E-bookmuncher’s featured e-book of the month for September 2011 is ….
‘The Bookie’s Runner’ by Brendan Gisby, published by Night Publishing. Click the Featured tab above to read why we chose to showcase this wonderful novella.
E-bookmuncher rates this e-book ****
We read four e-books during the month of September and enjoyed all of them. ‘The Bookie’s Runner’ was the one that stuck in the mind the most. E-bookmuncher loved the sheer humanity and honesty of this novella – a touching and poignant reminder of what really matters in life. We believe it deserves to occupy shelf- space on everyone’s Kindle or Ipad.
One of the five key elements to a successful e-book is the ‘cover image’, with ‘title’, ‘blurb’, ‘content’ and ‘price’ being the other four.
The adage ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is, arguably, fast losing credibility in this age of instant one-click purchasing – where visual appearance alone can lead to an instant sale or instant rejection. Style over substance it may be, but e-book production is a commercial enterprise and the cover image is the first (and maybe only) chance an author gets to create an unforgettable first impression to busy prospective buyers as they scroll through the myriad of competing titles in their selected genre. Clichéd though it undoubtedly is, the old mantra ‘you can’t change a first impression’ remains valid in the fast-moving Kindle world.
Part of the e-bookmuncher e-book review process is to score the cover image as one of the four key elements (we don’t score on price), on the basis that an instantly attractive e-book cover will induce us to turn the book over, metaphorically, to read the blurb. We give the cover a maximum weighting of 3 points out of a total of 20 in our review system. You may think that weighting is too small, but it can significantly affect the overall rating.
So how does the ‘indie’ author go about creating their unforgettable e-book cover?
E-bookmuncher is not an expert in cover design, so we invited Christine DeMaio-Rice of Flip City Covers to give us her professional views and tips on the importance of effective cover design. This is what she had to say…
8 Mistakes Authors Make When They Do Their Own Covers
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
How annoying is that?
As an author, all that tells you is that for every thousand words you write, someone could have just drawn you a picture. But the news is even worse. One picture is worth eighty-thousand words. And that’s your book cover.
Mark Coker, in his Mobilreads survey, found browsing through covers is the third most popular way for readers to find new books, after online recommendations and buying from an already-known author.
Your cover does some heavy lifting. In the flash of an instant it communicates your genre, tone and story. But more important than that, it tells the world that behind it is a professionally told story that will engulf the reader in another world.
So if you must do your own cover because you’re tight on cash, or because you believe it’s part of the indie experience, try to avoid these mistakes, listed in no particular order.
1 – Telling the Backstory
Your book opens in the big city, where your heroine must overcome steep challenges to achieve her goal. So why does your cover depict the rolling hills of the farm she was brought up in? When the reader opens the book, they are going to expect a book about life on a farm.
Your cover must tell the reader what they are going to experience. Your cover should not create disappointment.
2 – Making it Pretty
Your cover does not have to look pretty.
It has to look like a product.
There really is no convenient way to explain this. It has to look like a book cover because you want to sit happily with the Big 6 bad boys. And it has to be on fire in the thumbnail, readable and hopping off the page. And it has to have a feeling of completeness, like it could be no other way.
So have other people look at it, people who you trust and who will tell you what’s missing. Have readers look at it. But don’t ask them if they like it. Ask them if it looks like a book.
3 – Making the Cover You’ve Always Wanted
It’s in your mind, and has been since the day you started typing. Maybe you’ve sketched something in a notepad or you’ve been holding onto a stock photo for months. And maybe you get it real close. As close as it’s ever going to be.
You still need to run it by people. Because maybe the cover you always wanted isn’t going to sell the book, or maybe you need to learn a few more Photoshop tricks. Because just because it’s what you want, doesn’t mean it’s the best it can be.
4 – Forgetting the Font
Your font carries a heavy load. Certain fonts are associated with certain genres. For instance, if you’re writing a genre Romance, you would use a script font. Certainly, scripts are harder to read in thumbnail, but using a bold san serif just screams Thriller, and that is what your reader will expect. Learn about your genre and choose your font wisely.
Don’t just pop a black or white font on there and call it done. This is like asking Arnold Schwarzenegger to lift a Matchbox car when he came ready to pick up a Chevy. Your treatments can go a long way in not only making the cover look nice, they can help tell the story. Adding a glow can make the book look more paranormal. Dissolve treatments can add edginess.
These will get you started
5 – Over treating the Font
Over treatments happen when a newbie learns Photoshop layer styles and throws everything but the kitchen sink on there. If it’s beveled with a wild outer glow and a rainbow gradient, you might need to back off a little.
Your font needs to be readable, and eye-catching. Play with it until you get it right and leave it alone when it’s done.
6 – Centering Your Stock Photos
Stock photos are a starting point. Look at a few thousand and you’ll notice they are shot in a certain proportion so that the user has enough flexibility to mold them to their purposes. Generally, they do not have enough room to comfortably fit a title. It’s up to you to find the room or your title is going to look like it was attached as an after-thought, no matter how much you treat that poor font.
Make the photo bigger, smaller, move it around. Add a bar to the top or bottom. It’s yours. Make it look like it.
7 – You Don’t Know How, So You Just Don’t
Not doing your cover correctly because you don’t know how to do something in Photoshop is not acceptable. There are hundreds of simple online tutorials that are easy to find and use.
But the best way to find out how to do something is to type something like “How to extract hair in Photoshop” into the search field and see what you get.
8 – Doing a Draft and Calling It Done
Would you write your book once and call it done? Or do you go back and rewrite?
I hope you rewrite, and I hope you do the same for your covers.
If you can stand to look at a website that is in the middle of renovations, you can see my work at
Most of the covers on there went through at least four iterations between concept and a happy author. My hope is that, if you’re doing your own cover, you will do at least that many.
Christine can be reached at email@example.com
She also writes! Check out http://www.amazon.com/Black-Fashion-Avenue-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B005MEG38C
E-bookmuncher would like to thank Christine for her valuable contribution to this blogsite. As an ‘indie’ author I find challenge enough in writing, let alone create stunning e-book covers. For me and, I suspect, most indie authors, it makes sense to employ the talents and expertise of those who really know how to make a book stand out amongst the stiff competition on the virtual shelves. We suggest that you add Christine to your contacts list – firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-bookmuncher is delighted today to launch our ‘Featured’ section (see the tab above).
Each month, E-bookmuncher will feature its favourite e-book bought and read over the previous month. The e-books featured may or may not be those which have appeared in either the author interview or the E-book review sections of the site.
The idea of the Featured section is to highlight and give special prominance to those e-books that we think deserve to be promoted on a much wider basis.
We hope you will agree with our choices as the months progress and that you will go out of your way to buy and read the featured books, before spreading the word.
We have rated this e-book ***** and consider it to be not only a fascinating book, sensitively combining poetry with prose, but an important work as it seeks to highlight the devastating consequences of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Over the past month I have read, rated and commented on some really fabulous books – ‘Six Weeks’ by Jessica Degarmo – ‘GET LENIN’ by Robert Craven – ‘From the Corners of a Wounded Mind’ by Theo Knell – ‘Belfast Girls’ by Gerry McCullough – ‘The Bringer’ by Samantha Towle – ‘The Bookie’s Runner’ by Brendan Gisby and ‘Edge of Extinction’ by Kristen Stone, to name but a few. Oh, and a quick plug too for Just a One Night Stand .They have been from across the genres, wildly different writing styles, from novella to full length novel – but have all had one crucial thing in common – they have all been penned by ‘Indie ‘ authors. That set me thinking… what is it that I like so much about reading books from hitherto unknown authors?
I have concluded that it is rather like opening a surprise present at Christmas as a child, when you really don’t know what’s inside the wrapping paper – somehow so much more exciting than shaking a familiar sized box with the dawning realisation that you are about to unwrap the fifth set of Mastermind in the space of ten minutes – yes it really did happen one year!
“Ooh, you’ll be able to have a tournament,” suggested sage Grandmother from her armchair… True, I thought, but cop this for a withering look, Grandma…
It’s the anticipation, the excitement and the raw enthusiasm of a new author’s work that I find so appealing. Are they perfectly edited? – no; are the plots ludicrously sophisticated or as highly polished as a Guardsman’s belt buckle? – er, no again; are the characters as deep as a Norwegian Fjord in Spring? – um, that’ll be a no, too; have the books been sanitised to within a hair’s breadth of disappearing up their own literary nether-regions? – well, um, actually, no…
PRECISELY… and that’s what I love about the work of new ‘Indie’ authors… it’s honest – it’s as the author intended it to be – untainted by the commercial considerations of a publishing house desperate to recoup its losses from yet another ‘celebrity’ memoir – unspoiled by an over-zealous editor commissioned by the red ink supplier…
The pricing of work by new authors in this fabulous digital age reflects the rawness, the strong possibility of the odd typo, the loose end not quite tied off , a character that perhaps doesn’t quite work or an unfeasible love interest… but it’s refreshing, new and exciting for all of its foibles. We know some will be good, some will be brilliant and we also accept that the odd one will be a disaster, but for goodness sake, where else can you buy several hours of pure non-chemical escapism from as little as $0.99? (please don’t answer that).
I’m prepared to take a punt on something new for less than the price of a small beer and I look forward to shouting about the e-books I like … how about you?
Cheers and happy reading!
Coming soon… E-bookmuncher’s review of ‘Belfast Girls’ and our interview with author, Gerry McCullough.
Take a look on the Author Interview and E-book Review pages to catch up with Robert’s news.
We are delighted that the October and November interview slots are already filled – an amazing response in less than 24 hours, so thank you!
If you wish to nominate an author or recommend an e-book for review for December and beyond, then please get in touch.