Indie Publishing: The Book Cover

Today I  received the proofs for the cover of my book Hattie’s Place and could not wait to open the files. As a part of the publishing services which I purchased, the CreateSpace design team created two covers for me to choose from. This was after I had completed a form in which I was asked a number of detailed questions about the setting, plot, and storyline of the book, as well as about my vision for the cover.

With the form in hand, the coordinator of my design team set up a collaborative conference call to finalize the details. I had two pictures in my head of how the cover might look. One, was of a rural landscape of upcountry South Carolina with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background–muted colors with a water-color appearance; something like a wagon or dirt road included to suggest an earlier time, but definitely not to suggest a Civil War theme, as my novel is set in 1907.  The other was a picture in a Victorian frame, of a woman or a family, in black and white or sepia, with cursive letters used for the title, and with a nostalgic feel.

When I opened the file of the proofs, I was not overwhelmed with the landscape cover. However, the one with the image was exactly what I wanted. The picture of a woman is cropped to emphasize the white cotton dress she is wearing. The dress is trimmed in lace, nipped in at the waist, and falls to the ankle, revealing only the tops of her shoes. The colors are muted gold and green, and the text boxes are highlighted in a beautiful purple (Go Furman Paladins!) The title is in handwritten script, with the author’s name in Century Condensed font and the back cover in New Baskerville. The overall impression is romantic and nostalgic.

I was also extremely pleased with the back cover text that the marketing team had created from the preliminary questionnaire I had filled out. Since this is my first novel, I do not have any endorsement quotes to include on my cover. Thus, the back cover is filled with a summary of the book and a brief author biography with picture. The front cover simply displays the image, the title, and the author name.

In addition to creating the back cover text, the marketing team also provided me with a set of Marketing Copy Essentials: a tagline or “elevator pitch” to use in marketing the book; suggested keywords that customers are likely to use when searching for titles similar to my book; a suggested  category that will impact how buyers and sellers will locate the title on Amazon or other sales channels; and, a 200-word marketing synopsis. All of the materials, including the print-ready file of the cover, are mine to use and replicate as I promote the book through various media sources.

In future publications, I will probably forgo the expense of the marketing services for $399. CreateSpace offers excellent do-it-yourself support materials which are all free, and which I used in publishing Retirement: A Journey not a Destination. But this time, I wanted to see how a marketing professional would approach the writing of the tagline and the synopsis, so that I could compare it to my own style for future reference. I was pleased that I could approve the Marketing Copy Essentials with only one minor change. I have to admit that my copywriter displayed a knack for choosing attention-grabbing words and phrases, and for identifying the main plot points that would be attractive to readers. Her tagline and synopsis had more “bling” than mine would have had. Still, I believe that I can develop my own copywriting skills to the point that I will be able to write my own materials for the next book.

In that case, I could still choose to have my cover designed by CreateSpace. All I would need to do is to upload a file of the text–synopsis of the book and author bio–onto my author dashboard and the design team would insert it into the text boxes on the cover. My point is that, in terms of levels of support, there are really so many choices for the Indie author when publishing with CreateSpace. 

At this point, I have reviewed and approved the cover design and text. (At each stage, the editing process is open and changes can be made without additional expense until the author approves the work in that particular stage. Any changes after the approval will be done at additional expense to the author.)

In about two weeks, I will be given a chance to review the interior formatting of the book. After that is approved, CreateSpace will send me a printed draft copy of the book. When I approve the draft copy, the book will be listed for sale on Amazon, available in print-on-demand hard copy or Kindle version. The title will be displayed next to a thumbnail sketch of the cover and the 200 word synopsis that the copyeditor provided. (Again, any changes made after approval will be at additional cost.)

If all goes well, I should have a publication date for Hattie’s Place in the next week or so.




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