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12
Feb

The Complete Guide to Choosing Your Book Cover Font with Examples

(This article was updated on 03.08.2017)

We already wrote about how important it is to get your book cover design right: first impressions count, as you might not get a second chance. In case you missed it, you can see some book cover examples and read more about 3D covers here. There is an important  detail that many people overlook when designing their book cover (or when deciding whether to accept a proposed book cover design): the typeface.

Don’t look puzzled: just because you are not likely to pay any attention to them, fonts still do matter. Have you ever felt when looking at a piece of advertisement that there is something wrong with it, but you cannot tell it’s cause? The font needs to match the genre and your style. It is easy to get it wrong but can be a great tool emphasizing your message. You can hire the best photographer or artist to create your book cover picture, but if you don’t get your typography right, your book is still going to look cheap or out of genre.

When bringing a book to the market, you want people to think that you put a lot of effort into publishing it. If it looks cheap, they will think you don’t care enough.

In this article, we are going to guide you through the process of choosing the best font for your cover with great examples. Starting with general rules, we are going to analyze the trends of the most popular genres to give you the best advice possible. If you think we missed something, or have some nice covers to show off, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.

How to get fonts and what (not) to do with them

Placement

Book title font generator

Non-fiction book cover fonts

Horror book cover fonts

Comic book cover fonts

Romance book cover fonts

Sci-fi book cover fonts

Fantasy book cover fonts

Children’s books cover fonts

List of fonts

General rules for book cover fonts

How to get fonts and what (not) to do with them

Legal bits

We thought it is best to get the nasty part out of the way: make sure your font is free to use, or pay for the one you really need. You definitely wouldn’t want somebody to just use your book however they like – neither want typographers. So make sure you read the small print and check if the font is free to use for commercial purposes. Most typefaces come with a built-in theft check feature: you can use them on your computer, but cannot embed them into a pdf (and that is needed for your cover to look the same on every computer and even in print). If you are not sure, you can easily find out who owns the font (it can be the designer or a company) and ask them to clarify. There are a lot more variety in commercial fonts and sometimes you might have to purchase one, but you can find a list of nice free to use font collections at the end of this article.

Aim big

There are two different categories of typefaces: text or display. Some fonts are designed for several blocks of written text, and they must be both aesthetic and legible. They work best between 6pt and 14pt (points). And some fonts are designed to look better while displaying a message, creating a certain feeling or impression. They draw attention. They work well when used in larger sizes. Many fonts available have both text and display variants: they look the same at first, but the important difference lies in the small details. The fonts.com website brings a perfect example of a font which has a text, a display and a banner variation. The display version seems much lighter.

Text, display and banner book font example(Source: fonts.com)

This is why it is advisable to, choose a display font, as you are aiming for a large font size on your book cover. Did we say large? Yes, when it comes to titles, size matters. You want your title to be legible even in a thumbnail. Don’t be afraid that it covers your carefully chosen book cover image (but you can play around that with a smart layout, which you’ll see in the next chapter).

Once you are confident that it looks good, stand up from the computer, take a couple of steps back and check it from a distance. It gives you a perspective of how your potential readers are likely to see it. (Or just zoom out to make it thumbnail size: around 100px.)

Treat your typeface with care

There is a last core rule: do not play with the typefaces. Do not stretch them or try to change them in any other way. These fonts are carefully designed to look perfect (as a text or as a block), so if you disorientate them, the results are likely to look bad. (Little tricks are allowed, though, especially if your primary language of publication is not English: we all know of missing ő-s and ű-s, or other tricky letters which can be easily created with InDesign – I’ll share the trick another time.) Most fonts come with different weights, more than just simple bold or italic; if your font can’t do what you want from it, use a different one.

There is an area, though, where you are likely to have to manipulate your font: the kerning. The spacing between the letters is not only important for aesthetical reasons but because poor kerning can cause letters or even words to grow together in a way it wasn’t intended.

Placement

Moving on to the fun part. As it is with everything in the book industry, no hard rules are defining your cover layout. We can give you one advice though: sometimes less is more. Yes, you want your book cover to stand out and to be unique, but sometimes the simplest typeface will do the trick. In the following, we show you great book cover examples where the uniqueness lies not in the selection per se, but in other typographic solutions.

Try playing around with different versions of the same font for author and title: bold for the title and roman for the author (roman is the proper term for a non-bold, non-italic typeface). On the novel The Light Between Oceans, the same font is used for the author’s name as for the title. Small, weightless words, like “the” could be well played with, as you see it being cursive and differently cased. They also played with colors: the title is yellow which resembles light. The Kawasaki cover is also simple: one typeface, two main colors, some italic. (But note that the rules are different for non-fiction book covers; more on this with examples later.)

Note that the designer here plays with space: the emptiness creates the illusion of lightness for the origami butterfly. The added review pieces could also bring extra attention if you keep them subtle enough. Us and Look Who’s Back are perfect examples of how a well-placed title and original typography can be the fundamental (or the only!) element of a cover.

Well-placed title and original typography on a book cover

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different alignments. As you already see from the examples above, no strict rules are defining the placement of the author and title. The author’s name can be at the top or the bottom, the title can either be at the top, center or bottom.

Don’t forget: the most important is to get it to harmonize with your cover image, your genre, and your style. For inspiration and good examples, check your favorite books, go to a bookstore or just search “beautiful covers” (as you most certainly already did). The best advice we can give you on this topic is the following: use the main tropes of your genre to guide your readers and help them discover you. Based on the cover, they have to be able to guess what to expect when opening your book, or it shoud be tempting enough to be interested in it. And then hook them up with something that is special and makes you stand out from the thousands of other books on your submarket.

Book title font generator

Book title font generators could be an easy and great way to test many different fonts and settings without actually having to download and install the fonts on your computer. (Which can be a bit of a pain if we are talking about the hundreds of fonts you might want to try.) The only downfall is that we didn’t come across one we would be happy to use. Most of them bring out my childhood memories of WordArt: if you are too young to remember, the built-in Word function enabled people to quickly turn their text into fancy, colourful, 3D logos. It’s best not to use them. Do not use any effect either. If you want your title to be written in style of Stranger Things, there are websites that can do the trick, but it is inelegant and likely to be illegal. So far, the only website we think worth mentioning is the 1001 fonts: this is not a generator per se, but it lets you use your own text when previewing the fonts, which is rather useful.

Stranger Things font used as a book cover

 

Book cover fonts by genre

The daunting task of curating and compiling hundreds of fonts into genre themed pictures has been beautifully done by Derek Murphy and is perfect as it is. He doesn’t say anything about his selection method, however, which is pretty significant if you set out to find your own cover font. We do. (Please bear in mind that we mostly monitor the English and US market. The trends can be completely different in other countries.) In the following, we help you to find the most beautiful book cover fonts by genre with great examples..

Non-fiction book cover fonts

The least we can give is a simple rule: use sans-serif. Most designers of the best non-fiction book covers do. Sans-serif fonts suggest modernity, honesty (well, at least for me they do, but there must be a reason why they are so popular). They look straightforward and professional – and this is exactly how you would like to be perceived when publishing a non-fiction. Cookbooks, self-help books and academic anthologies all work well with sans-serif. A handwritten title looks very well on biographies, if balanced out with the author’s name in sans-serif and the title being still legible. (If you can’t read the title of the Lauren Graham biography, you are not alone. I keep reading “as I ow”, which doesn’t mean anything. Do you remember what we said about the importance of kerning?)

Non-fiction book cover font examples

The current trend is the extreme use of bright colours and a light background. All of the above examples have a balanced, symmetrical layout (I really like the diagonal cut of the Graham book), with center-aligned titles. All titles are capitalized entirely. The designer of the Stalin book chose a “communist feel” font to emphasize the theme and set the function words (“and the”) a couple of points smaller.

The first font we tried out is Route 159, which is free for commercial use. The package contains light, regular, bold, heavy and italic versions and a combination of these; we chose heavy. A font like this works very well even if used in inverse, putting a pattern under them on a blank cover.

Book cover with inverse font and patterned background

 

Widolte light is not free, therefore you can only see the demo version. We used this simple type to show a bad example of placement: if your title resembles a humming top, change something.

Horror book cover fonts

Look away now, if horror is not your genre because the following images might be disturbing for some. Blood, ghosts, bones, and Victorian dolls: all well-used elements of the horror book market. When it comes to typefaces, a bit of fading, some blood drops or fangs can add some spookiness to your cover. Don’t overdo it, though: if the font has some letters with additional drawing, it only looks good if the letter doesn’t repeat within the title (for this, see examples below). Depending on which age your horror is set in, goth fonts can work very well; or the simplest sans-serif for a modern setting.

 

Cocaine Sans font with the words Last Turn

I used the font called Cocaine Sans for this text: it is a great font, free to use, but notice how silly the two T-s look next to each other. A font like this only works if your title contains different letters only. On this note, I definitely would not pay $60 for a cover like the Hellhole below, straight from The Book Cover Designer website. They don’t specify the font, but it would work much better if only one of the L-s would be fancy.

Nightmare 5 font with the words Out of Coffee

 

Nightmare 5 is such a great font that we were happy to use it for spelling out our biggest nightmare. It fades and has a grunge quality, but is still easy to read, and has a bit of Scooby-Doo-y playfulness. It is free for private use, but must purchase for commercial use.

Horror book cover font good examples

The Kevin Brockmeier book is an excellent example of the typeface being unnoticeable. The placement draws your attention to the middle of the picture, so at first, you might not even notice what is so spooky about this cover. The title is in all capitals (it is ok for horrors, but not advisable every genre) and sans-serif, combined with the author’s nem in serif.

The amazing covers of the Vintage series are well known for everyone. When reprinting a classic, it is extremely common to use a serif font. Since the author is world famous, they can afford to “hide” him in the corner, with his first name left out. The used font is subtle, it could come preinstalled on anyone’s computer. (But it doesn’t.)

Horror covers usually use dark backgrounds and “spiky” decorations, tall fonts, just like on the cover of the Palahniuk book. This cover is a fantastic example of how a good font supports the cover picture. You might have to hire a professional for a cover like that unless you have a very talented friend whom you can bribe with chocolate.

Comic book cover fonts

The rules are much less specific when it comes to comic books, as it is more of a medium than a genre: there are horror comic books, romantic comic books, non-fiction comic books, classic superhero comics, graphic novels, manga and so many more. The designer has to place the book not only within the medium, but also the different subgenre; not to forget the difficult choice regarding the fonts (a different one for main text, one for non-human sounds, several for signage) within the book. What we said about style, is even more relevant for comics.

Pick the craziest fonts for the cover, bright colors, usually all caps, title almost exclusively on the top or in the upper middle part (so it is easy to flip through them in a comic book store). For this, we can’t recommend a font, but provide a selection of our favorite comic book covers.

Comic book cover font good examples

Yes, we know that these covers go against everything we stated so far. Neil Gaiman’s name is written vertically, which would be a big No for most genres. On the next cover, at least two different types are used, and both are serif. This violates the first rule of typography: do not use two conflicting fonts. On a comic book, it works. Persepolis is a great example of how the simplest font can show off on the cover if it matches the image in style. The title of the Atwood comic has a yellow shadow to make it pop out of the picture; while it would not work for most genres and is widely resented, it is not the same regarding comic books.

Romance book cover fonts

Let’s change the pattern and start with some terrible examples. We need to warn you: these are all real books available on Amazon that came out recently.

The first book is an excellent example of an ugly cover made by a traditional publishing house to appear in print. The author’s name is almost unreadable due to the small spacing – it would have worked better in a smaller size but with decently spaced letters. A bulletproof solution would have been to use the author’s initials: Jacqueline H. Butler, J. H. Butler, J. Harmon Butler all fit nicely on the cover with a more rounded type. (We don’t dare to assume that they pushed the font together, so it fits.) The red used for the name is a surprising choice since it stands out of the image’s main color scheme; unless there are vampires in the story (which we doubt). The way they broke the title is non-aesthetic, the function word “to” sits oddly before “Paris.”

We now have to repeat the obvious: make your title BIG. Even on the real sized cover, we can hardly read the title and the author of the second book. Please drop Comic Sans and don’t use black on a dark background. Same goes for the third book: drop Comic Sans. It is silly to use a font to sell a product, which is hated by enough people for the BBC to  write about it.

The fourth book might be appealing to the German audience, but the use of four different fonts is distracting. There is also too much information on the cover: five lines, all different colors, each used with different effect.

Romance book cover font good examples

This out of the way, let’s talk about tendencies. Warm colors, ornamental, serif fonts are a must. Handwritten, calligraphic fonts could also work, if you make sure that it is still readable.

The most perplexing font we came across is the Calissa Words (free for personal use) which gives you a set of words with ligatures, but no letters. You get the words assigned to the letters of the keyboard. It is odd, but the type is indeed beautiful. This is what I get when I type my name (6 letters) in:

Calissa font with ligatures

I like Lavenda (free for private use) for no apparent reason. It is a simple, lovely and easy to read handwritten font.

Lavenda handwritten font example

For a younger audience, teen romance, LT Chickenhawk is a perfect choice. The genre also calls for no capitalization.

LT Chickenhawk, a font example for younger generations

It is best if we just stop here for a second. The WOW! (Women on Writing) has published a compelling article about how covers are the main tool in dividing the market into women’s fiction (“serious literature”) and chick lit (“easy read”).

Women’s fiction versus chick lit style books

(Source of the picture: wow-womenonwriting.com)

You can use this opposition for your own advantage by designing your cover bearing in mind what you want people to think of it and where on the market would you like to be positioned.

Sci-fi book cover fonts

Okay, this is an easy one again: there are tons of futuristic, light, sans-serif fonts on the market. Sci-fi books usually come with a dark cover and light title, using pastel colors. If you want to see some horrible examples, there is a whole website dedicated to them (also includes fantasy books, but usually showing vintage editions), but we are only going to show nice ones.

Sci-Fi Book cover font good examples

The rounded, thick sans-serif fonts and all capitals for both the author’s name and the title make these covers similar. The layout of the cover is not strictly set.

The last of these covers is strikingly different: it would very well fit among the above-mentioned “Women Fiction.”

It is purposefully deceptive; it makes you expect something from the 1800s: a serif font, traditional author – title placement, ornamental pattern under the title. The readers it aims to reach are not the “traditional” sci-fi audience, but whoever would take the Memoirs of a Geisha off the shelves.

Cold Waters font book cover example

Cerena is an excellent sci-fi font, free for private use, but we wouldn’t choose it without knowing how to use InDesign. Can you see the gap between the A and T in the first picture? It is a straight cut line between the two letters. This bad kerning didn’t happen because the designers didn’t know what they were doing, but because MsWord is a text editor, not a publishing tool. Just use the font in InDesign, and the gap is gone, without us having to change anything. (The font comes with capitals only.)

Among stars book cover font example

Not Just Groovy (free for personal use) is my favorite of all fonts listed in this article, and I can’t think of a book on which it wouldn’t look good. The use of all lowercase is also common for sci-fi.

Fantasy book cover fonts

Great fantasy books (luckily for us, readers) always come in series. A well chosen font and placement will make your book recognizable from far away: your fans will instantly spot your book anywhere. Some examples below include the great urban fantasy series of Ben Aaronovitch and everyone’s favourite epos by George R. R. Martin. I’m sure you get the idea.

Ben Aaronovitch fantasy book series covers

George R.R. Martin fantasy book series covers

These authors succeeded in building an brand for the author, because the book covers follow a theme, a structure: same typeface, similar alignment, different colour scheme. (Which is great if you spot somebody reading them on the underground.) Even if you are not planning to write a series of books, it helps if your fantasy book covers share some design elements.

For a fantasy book, your cover has to convey the mood of the book. It also helps if your cover image orients the reader: when and where in the fictional world are we? Is it hot or cold? Is there magic? But remember to never disclose too much, don’t ruin your readers’ surprise and journey of discovery.

Optimus Princeps (left) is a great serif, all caps font. It is ideal for all your fantasy needs from Middle Earth to Gilead.

Optimus Princeps fantasy book cover font Oranienbaum fantay book cover font

 

 

 

 

 

Oranienbaum (right) is a well balanced, light and modern serif font which would look great on any urban fantasy or anything set after an imaginary 19. century.

Children’s book cover fonts

We already wrote about self-publishing a children’s book, but didn’t talk about cover fonts in that article. No wonder: this is such a huge cathegory, it includes books from toddlers to pre-teens.

However, there are a couple of guidelines. Children’s books, similar to fantasy books, are likely to come in series. Aim for a unique style, a brand you can keep and which mums and kids easily recognise. You can use bold colours and creative, handwritten-style fonts.

Harry Potter book cover children's book font example

Surfing Capital is an amazing, brush-like font in all caps. I can easily imagine it used on a book for a toddler or pre-schooler. The letters are easy to read, which can also be important.

Surfing capital brush like font

(Source: sellfy.com)

Bakery is an amazing free for personal use script with great ligatures and a wide range of possible usages. It is not as easy to read as the previous one, but kids from 8-9 years old will likely be able to tackle with it.

 

Bakery font, ideal for books for 8-9 year olds

(Source: stereo-type.fr)

List of fonts

All in all: try to find the balance in book cover design. Try out different typefaces and layouts, until your book is great to look at (and your title is legible in thumbnail size). There is obviously no one-size-fits-all solution for your typography problems, but trained eyes will easily notice if something is about to go terribly off.

If you are still with us, you deserve to check our list of free or easy to buy font collections we came across. Thanks for reading and please use the comments section to share everything we don’t know about. Happy publishing!

MyFonts – A collection of the best-known typefaces globally. The fonts are free to try but come with a charge if you want to use them.

Behance Free Fonts – Amazing fonts shared by the design giant Adobe

1001 Fonts and Dafont – Huge collections of fonts with straightforward signage of licensing and direct link to the designers. Bonus points for the Donate button.

Font Squirrel – A beautiful selection of free for commercial use fonts. Motto: who has time to pick from thousands?

CreativeBloq – With descriptions as specified as “high-contrast serif display fonts,” this website has something for everyone.

10
Feb

How Self-Publishing Works in India

There’s a lot of innovation and experimentation happening in the Indian book publishing industry. In this article, you will learn how the book market and the self-publishing industry works in India. Which is expected to explode very soon!  You can read some useful tips how to publish a book in India and about the whole self-publishing process which we cover here through a success story. The book industry worth over 7 billion dollar approximately and growing at around 20% every year.

The Indian book market overview

Overview of publishing in India

 

The Indian book market can be described in one word: complex.

As the 6th biggest market in the world by GDP, the economy is thriving. There are higher literacy levels, and the book market is getting ready for ebooks. Behind the US and UK, India ranks 3rd in the world in English language publishing. In fact, it is one of the very few markets globally that is still increasing in both print and digital publishing. The market in India is extremely fragmented, demographically.

There are 22 official languages, English is one of them, but Hindi is the most common one. There are 122 major languages and close to 1600 additional ones. Languages are thriving in India, for instance, you can expect a renewed interest in buying and reading Hindi books.

Marathi, Malyalam, Bengali, Telugu and Tamil languages also have a strong culture of reading. The fragmented nature of publishing comes from the diverse social and economic levels across the country and from the fact that a few large retail chains are dominating the market while there are hundreds of small, independent bookstores and unorganized retailers. There’s not much publishing data coming in from the Indian market, which makes it harder to represent the market and create a full study on the subject. However, Nielsen has a report about the Indian book market that tries to quantify a complex market. There are still issues though such as the fact that a large number of publishers, especially in Indian languages do not use ISBNs. Another problem is that the market is still fragmented and lacks marketing and distribution support for self-publishers. However, a consolidation has already started thanks to the government that allows a 100% foreign direct investment resulting in the involvement of foreign multinationals. Amazon’s purchase of Westland, which is one of the top publishing houses in India, is a great example of this consolidation process.

The growing population of the youth, who is becoming literate and educated, brings a tremendous opportunity for market growth in the publishing industry, especially in the educational sector. No surprise that educational books dominate the overall Indian book market with 70%. The other 30% of books published are trade books. However, in monetary terms,  academic books account for 40% of sales, trade books account for 30% and the remaining are children books. About 50,000 publishers publish a volume of 120,000 books each year, nearly half of the titles are in Hindi and English. This puts India at the 7th rank globally in terms of the number of books published.

The biggest players on the market are Amazon and Flipkart. The business model of Amazon in India differs from the one in the US. While in America Amazon has two business models: ecommerce and it is a marketplace for third party sellers. In India however, Amazon.in needed to develop multiple business models because of the characteristics of the market. Flipkart’s ebooks catalogue was bought by Rakuten (Kobo) in 2015, so there should be exciting strategic developments in the future.

The internet penetration is growing fast; the online market is globally among the fastest growing ones in India which manifest in more content consuming online and through devices, especially mobile phones.

When it comes to accessing the internet, India is a mobile-first country with 900 million users of whom 42% have already purchased digital content. Thus ebook sales are driven by smartphones, tablets and mobile commerce. As the Indian ebook market gets more and more mature, e-reader devices are picking up slowly but surely.

Although they have not been particularly popular so far which has to do a lot with the significant presence of the younger generation that prefers tablets and smartphones over ebook readers. Therefore, content publishing startups like Pratilipi, Matrubharti or Juggernaut have a significant advantage. Another reason to consume content from these app-based platforms is that a lot of Indian language books are not available as ebooks, so there’s no need to buy an e-reader.

 

Digital publishing

The Indian ebook segment is an arising market with lots of potential. It is projected to be an 85 million dollar industry in 2016 and is expected to grow 3 to 5 times in the next three years.Ebooks in Indian languages are slowly increasing due to the technological challenges.
Internet usage and ebooks

There’s a lack of support for Indic scripts by the reading devices. However, free content is a key element of adopting ebooks in India. 62% of the publishers are currently publishing ebooks, and the biggest market for ebooks right now is the higher education sector. Although, ebooks at the moment have less than 10% market share in India, according to the projections by 2020 this number is going to be 25%.

 

Self-publishing in India

In terms of self-publishing, we can distinguish two markets in India:  books in English and books written in native languages. Kindle has a strong presence in India, and it supports content from Indian languages such as Hindi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Tamil or Marathi. Kobo has a store. However there’s been not much activity happening from Kobo in India. Lately, it is more known for its e-reader than its ebooks.

As a self-publisher, there are plenty of options to choose if you want to self-publish a book to the Indian market. You’ll basically become an authorpreneur who has to think beyond writing and have control on all parts of the process. As soon as you publish your books, they will be available globally. Meanwhile, if you go the traditional way, you’ll only responsible for the writing process and don’t have to worry about distribution or promotion. However, it is not easy to win a publishing contract in India. Many people write a book, but only a few can get it published which also takes up a lot of time and the publisher keeps most of the profits. Moreover, the traditional publishing industry in India is dominated by 6-10 big publishers and most of the bestselling authors are associated with them. As for self-publishing in India you have different options and it’s totally up to you how much you are willing to spend on marketing and promoting your book.

Below, we collected two services you can choose from to self-publish your ebook:

  • Pothi: a self-publishing and print on demand company in India. They offer editing and cover design services for ebooks which can be submitted as PDF or MS Word or as an EPUB file. Your books will be sold through Pothi.com store only, and your royalty is 75% of the MRP (Maximum Retail Price, described below)
  • Cinnamonteal: offers ebook conversion (PDF, EPUB, MOBI formats) and worldwide distribution services Apple, Amazon, B&N etc.). You can also include video and audio clips into your ebooks and create audiobooks as well.

For regional languages the biggest players on the market are Dailyhunt and Matrubharti. Dailyhunt is India’s largest local language ebook store that provides books in multiple Indian languages. It offers 20-25% royalties for independent authors and 35-40% royalties for publishers. Matrubharti is a self-publishing startup platform for regional language writers. It uses subscription service for generating revenues and has developed an author community to translate the content from English to Indian languages in exchange for commissions.

If you want your books to be ready for the Indian market as a non-Indian author, you should consider the following aspects before you publish:

  • Content: if your book is written in English, how do you get that translated?
  • Technology: converting your book to an electronic format will affect your script and fonts
  • Marketing: to invest in marketing, know your readers and reach out to them

 

Self-publishing in India

One of the most successful self-publishers in India, Rasana Atreya. 

Her bestseller novel Tell A Thousand Lies was shortlisted for an award in 2012. Rasana left her job to follow her dreams to be a writer. She turned down an offer by a leading Indian publishing company and decided to self-publish her books. She wanted to keep digital rights, royalties and the entire publishing process in her hands. And it turned out to be the best decision she could have ever done. As she says:

„Self-publishing your book might seem overwhelming and scary, but it ends up being the right choice for many writers.”

According to her, if you want to self-publish your book, you need to devote an enormous amount of time for research and preparation to understand the self-publishing process. She also had her books edited, formatted and designed professionally. Rasana’s books based on social issues that affect rural India with a hint of tragedy and comedy elements. She writes about topics that are close to her heart. She also points out the importance of marketing your ebook. She is active on her social media channels, operates a blog page and often asks fellow authors and critics to review her books which can boost her sales.

Which genres perform well in India?

There’s a high demand for contemporary Indian writing in English. It is easier to sell a nonfiction book in India. As for fiction, it’s a very niche market with an overall rate of 10-12%. The hot topics are social media and startups while self-help and leadership books are evergreen categories. If your plan is to write a book for the Indian market start with ebooks, don’t try to get into the print market. Paperbacks in India are not that profitable because most of them are relatively cheap.

How to price your book for the Indian market?

Pricing a book right is probably the biggest question every author has come across. Pricing an English book particularly for the Indian market can be an issue. However, what you can do is to use the thumb rule which is usually one rupee (Indian currency) per page for paperback and 60% of it for ebooks. There’s an index called MRP (Maximum Retail Price) for that which is calculated by the type of the print book (Paperback/Hardcover), size of the book and the number of pages. Make sure to actually price your book for the indian market not just convert your local currency price into rupees.

Traditional publishers in India offer discounts on the selling price (50-60%), so regarding independent authors, who are trying to adjust their pricing strategy, the MRP index might not be the most profitable solution. In this case, the focus should be more on targeted marketing, finding who your readers are and invest more in that.

As you could see, interesting dynamics have been going on in the Indian publishing industry. Self-publishing is becoming bigger and bigger due to the many self-publishing services that have been launched recently, but it still has a long way to go. More and more authors are starting to realize the potential of DIY publishing in India, but there are still issues for publishers to overcome such as book discovery, finding the right price, piracy and investing in strengthening their marketing efforts online.

However, the popularity of ebooks is rising in the country, and the increasing number of self-publishing platforms that support authors to write, proves that India is going to be a major player on the publishing market that no one should ignore. PublishDrive is selling ebooks to the Indian market through Google Play, Scribd, Kobo and Amazon. Besides the big retailers, via PublishDrive your books can be published directly to Indian stores such as to Rockstand, one of the largest ebook stores in India. More stores are coming soon!

If you have more questions how to publish a book in India, feel free to leave a comment and share it!

 

Special thanks to Amar Vyas, host of MyKitaab Podcast who was a major help putting this article together. Check out his podcasts here.

 

05
Jan

A Complete Guide to 3D Book Covers

(This article was updated on 15.08.2017)

You can’t judge a book by its cover. Still, people do it all the time.

Some authors on the market could sell a book with only their name printed on a black cover, but let’s be honest: we are not there yet. For mere mortals, covers are just as important in marketing as the catchy title and interesting blurb. You can try and design it for yourself or pay a pro to do it for you. Here are the pros and cons of 2D and 3D book covers, and some of the most popular cover design websites.

Advantages and disadvantages of 3D book covers

A 3D cover is an excellent thing to have: makes your book look “real” – and you feel like a real writer! With the help of the right software, you can easily create images that look like photos of printed books. If you would like to use your cover for marketing purposes, a 3D rendering of your 2D cover is necessary.

Your 3D book cover then can be used in your author email signature, share it on social media platforms and websites, and create amazing looking banners.

3D book covers work well with any genre: authors from all over the sprectum, including fiction and non-fiction use them.

However, you cannot use 3D covers in most online shops: they would not only look out of place on a virtual bookshelf, but are forbidden. The iTunes guide explicitly says (12.9): “The art can’t be a setup shot, three-quarter image, or a 3D representation of the book. Don’t use photographs of the book’s physical cover as cover art.”

So impressive as they look, you shouldn’t use 3D covers anywhere else than on your website and social media.

Hire a professional

I consider myself fairly creative: I’m a person of words. When it comes to design, however, I can’t tell good from bad.

Thankfully, it is not difficult to find a professional designer for designing a 3D cover. If you don’t have a friend who is a pro in InDesign or PhotoShop, pick one of the following websites to do the job for you. (If your favourite website is not on the list, please tell us about it in the comments.)

3d book covers - A Wall for teeth and stingers - Blacktip Island - The deep within

Ebooklaunch.com offers a full service. You can select a package consisting of either an ebook cover or both ebook and print cover, then share your ideas about what you would like to see (they also help you out, if you have absolutely no idea), pay by Paypal and receive your cover by email within 14 days. If you are not satisfied, they change it for you or give a full refund. The ebook only package costs $349, and it even includes a 3D book cover generator for marketing purposes. Still not convinced? Check out the full portfolio here. (We’re not affiliated with them in any way, just really like the service.)

3d book covers -The Wayfaring Swan - House of Tears - Chained

If you are looking for something more affordable, Vila Design can do pretty much the same thing, but for a fraction of the price. Starting at $45 and increasing with the number of stock images used and photo manipulation required, their covers are beautiful and available for everyone.

They also offer a 3D cover service and can design a whole marketing package including Facebook banners and bookmarks.

3D book covers - Achilles vs. Mecha-Hector - Willows of Fate - They Call Me Alexandra Gastone

Fiona Jayde Media provides plot help, layout design (page setting), cover design (with the possibility of a photoshoot with a professional photographer!) and a video trailer (yes, book trailers are on and trending). The options are endless: for $50, she generates 3D books from your cover, for $100 extra she gives you the banners and avatars necessary for your branding. Pick the package that is right for you or ask her for a quote.

Make it for yourself

If you are at least a bit more visual than I am, you can set out making your own book cover. There is nobody to know your book and your ideas better than you anyway.

This guide is specifically focused on designing 3D book covers, but we already have articles on book cover fonts, book cover sizes and book title punctuation:

On Canva, you can design your own book cover for free. With a simple Google or Facebook login, you can use it either online or on your iPad.

I spent a good 25 minutes playing with it and creating the design below: it is quite simple to use and offers tons of free or cheap pictures, fonts and layouts. You can also upload your own pictures (just make sure that you’re only using loyalty free pictures on your cover).

Some pictures appear to be free at first glance, but if you are planning on selling your book, that counts as commercial use. Make sure that you don’t get yourself in any trouble: take your own photos or pay for a license.

Once you are done, you can also share your cover or simply embed it into your website (like I did now with the cover of this imaginary book I could’ve written). There is also a “Share this link” mode, where you can invite your friends or coworkers not only to see, but to edit your cover. The only downside of it is that it doesn’t offer 3D book cover generator – you can easily transform them though. I’ll tell you how in the next chapter.

3D book cover generators: make your own

Rendered 3D books

If you find PhotoShop complicated, purpose-built software, like Boxshot 4 can do the job for you. Starting from $79 is a bit on the expensive side (but with a free demo version); it can’t only design book covers but groceries, magazines, and other 3D objects. They also operate a free online service: you just upload your front and side, set lighting and reflexions and render.

The BossEye 3D Box Shot Maker can do considerably less, but it is free. You just set the side and front image, and it gives you the 3D book cover. You can even set a shadow!3D book cover with shadow

If you would like something which looks more like a book and less like a box, Adazing.com works simply from the browser. You pick your style, upload your image, enter your email address and are happy with the result: the picture above was made using Adazing.com, and I can hardly believe that this book has never been written. The only backside is the spine: normally you would have the title and author there, but Adazing keeps it black.

Creating your 3D book cover: a step-by-step guide

The aforementioned 3D book cover generators are all amazing, but they offer limited customization options. If you would like to have something very special, you can also have a go and do it yourself.
You will need:

  • your book cover in good resolution,
  • a 3D book cover template (you can get one easily from any stock photo database),
  • your spine in a separate image (if you are using a template with spine),
  • a photo editor, like PhotoShop, Gimp or Pixlr,
  • and a lot of time.

The spine is extremely simple to make: you just need to write the author’s name and the title vertically upwards (on downwards, if you are American) in front of a white background or the background colour of your book cover. If your color is a picture, you could pretend that the picture continues on the spine, like here:

3D book cover generator

If you are good with PhotoShop, or at least not afraid of it, there are plenty of guides and templates out there to teach you the how to. If you feel like spending around 30 minutes creating your 3D cover, you can follow this guide. They show you how you can create your 2D cover from nothing and how to simply 3D it.

Since not everyone can afford PhotoShop, you can also use Gimp and Pixlr. Pixlr is also great if you don’t have acces to a desktop computer or prefer to work online. If you are using Pixlr, just open the file with the cover template, insert your cover and drag the corners until they match. You can do the same with your spine.

So, go and grab your mouse or wallet and get yourself noticed by the cover.

Also, feel free to share your own book cover in the comments.

Happy publishing!

04
Jan

Amazon Ebook Market Share 2017 – is it big enough?

Amazon Ebook Market is not the only store for reaching your readers.

(This article was updated on 25/10/17 with recent data.)

When it comes to publishing an ebook, Amazon is the first thing many people think of. Obviously, Amazon is a dominant player in online book and ebook retailing. However, when it is about global publishing, doors keep opening to new stores, business models and channels: and as an indie publisher, it is your task to explore them. (You can read more about the different business models here.) As an indie publisher, you have to explore other opportunities to make your ebook publishing efforts more profitable on the long term – you can’t simply rely on one big distributor. Who knows what will tomorrow bring?

It may surprise you how many potential readers and what portion of your possible earnings you may lose if you publish only on Amazon ebook market. Why would you do that, especially if you already have your own ebook converted? Look at our numbers and you will understand why it is crucial to go to other ebook stores as well.

This article starts with an in-depth analysis of our recent sales numbers, then we introduce the a recent Author Earnings Report to understand how ebook sales work in the US, UK and on emerging markets. We close with some interesting facts on Kindle app and Kindle reader market share.

Publishdrive’s analysis on Amazon ebook sales

PublishDrive analyzed the sales numbers of publishers signed up and found that in case of English titles only 39% of the sales volume came from the Amazon ebook market (2017 first 3 quarters). It is unquestionably a huge share, but still, if you are exclusive with Amazon Kindle through KDP Select, you may lose 61% of your potential readers and sales. You may earn more money in stores and markets you have never thought to be more suitable for your target group.
Continue Reading…

07
Dec

The Ultimate Guide to Self-Publishing Costs

Self-publishing costs may grow over your budget if you do not plan ahead or you are not aware of the type of expenses. You may save costs if you have some extra skills or time to develop them on your own. Let’s see what self-publishing expenses you have to cover if you want to publish your own ebook.

In this article we summarise the most important cost types you may have, and we add an approximate amount so that you can estimate your self-publishing costs on the long term.

kep

1. Writing an ebook

As an author you usually write on your own, but in this case, your time is your biggest cost. Depending on what your goal is with your book, the actual writing can take a lot of time and hard work.

If you think of writing as a career, you might want to spend more money to make sure what you create is a quality product (e.g. hiring an editor or a ghostwriter). In this case, think of writing as an investment that can bring you enough money for the rest of your life.

If you write books just for fun or as a hobby, you’ll probably spend less time on writing. You can also hire a ghostwriter to do the hard work for you.

Skills needed: writing, creativity, tons of patience

Alternatives: hire a ghostwriter

2. Editing, or hiring an editor

Editing your ebook can be the highest expense, but it can turn your book from good to outstanding. You can hire a professional editor who does all the work for you including developmental editing, content editing, copyediting.

Hiring an experienced editor can increase your expenses. If you decide to get one, we suggest doing some research first and reach out to more than just one editor before you commit and start shelling out money.

The cost of an editor usually starts at $ 0.005 per word and can go as high as 0.08 cents per word. That is why it is important to do your homework first.

In fact, you don’t always need to hire a professional editor. If you want to keep your costs low, ask writers, authors you know to edit your book. A fresh set of eyes can make a difference.

Skills needed: impeccable grammar skills

Alternatives: hire a professional editor, ask early readers

3. Proofreading an ebook

When you think you’ve finished, review your writing to make sure you fix any spelling mistakes before your final product hits the stores.

Even a book with excellent content won’t be able to bring you too much money (or even jeopardize your reputation in the industry as a professional author) if it’s full of errors.

You have several options for proofreading your book. First, you can use software solutions such as spell check in Microsoft Word or Grammarly.com to get rid of the biggest mistakes. Then you can hire people on Fiverr.com to do that for you. Or you can even hire a professional editor (which may increase your costs), or you can join a writer’s group to exchange manuscripts with others, which is a cost-effective option.

Skills needed: high level of grammar skills

Alternatives: hire people on Fiverr.com, hire a professional editor, exchange manuscripts with other writers,  ask early readers

4. Cost of book cover design

If you want your book to stand out, you need a killer cover.

A good cover design can develop your brand as an author, boost your ebook sales and help your readers identify your book by its cover. You want to make sure your book cover attracts your reader’s eyes because eventually, this is the first thing they bump into.

Designing an outstanding cover is far more work than just choosing the right fonts and colors to make your cover look good. A book cover – that draws interest – demands high design skills and a high level of knowledge of Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator.

You can also find great cover design tips at www.thebookdesigner.com, or do some research and find free templates online. There are also other great design tools like Canva, Boxshot or a book cover editor software. If it seems too much work for you and you’re thinking of hiring a professional at any point, it should be for the cover design part. Hire an experienced cover designer and save yourself the extra hours to focus on more important things like branding and positioning your book.

Skills needed: design skills, advanced Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator skills

Alternatives: hire people on Fiverr.com, research and find free templates, use Canva or other book cover editor

5. Ebook conversion

Ebook conversion may be easy to look over if you want to read on your own device, but you need to invest in high-quality conversion for commercial purposes. If you consider yourself tech-savvy, you can format your manuscript yourself using free platforms like Sigil or you can hire an expert to do it for you. PublishDrive offers ebook conversion services for 0.5 USD per page, and for that, you can download your epub which is ready to use.

Skills needed: HTML5, some common aesthetic skills, Sigil or other HTML editor knowledge

Alternatives: outsourcing to PublishDrive or other services

6. ISBN for ebooks

ISBN is a unique identifier for your book which is an industry standard from ancient times. However, as a self-publisher, you have to buy ISBNs and do the necessary administrative tasks – which are a real pain for an entrepreneurial writer.

At PublishDrive, we got rid of the inflexibility of ISBN and introduced our identifier which is widely accepted by our retailers. So no more hassle with ISBNs which speeds up the publishing process for all of us.

Skills needed: patience, administrative skills

Alternatives: no need for an ISBN when you publish your ebook with PublishDrive

Now you finally reached the point where you can actually sell your ebook! 🙂

7. Ebook distribution

When your book is ready, you can start thinking about distribution models. Many of the authors believe that they can do it on their own, but if you want to focus on your biggest strength, on your creativity and writing skills and building your reader base, the best is if you leave all operational and administrative tasks for someone else.

You can hire a whole qualified team if you want to sell on your platforms on your own, or you can simply partner with a trustworthy service provider who does the job for you. PublishDrive may help in this case with a royalty based pricing, so there are no upfront costs when you start selling your titles everywhere.

But do not forget that you have different expenses for different business models. Many of the publishers only look at the nominal value of the royalties but bear in mind that though these costs may vary, your income from these business models can be in some cases surprising.

Consider volume over value, and you may get a more reasonable profit from a less attractive royalty structure

Agency model

The usual pricing of an agency model is between 30%-50% for the retailers. It means that you set the price and you will receive around 70-50% royalties on the net sales. The agency model is the most widely used business model around selling ebooks.

In PublishDrive we have the following stores with agency model (on 5th December 2016) and with the following pricing structure:

allromanceebooks.comhttps://www.allromanceebooks.com/60%
Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Kindle-eBooks/b?ie=UTF8&node=15460601145%
Barnes & Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/60%
Bookline.huhttp://bookline.hu/55%
BookShout!https://bookshout.com/50%
casadellibro.comhttp://www.casadellibro.com/60%
ciando.comhttp://www.ciando.com/60% in agency model
e-letolteshttp://www.eletoltes.hu/65%
E-sentral.comhttps://www.e-sentral.com/60%
Ekonyv.huhttp://www.ekonyv.hu/hu/55%
Gardners Networkhttp://gardners.com/gardners/default.aspx50%
iBookstore (iTunes)http://www.apple.com/hu/itunes/60%
ipubs.huhttp://www.ipubs.hu/60%
Kobohttp://www.kobobooks.com/60%
Libri.huhttp://www.libri.hu/55%
Lira.huhttp://www.lira.hu/55%
Multimediaplaza.comhttp://www.multimediaplaza.com/60%
redshelf.comhttps://redshelf.com/60%
rockstand.inhttps://www.rockstand.in/60%
Tolinohttp://mytolino.de/60%
tradebit.comhttp://www.tradebit.com/60%

Subscription based model

Subscriptions are monthly fees that a reader pays to read either unlimited ebooks or there’s some limit included (such as 5 books and 3 audiobooks etc.). This way, the readers pay less, but publishers may earn more since publishers are paid out based on their list price or in some cases based on the number of pages read. Anyway, it is a fair deal for authors, publishers and even for readers.

We see that subscription business models are valuable: one of our publishers could earn 2.5 times more with PublishDrive and half of their revenue (in value) comes from subscription-based business models. This shows that subscription business models have not just a future, but the present as well.

PublishDrive has the following platforms integrated with subscription based business models:

24symbols.comhttps://www.24symbols.com/50%yes
Bookmatehttps://bookmate.com/50%yes
Playsterhttps://www.playster.com/50%yes
Scribdhttps://www.scribd.com/50%yes
tookbook.comhttps://library.tookbook.com/50%yes

Library model

There are thousands of libraries out such as schools, public libraries, academies, universities and in some cases, corporate libraries that are waiting for you to list your ebook there.

Library models can help readers to lend a book for a specific period or just simply read it from one spot. We also see that the demand for unique and niche content is specifically needed in libraries who are in the digital transition of their traditional work.

At PublishDrive, we partnered with the following digital library services to make sure your ebooks are available for many librarians in over 40k digital libraries.

ciando.comhttp://www.ciando.com/50% in library model
Gardners Networkhttp://gardners.com/gardners/default.aspx50%, but there is lending opportunity.
Odilohttp://www.odilo.es/60%
overdrive.comhttps://www.overdrive.com/60%

Skills needed: business development with all retailers, building out your own accounts, financial terms, managing all accounts, managing all technical requirements, managing all ebook updates, consolidating all sales reports, intelligent analysis of sales reports, billing, managing financial thresholds, then collecting your money

Alternatives: you can do everything by building out your team putting a lot of effort (time and money) to find knowledgeable people, or you can partner with PublishDrive.

8. Marketing costs

When it comes to promotional expenses, you can spend a whole lot of money – but it doesn’t have to be like this.

Depending on your budget, you can partner with ebook blogs to promote your books like GoodReads, IndieReader and Whattpad or you can choose websites to do the same such as Write Globe, Writers Support. Some others offer free services like Noble Authors or Creative Designers and Writers.

You can also collaborate with other authors, use BookBub email list advertising or other software. If you decide not to spend any money on promotion but have the time and effort, you can do all the promotions by yourself. Guest blog, host online events, manage all your social media platforms, build relationships inside the industry and do free ebook giveaways. Your goal is to engage with readers and to put your name out there.

Remember, most of the promotional costs tend to be a waste of money so choose your promotional options wisely.

Skills needed: online marketing knowledge, basic IT and HTML skills

Alternatives: hire someone to do it for you, reach out to your community to promote your book, use your blog and social media sites, create a website, do ebook giveaways

By now you know all about the costs that may arise during self-publishing an ebook and you might want to hear a total amount. Self-publishing costs can depend on many things. If you’re a newbie or an experienced author you probably have different kinds of costs. It also depends on your goals what you want to achieve with your book and on how well you want your book to sell and so on.

So how much does self-publishing really cost?

      •    Writing: free if you do it
      •    Editing: depending on the length of the manuscript, usually between $0.005-$0.08 cents per word, an average total can be around 1500$/book (optional)
      •    Proofreading: depends on the length of your manuscript, somewhere around $700-$1000 (optional)
      •    Professional cover design: $50-200$ (for good featured positions in stores needed)
      •    Ebook formatting: free if you do it on your own, usually $50-200$
      •    ISBN: $19-125$ per title, with PublishDrive you don’t need ISBN anymore
      •    Ebook distribution: depends on your business model – usually a percentage of sales
      •    Marketing: depends on your budget – from free until the sky

All in all, as you can see from this post, there are quite a few factors that can affect the cost of self-publishing so after all, the question is not how much does it cost to self-publish a book but how much are you willing to spend on your book. In this case, the sky is the only limit.

16
Nov

How to Increase Your Ebook Sales – 5 Tips

Do you have a new interesting book for your readers? Great.

Do you offer it in the form of an ebook? Also great.

Do you have weak sales figures?

Not that great, but we collected the five most essential tips for you which can instantly help you increase your ebook sales.

  1. Design a professional cover

How do you know that the cover is the main reason for declining sales? The answer is simple: If your book always gets good reviews but it is not selling.

Your book cover is the first contact to your potential customers. It has to get the first interests and make readers want to look into your ebook. It should raise attention, but at the same time, the style of your book cover has to fit both to your target group’s taste and also to the content.

Here are some good examples of what a professional book cover should look like:

      Ebook cover example to increase ebook sales              Everyone's a Genius - ebook cover that increases ebook sales

 

These covers are delightful, attractive and doing a good job giving visual form to the written content in the book.

Some common mistakes to avoid when designing your book cover:

  • Too much information on the front cover
  • Long titles
  • Poor background
  • Utilization of poor images
  • Using too many colors
  • You want to do it all by yourself

Keep in mind that a good cover is an advertisement for your book, an opportunity to stand out in the crowd. So keep it simple and clean.

As a famous book cover designer, Chip Kidd, once said: “a book cover is a distillation. It is the haiku of the story.”

Finally, don’t forget an attractive book cover is an investment: hire a professional designer for it. At Dribbble, you can choose from more than 11,000 designers from all over the world, and you can define who are you looking for.

  1. Find the right price level that increases ebook sales

The production costs of an ebook are much lower than that of the printed ones. Accordingly, your sales price should also be set at a lower level. As a rule of thumb we advise you to always stay under $ 10 and use price promotions to attract new readers.

Due to the fact that selling more books doesn’t increase your production costs, you can also try out a lower price level (0,99 – 2,99 $ per book) or even there is a way to sell your book for a few days for free. Finding the perfect price for your ebook is not easy, and you can completely get lost looking through all the different kinds of ebook pricing models.

If you want to read more about the existing business models in the ebook industry, take a look at our previous blog post here, where we discussed ebook pricing models in greater detail.

  1. Sell your ebook in different online stores

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: sell your books through various retailers globally. You can hear a lot about the big players in the industry such as Amazon, Kobo or Apple but keep in mind: there are a lot of other retailers and wholesalers in the marketplace that you might want to consider make your ebook available through.

Some retailers like Barnes & Noble, Apple or Amazon have also self-publishing services to interact with their distribution platforms smoothly.

Others, like Scribd, OverDrive, Baker & Taylor or Gardners are book wholesalers, bringing digital books into certain marketplaces. If you pick a self-publishing service to do the digital uploading to ebook sellers for you, make sure your book gets into – at least – the big players and take a look at the niche sellers as well to see if they fit your books target market.

Publishing is not about Amazon anymore, especially not in emerging markets where the growth rate of the ebook market is above 200% and the major ebook stores are not dominant. More customer contact will result in higher sales volumes, so publish your ebook on multiple platforms. However, searching for, finding and contracting new retailers takes a lot of time and so money. Use professional aggregation sites who will help you through the ebook management process as the ERP for digital publishing.

  1. Help your readers find your ebook

Writing your book is only the first step in the book making process, but hard work comes when you try to sell it to your audience. Defining your target group is not enough. You have to guide them to find your book. And how will they find your book? You need to build a strong web presence.

If you have a website or a blog use it to promote your book to generate leads and drive traffic by displaying your book on the home page.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Goodreads can help you to interact with your audience. Make sure you have regular updates on your social media sites and provide useful content to your readers.

Don’t forget to build an email list to develop your target audience. An attractive cover, the right categorization and a nice preview of your content are also essential elements in finding your audience and increase your ebook sales.

The key points are:

  • use your website/blog to promote your book
  • social media sites are valuable marketing tools
  • use SEO to build traffic
  • build a mailing list
  1. Get your ebook reviewed

A good review can make all the difference regarding ebook sales. It provides you the chance to interact with your readers and build engagement among them.

A good book review and word-of-mouth attract more customers because customers trust more on other people’s opinion than on classical company advertisement.

For that, you cannot buy reviews, but you can build out your professional partnership with bloggers who may be the right marketing channel for your readers. Give free ebook copies to bloggers who will hopefully promote your ebook on their platform. Keep in mind that sample-giving is an excellent marketing tool, but it is not allowed via your website if you want to sell your ebook also in online stores.

Instead of your homepage use the different media tools, like Facebook and Twitter to give samples to your potential readers and fans who will be grateful for them.

Improving your ebook sales take up a lot of work, and you have to put the time in to see results. These tips can help you start learning about the right techniques and methods to use when you want to increase your ebook sales. Remember always to communicate and interact with your readers, which not only can increase your sales but also bring awareness to your work.

You have additional thoughts or insights on the topic? Share it in the comments.

 

21
Oct

Sales analytics in PublishDrive

We have new, detailed sales analytics in PublishDrive! Our objective is to increase your ebook sales with a global reach and help you understand the market and the performance of your ebooks. That’s why we give you the best tool in your hand for sales analytics, so you can see how well your books perform.

PublishDrive is the most intelligent ebook publishing platform made for you. Try it now!

What can you see in sales analytics in PublishDrive?

  • You can follow realtime sales data with filtering, so you can check the most important specific metrics for your books. Such as filtering by country, title, contributor or store.
  • You can understand deeper what the driver of growth for your books is. You can see the bestselling categories, countries, the best price tier for your books and you can understand where most of your revenue comes from.

 

How can you use our new feature, the sales analytics?

Click on the „Sales” heading in your Menu in PublishDrive.

sales analyticsYou can always choose Chart or Map view.

ebook sales

sales analytics

You can add filters about term, your content and sales.

sales analytics

sales analytics

You can choose from the following options in order to analyse your sales data:

  • Publisher/Imprint
  • Title
  • Contributor
  • Series
  • Adult content
  • Category
  • Right status
  • Language

You can choose the following options to clarify your sales data:

  • Store
  • Country
  • Purchase type
  • Price tier

 

Here is an example for filter use:

sales analytics

On the first chart you can see the volume and value of your sales.

sales analytics

Under this column chart you can see your best performing titles.

sales analytics

In the following section you can see your best values (category, price tier, country, store)

sales analytics

On the right side you can see the ‘Best performing titles’ and the ‘Best performing countries’.

sales analytics

sales analytics

On the left side you can see the ‘Price tiers’ and the ‘Proceeds by store and country’.

sales analytics

sales analytics

Check out our new feature in your PublishDrive account! 🙂

20
Oct

Publish many books at once with PublishDrive

With our new bulk upload feature, you can publish many books at once. It means that you can upload your books not just manually one by one, but you can upload many books in once (without limitation) as well speeding up your administrative processes. Bulk upload is unique in the industry. It’s a quick and automatized method in order to publish all of your books to the largest stores and libraries in the shortest time possible. PublishDrive is the most intelligent ebook publishing platform made for you. Try it now!

Overview about our new feature

  • You need to fill out an Excel sheet with the right data such as title, contributor(s), publication date, description, etc.
  • You have to upload your epubs and cover files to our sftp site.
  • Wait until the epub validator finishes the quality assurance process and upload your ebooks.

How can you publish many books?

First of all, log in to your PublishDrive account.

publish many books in PublishDrive

Choose ‘Books’.

publish many booksAnd then ‘Bulk import’.

Publish many booksRead the instructions.

publish many books

Download the template and open in Excel.

publish many books

Check the ‘PD Import’. (You will write your book’s metadata here.)

publish many books

Read the ‘Field for import’ sheet for more information.

publish many books

Fill out the ‘PD import’ sheet with your books metadata.

publish many books

Important Things to Know

  • Mandatory fields: Contributor(s), Title, Language, Number of pages, Category (BISAC), Explicit content, Description, Copyright, Recommended retail price, Publication date.
  • If you don’t have an ISBN, you can leave it blank.
  • You can leave Publisher/Imprint blank if you have only one Imprint in PublishDrive system.
  • Provide name in standard “Last name, First name” format.
  • Provide the publication date in YYYY.MM.DD format.
  • Please check all of the sheets (Target audience, Languages, BISAC Category, Territories, Copyright).
  • Name the files isbn.epub, isbn.jpg, for example: 9789635507399.epub, 9789635507399.jpg (If you need unique identifier you can use [ISBN].epub and [ISBN].jpg)

When your excel is ready, you have to upload your epubs and cover files to PublishDrive’s sftp site.

For this step, you should download WinSCP or FileZilla.

publish many books

Open WinSCP or Filezilla and connect to PublishDrive’s sftp site with Hostname, Port number, Username and Password.

publish many books

Upload your files and close the program.

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ice_screenshot_20161018-154343

ice_screenshot_20161018-154359

Now import the xls file to PublishDrive platform. Please provide what to do with titles after import:

  • Import and send to stores – after successful import titles will be sent to stores you won’t be able to edit them until the end of book validation process (same as you pushed “Send to stores” button after normal upload)
  • Import as draft – after successful import the titles remain draft: you will be able the edit them, but also have to push the “Send to stores” button for all the imported titles one-by-one (same as you uploaded the titles at normal way but not pushed the “Send to stores” button).

05

Please be patient, until all the checks are finished – this can take long depending on the number of titles and size of the content files. If any error pops up follow the instruction and fix them.

Click on the “Import Books” button that appears at the bottom of the page after all checks are done. As a result, your books were sent to the reviewer.

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Publish many books with PublishDrive!

19
Oct

ISBN for Ebooks: Myths & Facts, and The Story Behind the Numbers

Relax, you are almost there. You wrote a book, you edited it, and you probably have your cover and pricing and marketing all in line. There is nothing else left than to upload it and enjoy the well-deserved success. Or is there?

Many people think that applying for an ISBN is like going to the dentist: a painful, unavoidable necessity. They push it into the back of their mind, try not even to think of it. In the following article, we will demystify ISBNs, tell you everything you ever wanted to know about them (and everything you didn’t), guide you through the application process and offer some alternatives.

What does ISBN stand for?

That very long number just under or above the barcode on the back of the book is designed following a very strict set of rules. The rules are made by the International Standards Organization (ISO): they sell the rulebook to countries or companies, who then sell the International Standard Book Number to you. ISBN was developed in 1970, designed to make referring to books and different editions of the same book easier across the publishing world. It started with ten digit numbers, but since 2007 they consist of 13 digits so that they can be also read as barcodes. They can be assigned to books, audiobooks, even apps belonging to a book.

However, journals, magazines, and other periodicals, cannot get ISBNs: they have an ISSN number assigned to the whole series which doesn’t change with every new title.

So isn’t it just a random number assigned to a book?Ebook ISBN example

No, it isn’t. The first 3 numbers are the “prefix” element; this currently can be either 978 or 979. (And yes, you simply put 978 in front of old ISBNs to make them 13 digits.) The next group is the registration group element: it can refer to a country, a language group or a particular territory. (10 digit ISBNs start with the country identifier.)

0 and 1 stand for the English language, 615 in the example above stands for Hungary. If you are interested, you can check out the whole list of registration numbers here. The next group of numbers, the registrant element belongs to the publisher or to the agency giving the ISBN number.

You might already noticed that all these groups have a differing length of digits: if the registration agency expects the publisher to publish several books, the registrant element is shorter, giving more space for the publication element, and vice versa.

You can buy the list of 900.000 registrant elements in a very expensive book. The next set of numbers refers to the particular publication. And the last number is the check digit: it is always a single number, the weighted sum of the digits the ISBN is made of (used for error detection).

What is ISBN good for?

ISBN is a unique identifier belonging to a specific format of a book: an audiobook version, an ebook version and the revised second edition of a book all have different ISBNs. If you ever went to language school holding a textbook just slightly different from everyone else’s, you know how important it is to actually check for matching ISBNs. New editions, even with a new cover, however, don’t get a new ISBN, unless they have been rewritten.

ISBNs are a very handy way to order books, refer to them and check books in circulation: the main reason why recent statistics struggle to provide indie sales data is the lack of ISBNs in the industry. It is also a powerful searching tool if you are looking for a specific version of a book.

How do I get it?

Well, it depends on where you (as a person or as a publisher) are based. The International ISBN Agency is giving out the registration group identifiers to local authorities who then decide what to do with them. In the US and in Australia, the only place you can get an ISBN is called Bowker: you can buy them as cheap as one for $125 or a prefix for 10 ISBNs for $250.

In the UK, you can buy them from Nielsen, one for £89 and prefix for 10 for £149. Other countries, such as Hungary issue ISBNs for free: in Hungary, the National Library is responsible for giving out ISBNs. You can get one within four days on the promise of sending in to the library six copies of your book (called “legal deposit”) within 15 days of getting published – by law.

You can check the agency in your country or language here. They will ask you the title, authors, publisher, publishing date and genre before issuing one. For an extra fee, you can get your book put in a list like the Books in Print database, to enhance discoverability.

So, do I need an ISBN for my ebook?

Almost certainly not. First of all, there are no rules stating that you need an ISBN in order to publish books – at least definitely not in England or in the US.

On the other hand, you might live in a country where it is a legal requirement (you can just search on Google for “is ISBN required by law” in your language to figure it out – it varies by country). Unless you are thinking about getting a physical copy of your book into bookstores, you won’t need an ISBN.

Neither Amazon nor iBooks requires you to have one (we neither). However, if you would like to sell your books in several stores, you still need a unique identifier, just to make your life (and your retailers’ life) a bit easier: we developed PUI (PublishDrive’s Unique Identifier) which is a fast, free and simple way to get an identifier globally accepted in stores and libraries.

No days of waiting, no high fees. PUIs are automatically assigned to your books during the publishing process.

Happy publishing!

26
Jul

How to Effectively Promote Your Ebook on Social Media

Promote your ebook on social media

For self-published authors and writers of any kind, social media holds the key to free online marketing and a worldwide audience with their ebook. As those publishing their own work likely don’t have the budget from a comprehensive promotional team, these easy and free-to-use platforms offer the perfect alternative, so long as you can properly harness their power. In this article you will see the basics how to promote your ebook on social media.

It’s not enough to post a link to your book’s Amazon page on the day of its release; finding success on social media is a carefully crafted and well-thought-out pursuit. This guide provides the basics to start building a far-reaching and efficient social media marketing campaign.

Establishing a Presence

With success on these types of sites based largely on number of followers, likes and shares, it can take a while build up your accounts in order to have the greatest promotional success. Forward planning is essential.

It’s no use setting up your first Facebook or Twitter account a week before your book is about to go out to the publisher. Instead, give yourself as much time as possible and work on building up your followers and making your presence known to them.

Once you’ve attracted a large enough following, your social media accounts basically act like a giant mailing list where you can focus the information about your books and how to buy them.

 

Post Frequently but Not Excessively

Establishing a presence means staying active, and this is one of the biggest problems a marketing campaign of this nature poses. Fans need a constant stream of good quality, relevant content in order to keep their attention on your pages. The more often you post, the more chance there is that potential new readers will stumble across your accounts and invest in your product.

However, there is a flip side to this. Excessive posting can easily be seen as spam and will turn away just as many readers as it attracts. While on platforms like Twitter there’s no harm in reposting a tweet a few times a day, constant repetition or posts will begin to grate on your followers.

Similarly, superfluous statuses about what you had for breakfast or the fact you’re going shopping is not likely to drum up support. Keep it thematic and relevant to your work.


Interactivity Is the Key to Success

Content is just as important as frequency when posting on social media. As previously mentioned, one essential factor is keeping it significant, but another key strategy is to create interactivity. Not only do fans love the opportunity to talk to their new favorite author, this sort of activity also increases your visibility on the platforms because of the algorithms used to work out what is visible in the news feeds of users.

Invite discussions by asking followers questions surrounding the themes in your work, or create polls for idea feedback. It’s also important to remember that visuals are more impacting than text, so add as many pictures to the mix as possible.

 

Ebook Releases on Social Media

Once you’ve created an active, interactive and comprehensive social media presence, you’re ready to prepare for your actual product release. Once you’ve set a date, you should plan your marketing campaign to take place in the run-up. Many people believe they don’t need to start sharing and posting until the book is out for sale, but they’re losing valuable time by waiting.
Update your followers on all the key events, such as finished drafts, returned products from your beta reader, finalized cover design, etc. As soon as you have a date, set up an event and invite people. If you market right, this event will grow and grow, and your first-day sales will significantly benefit.
Another great tactic is to set up a competition: in exchange for likes, shares or retweets, offer users a place in a prize drawing that will give one winner an exclusive copy of your book. However, it’s important you stay within the term and conditions of any specific platform.

On the day of the release, the spam rules go out the window: post as much as you can—everything from pictures, reviews, snippets, quotes, opinions, and sale statistics. Flooding the pages of your followers, only when necessary, means they know when it’s time to pay attention.  


Protecting Your Investment

Finally, but perhaps most often overlooked, there’s no use creating a comprehensive marketing campaign only to have it brought down by harmless malware and frustrating hacks. Malvertising is an increasingly common type of security breach in which suspicious links are sent from an account to all of your followers. While they provide no substantial risk, users are so weary of the problem that they’ll be quick to disconnect from your accounts for their own safety.

The most common cause of this is password infiltration, which can happen for a number of reasons. To minimize your risk, be sure to keep your passwords complex and unique, and change them every few months. Similarly, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) in order to stop your details being intercepted while on unsecure public WiFi networks. VPN review site Secure Thoughts provides a more comprehensive explanation of this if you want more information.

 

Social media is far too useful a tool for any ebook author to overlook. In terms of reach, cost and ease, it’s by far the leading promotional option for self-publishers. So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already set up your accounts, then head over and do it now!

 

About the Author: Caroline is a blogger and long-time marketing expert. She has long harnessed the power of social media for her own projects and is always happy to share what she’s learned with others. You can find Caroline on Twitter at: @CultureCovC

 

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