Author Topic: Good forums to promote my novel?  (Read 5437 times)  

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 »

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    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.

    Offline 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 ;-)
     

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    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.
     

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    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.


    Offline 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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