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  1. Thanks for your comments Pat! I’ve been told there are some very nice photographs and graphics (model shots, etc.) available for reasonable licensing fee. A local writer put together a great romance cover using one of these purchased photos. And I totally agree on the impact of a good cover to the writer. When I first saw my completed cover, it made the whole thing “real” to me; it made all the months of editing and revising worth it 🙂

  2. +1 to everything here.
    Good cover art can be surprisingly affordable, depending on your source imagery. And once you see the finished product for the first time, it can be an enormous motivational tool (i.e. “I’d better make sure the book lives up to this awesome cover”).
    I’d add one thing to the final proofread – after you’ve proofed the final e-version, leave it alone for a few days. Then read it *again*. You may be surprised at the typos that suddenly appear out of nowhere. Some of them can be downright nails-on-a-chalkboard bad.
    Finally, I agree with much of the Russell Blake blog you linked to. We may have already seen the rise and fall of freebies and 99-centers. The free promo days don’t appear to have a hangover effect on rankings anymore, and perhaps that’s how it should be. It was a nice ride for a few months, but now we’re back to the old way of business: keep writing, make it as good as you can possibly make it, and stay professional.
    As indie authors, I believe we actually have a greater responsibility to produce high-quality work than trad publishing since we are unknown quantities.

  3. Excellent blog post. You made a lot of good points. There are too many for me to respond to them all, but I’ll respond to a few:

    Covers- These make all the difference in the world. There are many books I chose to look further into just because I liked the cover so much. Other books I’ve not taken a second glance at because the cover was so bad.

    Editing/proof-reading- This is so important and often ignored. Some people are convinced they can do this all by themselves or with the help of a random family member. It isn’t enough. I’ve seen some indie books with typos on nearly every page. It made me wonder if they even looked at it more than once or twice after the first draft. Even if your budget is low, finding someone who is experienced in editing/English grammar can help make a novel into a much more professional product. Selling a book with a lot of typos is much like trying to sell a TV with scratches all over the screen. Who wants to buy that? We “might” overlook a few tiny, almost impossible to see scratches but not a bunch of big ones!

    Beta Readers- They are so important! Their job is to catch plot holes and inconsistencies, poor wording, lack of detail (or too much), and overall likeability (plus anything else they might see that could improve the story). You could also just pay a content editor to do much of this, but if you’re looking to save money you must use beta readers (you’ll also get multiple perspectives this way as everyone notices different things, just like potential readers will). One thing I’ve found is it is best to have ones who write as well because they are more experienced in what to look for. This generally means you’ll have to exchange work for critiques but you’ll learn a lot by studying someone else’s work too. One of the reasons I’m doing excerpt critics on my blog now is just to show how important a beta reader is and get writers thinking.

    I’ll stop there, but thanks for such an informative post!

  4. That’s really cool! Congrats to your friend. I love hearing about writers who keep at it and succeed. I hope you kept a copy of the version with your cover on it.

    • Veronika R.

    • 12 years ago

    Great post! I had a good friend who’d wanted to be a writer, but had to drop out of college to care for his grandmother, so he was short on confidence. He started writing short stories and would submit them to anthology magazines (horror/thriller was his favored genre), to feel out reader opinion. He also wrote a fan letter to Dean Koontz, who took a liking to him, and became a mentor of sorts to him. He worked alongside me in a benefit call center, and would tell me about the novel he was writing. Since I love horror, I told him i’d be the first person to buy his book! He decided to self-publish, and needed a cover. Knowing I had an art degree, he asked me to help, so we collaborated on the cover. It was an honor to see the finished product, his book, my cover, even “if only” self-published. His book was eventually picked up by an actual publishing house, and rereleased (with a slicker cover, which was fine with me), and the first time I saw it at a Barnes and Noble, I was thrilled for him. He’s now written several other books, and no longer has to work in benefit outsourcing!

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