7 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Your Book

Guest Post: The following article was provided to me by Hobie Hobart, Partner, Dunn+Associates Design.

As an author or self-publisher, you already know what a book can do for you:

  • Position you as the leading industry expert
  • Establish your credibility
  • Effortlessly attract your target audience
  • Set you apart with an instantly recognizable brand
  • Win the attention of publishers and distributors
  • Consistently win more—and higher-paying—speaking and consulting gigs
  • Create multiple streams of income with profit-building products

But none of that matters if you are missing the one most important marketing tool: a stellar book cover.

7 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Your Book - Dunn & Associates graphic design services, book covers for book authors.

Did You Know?

8 Seconds on Your Front Cover! — Bookstore browsers spend an average of 8 seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds studying the back cover before deciding whether to buy your book? If your book cover doesn’t instantly hook their interest and eyeballs, and then convey the right message about you, your chance to make a sale is gone.

Lose a Customer — And you don’t just lose the sale. You lose a potentially long-term, highly profitable customer. Most authors, speakers and consultants use their books as the introductory product in a funnel of increasingly expensive products and services. When prospects don’t buy your book, you lose the $19.95 sale—and the thousands of dollars they could have spent on your audio programs, seminars, and coaching/consulting services.

Distributors Carry Covers Only — Bookstore distributors carry book covers only—not books. How shocking is that?

VIP Cover! — A whopping 75% of booksellers say that the cover is the most important element of the book.

3-Second Rule — John Willig, president and literary agent of Literary Services Inc., told me about his agency’s “3-Second Rule” which they use in evaluating any book submission. If the cover doesn’t grab them in 3 seconds, they pass on it. Only 3 seconds!

Do you want a front cover and book spine which will practically demand that readers pick up your book for a peek inside, with back cover that captures their imagination and piques their interest, so your book goes straight to the cash register, not back on the shelf?

Avoiding these 7 costly mistakes will result in a totally unique look and feel for your book which instantly appeals to the readers, clients, and gives you the results you’re after.

Costly Mistake #1

You consult with someone who’s had success with his or her own book. And you follow exactly what she did to a T. But what worked for her lone book won’t work with yours. Because every audience is different, and…what appeals to one group of people could easily turn off the next.

Costly Mistake #2

You may have heard some experts say that your book design, specifically the cover, doesn’t matter because customers care about the content, not how it’s packaged. Although content is important, books are different than other products. Most book buyers experience the book before they buy. And if everything about your book — from the graphics and colors used on the cover to the font and format used inside — doesn’t combine into a siren song which that mesmerizes book browsers, they won’t buy. True, you can easily put together a campaign to hit #1 on any online bookstore within a 24-hour period. But that’s fleeting, and artificial success. If you want to be a true bestseller, your book must be able to sell over the long haul.

Costly Mistake #3

You try to figure everything out on your own and end up making horrendous mistakes simply because you don’t know any better. For example, you seek input from people you know, like your spouse, friends and co-workers. They care for you and want what’s best for you, so it’s safe to trust their advice, right? Wrong! In reality, their opinions are useless. They aren’t your target audience so what they think, well, it simply doesn’t matter. If you develop your book to make your friends and family happy, you end up with a book which won’t appeal to your buying audience in the slightest.

Costly Mistake #4

Your hard work and study gives you an accurate understanding of the steps involved in the book publishing process but you don’t fully understand the timing involved. And because you don’t know how long things will take, you end up missing prime bookselling opportunities. For example, a shocking number of authors think they can go to press in November to bring out a book in time for Christmas sales.

Costly Mistake #5

You want control over your book, so you hire lots of individual vendors to be involved in your book’s creation and marketing. But with so many unrelated, inexperienced people adding their creative inspirations to your project, you end up with separate marketing pieces which don’t tie together in look or feel much like having a closet crammed with shirts, pants and jackets, but no complete outfits to wear.

Costly Mistake #6

You want your book designed and published good, fast and cheap. The problem is you can have only two of these three. The fast-and-cheap combo is very popular right now but it produces substandard quality and cookie-cutter looks — not a winning combination if you want to sell a sizeable number of books or if you care how the book influences your brand. You get a limited number of templates to choose from for your book cover. And if the company you select is successful at selling their services to other price-sensitive authors, there will be even MORE books which look like yours! Plus, these book production factories have no time in the schedule or room in the budget to slow down and pay attention to quality or your brand image. The bottom line is when you pay dime store publishing prices, you need to expect dime store quality books.

Costly Mistake #7

You don’t have the time or interest to handle the publishing details, so you enlist a friend, relative or a local designer to help. But that person doesn’t have experience in the book industry. You end up sinking several hundred dollars (at least) in a book design only to realize too late that distributors won’t take your book because the design doesn’t meet industry standards. Then you have to start over, pay double, and still end up with a garage full of dusty, unsold books. Here the bottom line is that you wrote a book and published it without knowing the industry’s guidelines—and you have spent time and money with no positive results.

About the Author

Dunn+Associates helps bestselling authors and first-time authors. Their mission is to help you avoid these 7 Costly Mistakes. Call Hobie now at 715-634-4857 or email him at hobie@dunn-design.com to schedule a free 30-minute consultation as a gift to friends of John Kremer. Hurry because this $350 value gift is yours FREE for a limited time.

For more details about their services, see http://www.dunn-design.com.

Copyright 2009 by Dunn+Associates Design and Creative Services for Advertising

About John Kremer

John Kremer is author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, the Relationships Matter Marketing program, and many other books and reports on book marketing, Internet marketing, social media, and book publicity. -- .

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