Tag Archives: book cover design

Are we born with our talents?

I’ve often wondered this and have decided to make this my topic of the week (something new I’m going to try!). It almost seems as if some of us have certain talents almost from the day we are born. I remember watching a talk show on which they had a little boy. I can’t remember his exact age, but I don’t think he was over 6. This kid could play the piano like he’d been playing for over 20 years. He was amazing. He’d had piano lessons but shouldn’t have even been close to the level he was playing.

It’s the same with writing or any other talent really. Are they learned or are we simply born with them?

I’ve read that we’d be shocked if we were to see some famous author’s writings pre-editing. That being said, maybe it’s just the good story telling that some of us have, while others have the ability to both write and tell a good story? Am I making sense here?

I’ll use myself as an example here. I’ve written and published articles. I’m also a short story writer. I can whip up a short story like you wouldn’t believe. I always excelled at writing, specifically creative writing as a child in elementary school. My professional background is filled with corporate writing types of jobs like technical writing, instructional design, marketing writing and so forth. I cannot, for the life of me, seem to write a novel. Was I only born with the talent to write short stories and articles?

What is your take and belief on all of this?

Curious minds want to know. (Evin –

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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Indie Author of the Week

It’s Friday! In addition to hearing me shout out a huge, “TGIF!” you get the gift of finding out who my Indie Author of the Week is. It is….*drum roll*….Michelle Proulx!

Taken straight from Amazon, “Michelle Proulx was born on the market moon of Vega Minor where she spent her formative years reading, writing, and gambling at illegal underground jsgarn fighting rings. While en route to Alpha Centauri, Michelle crash-landed her space yacht on the planet Earth. She now lives in Canada and divides her time between observing the local fauna and repairing her star ship.”

Visit her website — — to learn more!

Her début novel, Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It, is an award-winning Teen / Sci-fi / Romance novel. Check it out today, and get swept away in a galactic adventure of truly cosmic proportions!

Buy her book here:

Oh, and TGIF! (Evin –

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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Designing your own book covers. Good or bad idea?

I follow several writing and publishing groups on LinkedIn and am following an interesting discussion on whether or not designing your own book cover is a good or a bad idea.

I personally have mixed feelings on this one. I mean let’s face it. Not everyone has the money in the pocket to shell out big bucks to hire a graphic designer and I say if you have design skills to go for it. If you are pondering designing your own cover, ask yourself this, “How presentable and professional do I want my book to be?”

Big name authors don’t really have to worry so much about whether or not their book covers catch the attention of their readers. People know their names, love their books and are probably going to buy them regardless of what the cover looks like.

If you are reading this blog however you are more than likely an indie author or someone looking to self-publish. This means that more than likely your name isn’t out there quite yet. That’s not a bad thing. It just means you need to get people to buy your books.

I’ll use myself for instance. My wife and I are just on the verge of being labeled book hoarders (so yeah, now you know my dirty, dark secret). We buy books, books and more books and folks this is on top of checking books out from the library. Okay, back on subject. Basically when I browse books not looking for a specific author, I’ll admit that oftentimes the covers are what catch my attention and make me pick the book up off the shelf for a closer look. I seriously doubt that I am alone in this.

Also, graphic artists have a skill that is more than just being able to put the artwork down on paper. They have the skill to determine the art and design that will best suit your book. One of my business partners is a graphic artist and I’ll admit that since he joined the team, things have been much better in the way of our new marketing materials (for both my own company AND our clients). All I have to do is give him an idea of what I’m looking for and he can bring something to life.

So yeah, in my opinion it’s best to hire a professional. Sure it’s going to cost but truly, what is your book worth?

Let’s hear your opinions. Post ’em below!

Another glorious post from Mr. Guru (soon to be from Mr. Sapling). Okay, Mr. Sapling doesn’t sound right. I’ll think of something. 😉 (Evin –

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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Indie book of the week

This week’s featured book is, “Grandpa Stories” by James McCann:

The author is someone I have been fortunate enough to personally work with and has provided us with a great story:

In his own words:

“Grandpa Stories is a collection of stories, my stories. I take today’s readers back to a time that seems so long ago now. The fact is that it really hasn’t been that long ago. It only seems so because of how much change has occurred since I started creating and collecting my stories. It’s not the ticking of clock that makes our stories interesting, it’s the changing of background or context that makes solutions like “pop-tops” and “jukeboxes” fascinating to us now. It was also a time where much of our learning didn’t have anything to do with school. We were taught by watching and experiencing life in ways that are no longer available to our children.

When it is all said and done, we are all the creators and collectors of our stories. As I look towards the end of my life, I rejoice in the honor of loving the people that I have loved, serving the country that made me free, creating the children and all the other wonderful forms of art that I have created.

I will celebrate living and loving it all right up to the moment that I no longer can. No matter what happens next, I am and have always been a very, very lucky man.”


Read it. You’ll enjoy it. Have a great weekend! (Evin –

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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Marketing for Self-Published Authors

*Drum roll*….it’s here. Something ALL self-published authors have been looking for. MARKETING. Notice I didn’t say marketing assistance or marketing advice. I said MARKETING.

Guru Publishing has been evolving over the past year that we have been in business. We’ve been conducting ongoing research into the world of self-publishing and independent (indie) authors and after much work, we’ve found what self-published authors need the most and that’s a good marketing plan. If clients don’t know books exist, they won’t buy them and why? Because they don’t know they exist. It can become a vicious circle.

I’m not saying that all self-published authors fall short in the marketing arena but let’s face it. What do authors do best? Write, not market. Another thing…many self-publishing companies offer packages that include marketing but really. What do these consist of? Posters? Some business cards? The shipping of a media kit to the author to take care of? That is NOT marketing. It’s offering marketing tools to the client, but it’s not actual marketing.

Guru Publishing takes it a step further and offers to do the marketing for our clients. Period. No ifs, ands or buts. We will do the marketing for the author. I don’t mean that we will have a few posters printed. I mean we will do each and every part of marketing that is required to get the book and the face of the author out into the world. Check our site frequently as we begin to list our services: If you have questions or requests in the meantime, contact me via the contact avenues on my site and I’ll speak with you.

Another perk of Guru Publishing? Yes, we are a self-publishing company but we are a self-publishing company that does not require any form of contract. We are also a self-publishing company that takes no percentage of your sales. Face it. We know what self-publishing really is and that is getting your book out there in print (including e-book format). It’s ensuring your work is professionally edited; it’s getting a great cover design, etc. It’s NOT using an ISBN that belongs to someone else, listing them as the publisher on your self-published book. It’s NOT watching huge percentages of your hard-earned sales go to someone else. It’s all about you having control of your own book.

We have to keep the lights on so yeah, we charge for our services but, they are all for you, custom designed by you. YOU design your own publishing and marketing packages with us. We don’t offer pre-packaged deals that may or may not have what you need.

Okay yeah. This post was one big advertisement but, I’m stoked! Check me out! (Evin –

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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


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How to get the cover of the book right

As a reader, I can tell you that there have been times when a book cover has been the only reason I have picked up a book, especially from an author I had never heard of. I bet you have done the same. In most instances, I’m glad I did because it led me to some great authors I would’ve otherwise never read. Your book cover can make or break your book. All of those months, possibly years of writing your book and going through the arduous publishing/promotion process, only to have a less than desirable cover. 

How in the heck can you ensure this doesn’t happen to you? Andrew Pantoja gives some great advice!

For self-published authors visibility is key. Generating visibility takes time and persistence and includes everything from a Twitter feed to commissioned book reviews. But a great book cover can generate more buzz and visibility than most social marketing plans and pay-to-play endorsements.

E-Book Editor is one of many service companies offering cover design services

And in today’s online world, a book’s packaging -– binding, paper stock, etc. –- is thrown out the window. Online, the only distinguishing feature is the cover. With online book sales growing, and e-books taking off, cover design has become more important.

“If an e-book cover appeals to someone and speaks well on the book’s behalf,” said Chris O’Byrne who heads up The E-book Editor, “I think it could have a huge impact on whether a reader buys it or not.”

Without the budget or marketing team of a big publishing house, self-pub authors have to weigh their design options carefully. Options vary depending on the author’s skill set, time frame and resources.

A convenient option is to work with outfits like The E-book Editor that include a cover design as an add-on to their editing and digital conversion services. The E-book Editor charges $99 for e-book covers and $199 for print book covers. But only about 50% of the authors O’Byrne works with request a cover design. What are the other authors choosing to do?

The most affordable and in some cases cost-free option is to do it yourself.

Keith Robinson went from this…

Self-published author Keith Robinson self-designed the covers of his Island of Fogfantasy series. Using images from stock photo websites, Robinson manipulated pictures to recreate scenes from his books.

“Ideally, an author picks a scene from their book that best sums up the story, and a cover artist is employed to paint it to specification,” said Robinson. “But this approach is rarely possible for self-publishers. Cover artists cost a lot of money.”

In his first book Island of Fog, Robinson went with “simple but effective.” He found an image of foggy woods, tinted it blue, and added the title and author credit.

However, Robinson admits that there has been a learning curve.

“Today I see [Island of Fog] as my weakest cover simply because it has nothing in the center to grab the eye.”

In his subsequent books, Robinson seized the attention of his YA audience with flame-breathing dragons. For the cover of his latest book, Lake of Spirits, Robinson transformed a woman into a jengu, a water spirit with pointy ears like an elf, using graphic design tools.

…to this.

“Sales come from word-of-mouth about the story itself, not about the cover,” said Robinson. “I won’t be spending a lot of money on the cover until I’ve achieved huge success in selling the story.”

But some authors see the need to invest in winning cover art from the beginning.

“A good book jacket should be worthy of the words on the pages,” said self-publisherJennifer B. White, who is releasing three new books (Dead AsleepOtherwise and Hummus for the Holidays) by November. “It’s also paramount for the book to sell.”

White, who works as a tagline writer for Universal Pictures, believes book covers are analogous to movie posters.

“A movie poster can often determine whether a film gets buzz, or fizzles at the box office. Likewise, a well-conceived, well-executed book jacket design translates into a book cover that motivates readers to crack the cover or download the e-book,” said White.

Unlike fantasy author Robinson, White does not self-design her books. Her friends and colleagues at Universal and photographers at the car auctioneer Gooding and Company are helping to create her book covers.

“Designing a book cover starts with brainstorming,” she said. “We communicate ideas and create a design that stays true to the story and considers its target audience.”

Authors without pre-established relationships with designers, or graphic design skills, are left to other devices. Often the first stop in finding help is online directories, forums or message boards. But this time-consuming option yields few results.

“Sites like Elance and Craigslist can help you with your hires, but it’s really hard to find folks specialized in the e-book space,” said Miral Sattar, founder of Bibliocrunch, a self-pub platform which facilitates relationships between book professionals.

“I joined all the Linkedin groups and often saw postings from writers who were looking for good cover design,” she said. “Their requests often got lost in the noise. So I thought, why not offer it all in one place.”

On BiblioCrunch, professionals can sign up as an author, designer, editor, copy editor, publisher or reader. Authors can convert their books for digital distribution while searching the site for a cover designer.

One key feature of Bibliocrunch is the rating and review system where designers, and other professionals, are given testimonials on their work. “Most authors like to work with someone whose work has already been vetted or vouched for,” said Sattar.

While specialized online communities cut down on the riff-raff, developing professional relationships online is difficult and takes patience. For authors who are eager to enter the market quickly the answer may be crowdsourcing.

A 99Designs sample cover

On 99Designs, authors can commission book cover designs. The first step is drafting a design brief which provides the crowd of designers with a better understanding of the project. This includes a description of the author, the book, and specific technical guidelines like file type, document size and resolution.

After setting a price, which can range from $195 to the project’s budget limit, authors can kick back as dozens of designs are submitted from around the world. 99designs already has over 100,000 registered members.

In 2009, author Tim Ferriss ran a design project through 99designs to generate ideas for The 4-Hour Body. In 7 days more than 450 designs came in. Ferriss awarded 4 finalists $250 each.

With varying price points and a multitude of resources online, self-pub authors have more options every day.  Whether they opt to crowdsource, outsource, collaborate with friends, work with new online contacts, or go it alone, the goal is clear -– maintain the same level of quality consumers have come to expect from the industry giants. This begins with the cover and ends with the story.

“Of course, a great cover doesn’t make the book itself great,” said fantasy author Robinson. “But it’s important not to make a potential reader wrinkle up his nose before he’s even read the first page.”


Yep, just another day at the office of Mr. Guru Publishing. 😉 (Evin Wilkins –


Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized


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