Ebook Anatomy: Title Page

Following the cover, a title page is the first page which reader will see.

Papeair automatically creates a nicely designed title page with the author’s name,  book title and a subtitle. It is consistent with the rest of your book and displays well no matter which device a reader uses!

Title PageTitle Page2

 

 

 

 

Choosing Keywords on Amazon

You are probably used to typing in a few important words or a question on Google and getting what you are looking for. In essence, Amazon keywords work the same way. When a potential customer is looking for a book, they can type in specific keywords (search terms). You want your book to pop up in any search where the subject of your book is relevant to the searcher. The question then becomes “How do I select keywords?”.

post3.jpg

The actual algorithm of Amazon’s search engine is obviously secret and under constant development, so it’s a good practice to revise the keywords you set from time to time.
The other reason to analyze and change the keywords at regular basis is to gain more visibility in Amazon categories. You may want to try fit into less crowded, less general but still relevant categories, with fewer listings. With fewer competitors, your book will be easier discoverable and visible to readers. Once your sales have increased, which gives you a higher ranking, you can find different keywords and jump to categories that are more competitive. This strategy will make a huge difference as long as you always aim to be on the first page of the results.

The basic types of keywords are setting, character types, character roles, plot themes, and story tone. For example, “The Hunger Games” could use the keywords strong female lead, coming of age, and dystopian society. You should separate all of your keyword phrases with commas. Another very important thing to remember is that it’s best not to use quotation marks. “Strong female lead” will only bring up your result if the searcher types in the full phrase. Without using quotation marks – Strong female lead – will yield your result even if they search for “female” or “female lead”.

Make sure your keywords are spelled correctly. Misspelled keywords won’t yield results unless the searcher misspells them also. Your keywords should be as specific as possible. Use different keywords to cover different aspects of your book. Think like a customer. What keywords would you use if you were searching for your book? Because of the similarities between the search engines, you can always try to take some inspiration from some free tools like Google keyword tool.

Most importantly, you should test your keywords. Type the keywords you have chosen into the Amazon search engine. If your book doesn’t seem to fit into the same category as your search results,  then change your keywords. Do this for all of the keywords you have chosen till you feel you have the right ones.

You are allowed to use up to seven keywords (as on KDP page, July 2016). Given that, and thanks to the fact that you are able to change the keywords you can check what works and what doesn’t. Find some long tail keywords and mix in some more popular search terms. Reviewing the results of how your book has performed will later show you the best direction.

 

What is Typesetting and Why Should You Care

post

You put lots of thought into your book. You consider the content you write and the eye catching cover of your book. What about the typesetting/formatting for your book? Do you think it is important?

Well, it really is!

Typesetting greatly affects the readability of your book. You are probably aware that grammar and spelling errors can distract the reader from the ideas you are trying to convey. Typesetting has a similar effect. The correct typeset will make it easier for the reader to comprehend the text. The wrong typeset will have the reader struggling to make sense of the text.

Readers don’t read individual letters. They read words. More familiar words are more easily recognized and read than unfamiliar ones. When readers read text they alternate between saccades (when the eye jumps from one point to another) and fixed periods. The text can only be comprehended during the fixed period.

saccades.jpg
The reading proces – illustration redrawn from Detail in Typography by Jost Hochuli  

The same text will be read differently when different typesetting is used. It affects how quickly the reader reads the text and how much they understand. Readers generally enjoy text that is easy to read, which is why typesetting is so important.

Before readers purchase a book they may look at a sample or flip through the text. The readability of the text may impact whether or not they choose to purchase the book. It may also affect whether or not they read through the entire book and how much they enjoy it. When people enjoy a book, they are likely to recommend it to a friend or leave good reviews.

All aspects of your book are important. The content, title, cover, and typesetting all come together to make your book successful or not.

Cover design research

The fact is that people do judge a book by it’s cover. When someone is browsing for a book, your cover can be the difference between them seeing what it’s all about and moving on to the next one. Have you ever seen a book with an eye catching cover, and you just had to see what it was about? That is why your cover is one of the most essential parts of your book.

22-05-2016 blog4.jpg

When you are researching inspirations for your book cover, you will want to look at other book covers. Looking at the ones that sell well is a good place to start. If you have a chance, walk around a bookshop in your neighbourhood, look at the bookshelves displaying books in your category. Make notes of what you like about them, and what you don’t like. Write down the titles of the books with the best and the worst covers.

You should also look on Amazon in the category where your book will be published. This will give you a feel for what others in your category are doing. Save the links or images for further reference.

Write down what you would like to see in your cover, and what you definitely don’t want. Your cover should look professional. This is one area where you get what you pay for, so don’t be afraid to spend some money to get a professional looking cover. Next, the cover should convey the general theme of the book. You should be able to get a sense of what the book is about by looking at the cover. You can do this through the pictures, the text, and the style. The style refers to the colors and fonts used. The best covers use all of these elements to convey their message.

The purpose of the cover is to entice the reader into learning more about the book. Setting the correct mood is probably the most important part of the cover. For fiction books, you want to evoke emotion. One way to do this is through color, in general, red and black convey fear. You can also do it through imagery. Very often a beautiful landscape appears on romance covers.

Create a moodboard or ask your designer to create one and brainstorm the ideas.

Last but not least, when your cover designer says this is the best cover, trust them. Assuming you followed my earlier advice and got a professional, you should take their opinion of which cover is the best very seriously. If you absolutely hate it, by all means choose something different, but if you think their choice is ok then go with it. You hired them for a reason.

How to share a book preview on Amazon

As some of you may already know, Amazon gives you a direct link to book preview. It’s a simple and effective “trick”that allows you to either share the sample with someone or link it to your website.

This preview includes all necessary links to buy a book and I think that it’s much nicer (and less confusing than sending directions to “Look inside”) way to share a book sample with someone. It requires just a single click and a reader will see:

AMAZONLINK6

followed by:

AMAZONLINK7

 

This is how you get the link:

  1. Go to your book page on Amazon.

AMAZONLINK

2. Click on the link in the right part of the page.

AMAZONLINK2

3. You will get a pop up with your cover preview on the right and some sharing options on the left.

AMAZONLINK3

4. Make sure you select “Get a link (URL)” option.

AMAZONLINK4

5. Click on the text box below (which should automatically select the link inside) and copy (ctrl/cmd+c) the link.

AMAZONLINK5

6. Share the link 🙂

Why Should You Hire an Editor?

7-05-20165354

What makes self-publishing great is that you don’t have to go through all the rigmarole of finding an agent and the waiting game with big publishers. You can just write and decide when you need a help of other people. It’s a good idea to hire a professional formatter and a cover designer – so your book looks as good as it’s possible. Who else? Well, if there is anyone who can help you shape your work before you release it out into the world, it should be an editor.

 

What exactly is an editor?

An editor is not, as some erroneously believe, a human version of a word processor. Their job is not to underline misspellings and sentence fragments in squiggly lines, although that may be part of it; broadly, their job is to improve your story while keeping it fundamentally true to itself.

There are different kinds of editors, depending on whether you’re in non-fiction, novel-writing or journalism, but here are a few: a content editor looks at big issues in your book like pacing, plot holes, consistent characterization and story arc.  After working with a content editor, your book may be very different and – if you’ve found an editor who works for you – will be a clearer version of itself. You bring the creativity and writing skill and everything else it takes to write a book; the editor is looking to bring clarity to your work.

A line editor looks for smaller-scale problems like unrealistic dialogue or unengaging description.  A copy-editor comes later in the process – they go through every line of your book with a fine-tooth comb, fact-checking, ensuring consistency and checking for issues with the mechanics of language like punctuation and spelling. A proof-reader is similar to a copy-editor in that they read through your book paying an extremely close eye to spelling, grammar and punctuation to save you from embarrassing typos in the final product. There’s little point in hiring a copy-editor or proof-reader before your plot and characters are sorted out, so it’s important to be organised when seeking editors.

 

What is a good editor, and how do you find them?

A good editor is one who gets your story, one who understands the crux about which everything turns, but who is emotionally removed and skilled enough to critically appraise it and reshape it to make it into the best version of itself. One person may be good at both content editing and line editing or great at one and awful at the other, or you may find that someone is an excellent line editor for you but you don’t agree on fundamental story issues so you might hire two editors.

Finding an editor can be tricky. If you have a strong network of published writers, start there by asking them about their editors and following those leads. Otherwise, try going to the bookstore and looking through the Acknowledgements pages of books in your genre. You can get advice from other writers on various forums including NaNoWriMo, Absolute Write and Goodreads.

The crucial value of editors lies in their training and detachment from your novel. You can’t look at your own work from an outside perspective and neither can your friends and family. Good editors are both impartial and trained in reshaping stories until they shine. Oh, and remember – even authors seeking traditional publishing can benefit from an editor’s insight.

10 Easy Secrets to Make Yourself a Better Writer

Not all writing advice works for every writer. Take these ideas with a grain of salt. Try them, but if they don’t work for you, throw them out. Do what makes writing make sense for you.

1-05-20165353.jpg

Read It Out Loud
This may seem deceptively simple, but reading your work out loud can be very enlightening. Your ear will pick up on awkward phrasing that you might otherwise miss. If it sounds weird to say it out loud, you should change it.

Finish What You Start
If you never finish anything, chances are you’ll become really great at beginnings and be terrible at endings. When you write, practice finishing what you start that way you’ll practice everything.

Write What You Know – So Know Something
Most people get this piece of writing advice all wrong. You shouldn’t limit yourself to writing only about your life experiences. If your story is about pirates for example, learn to sail a boat. Find a captain to talk to. Do anything that will help get you in the mindset of your characters.

Do Something Unexpected
If you get stuck or your feel the momentum in your story lagging, do something the audience, the character, and maybe even you, as the author, aren’t expecting. The audience shouldn’t trust you. Leave them questioning everything.

Kill Your Darlings
That is, cut things from the story that don’t push the plot along, even if it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever written. Each paragraph, each sentence, even each word must serve the story and move it forward.

The Gun Must Go Off
Chekhov’s gun is a principle that says if a gun is introduced in the first act, it must go off by the third act. In other words, everything is circular. Elements introduced at the beginning should circle back around by the end. Nothing stands alone.

Stories Aren’t a Straight Line
Complicate things. Are things as bad as they can get? Make it worse. Do the characters think they’ve won? Maybe it’s a false victory. Keep the audience guessing.

Read Outside Your Genre
The old saying is true – not all readers are writers, but all writers should be readers. Expand your literary diet. If you write fantasy, read biographies. If you write westerns, read romances and so on. Be insatiable.

Characters Drive Plot
But the plot should not drive the characters. Audiences will begin to hate characters that make stupid decisions just because the plot forces them to. Plots rise out of human conflict. There’s always a question beating at the heart of a plot: what does the character want and why can’t she have it?

Sometimes the most obvious thing isn’t obvious at all. Writers write. The only way to get better at writing is to write. It’s not always bad to aim for quantity over quality, because eventually quality will come. Stop talking about writing and thinking about writing and just go do it.