!


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    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #3 on: November 21, 2020, 12:09:00 am »
    David's a really useful guy to follow. (Mailing list and youtube especially.)
     

    Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #4 on: November 21, 2020, 05:32:53 am »
    What you're looking for probably doesn't exist, and if it did, it will be full of other authors looking to promote their books and therefore useless. You're just going to have to learn to do paid ads.

    And yes, David's site is full of good stuff, though you'll find disagreement about him. He used to post here a lot.

    Online jm2019

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #5 on: November 21, 2020, 07:25:20 am »
    I echo others' sentiments. I don't know about forums, but there are Facebook book groups where authors are allowed one day in a week to promote their book. You need to strictly adhere to the no self-promotion policy or you'll get kicked out.

    In general, your time is better spent looking at paid promos + writing your next book, instead of spending many many hours trying to cultivate forum audiences.

    Offline Trioxin 245

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #6 on: November 21, 2020, 07:56:24 am »
    What you are looking for is virgin territory. That is hungry readers who have not already been pitched to or very rarely. The truth is you are about ten years to late for that. Like others have said, I would focus on paid promos for the time being.




    Online Carol (was Dara)

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #7 on: November 21, 2020, 10:34:29 am »
    I'm afraid I have to agree with all the above. Free promotion routes have been mostly worn out over the years. Nowadays, paid ads and new releases are the way to get visibility. For lower cost options, you might also work on building your mailing list by joining group giveaways with other authors.

    Offline ImaWriter

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #8 on: November 21, 2020, 11:30:38 am »
    I've been involved with some pretty big forums over the years and helped mod some.

    I can tell you that most forums are not interested in people who join just to spread the word about their product. However, some forums, even this one, do have a section for exactly that. The problem is that no one is typically interested in that section, other than to hawk their own wares. So, it's pretty much a giant dead end.

    You're only option these days is pretty much paid advertising. And depending on your product and packaging, that could be equal to throwing your cash in a fire.

    Offline jaxonreed

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #9 on: November 21, 2020, 11:34:57 am »
    My advice (bear in mind it's probably worth what you're paying for it):

    1. Begin now writing your second book. Do not wait. Get it out asap, then write the next one. Rinse, repeat.

    2. Lower your price to 99 cents and leave it there. Nobody will buy it at 6.99. You're looking to establish a beachhead in people's Kindles at the moment. There will be no profit on this first book so don't expect to make any.

    3. I would commit no more than $50/month to ads. Stick with the known sites that will accept without reviews. Use the free five days in KU if you haven't already and pay for newsletter ads while it's free. Again, you're trying to distribute as wide as possible right now because making any money is not viable for the moment.

    3. Join Booksprout.co and put it out there for reviews. You'll get a few. Booksprout promos are free too, but they're going away soon, apparently. Take advantage while it's there.

    4. Join Librarything.com and distribute review copies that way, too.
     
    5. Join storyoriginapp.com. Jump on newsletters and get your book out there that way. Look at other things the site has to offer. Worth the time and it's free.

    6. Return to Step 1 and focus on that more than anything.

    Offline Almyrigan Hero

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #10 on: November 21, 2020, 02:07:08 pm »
    My advice (bear in mind it's probably worth what you're paying for it):

    1. Begin now writing your second book. Do not wait. Get it out asap, then write the next one. Rinse, repeat.

    2. Lower your price to 99 cents and leave it there. Nobody will buy it at 6.99. You're looking to establish a beachhead in people's Kindles at the moment. There will be no profit on this first book so don't expect to make any.

    3. I would commit no more than $50/month to ads. Stick with the known sites that will accept without reviews. Use the free five days in KU if you haven't already and pay for newsletter ads while it's free. Again, you're trying to distribute as wide as possible right now because making any money is not viable for the moment.

    3. Join Booksprout.co and put it out there for reviews. You'll get a few. Booksprout promos are free too, but they're going away soon, apparently. Take advantage while it's there.

    4. Join Librarything.com and distribute review copies that way, too.
     
    5. Join storyoriginapp.com. Jump on newsletters and get your book out there that way. Look at other things the site has to offer. Worth the time and it's free.

    6. Return to Step 1 and focus on that more than anything.

    Now this is the kind of extensive advice I've been looking for (and dreading, when it comes to the pricing, haha,) although that does leave me with a bit of a question; if I'm going to mark it down by that much, might it honestly just be better to make the kindle edition 100% free, and remove the roadblock entirely? Also, since you didn't really mention the paperback price, does that mean what I've already got is okay, or is paperback pricing just near-irrelevant at this stage regardless? (Either way, my family is strongly recommending I at least wait a few weeks before I tank the price. I understand the principle behind what you're saying, so don't take this as me trying to buck a more experienced author's advice, but I think I'll at least indulge them in their hopes for a proverbial Christmas miracle.)


    As for jumping on the second book, I'm already well into that. Heck, I'm already playing in my head with early concepts for a second fantasy trilogy; granted newbie enthusiasm probably accounts for some of that, and my resolve is bound to peak and wane based on time and circumstances, but the point is I don't intend to get lazy.
    « Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 02:17:35 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

    Offline ImaWriter

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #11 on: November 21, 2020, 03:10:45 pm »
    Around this time of year paperbacks often sell as christmas presents. Having said that, a lot of us are seeing increases in our print sales. But for many authors, their print sales are hardly worth mentioning. That may or may not be genre specific.

    Do not price your Kindle version to zero. Not until you have a whole series and it's a loss leader. And even then, it's something many will never do. But look at the books in your genre that are about the same length and price yours accordingly. Don't look at the bestsellers with the highest prices because that won't help. You are an unknown--I'm guessing--and readers have been conditioned to have no trust in unknowns. That's why we often go with the keep writing advice. Your book has to be priced fairly, in the reader's opinion, and low enough to encourage them to give you a chance. Or else it just wont sell.

    And you need to fix your look inside for Kindle. Or provide one. I checked a while ago and it seems you only have a print look inside, which is not helping you at all. It will actually hinder you quite a bit. The less your packaging and presentation looks professional, the lower your chances of encouraging people to buy your book.

    Offline nightwork

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #12 on: November 21, 2020, 04:33:43 pm »
    when i checked, book has no rank for Kindle and is in the 7 figures for paperback

    makes it look like a book that no one bought except the author to check how it looked in print or his immediate family so your friends on Deviant Art aren't such good friends as you think

    pricing at $0.99 won't save this book, it will be the last nail in the coffin that limits your options

    99cents is for when the next book comes out, and you want to do a bookbub or another discount campaign on the first-- but you won't be accepted if your regular price is 99 cents anyway

    if you believe in this book, get reviews, get a cover that isn't doesn't look like its from the 1930s, price the book at something reasonable like $4.99, and learn how to advertise

    personally if you're confident it's well-written (have had alpha/beta readers from the industry give it a looksee) i wouldn't be in a hurry to just slam out another book without learning how to set up a proper launch & promotions

    if you're not confident & that's why you want to go the free route... figure out where your weak areas are & fix that before putting out a new book

    i have a friend who sold 4 copies of her first book, after changing not a thing except putting her head down and writing more... she sold 4 copies of her second book

    don't be like my friend


    Offline jaxonreed

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #13 on: November 21, 2020, 05:13:33 pm »
    Now this is the kind of extensive advice I've been looking for (and dreading, when it comes to the pricing, haha,) although that does leave me with a bit of a question; if I'm going to mark it down by that much, might it honestly just be better to make the kindle edition 100% free, and remove the roadblock entirely? Also, since you didn't really mention the paperback price, does that mean what I've already got is okay, or is paperback pricing just near-irrelevant at this stage regardless? (Either way, my family is strongly recommending I at least wait a few weeks before I tank the price. I understand the principle behind what you're saying, so don't take this as me trying to buck a more experienced author's advice, but I think I'll at least indulge them in their hopes for a proverbial Christmas miracle.)


    As for jumping on the second book, I'm already well into that. Heck, I'm already playing in my head with early concepts for a second fantasy trilogy; granted newbie enthusiasm probably accounts for some of that, and my resolve is bound to peak and wane based on time and circumstances, but the point is I don't intend to get lazy.

    Again, my opinions follow. Others may vary, yours may too and that's okay.

    The reason for dropping it to 99 cents is to get it into the hands of people. It's not going to sell much anyway, but it surely won't at $6.99. People are willing to take a chance on a new author for under a buck, many times. I agree it's no point trying to go permafree right now. Besides, you can't until your term with KU is up. You are locked in for now to Amazon only, and they won't price match it to permafree because you can't put it up for sale elsewhere as a freebie or otherwise.

    You can use your Kindle Unlimited free days. Amazon gives you 5 days you can run it free during the length of your commitment to KU. Use them and advertise then. You'll get some downloads. Then, when you put out book 2, many times Amazon will email those who got your book 1 and let them know you have another one out.

    Some people still prefer paper, and you can leave that price alone. All this advice is geared toward the Kindle version.

    Offline Almyrigan Hero

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #14 on: November 21, 2020, 06:53:00 pm »
    when i checked, book has no rank for Kindle and is in the 7 figures for paperback

    makes it look like a book that no one bought except the author to check how it looked in print or his immediate family so your friends on Deviant Art aren't such good friends as you think

    pricing at $0.99 won't save this book, it will be the last nail in the coffin that limits your options

    99cents is for when the next book comes out, and you want to do a bookbub or another discount campaign on the first-- but you won't be accepted if your regular price is 99 cents anyway

    if you believe in this book, get reviews, get a cover that isn't doesn't look like its from the 1930s, price the book at something reasonable like $4.99, and learn how to advertise

    personally if you're confident it's well-written (have had alpha/beta readers from the industry give it a looksee) i wouldn't be in a hurry to just slam out another book without learning how to set up a proper launch & promotions

    if you're not confident & that's why you want to go the free route... figure out where your weak areas are & fix that before putting out a new book

    i have a friend who sold 4 copies of her first book, after changing not a thing except putting her head down and writing more... she sold 4 copies of her second book

    don't be like my friend

    I mean, you're kind of preaching to the choir with that first part. If I thought my book were selling well or that my internet 'friends' had my back, I wouldn't have made this thread.

    Cover design...I'll grant you a big fat "yeah, good point" on that one. I'm aware that modern books tend to have more minimalistic or abstract (or at least single-subject) covers. I suppose there's a thin line between trying to stand out, and completely throwing out the stylistic appeal which makes design trends into trends in the first place; and I suppose I overstepped that line by a good margin. A better-studied, tighter-planned, less-cluttered, all around better-drawn cover would probably do me well, especially given how cramped my current one can look in the tiny thumbnails most people will first see it as.

    'Get reviews' definitely seems to be the overall takeaway from all of these, so I'll definitely be pushing for those. I'll probably be working on my second book in the meantime anyway; both because that's what more people recommended, and for my own amusement if nothing else. That said, I'll probably at least await some reviews and general feedback before I second-draft it.


    As for ImaWriter, and your comment on the Look Inside feature not working...yeah I'm not entirely sure how to fix that, but I'll be looking into it (no pun intended.) Would that be something to contact Amazon about, though, or Kindle?
    « Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 08:54:34 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #15 on: November 21, 2020, 07:02:08 pm »
    Re the look inside, did you upload an epub or a mobi file, or something else? Amazon recently 'discouraged' support for the mobi format.

     

    Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

    Offline Almyrigan Hero

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #16 on: November 21, 2020, 08:47:21 pm »
    3. Join Booksprout.co and put it out there for reviews. You'll get a few. Booksprout promos are free too, but they're going away soon, apparently. Take advantage while it's there.
    Actually...am I even allowed to provide direct review copies on sites like that, while the KDP Select program is active? I mean, they're not technically competing storefronts, and I wouldn't be selling them, but that would still be me distributing my digital manuscript through a platform outside of Amazon.

    I might be able to use my 5 free days in conjunction with a blurb on a site like that, without providing an advanced review copy, but that'd be running what I can only assume is a relatively long process through a very short window of opportunity. I'm guessing a 5-day ad blitz in conjunction with free days would probably be a wiser investment, for the time being?


    Re the look inside, did you upload an epub or a mobi file, or something else? Amazon recently 'discouraged' support for the mobi format.
    I wrote my draft in Wordpad, then ported it manually into Kindle Create for formatting and publishing. A tool and filetype designed specifically for a platform should be the literal last thing said system ought to have trouble processing, but computers will be computers I suppose, and I'm no software engineer.
    « Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 08:49:32 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #17 on: November 21, 2020, 08:59:57 pm »
    It depends how old the version of Kindle Create is. But if you can export from that to epub it might work better.

    Wordpad... brave!
     

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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #18 on: November 22, 2020, 12:24:11 am »
    Now this is the kind of extensive advice I've been looking for (and dreading, when it comes to the pricing, haha,) although that does leave me with a bit of a question; if I'm going to mark it down by that much, might it honestly just be better to make the kindle edition 100% free, and remove the roadblock entirely? Also, since you didn't really mention the paperback price, does that mean what I've already got is okay, or is paperback pricing just near-irrelevant at this stage regardless? (Either way, my family is strongly recommending I at least wait a few weeks before I tank the price. I understand the principle behind what you're saying, so don't take this as me trying to buck a more experienced author's advice, but I think I'll at least indulge them in their hopes for a proverbial Christmas miracle.)

    The only thing you're going to do by leaving the price as it is will be to miss out on the last 9 days of being a new release before your book drops off the 30-day cliff. The chances of a first-time author being able to sell many copies at all are low, but with the book priced at $7.00 those chances are even lower. Most indie authors, even ones who've been around a while and have a following, don't sell at $7.00.



    Cover design...I'll grant you a big fat "yeah, good point" on that one. I'm aware that modern books tend to have more minimalistic or abstract (or at least single-subject) covers. I suppose there's a thin line between trying to stand out, and completely throwing out the stylistic appeal which makes design trends into trends in the first place; and I suppose I overstepped that line by a good margin. A better-studied, tighter-planned, less-cluttered, all around better-drawn cover would probably do me well, especially given how cramped my current one can look in the tiny thumbnails most people will first see it as.

    A better drawn cover would definitely help. One that fits the style expected of an epic fantasy cover would help more. You want it to be contrasty and eye-catching, while making the genre clear. So, basically, you want to stand out among your competition while also fitting into your genre. Also, you want it to actually look like a novel, dimension wise, so that people will know by looking that it's a novel rather than a weirdly shaped audio cover or a picture book. I believe Amazon covers are optimized for a ratio of 2:3. I usually do any covers I make at 2400px x 3600px, so they'll be big enough for iBooks, should the author want to go wide at some point.
             

    Offline Almyrigan Hero

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #19 on: November 22, 2020, 08:46:29 am »
    The only thing you're going to do by leaving the price as it is will be to miss out on the last 9 days of being a new release before your book drops off the 30-day cliff. The chances of a first-time author being able to sell many copies at all are low, but with the book priced at $7.00 those chances are even lower. Most indie authors, even ones who've been around a while and have a following, don't sell at $7.00.

    A better drawn cover would definitely help. One that fits the style expected of an epic fantasy cover would help more. You want it to be contrasty and eye-catching, while making the genre clear. So, basically, you want to stand out among your competition while also fitting into your genre. Also, you want it to actually look like a novel, dimension wise, so that people will know by looking that it's a novel rather than a weirdly shaped audio cover or a picture book. I believe Amazon covers are optimized for a ratio of 2:3. I usually do any covers I make at 2400px x 3600px, so they'll be big enough for iBooks, should the author want to go wide at some point.

    $4.99 and $3.99 seem to be popular choices when I browse Amazon by date, so while everyone's debating whether I should sell it cheap or sell it for practically free, I'll go with one of those. Maybe $4.50, just to really lay the mindgames on thick. 8)  Thanks for the cover advice too, I've already had mixed success fiddling with things like dimensions as-is, so a specific pixel measurement is very helpful.

    Also, the LookInside feature does seem to be working now. No idea what I actually did, but...yay me?

    Online alhawke

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #20 on: November 22, 2020, 10:22:54 am »
    $4.99 and $3.99 seem to be popular choices when I browse Amazon by date, so while everyone's debating whether I should sell it cheap or sell it for practically free, I'll go with one of those.

    $2.99-4.99 for most Indies is what I see. Over $2.99 to get the better royalty. But you can sell it any price you want. I wouldn't give out free or 99c unless you have another book to piggyback on. Also consider pricing higher enables you to sell with promotions. But, you know, I don't think anyone's necessarily wrong with recommendations here on pricing because it depends individually on the book and your unique situation.

    The .99 part of the sales price is that psychological thing that one cent does to the price. It still does it for me. I still look at 2.99 as $2 and 3.99 as $3. So weird.


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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #21 on: November 22, 2020, 11:08:26 am »
    $4.99 and $3.99 seem to be popular choices when I browse Amazon by date, so while everyone's debating whether I should sell it cheap or sell it for practically free, I'll go with one of those. Maybe $4.50, just to really lay the mindgames on thick. 8)  Thanks for the cover advice too, I've already had mixed success fiddling with things like dimensions as-is, so a specific pixel measurement is very helpful.

    Also, the LookInside feature does seem to be working now. No idea what I actually did, but...yay me?

    From what I've seen, those seem to be good prices ($3.99, $4.99). They leave plenty of room to discount for promos, and they give a perception of value for one's money without appearing cheap. I don't believe in racing to the bottom, so I'd be one of the last ones to tell you that you should devalue your work. I have my 17k-word novelette priced at $2.99, because I believe that giving away one's work trains readers to expect the work to be given away. But I'm also very aware of the fact that I won't sell many at that price, and that's okay because I only have the one book with that character. Once I have more, I'll drop the price on the first one so that people can give it a try at a low price, in the hopes that they'll like it enough to pick up the rest at full price.

    From a marketing standpoint, you'd probably do better to stick with $X.99, because that's what people are used to seeing. And also, as alhawke said, it's a psychological thing.

    I'm glad the cover info was helpful. If you have cover questions, feel free to ask. I try to pop by the Cafe here at least once a day or two, and if I see cover questions I do my best to help.

    Regarding your Look Inside, sometimes it just takes a while for it to kick in. I've heard it can take about a week. Ish.



             

    Offline ImaWriter

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #22 on: November 22, 2020, 11:56:10 am »
    You can also do some testing with your price. Put it at $4.99 and see what happens, then drop it down to $3.99 if need be.

    I'm with Shayne on not devaluing your work, but there is a fine balance there. Pricing your work at a point where no one will buy it isn't helping you, even if you feel that's what it's worth. Then we get into are you writing for the sake of art of making a living. You need to find a price point where you don't feel like you're selling your soul and what the market deems fair.

    And remember that market has a lot to choose from. There are millions of books in the store and thousands, if not tens of thousands added every day. You have 3 seconds to make an impression on a perspective buyer. Don't lose them in the 1st because of your price... or your cover.

    Offline M.Omer

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #23 on: November 22, 2020, 12:13:21 pm »
    Great topic with important information for all new authors. promote a book is really a challenge. Is not easy to set a price that satisfied both sides.
    These points you discussed will help a lot to take a good step forward.
    Thank you guys.

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    Offline nightwork

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #24 on: November 22, 2020, 04:06:52 pm »
    $4.99 and $3.99 seem to be popular choices when I browse Amazon by date, so while everyone's debating whether I should sell it cheap or sell it for practically free, I'll go with one of those. Maybe $4.50, just to really lay the mindgames on thick. 8)  Thanks for the cover advice too, I've already had mixed success fiddling with things like dimensions as-is, so a specific pixel measurement is very helpful.

    Also, the LookInside feature does seem to be working now. No idea what I actually did, but...yay me?

    stick w/ $4.99 or, since you're in KU, sticking with $6.99 would even be OK because people could borrow the book if they didn't want to buy

    i've been full-time for a while now, & i've got zero evidence that $3.99 sells more books than $4.99... the $4.99 books do far better, it isn't even close

    free/99 cent is for when the pen name has multiple books to push & you're ready to do a promo push

    if you leave it at 99 cents, you'll have trouble booking promo or paying for ad costs, perma free is a little easier to promo but you can't be permafree since you're in KU

    99 cents is just plain bad advice for your situation

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      Offline Almyrigan Hero

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #25 on: November 22, 2020, 07:28:52 pm »
      Okay, I scribbled together 8 quick concepts for a new cover, each ostensibly based on a few 'archetypes' I've identified among modern(ish) book covers. Using your imagination to envision them as anything close to high-quality cover illustrations, which one/s of these makes your clicking finger the itchiest?

      For some extra context, the story's tone is dark, but not grimdark. It's mostly focused on adventure and ancient mysteries, but there are also elements of (fictional) politics, government conspiracy, and crime. The deeper focus of the story is on the horrifying monsters and dangerous artifacts littering the world of Almyrigo, and how the existence of such threats would actually effect the culture, economy, and diplomacy of quasi-medieval nations. The primary target audience is teen to young adult fantasy enthusiasts with a slightly more philosophical or spiritual inclination; but not to a stuffy extent.

      « Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 07:30:56 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

      Offline jaxonreed

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #26 on: November 22, 2020, 07:39:08 pm »
      Just grab a premade from one of the big sites. Spend a little, get a good cover that fits the genre. Check out https://www.kudi-design.com/book-covers-by-genres and scroll down to fantasy/sci-fi.

      Remember, you're not going to make any money off the first book. But, it needs to be compelling enough to be downloaded by as many people as possible. Don't worry about trying to maximize profits at the moment. Get a good cover, price it low and go from there. Then start on your next book.

      Offline ShawnaReads

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #27 on: November 22, 2020, 08:16:15 pm »
      Okay, I scribbled together 8 quick concepts for a new cover, each ostensibly based on a few 'archetypes' I've identified among modern(ish) book covers. Using your imagination to envision them as anything close to high-quality cover illustrations, which one/s of these makes your clicking finger the itchiest?

      Of those, D is best for me. The monster implies action, which makes it more exciting than people standing around.

      Online jm2019

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #28 on: November 23, 2020, 09:51:39 am »
      D or H, assuming these are concept covers and you'll actually go to a cover designer to turn them into a good cover.

      Or, as jaxonreed said, get a decent premade cover that's right for the audience.

      Offline chrisstevenson

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #29 on: November 23, 2020, 10:35:42 am »
      Sorry to break this to you, but I think you'll find most reader forums have been swamped with authors trying to self-promote over the years, and it does not go down well.

      I would recommend looking into paid advertising instead, either via AMS/FB/Bookbub, or with the deal sites where you can offer a 99c special to generate sales and interest.

      You'll find a big list of promo sites here: https://davidgaughran.com/best-promo-sites-books/

      Hope that helps.


      This actually says it all in the most direct terms. Arriving new into any specialized writing group and expecting to mention/advertise/promote your book from the very early stages will be frowned upon. To be a member of any group, or even a FB sub-group for that matter, means that you will have to, or should, cultivate friendships and participate in discussions and topics that have little or nothing to do with selling your book. There are far too many authors doing the same thing--deluging Twitter and FB with book links and blurbs and, for the most part, these advert are glossed over since there are so many of them. I rarely see any comments on Twitter and FB in association with promoted and marketed books--other than the very least of which are likes and hearts witch are pitched at them as though it was an afterthought to do so.

      You'll have to experiment and invest in some solid marketing companies that can reach an audience and hopefully give you a decent ROI. BookBub and AMS have shown some good profit margins and sales, if you can afford these venues. If you are fairly new, or you haven't a lot of mid-list titles, you can market with free and 99-cents books and come away with some positive results. 
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      Offline Almyrigan Hero

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #30 on: November 23, 2020, 12:43:44 pm »
      Tell me off if you will, and you probably will because you probably should, but I still want to give another shot at drawing my own cover. True, attempt #1 was a bust, but that was done too hastily and excitedly, with very little actual advice or research. My quality has been trending upwards over the past couple months, and these sorts of occasions are exactly what tends to motivate me to take a deep look at my own technique and break through its inherent self-inflicted limits. I know this isn't an art board, but you can probably appreciate and relate to the concept; even if not from a business standpoint. I've got a good thing going here where one passion fuels the other and vice-versa.

      And even if that doesn't work out, I'd still probably rather eat the cost for a decent custom cover that captures the atmosphere and character of my story and setting, than pay a quarter of that for some layered stock photos with the saturation cranked down and the contrast cranked up. The technical quality of some of these prefabs is good, don't get me wrong, they just...don't fit, narratively, aesthetically, or really even tonally.
      « Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 12:46:20 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

      Offline NikOK

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #31 on: November 23, 2020, 02:04:21 pm »
      Tell me off if you will, and you probably will because you probably should, but I still want to give another shot at drawing my own cover.

      Nah, no one is telling you off.  The advice people are giving you really is meant as advice and not a put down to what you've made.  It's just, you know, things can get said kind of prickly sometimes.  But keep in mind that everyone is trying to tell you what they think will help you succeed.  So, it's all meant to be positive, even if it isn't always phrased in a positive way.  Everybody was starting off at some point, and most everybody had to struggle through a lot of trial and error.

      I think D is the most dramatic cover, but I kind of like the concept of F.  The map spilling out of the cardinal directions looks very cool to me.  But by all means, take another swing at it.  The worst that can happen is it doesn't click and then you go back to the drawing board.  Sometimes self publishing is a thing where you keep coming back and making your book better before you get it right.  Maybe some people nail it right out of the gates, but I always find myself tweaking covers, blurbs, keywords, and really anything I can think of.  All I'm saying is, even though your book is out there, it still might take a while to get it exactly where you want it.  But it's part of the learning experience.  Things will get easier at book 2 and 3 and 4 and 26.

      Offline Almyrigan Hero

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #32 on: November 23, 2020, 02:37:03 pm »
      Nah, no one is telling you off.  The advice people are giving you really is meant as advice and not a put down to what you've made.  It's just, you know, things can get said kind of prickly sometimes.  But keep in mind that everyone is trying to tell you what they think will help you succeed.  So, it's all meant to be positive, even if it isn't always phrased in a positive way.  Everybody was starting off at some point, and most everybody had to struggle through a lot of trial and error.

      Oh no, I wasn't accusing anyone of being rude, I was just joking about my own business sense. The meanest thing anyone's really said is that my first cover "looks like it's from the 1930s," which is only even really a mild putdown in the very specific context of modern book marketing. A thing I can't really claim to be good enough at to take offense either way, so I'd be the one in the wrong if I'd let that put my metaphorical panties in a genuine but equally metaphorical twist.

      Offline ShayneRutherford

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #33 on: November 23, 2020, 02:47:47 pm »
      Tell me off if you will, and you probably will because you probably should, but I still want to give another shot at drawing my own cover. True, attempt #1 was a bust, but that was done too hastily and excitedly, with very little actual advice or research. My quality has been trending upwards over the past couple months, and these sorts of occasions are exactly what tends to motivate me to take a deep look at my own technique and break through its inherent self-inflicted limits. I know this isn't an art board, but you can probably appreciate and relate to the concept; even if not from a business standpoint. I've got a good thing going here where one passion fuels the other and vice-versa.

      And even if that doesn't work out, I'd still probably rather eat the cost for a decent custom cover that captures the atmosphere and character of my story and setting, than pay a quarter of that for some layered stock photos with the saturation cranked down and the contrast cranked up. The technical quality of some of these prefabs is good, don't get me wrong, they just...don't fit, narratively, aesthetically, or really even tonally.

      If your goal is make a career of this, you'd be far better off to get a custom cover than to try to make your own. People will say that it's not a competition, but you are competing for people's attention, and these are the kinds of covers you'll be competing against to get it... https://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/digital-text/16232448011/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_digital-text  So if your art isn't ready for the big time, it won't serve you well.

      I learned how to design covers so that I could make my own, so I get where you're coming from with wanting to do it yourself, but I have to say - from a position of being several years on in both experience and skill level - I'm really glad that my very first attempts did not make it out into the public eye. Or onto Goodreads, for that matter. Being saddled with those for life would have sucked. (They will not remove old covers if you decide down the road you're not happy with them anymore, btw.)

               

      Online Simon Haynes

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #34 on: November 23, 2020, 02:48:21 pm »
      I've spent 20 years doing my own covers. The first 18 of those resulted in terrible through dire through way below average. Now I reckon they're good enough, although a pro would spot multiple flaws at a glance.

      It's nothing to do with drawing skill and everything to do with cover design experience, matching reader expectations, and looking similar to the best-selling books in your target genre. (I still fail on two of those three most of the time, despite the 20 years.)

      Here's the thing: nobody here actually cares if you draw your covers or pay $2000 for them, because we're dispassionate observers sharing our thoughts. Many of us have gone through the same struggles you're going through now, and we're only trying to save you from making the same mistakes we all made.

      If you believe you've found a path through the quicksand that bogged the rest of us down for years, go right ahead ;-)
       

      Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

      Offline Almyrigan Hero

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #35 on: November 23, 2020, 03:22:52 pm »
      It's nothing to do with drawing skill and everything to do with cover design experience, matching reader expectations, and looking similar to the best-selling books in your target genre. (I still fail on two of those three most of the time, despite the 20 years.)

      Okay, here's one, actually; are there any good custom cover agents who specialize purely in concept and composition? Like say, I give them a couple character designs and plot points, and they provide a cheap but extremely rough compositional outline which I could follow while drawing my full illustration? I feel like that'd be a decent meeting point between current budget, future business, and my own creative control freak mentality, if such a service exists in a recommendable form.

      Online Simon Haynes

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #36 on: November 23, 2020, 03:40:36 pm »
      Maybe look on deviant art for someone with recent posts who also has the sort of art you're after, then ask them how much to draw a few concept pics.

      You should also look up typefaces for the genre you're writing in, because the cover text is as important as the image:
      https://www.creativindie.com/300-fool-proof-fonts-to-use-for-your-book-cover-design-an-epic-list-of-best-fonts-per-genre/

      But you ought to know that many (most?) indie covers these days are made from multiple stock images manipulated into a finished design. Get a wow cover on it, publish it, start on the next book.
       

      Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

      Offline jaxonreed

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #37 on: November 23, 2020, 04:20:47 pm »
      I agree with the other comments about covers, good points. I just wanted to add that time spent designing your own is time taken away from writing the next book. Writing is solitary, publishing is a group effort. To publish you'll need to bring in a team that will work on the cover, beta reading, editing, and providing your first few reviews. If you hire out to do these things, mainly editing and covers, it leaves you with more time to write the second one. That's why everyone encourages you to find a good premade or begin establishing a relationship with a cover artist that catches your eye and is willing to work with you.

      Offline Almyrigan Hero

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #38 on: November 23, 2020, 06:57:01 pm »
      I mean I guess I get the idea, but here's what I should've maybe lead off with in the first place: art is a regular hobby and study of mine in and of itself, and I try and keep up the practice regardless. Any time I might spend working on a cover is time I'd be spending on drawing regardless, and I generally alternate between more drawing and more writing on a weekly basis. I'm enthusiastic about writing - I'm already about a quarter of the way through the first draft of my second book, even after losing something more like the first half completely through some storage-related incidents, but the greater passion behind both exercises is bringing this fantasy world I've developed to life. I'm simply not at the point in either where I find myself saying "I can't do one now, I should be doing the other."

      ...That said, how does this look as a temporary mockup of a placeholder 'stock photo indie cover?' I only spent a couple hours on it so it's not what I'd use, but it's an idea, at least, of the sort of premade my first instinct would tell me to go with. No tiddy, no abs, a bit moody but not angsty, a bit ominous and mysterious.



      (I'm sorry for being so hardheaded but this kind of thing means more to me than it potentially should. If I'm wasting my or your time on anything, it's probably me trying to tell you to tell me to do what I want you to tell me to do, instead of just taking or leaving your advice. Being simultaneously stubborn and timid is hell.)
      « Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 07:08:05 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

      Offline ImaWriter

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #39 on: November 23, 2020, 07:08:38 pm »
      Here is what your cover looks like at thumb size. I can barely tell what the image is at the size you posted, and you need to have something clear at thumb.

      Many people browse also boughts and they are thumb size, so they are blowing right by this cover.


      Online jm2019

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #40 on: November 23, 2020, 07:17:14 pm »
      Your latest is really difficult to make out what the book is about. It looks like a... travel book? Someone standing on a cliff? As ImaWriter said, lots of people look at thumbnails - in fact, the vast majority of your potential audience would only see the thumbnail and slightly larger Amazon display sizes, and it's almost impossible to make out what the book is.

      At the end of it, it is really your choice/decision of course, as you know your target best... we're only reacting to what we see.

      Offline Almyrigan Hero

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #41 on: November 23, 2020, 07:21:21 pm »
      ...You're right, that's even worse than what I've already got. I think I'll just do you all a favor and take a nap, slow down, do some research, work at other things, and come back in a few days/in a week when I have at least some idea of what I'm doing or going to do. The book isn't going anywhere and I can't get a -1 star rating for having a bad cover in the meantime; time is money, but preserving my image and the sanity of those generous enough to help me is golden.
      « Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 07:28:11 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

      Offline ImaWriter

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #42 on: November 23, 2020, 07:37:49 pm »
      I think this has been mentioned, but you can really get your best inspiration by looking at the top 100 in your category/genre.

      And remember, your cover is a marketing tool. Too many authors get caught up thinking it needs to reflect their story. It doesn't. I'm not saying you should completely wipe your story from your cover, but your cover has to announce genre. Get that stuck in your head and go from there.

      Good luck!

      Online Simon Haynes

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #43 on: November 23, 2020, 09:43:42 pm »
      If it helps, remember that you're trying to get paid for your writing, not the art or the cover design.

      Everything should be focused on selling more books, and the cover art is just a tool to do that.
       

      Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

      Offline Doglover

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #44 on: November 23, 2020, 11:55:50 pm »
      Tell me off if you will, and you probably will because you probably should, but I still want to give another shot at drawing my own cover. True, attempt #1 was a bust, but that was done too hastily and excitedly, with very little actual advice or research. My quality has been trending upwards over the past couple months, and these sorts of occasions are exactly what tends to motivate me to take a deep look at my own technique and break through its inherent self-inflicted limits. I know this isn't an art board, but you can probably appreciate and relate to the concept; even if not from a business standpoint. I've got a good thing going here where one passion fuels the other and vice-versa.

      And even if that doesn't work out, I'd still probably rather eat the cost for a decent custom cover that captures the atmosphere and character of my story and setting, than pay a quarter of that for some layered stock photos with the saturation cranked down and the contrast cranked up. The technical quality of some of these prefabs is good, don't get me wrong, they just...don't fit, narratively, aesthetically, or really even tonally.
      It's up to you what you do with your cover, but if you are set on designing it yourself, you might do better to buy some stock photos and manipulate those to fit.


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      Offline Gareth K Pengelly

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #45 on: November 24, 2020, 12:16:02 am »
      Good artistry, no doubting that, but so dark it's hard to see what's going on.

      Better to have a less arty cover, but have it bright and bold so people can see it at thumbnail size.

      Offline ShayneRutherford

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #46 on: November 24, 2020, 09:36:11 am »
      I mean I guess I get the idea, but here's what I should've maybe lead off with in the first place: art is a regular hobby and study of mine in and of itself, and I try and keep up the practice regardless. Any time I might spend working on a cover is time I'd be spending on drawing regardless, and I generally alternate between more drawing and more writing on a weekly basis. I'm enthusiastic about writing - I'm already about a quarter of the way through the first draft of my second book, even after losing something more like the first half completely through some storage-related incidents, but the greater passion behind both exercises is bringing this fantasy world I've developed to life. I'm simply not at the point in either where I find myself saying "I can't do one now, I should be doing the other."

      It's great that art is your hobby, but cover design is about more than just art. It's about good design principles and layout. It's about understanding what will signal the book's genre clearly to potential readers. And it's about good typography, and good contrast, and knowing how to make your cover legible and eye-catching at thumbnail size. What makes for a nice painting won't necessarily work for a cover, because a cover needs good contrast to make it clear at thumbnail. If it doesn't have good contrast, it will just look like a dark blob, and people will not waste their time clicking on dark blobs when they have a whole bunch of bright, eye-catching covers to draw their interest instead. Cover designers (the good ones, anyway) know how to use contrast and color theory to make people look at our covers. That's literally our whole job -- get people's attention long enough to read the blurb. And if you don't have a cover that will get people's attention, you're shortchanging your story.



      (I'm sorry for being so hardheaded but this kind of thing means more to me than it potentially should. If I'm wasting my or your time on anything, it's probably me trying to tell you to tell me to do what I want you to tell me to do, instead of just taking or leaving your advice. Being simultaneously stubborn and timid is hell.)

      I think we generally try to tell it like it is - or at least we tell it like it is as we see it - in the hopes of helping people succeed as author's who want to make a living with their writing. Generally speaking, we don't really do the whole "tell 'em what they wanna hear" thing, because what people want to hear and what sells books are often not the same thing.
               

      Offline ShawnaReads

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #47 on: November 24, 2020, 04:45:59 pm »
      From what you've posted so far, it looks like the main things you need to focus on improving are making the images brighter and more contrasted and making sure they'll look clear and inviting at thumbnail size. If your cover looks like nothing but a dark blob when people are scrolling, they're not going to pause to look at it any closer.

      Offline Almyrigan Hero

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #48 on: November 25, 2020, 09:14:48 pm »
      Okay, so I developed concept H a bit more, and how does this fare, at least for a placeholder? Contrasting colors, simple stylized imagery, vaguely plot-relevant but not saturated with characters and items, big weird thing smack-dab in the middle. Probably not perfect, but better than what I've got so far?

      (If not, maybe I should just start a new thread on cover design, since I'm interested in the subject but I might have kinda derailed this thread with it.)

      EDIT: Just realized, it might look a bit better if the text was silver or some other color.
      « Last Edit: November 25, 2020, 09:19:23 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

      Offline baldricko

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      Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
      « Reply #49 on: November 25, 2020, 10:33:32 pm »
      I doggedly persist at designing my own covers despite the best advice from people on Kboards. Like you, I think to create an awesome book cover that I know totally encapsulates my vision is where I want to be. But - it takes an awful lot of practice and lessons with not-cheap software to get a cover comparable to the competition in your genre. Time is money. You could have that next novel out by the time you get the book cover nailed.

      On the book cover. My 2 cents worth.

      Your image is indeed too dark to stand out as a thumbnail. I suggest you look at the lighting. Where is the main source of light coming from? The top left or right or from under the ocean. Is the main source from a moon or two? Is it from a sun? A moon would give off paler light, sunlight would be harsher (but not necessarily).

      You need to work on your titles. Learn about fonts types. Tracking and Kerning. Fonts are a huge part of the impact delivered by a book cover.


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        Offline GTurnbull

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #50 on: November 25, 2020, 10:51:38 pm »
        Good artistry, no doubting that, but so dark it's hard to see what's going on.

        Better to have a less arty cover, but have it bright and bold so people can see it at thumbnail size.

        Yeah agree with Gareth one hundred percent. If you're an artist and like drawing, if I were you, I'd definitely want to design my own covers, but definite have to make sure it's up there with the current standards in the genre.

        Plus. You will save money. I paid for two cover designs off fiver, one design from two different artists, costing me a whopping $250 bucks in total. (Which is cheap in comparison to what you could pay) and let me just say, they looked like the DVD covers to D grade movies no one has ever seen or ever will. DVD's you wouldn't have even picked up from the free basket back in 2007...

        Offline Corvid

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #51 on: November 25, 2020, 11:19:57 pm »
        Okay, so I developed concept H a bit more, and how does this fare, at least for a placeholder? Contrasting colors, simple stylized imagery, vaguely plot-relevant but not saturated with characters and items, big weird thing smack-dab in the middle. Probably not perfect, but better than what I've got so far?

        (If not, maybe I should just start a new thread on cover design, since I'm interested in the subject but I might have kinda derailed this thread with it.)

        EDIT: Just realized, it might look a bit better if the text was silver or some other color.

        I'm just a random stranger on the internet, so go ahead and ignore me if that's your preference... BUT...

        I am telling you right now, not out of maliciousness, but out of an interest in telling you what's real... AND...

        ...if you're interested in making a living as a self-published author: RUN, do not walk, to a professional cover designer. Don't do the DIY cover thing. Trust me, don't do it. Based on your genre, and your current design skill level you're going to throw away valuable time, and cost yourself countless of potential eyeballs and therefore sales, and probably any shot of making a real go of things as a result.

        And, expect to spend some money on said professional cover. Doesn't have to be thousands or even several hundred, you can shop around. But, just know that the cover is HUGELY important, and you should be prepared to have someone else do it, and it will cost some money to get the quality of design required. It might even cost more than you'd ever imagined spending. But, it really is a must. The bar for cover design nowadays is high, and the cover is a huge factor when it comes to purchasing decisions/sales.

        If you're in this as a hobbyist, awesome, no problem with that - go ahead and dabble at making your own cover, and ignore all of the above.

        BUT, again, if you're in this to make real money - you need to do all you can to attract eyeballs, and obtain clicks in this ATTENTION ECONOMY. It is harder than ever to not only get that attention, but to keep it. And, you must keep it in order to achieve the kind of sales numbers you'll need if you're going to have a hope of doing this full-time.

        To do that, you HAVE to look ready for primetime. That's why the cover just HAS TO BE industry standard (which - again - is now a high bar), it is non-negotiable.

        Straight up, you need to go with a pro on this if being a pro yourself is what you're after. Frankly speaking, your cover design skill level is not going to get you there.

        I'm being blunt, but again, not because I'm trying to be mean, it's just the opposite actually, I'm trying to give you the distilled information to save you time and heartache; because I've been in this game long enough to know what works and what doesn't, just as many other kboarders do too. And, honestly, if you want to make a living at this, you have to recognize time is money, and you don't want to waste any of it doing things that don't work.

        Sticking with the idea of doing the cover yourself, in your genre especially, is going to waste your time, and as much as it sucks to hear: trust me when I say, it will not work.


        Offline Almyrigan Hero

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #52 on: November 26, 2020, 08:09:15 am »
        Okay, not trying to be rude or pushy here, but if you all really think I shouldn't bother, show me what goes into it so I can 'see for myself,' so to speak.

        Just nitpick every aspect of my current cover designs to death. You don't have to be aggressive or rude about it, but leave no doubt in my mind. A few people standing me at the foot of the mountain and pointing out how distant the peak is will scare me way more effectively than a hundred people just telling me "it's too high, you won't make it, trust me." Explain in frank terms why all of those stock photo covers I find so boring are way more enticing. Tell me just how much I stand to lose by fumbling with this, and why spending $300-500 per book for pictures that will probably match the industry standard is a wiser long-term investment than learning to do it myself, when my general marketing skills might not even get more than a few hundred people in front of the thumbnail for the first decade of my potential career anyway.
        « Last Edit: November 26, 2020, 08:28:50 am by Almyrigan Hero »

        Online Gessert Books

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #53 on: November 26, 2020, 08:33:25 am »
        Okay, so I developed concept H a bit more, and how does this fare, at least for a placeholder? Contrasting colors, simple stylized imagery, vaguely plot-relevant but not saturated with characters and items, big weird thing smack-dab in the middle. Probably not perfect, but better than what I've got so far?

        (If not, maybe I should just start a new thread on cover design, since I'm interested in the subject but I might have kinda derailed this thread with it.)

        EDIT: Just realized, it might look a bit better if the text was silver or some other color.

        One thing I noticed across a few of your examples: I think you tend to shove the title very near the trim, probably so that it doesn't obscure your artwork. This is one area where I think your art hobby might be getting in the way a little bit, as the title should be much more prominent even if it feels like a shame to cover something with it. The composition will be more appealing and look a little less homemade.
        « Last Edit: November 26, 2020, 08:41:19 am by Gessert Books »

        Offline Jeff Hughes

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #54 on: November 26, 2020, 09:06:48 am »
        To make a sale, you have to...

        First, have your book rendered on the screen of a prospective buyer.  That will probably require advertising.

        Second, your cover has to - in a fraction of a second - communicate its genre, its title, its author, and it needs to elicit an emotional response in that prospective buyer.

        Third, your blurb has perhaps five or seven seconds to pull that prospective reader into your story.

        Fourth, the writing itself has to be compelling from the very beginning - the part that the Look Inside displays.

        Fifth, it's helpful - but not strictly necessary - that you have a bunch of reviews talking about what a wonderful author you are and what an amazing story this is.

        Fail at any of those, and there's no sale.

        Like you, I originally contemplated creating my own cover.  I'm a photographer, after all.  Why waste several hundred bucks when I could do it myself?  Alas, after faffing around with it all for too many hours - including spending $66 bucks on a paperback copy of THE ELEMENTS OF TYPOGRAPHIC STYLE - I slowly came to the dawning realization of what a bunch of people here have already tried to convince you of - that a good cover is a whole lot more than a pretty image.

        Amazon has literally millions of books in its database.  The vast, vast majority of those don't sell at all.  Even if you do everything perfectly, the odds against your title are daunting.  Don't make them impossible.




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        Offline Almyrigan Hero

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #55 on: November 26, 2020, 09:28:36 am »
        Ah, who am I kidding? I know nothing about commercial art, and I guess even the premium price to get a cover done isn't that much, considering I'm not likely to be pumping out multiple books in a year. I'm sorry, guys, I've made this way too much of a point of pride; anybody who cares enough to read my book through will probably care enough to read my ending blurb where I shill my art page and give it a looksee. Literally every single detail doesn't need to be completely under my control.

        That said, my family did bring up an interesting point; might it be worth seeking some advanced reviews beforehand? If nothing else, that could influence what I ask the artist to emphasize. I concede, but I'm still not eager to spend that sort of money blindly or in a rush.

        Offline ShayneRutherford

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #56 on: November 26, 2020, 10:24:18 am »
        Ah, who am I kidding? I know nothing about commercial art, and I guess even the premium price to get a cover done isn't that much, considering I'm not likely to be pumping out multiple books in a year. I'm sorry, guys, I've made this way too much of a point of pride; anybody who cares enough to read my book through will probably care enough to read my ending blurb where I shill my art page and give it a looksee. Literally every single detail doesn't need to be completely under my control.

        That said, my family did bring up an interesting point; might it be worth seeking some advanced reviews beforehand? If nothing else, that could influence what I ask the artist to emphasize. I concede, but I'm still not eager to spend that sort of money blindly or in a rush.

        I think this is a really good idea. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get a good fantasy cover. If I were in the market for an illustrated fantasy cover (I'm a cover designer, but I do Daz and photo-manip, not illustration) and I wanted to stick to a $500-or-less kind of budget, I would be looking seriously at J. Caleb Clark. He does great work and his prices are very fair. He's booked out until August 2021, unfortunately, but if you don't mind waiting, he would be a great option. If you're willing to look at photo-manip covers, Deranged Doctor Design also makes very nice covers.

        ARCs come out in advance of the book being published, so your review copies wouldn't be ARCs, but if you're looking for reviews, I think Hidden Gems will take books that are already published. I'm not sure if you can use them while being in Select, though. (Not sure if you are in Select, but I just wanted to mention it.)


        https://www.jcalebdesign.com/

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        Offline Almyrigan Hero

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #57 on: November 26, 2020, 01:38:30 pm »
        Well...I did enroll in KDP Select, actually, and a bit prematurely by the looks of it. I don't know exactly what Amazon would think of me distributing review copies on other sites, but if I'm not a marketing munchkin then I'm certainly not a legal eagle, so instead of tempting fate, I think I'll just put off those plans for the time being.

        Meanwhile, though, I still want to at least develop a better placeholder; and no, I'm not too inclined to spend $80 - $100 on a premade that I intend on replacing in less than three months. I feel like I've got the start of something temporarily passible here, but I can't quite settle on a font that looks fancy enough to be fantasy, but still fits the whole title legibly in thumbnail size.



        On another note, I should probably explain my ambitions and expectations a bit more thoroughly here. I am...sort of just writing for the enjoyment of it? I do want to make back more than I'm spending (obviously,) but I'm not necessarily expecting nor directly aiming to claw my way up the rankings or make this my primary source of income. For all intents and purposes, I'm just a hobbyist with mild ambitions and a vague hope that my book might happen into the right reviewer's hands.

        I...could cough up $300 - $500 for a 'cheap' market-quality cover (and I still probably will, after my resolve finishes dissolving,) but as someone who's not necessarily looking at this from a business investment sense, it is a little bit difficult to wrap my head around that sort of investment. Sure, time is money, but money is also time, and it's gonna take quite a few sales for a low-to-no-profile indie book to absorb that kind of cost. Sales that, even after I have a good thumbnail, will probably require some fairly heavy advertising to get off the ground.

        The point being, I'm looking for a balance. I'm not aiming to outbid the big leagues for the front page, not yet at least, I just want something that'll stand out (in an interesting way) amid the sea of cookie-cutter 'sexy photo model confidently staring at the reader while colors swirl in the stock background behind them' covers.
        « Last Edit: November 26, 2020, 01:48:21 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

        Offline Gareth K Pengelly

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #58 on: November 26, 2020, 02:05:05 pm »
        I'd say you could make your own cover - you've got the skill.

        But make the TITLE and AUTHOR NAME much, much bigger. And make the whole thing a lot brighter and easier to see at a glance in a thumbnail.

        You enjoy the drawing, so give it a go first and post results back here before shelling out for someone else to do it for you.

        What do you have to lose, lol?

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #59 on: November 26, 2020, 02:29:30 pm »
        Depositphotos has a $39 special on at the moment - 100 stock images, no expiry.

        That's enough art to stitch together 25+ covers.

         

        Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

        Offline GTurnbull

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #60 on: November 26, 2020, 02:55:37 pm »
         8)
        Well...I did enroll in KDP Select, actually, and a bit prematurely by the looks of it. I don't know exactly what Amazon would think of me distributing review copies on other sites, but if I'm not a marketing munchkin then I'm certainly not a legal eagle, so instead of tempting fate, I think I'll just put off those plans for the time being.

        Meanwhile, though, I still want to at least develop a better placeholder; and no, I'm not too inclined to spend $80 - $100 on a premade that I intend on replacing in less than three months. I feel like I've got the start of something temporarily passible here, but I can't quite settle on a font that looks fancy enough to be fantasy, but still fits the whole title legibly in thumbnail size.



        On another note, I should probably explain my ambitions and expectations a bit more thoroughly here. I am...sort of just writing for the enjoyment of it? I do want to make back more than I'm spending (obviously,) but I'm not necessarily expecting nor directly aiming to claw my way up the rankings or make this my primary source of income. For all intents and purposes, I'm just a hobbyist with mild ambitions and a vague hope that my book might happen into the right reviewer's hands.

        I...could cough up $300 - $500 for a 'cheap' market-quality cover (and I still probably will, after my resolve finishes dissolving,) but as someone who's not necessarily looking at this from a business investment sense, it is a little bit difficult to wrap my head around that sort of investment. Sure, time is money, but money is also time, and it's gonna take quite a few sales for a low-to-no-profile indie book to absorb that kind of cost. Sales that, even after I have a good thumbnail, will probably require some fairly heavy advertising to get off the ground.

        The point being, I'm looking for a balance. I'm not aiming to outbid the big leagues for the front page, not yet at least, I just want something that'll stand out (in an interesting way) amid the sea of cookie-cutter 'sexy photo model confidently staring at the reader while colors swirl in the stock background behind them' covers.

        Yeah what you got there looks pretty sweet, but like a bloke above said, probably got to shrink the art down to give your title more prominence and not so close to the trim. And this here is just my personal opinion or taste, and black being my favorite color, I reckon a black, smoky style background or something to make the gold pop, any cover with those types of colors typically draw my attention for some reason.

        But yeah, that design looks pretty sweet and you can craft graphics or images of that caliber by your own hand, I'd be designing my own cover too. On top of saving money, being an aspiring indie author, nothing truly encapsulates the process by doing everything single handedly. People will probably say, 'you can't do everything yourself!' but if you can, and the end product is attractive, well written, well, I tip my metaphorical bonnet to you.

        Offline jaxonreed

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #61 on: November 26, 2020, 04:40:43 pm »
        The latest graphic looks pretty good. I agree, shrink it down and nail your font for author and title. It reminds me a bit of Brandon Sanderson's Dawn Shard. https://www.amazon.com/Dawnshard-Stormlight-Archive-Brandon-Sanderson-ebook/dp/B08MXXWYT7/

        For that matter, it's always good to take a look at the top 100 titles in your genre. After you get done with the artwork, take a look at the Fantasy Top 100 and compare their covers to your own efforts: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store-Fantasy/zgbs/digital-text/158576011/

        All told, if you're just in it for a hobby and would like to play around in cover design, far be it for us to discourage you. Get something you're proud of up there and go from there.

        Offline chrisstevenson

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #62 on: November 26, 2020, 05:36:19 pm »
        Nice improvement. I like that! I like that blue, which sets good with the gold. Just my opinion. I've never done a cover from ground up.
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        Online Simon Haynes

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #63 on: November 26, 2020, 05:40:32 pm »
        It does look good. Reminds me strongly of the 1970's LOTR covers, but not the content, just the overall design.

        The typography definitely needs work though. Much larger fonts, for a start.
         

        Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

        Offline ShayneRutherford

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #64 on: November 26, 2020, 07:19:08 pm »

        Meanwhile, though, I still want to at least develop a better placeholder; and no, I'm not too inclined to spend $80 - $100 on a premade that I intend on replacing in less than three months. I feel like I've got the start of something temporarily passible here, but I can't quite settle on a font that looks fancy enough to be fantasy, but still fits the whole title legibly in thumbnail size.



        That's much better! Now, what will make it look even better is if you shrink the image down to about 65% of the size you've got it there, so you can make the text larger and actually give everything room to breathe.
        « Last Edit: November 26, 2020, 07:21:11 pm by ShayneRutherford »
                 

        Offline Doglover

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #65 on: November 27, 2020, 12:44:14 am »
        Depositphotos has a $39 special on at the moment - 100 stock images, no expiry.

        That's enough art to stitch together 25+ covers.


        Really? They keep sending me the usual 100 for $100. I'm off to have a look


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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #66 on: November 27, 2020, 01:19:55 am »
        The difference with this one (other than price) is that it doesn't expire.

        Here's the direct link. (It's always been $50 in the past, so it's even better than usual.)

        https://appsumo.com/depositphotos-black-friday-2020/

         

        Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

        Offline Doglover

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #67 on: November 27, 2020, 01:41:26 am »
        The difference with this one (other than price) is that it doesn't expire.

        Here's the direct link. (It's always been $50 in the past, so it's even better than usual.)

        https://appsumo.com/depositphotos-black-friday-2020/


        Thanks for that. I've got enough now forever!


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        Offline Corvid

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #68 on: November 27, 2020, 07:55:23 am »



        Allow me to be the dissenting voice here. I believe you're being misled on this whole cover design thing, not in a malicious way, but it's still happening.

        This is because, frankly, most authors are poor arbiters of what constitutes good cover design. I don't say that to offend anyone, but let's be real about what really works. Always look at the top sellers in your genre. What do their covers look like? Be honest in your assessment as a point of comparison.

        Shayne is an obvious exception here, as a pro designer, but generally speaking there's a reason pro cover designers are paid good money by authors. It's because most writers have no clue what works from a design perspective. That's not their milieu. But, yes, the world is full of authors designing their covers, and you can tell that they have, not just in looking at their poor/homemade design, but also in what they earn in terms of income.

        What's worse is, a lot of people believe their covers look good when they do not. A lot of authors leave a lot of money on the table in terms of sales because they think their covers are up to par when they're not.  Fact is, people are generally not great at judging or honestly assessing their own handiwork. It almost always takes an outside eye... an outside TRAINED eye.

        So, again...

        Do not listen to other authors when it comes to cover design, unless they happen to be one of those outliers who can do both. Just know that... THEY ARE RARE.

        Show me an author designing her/his own covers, I'll show you an author whose sales performance you likely would rather not emulate. Yes, there are exceptions... but, not very many. Which is to say, odds are VERY good you're not one of them. That's okay, no big deal, everyone can't be good at everything, just hire it out to a professional.

        And...

        No, your cover design is nowhere near this, even after adding typography (which is a whole other, and yet no less important, skill-set, btw):



        If you can't see the vast gulf in design quality between these two, then to me that would further exemplify the point I'm trying to make.

        The people in this thread, I'm sure, are lovely people - believe it or not, I'm a nice person too - but, respectfully, anyone telling you to do other than hire someone to design your cover(s) for you is wasting your time and money.

        Again, I'm not saying anyone here is misleading you out of maliciousness - I believe everyone means well. I'm just saying, they're giving you a false impression of cover design quality when you hold your design up against the top sellers in your genre (which you always should).

        In the interest of maximizing sales, yes, spending $300-$500 on a cover that can stack up against the Top 100 in your genre is probably prudent. Doesn't necessarily have to be that amount, but it's probably in the ballpark.

        AND AGAIN - HUGE CAVEAT TO ALL OF THE ABOVE:

        If you're not in this to maximize sales, then go ahead and play around doing your own thing. But, if sales matter to you, do not listen to other authors outside of the extreme outliers.


        Offline Almyrigan Hero

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #69 on: November 27, 2020, 09:21:08 am »
        Oh no, I absolutely do understand that I don't have bestseller cover material (and for that matter I'm not going to pretend I expect my first ever book to be bestseller material;) in that regard, I feel like I've already endeavored to make my point clear. For the time being, I'm more interested in developing new artistic talents than maximizing profits. Heck, I'd honestly be pretty thrilled if I got in the top 1,000s, much less the top 100s. Yeah, that cover looks more professional than mine, full stop, not gonna deny it. All of these have technically been 'placeholders' so far, and I haven't spent more than a day on any given draft; I could certainly boost the quality way, way up with proper time and effort, although I do still realize that's not going to make it a big-league cover.

        I think I'm going to go through on what I said before, and just start a separate thread on cover design. I've already explained a few times over that I want to at least give it a proper shot, but given the initial tone of the thread, I've understandably been getting a lot more "don't"s and "do"s than "this is how you should if you're gonna"s, which is more what I'm after at this point. Respectfully considering your recommendation, I've already undergone enough confidence whiplash that I now want to give it a full shake, if for nothing else than to test my upward limits. Even if only for the remaining duration of my KDP Select enrollment and the time it takes to get my first review. If I haven't stumbled on a sufficient design by that point, then maybe I'll drop the price of a current-gen gaming console on a drawing of a snake in a circle.
        « Last Edit: November 27, 2020, 09:54:39 am by Almyrigan Hero »

        Offline jaxonreed

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #70 on: November 27, 2020, 10:48:29 am »
        Oh no, I absolutely do understand that I don't have bestseller cover material (and for that matter I'm not going to pretend I expect my first ever book to be bestseller material;) in that regard, I feel like I've already endeavored to make my point clear. For the time being, I'm more interested in developing new artistic talents than maximizing profits. Heck, I'd honestly be pretty thrilled if I got in the top 1,000s, much less the top 100s. Yeah, that cover looks more professional than mine, full stop, not gonna deny it. All of these have technically been 'placeholders' so far, and I haven't spent more than a day on any given draft; I could certainly boost the quality way, way up with proper time and effort, although I do still realize that's not going to make it a big-league cover.

        I think I'm going to go through on what I said before, and just start a separate thread on cover design. I've already explained a few times over that I want to at least give it a proper shot, but given the initial tone of the thread, I've understandably been getting a lot more "don't"s and "do"s than "this is how you should if you're gonna"s, which is more what I'm after at this point. Respectfully considering your recommendation, I've already undergone enough confidence whiplash that I now want to give it a full shake, if for nothing else than to test my upward limits. Even if only for the remaining duration of my KDP Select enrollment and the time it takes to get my first review. If I haven't stumbled on a sufficient design by that point, then maybe I'll drop the price of a current-gen gaming console on a drawing of a snake in a circle.

        Yeah I think we've been saying "don't don't don't" enough in this thread to get you the idea. We've given you plenty to go on from a professional standpoint, but the whole thing turns on a dime if you're approaching this as a hobby. If you don't really care from a genuine aspect how much money you're going to make selling books, by all means continue. As you can see, Sanderson's cover indeed reminds me a lot of your latest effort. It's that whole dragon in a circle thing. Find the right fonts and proportions and it will start to take shape. On this I think everyone can agree, encouragement is due.

        On the other hand, if you want to start on the road toward trying to sell books, then the advice given earlier stands. It's a completely different ball of wax depending on how serious you are about writing.

        Offline Almyrigan Hero

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #71 on: November 27, 2020, 11:05:11 am »
        I mean, I'm sorry if I came to the wrong forums, but I never claimed to be strictly professional, nothing about the site itself signposts that it's strictly for professionals, and I made my interest in designing my own cover pretty explicit from the moment the topic of cover design came up. I fail to see how exactly I've been leading anyone on, aside from...maybe flip-flopping a bit in terms of resolve on the subject? That said, if this place is for people looking to hit the big time, and I'm just not ready, then recommend freely. I'd rather be unceremoniously turned away to a site where I fit in better, than flounder around looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place and waste the time of everyone involved; you have all been fairly patient and kind, all things considered.




        Edited to removed quoted post. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
        « Last Edit: December 01, 2020, 10:54:45 am by Becca Mills »

        Offline J. Tanner

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #72 on: November 28, 2020, 09:03:48 am »
        I mean, I'm sorry if I came to the wrong forums, but I never claimed to be strictly professional, nothing about the site itself signposts that it's strictly for professionals, and I made my interest in designing my own cover pretty explicit from the moment the topic of cover design came up. I fail to see how exactly I've been leading anyone on, aside from...maybe flip-flopping a bit in terms of resolve on the subject? That said, if this place is for people looking to hit the big time, and I'm just not ready, then recommend freely. I'd rather be unceremoniously turned away to a site where I fit in better, than flounder around looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place and waste the time of everyone involved; you have all been fairly patient and kind, all things considered.

        This forum isn't exclusive to pros. You're fine. Getting the best DIY cover possible is a reasonable use. Those who don't want to assist can read other threads instead.
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        Offline Diamond Eyes

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #73 on: November 28, 2020, 09:44:16 am »
        You could probably figure out how to do a cover that works. Why not? It's a learnable skill. But I'd recommend to not look at what Brandon Sanderson, Tolkien, GRRM, etc. have on their covers as your inspiration or model. Those authors sell on their name and reputation, not the cover. The popular trad authors could stick a plain white cover with their name and book title in black comic sans and still sell a truck load of books. You'd do better if you look at the top 100 hot new releases in your genre and find what other newer indie authors are doing with current releases that are becoming popular. Then do something similar but different.

        Online alhawke

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        Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
        « Reply #74 on: November 28, 2020, 09:55:09 am »
        You'd do better if you look at the top 100 hot new releases in your genre and find what other newer indie authors are doing with current releases that are becoming popular. Then do something similar but different.
        I agree with this. The trend with trad published covers are ... a little boring (sorry, I'm definitely generalizing, but it's my opinion). Why? Because trad don't want to take the chances Indies do. They want their books to appeal to everyone. Why do you think there are so few images and mainly writing on those covers?

        Almyrigan, I actually liked your first cover and the "dark" one. You could hire someone for a small fee to spuce something like those up a bit, font/or whatever, size, lighting, to match genre and fit the bestsellers. You actually can hire artists to work on typography only. My biggest problem with your first book was that the size did not appear standard. But, if you ask my opinion, your cover and writing seem creative. Use that with your marketing. Good luck, whatever you choose.



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          Offline boxer44

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #75 on: November 28, 2020, 10:47:33 am »
          We've seen pros not as good as amateurs and both amateurs and pros that should try something else. Also seen both pros and amateurs so artistic no one can compare. It's all in what you like and how much time you spend learning to express what you like and want. Don't let that deter you.  You're in charge, succeed or fail ...

          I'm a pro photographer and a pro writer.  BUT, we all had to learn sometime, we all began as amateurs. Yes, I create all my own covers in my genre, action and espionage, but would never attempt the artistry required in Fantasy or SYFI. Some genre covers are more difficult than others, and the competition pretty fierce. Some readers probably like my covers, some probably do not.  Same with writing, some like certain authors and certain genres, some do not. Not every writer or artist will please everyone - take what you get, and run with it.  You only fail if you quit.  :)   

          Offline Brian D. Anderson

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #76 on: November 29, 2020, 06:47:18 am »
          What you're hoping for isn't new. Bookbub results without the Bookbub price tag. It doesn't exist. And despite that you might have been told it once did (back in the good ole days), it didn't.
          There's a few things to consider before you dive off into the bottomless money pit that is book ads. The first and most important factor is whether your book is truly ready for the level of recognition you want? After a quick read through the first few paragraphs I could see right away that while there's nothing glaringly wrong with your writing, a good editor would have made several suggestions. For example: "tapping his fingers rhythmically". While not awful, it is amateurish in style. You shouldn't take that as an insult. It's an easy fix. "Tapping out a cadence" or simply removing the word "rhythmically" would do it. I'm giving you two quick examples off the top of my head, so don't take it as an actual editing suggestion. My point is a good line editor would have caught it.
          The bar for indie prose is higher than it was when I started. You want success? Begin by finding yourself good editors. And don't worry too much about my criticism of that one line. I've committed worse sins over the years. What's important is that you strive to improve. This doesn't mean you have to be some sort of genius wordsmith. My own writing is not crammed with purple prose. And there are scores of writers far better than I could ever be. But there is a level of skill and competence that will separate you from the pack. Your chief goal should be reaching it.   
          The next consideration is the story itself. Not having read your book I couldn't say one way or another how compelling the plot and characters are. But if the story isn't there, the book will fail, regardless how well written. This is where beta readers, critique groups, and developmental editing become important.
          I could go on, but I think you get the point.
          Indie publishing is a business. And a business requires investment. Editors, covers, formatting, ads, etc. can end up costing a small fortune. And that's not accounting for the years spent honing your skills. This is partly why many books never see more than a handful of sales.
          I wish you luck.

          « Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 07:01:05 am by Brian D. Anderson »
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          Offline Almyrigan Hero

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #77 on: November 29, 2020, 09:07:08 am »
          Yeah, honestly, that's why I'm waiting for my KDP select enrollment to run out before I really do anything in terms of marketing. Not gonna lie: in the most classic of all rookie mistakes, I skimped. Skimped on professional editing and beta reading, didn't even know about advanced reviews, was a bit too confident in myself and my immediate group, we were all a bit too eager to get started on the publishing journey...you know the drill. That sweet, sweet rush of having just finished your first serious work, followed by the creeping slow-motion crash of wondering how finished you actually were, once it's already just a bit too late to slam on the brakes. I'm just happy the air bags popped out before I started spending, honestly.

          I'm still fairly confident in the overall plot and characters, all things considered. I'm not experiencing any sort of crushing hindsight embarrassment, aside from maybe a few cases of avoidable exposition or the odd clunky line (pacing is my main worry,) and while I aimed for originality, I didn't go at it from an 'as experimental as possible' mindset. That said, if the first reviews I get are bad, at this point...where exactly do I go from there? Are major revisions several months after a book's release acceptable form, or do I just 'make the sequel better?'
          « Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 09:19:37 am by Almyrigan Hero »

          Offline NikOK

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #78 on: November 29, 2020, 09:56:02 am »
          That said, if the first reviews I get are bad, at this point...where exactly do I go from there? Are major revisions several months after a book's release acceptable form, or do I just 'make the sequel better?'

          Well, there're a few things that you could do, and I think it just all depends on how concerned you are with reviews.

          -If you are very worried about bad reviews you could pull the book down and put it back up when you have a newer/more polished version.  This might also benefit you if you are doing this as a series because readers do like to see that there are more books in the series, so if you are working on the next one you could release them pretty close to each other.  The downside of this is that it's going to slow you down and gunk up your system with trying to manage edits, covers, and the next book at the same time.

          - If you are somewhat worried about bad reviews you could leave it up and see what happens.  I wouldn't start really pushing marketing until you have your newer version, but you could throw it out there, use your select free days, and see what happens.  This would kind of let you work on things at your leisure, and honestly, if you are not marketing and if amazon doesn't for some random reason suggest your book to everyone, then it's a not much in and not much out situation.  Maybe you get some reads here or there, but at least your work is out there.  Then make a big push when all your ducks are in a row.

          - If you are not worried about bad reviews too much, then just plow ahead.  Bad reviews will happen, it's a fact of life, but at least you could see what a randomized audience thinks of your work.  This would probably be the most uphill battle because you will have to address problems you have on the fly, people might be waiting for the next in the series, and oddballs out there will always find something they don't like about the book.

          I think a rerelease of your final version would be the most professional play.  Personally though, I've done a lot of updates and revisions with my book up, and haven't really had any problems.  My reviews are mostly consistent even if I don't always have my best foot forward.  But I might also be super lucky.  At the end of the day it might be a question of what you want to get out of it.  If you are dead set on being a pro writer, then it might not be wise to take a lot of chances.  If you want to get your stories out there, have fun with it, and see what happens, then the worst that can happen is a few bad reviews.

          Offline ShayneRutherford

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #79 on: November 29, 2020, 11:00:33 am »
          That said, if the first reviews I get are bad, at this point...where exactly do I go from there? Are major revisions several months after a book's release acceptable form, or do I just 'make the sequel better?'

          One thing that's important to keep in mind is that your first book serves as your introduction to all potential readers, and as a funnel that will draw readers into the rest of your series. If it's not a compelling story, readers will be far less inclined to give the next book in the series a try. Also, when you put a higher price on it, people will likely expect more and hold it to a higher standard than if you were selling it for $2.99. Especially if you're planning to go wide - the people who frequent other stores seem to have a higher standard than Amazon readers do.

          So, now that you've realized you skimped on beta reading and editing, this would be a really good time to do something about it. You've got roughly 2 months before your Select term runs out, which gives you plenty of time to take a second look at your work and see where it might need some attention. I would recommend hiring a professional beta reader rather than relying on favors - the pro readers will be more likely to give you solid feedback, and they'll get it to you in a timely fashion. I've never used Frostbite Publishing, but they've been around for years and have very reasonable prices. You also might want to give ProWritingAid a try. Until tomorrow night they have a 50% discount on the lifetime subscription. It's not as good as a real editor, but it can help with things like overuse of adverbs and doubled words.

          I know you said if the first reviews you get are bad, but if you do get poor reviews to start off it can be harder to get other people to read the book, and therefore harder to get more reviews to help make up for those first poor reviews. So, since you have the time, and you're thinking that you jumped the gun, there's no reason not to use the time you have to give your manuscript a second look and try to give it a bit more polish.


          https://www.frostbitepublishing.com/beta-reader/

          https://prowritingaid.com/

                   

          Offline Brian D. Anderson

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #80 on: November 29, 2020, 01:42:14 pm »
          Yeah, honestly, that's why I'm waiting for my KDP select enrollment to run out before I really do anything in terms of marketing. Not gonna lie: in the most classic of all rookie mistakes, I skimped. Skimped on professional editing and beta reading, didn't even know about advanced reviews, was a bit too confident in myself and my immediate group, we were all a bit too eager to get started on the publishing journey...you know the drill. That sweet, sweet rush of having just finished your first serious work, followed by the creeping slow-motion crash of wondering how finished you actually were, once it's already just a bit too late to slam on the brakes. I'm just happy the air bags popped out before I started spending, honestly.

          I'm still fairly confident in the overall plot and characters, all things considered. I'm not experiencing any sort of crushing hindsight embarrassment, aside from maybe a few cases of avoidable exposition or the odd clunky line (pacing is my main worry,) and while I aimed for originality, I didn't go at it from an 'as experimental as possible' mindset. That said, if the first reviews I get are bad, at this point...where exactly do I go from there? Are major revisions several months after a book's release acceptable form, or do I just 'make the sequel better?'
          I really couldn't say where to go from there. What I would do and you should do aren't likely to line up. Though in the general sense our goals are the same - write good books that people want to read - we're in very different places. So I might not be the best one to give you advice on your next step. Much of my knowledge of what it takes to start an indie career is probably outdated anyway.
          If you think working with an editor exposes a few clunky lines and poor word choices you need to be prepared. It's far worse than you think. At least it is if you hire an editor who tells you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear. It can be an ego crushing experience. One for which you need to develop thick skin. But it will make you a better writer. If you really want to know where you stand as it pertains to skill, solicit a few unbiased reviews from bloggers. It may take a while, but in the end you'll have a firmer grasp on the issue. There are pros like me who can tell you, but they probably won't unless you force them into a corner. It's not a thing we enjoy doing. It makes us uncomfortable. Partly because we find ourselves being as brutal with the aspiring writer as editors and reviewers are with us. It's simply how we relate. Writers can be squeamish about it when on the distributing end. All-in-all we're a nice bunch and hate to dump on the dreams of others. 

          addendum - I forgot to say congratulations. Regardless the outcome, writing a novel is a big thing. Even if you've reached the limit of where you go with this  completing your book is an accomplishment no one can take from you.
          « Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 01:51:14 pm by Brian D. Anderson »
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          Offline Almyrigan Hero

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #81 on: November 29, 2020, 04:56:38 pm »
          The thing is, as stubborn as I can be on big-picture issues, I'm fairly willing to re-evaluate specifics. This whole cover discussion serves as good indication of that, I think.

          The real meat of my story is the world it takes place in, the mystery surrounding it, and the gradual falling into place of pieces. If an editor or beta reader told me that some secondary character should be axed, or a subplot should simmer a bit faster or slower, or a minor arc takes up too much time without really going anywhere, or a main character's motivations are a bit weak, I could actually see myself being reasonably flexible on those sorts of points. There are, obviously, a few points of no compromise with implications reaching beyond the first book, and when it comes to that ultimate puzzle box everything revolves around I'm going to put my foot down a lot more, but I won't cry myself to sleep over the notion of having to clarify the villain's goals a bit more thoroughly.

          Offline jb1111

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #82 on: November 29, 2020, 07:20:40 pm »
          I didn't read all of this thread.

          Saw the cover of the OP's book, and some of the accompanying discussion. Only input I can give is if you're going to have a cover -- be it your own or a pro-designed one -- make sure the title is bold and easy to read.

          You can have the coolest, trendiest and most pro-drawn or illustrated cover in the world, and if the title is something readers have to hunt for you've shot yourself in the foot. There are readers who still look for books using their Kindle, and on a Kindle the book thumbnails are very small, and sometimes that's all you get in the carousel of new books, suggested-for-you's, or also-boughts -- a very small thumbnail.

          So keep that in mind if you update the cover, or have one made for you. It won't guarantee sales, but will help get eyes on the book, and hopefully get people to purchase.

          Offline spacedin

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #83 on: December 01, 2020, 06:14:47 am »
          I agree with what @jb111 said about your cover, OP.

          Also, the following:

          (1) It doesn't matter how good your book, writing, story, craft, or anything is if you can't get visibility. The only way to get visibility is to advertise. Just putting a book up on Amazon isn't helpful, and after the first 30 days, any new-book visibility you might've had is gone. Try different ads, spend just a little, see if you get any traction. Do not overspend.

          (2) I gather that this is the first book in a series. It'd probably be better if you waited until at least book 2 is published before you start spending much on book 1.

          (3) You have to decide for yourself how you want to approach your writing career. Are you doing this to make money? If so, you have to stick with the market, write those tropes into the ground, and forget about what it is you really want to write/say/do. No amount of editing or cover design or ad budget can make a book a success if it's not what the market wants. On the flip side of that, really poorly written books can be huge successes if they hit the market in the right spots. Don't believe me? Open up the Look Inside on top-selling indie books in several genres. Good to-market storytelling is far more important than "good" writing. Readers don't care. They want a story they enjoy.

          (4) Pricing. Indie authors have destroyed the pricing of ebooks so that even $3.99 seems "expensive" for a 100K-word Kindle edition by a little-known author. I don't know what to tell you about this except that pricing your book above $3.99 is probably pointless. Do you want nonexistent royalties? Or do you want people to buy your book and make practically nothing from each sale? Hey, even at $0.99 with the 35% royalty, if you sell 2,000 books, you've made $700.

          (4) Whatever you do, do not ever give up. Keep writing. You'll figure it out as you go along.

          Offline boxer44

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #84 on: December 01, 2020, 06:59:27 am »
          Quote:  (4) Pricing. Indie authors have destroyed the pricing of ebooks so that even $3.99 seems "expensive" for a 100K-word Kindle edition by a little-known author. I don't know what to tell you about this except that pricing your book above $3.99 is probably pointless.

          That's kinda it in a nutshell for the Indie populations. 

          Advertising and promotion costs kill the profit margin, especially for new authors. Therefore ups the budget investment it requires for new or 'un-famous' Indies to gain traction in the markets. Unlike Trads, as individual start-ups, we are less able to push our non-existent and ready-made Trad markets. And, if an Indie has a limited budget, it often forces an e-book into the free or discount market, which lessens the revenue even more. We all understand it takes money to make money ... but Indies really shot themselves and future Indies in the foot with a 12 gauge not a simple .22 when e-books launched all those years ago. Tough to recover from that original pricing error.

          A good, well-written story should have the same value no matter who writes it.

          Offline spacedin

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #85 on: December 01, 2020, 07:09:31 am »
          What @boxer44 said--I totally agree.

          For an indie with an audience, turning out a 15K- or 20K-word book, especially in a series (or better yet, a serial) every week at $0.99 makes some sense, especially in KU, since page-read revenue probably outdoes the sales revenue. But for those of us who write 80K+-word novels that take more than a week or two to write . . . well . . .

          Offline jpchoquette

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #86 on: December 01, 2020, 07:25:00 am »

          You'll find a big list of promo sites here: https://davidgaughran.com/best-promo-sites-books/


          This is really helpful, thank you, Simon!

          Offline spacedin

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #87 on: December 01, 2020, 07:30:43 am »
          This is really helpful, thank you, Simon!

          I just looked through the list and mostly agree with it, but please note that lately Bargainbooksy hasn't produced good results for the amount of $ it costs. Other authors have had a similar experience. I still use Freebooksy for free books--they're terrific--but Bargainbooksy is off my list.

          Also, in my experience, BookRaid and BKnights are good for both free and bargain books.

          Offline Julia2233

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          Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
          « Reply #88 on: December 03, 2020, 09:32:02 am »
          This is an interesting discussion, and I want to add my two cents. I know that many people promote their books on such sites as Goodreads, Book Buzz, Scribd, GoodKindles, Writers.net, Wattpad. Have you tried them?

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