Category Archives: Publishing

A New Map Illustration

I’ve created a new map illustration. You can see how it turned out below. I am especially happy with the compass in this map. I create each one from scratch, hand drawing them first and then taking them into photoshop for the final touches.

compass copyHere is a copy of the compass I designed for this map. I think it looks kind of steampunk. What do you think?

Map illustrations are one of my most favorite types of projects to work on. There is just something about maps that appeals to my creativity.

If you are looking for a custom designed map for your book that will bring your world to life, I’d be happy to illustrate it for you. Have a look here for more information.

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The Importance of Your Book Cover

 

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The cover of your book is important because it’s the first thing a reader sees. You’ll want it to have a design that grabs their attention and portrays an accurate idea of what your book is about. Your book deserves an exceptional cover—a cover that you feel proud of—one that reflects the quality of your book, as well as the commitment and attention to detail that went into writing it.

The more general your cover idea is, the more likely I’ll be able to create a successful design. If your cover idea is too detailed, I may have difficulty creating a design that looks professional. For example, if you want to see a man and a woman on the beach, this is a general idea that can probably be turned into a very attractive cover. But if you want a man and a woman of very specific ages, ethnicities, hair color, and clothing, we may have a very hard time finding images that match your description. My covers are created from stock images and photography in a large subscription library. While I’m able to manipulate these images to an extent, it is still a good idea to keep your cover idea as general as possible.

Also, try to be as open minded about your idea, and if possible try to think of more than one possible design concept. This will keep my options open, allowing me to pursue the idea or design that can be completed the most professionally and attractively.

Don’t Show Too Much of Your Character

It may be tempting to show your book’s main character on the cover but this usually isn’t a very good idea. Most readers prefer to use their imagination to depict the story and characters in their head. In addition, it can be very difficult for a designer to find a stock-image that lives up to your expectations of what your character looks like. If you want a face on the cover, it’s a good idea to be generalized as far as looks are concerned. Woman with red hair is a good example and still gives me room to find good images for you.

If you think it is important for your main character to be represented on the cover, there are ways to do this without revealing the whole character. Consider using a silhouette of the character or perhaps showing them in either small part or from behind. These alternatives will spark your reader’s interest without limiting their imaginations.

Be Simple, Strong and Symbolic

Refrain from depicting a specific scene on the cover of your book. A specific scene is often difficult to assemble using stock images and is usually not the best way to tell potential readers what your book is about. Remember that the front cover is the first thing that most readers will see. Without the proper context, a specific scene may not have any meaning to them.

It is better to be more symbolic or iconic with your cover design. Try to come up with a simple eye-catching idea that anyone will understand upon first sight. Keep in mind that most people will see your book as a tiny picture on a bookstore website or out the corner of their eye in a bookstore. In either instance, a strong, simple, symbolic cover is much more likely to catch their attention than one that is complicated or cluttered.

Research at Your Local Book Store and Browse Stock Images

If you’re having trouble coming up with an idea for your cover, it may be a good idea to do some research. Go online and examine books of the same genre. This can give you some ideas or suggestions for your own book’s cover design. Once you have an idea in mind, you can browse and purchase stock images on the web or give some sample covers to your designer and let them find the perfect stock-images.

Don’t Forget the Technical Stuff

There are a few technical guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to your book’s cover design. The first is to be aware of copyright issues when submitting images for your cover. If an image appears to be copyrighted, we will not be able to use it without written permission from the copyright holder. Submitting copyrighted images without permission may also delay your book’s production. You can avoid potential copyright infringement by submitting images you have taken yourself or by choosing licensed images from stock-image websites. Or better yet, as mentioned before, let the designer choose the best stock images for you. They are professional designers with an eye for detail and would know what would create the right emotional response from the viewer.

It is also important that your images be high resolution. Resolution refers to the crispness or quality of focus in your images. Cover images must have a resolution of no less than 300 DPI. In addition, they must be a size suitable for their intended use.

Click here if you’re looking to hire an award winning designer and illustrator.

 

Free Book Cover Design

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I am happy to be gearing up for the next drawing with the Indie Author Advocate.

This is a drawing which is held four times per year for a free book cover design and more.

Everyone is welcome to enter for a prize of a free design package that includes both your Trade Paperback cover and eBook cover as well as some of our most popular author graphics.

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Once every three months I volunteer my design services to help an indie author get their book and their brand off to a colorful start.

I have been so blessed by, and so welcomed by the indie author community, that I thought this was the least I could do to give back to them.

I do not publicize that I volunteered my time and services to you, so your privacy is respected.

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WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU WIN

This package saves you $700 in design fees, which gives you more to invest in the remainder of the publishing services you might require.

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The next drawing takes place on October 1st 2016 and the prizes can be claimed anytime. Send me an email telling me a little about yourself and your book to enter.

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Book Cover Design Services and More…

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Through Mundus Media Ink I am happy to provide services to the indie author community as well as to those authors who have signed with a traditional publishing company. At MMI we have a wide range of services to aid you in your publishing experience. Take your time and have a look through all of the affordable services we have to offer on our website. below are some of the more popular services we provide.

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Thinking you’d like more than just one service that we provide? Check out this package we’ve put together to save you some cash on your author brand image design.

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A collection of premade book covers for indie authors, affordable yet stunning designs. Once sold, a premade cover is not available for resale, i.e, you get a unique book cover.

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High resolution book cover designs for your eBook and print covers. No extra charges for stock images used in the design. You get a unique and stunning design that will skyrocket your book sales.

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A well designed book cover talks to the reader and convinces them to pick it up and have a look inside. An award winning illustrator, I will take the ideas inspired from your book as well as what you envision,  and illustrate a cover that will generate sales.

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If you’re looking for a map to illustrate the world you’ve created, you couldn’t have picked a better place to get it. Let our award winning illustrator work her magic for your book.

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Trying to attract attention to your books and your blog? Do you need an eye-catching banner for your website or social media page? We will design your banners to flow seamlessly with your brand and your books.

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Do you need an awesome image that will help you sell your books? Look no further. Our book teaser design will help you market your books across your social media platforms. We will create a beautiful design that will drive more traffic to your point-of-purchase.

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We create some of the best logo’s in the business! Get a logo that will grab the viewer’s attention with a design that reflects your publishing company or brand.

 

 

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Word Count by Genre: How Long Should My Book Really Be?

Here is a great article that was originally published on ManuscriptAgency.com by . It has so much useful information that I had been looking for. If you like what you read here, please be sure to follow the link at the bottom to learn more about Kit and to read some of her other posts.


Publishers and agents are typically inundated with manuscript submissions from authors seeking publication. And as a result, ‘the authorities’ (as I shall hereby refer to them as) are looking for reasons to reject your book. The standouts are standouts, and speak for themselves. But for every standout manuscript there are hundreds of manuscripts that are hard to place – could they be best sellers if they found the right audience? More often than not they are looking for reasons why these manuscripts shouldn’t make their lists. And scrutinizing the word count is one such method of reducing their ‘slush pile’.

‘The authorities’ ask for a list of details in your cover (query) letter for a reason, it is their way of determining your understanding of your own work, the market, your competition etc. They want you to make their jobs as easy as possible – not because they are lazy, but simply overwhelmed. They need reasons to throw your manuscript in the bin and move onto the next one – and it’s not because they are horrible people who want to force people to ‘fail’, it comes down to time pressures really.

They also are looking for ammunition to take into ‘the pitch’ meetings, where they know if they are not prepared, then it will be a bloodbath. The truth is that, even if they love your manuscript and believe in it, they still need to convince ‘the suits’ (aka the sales and marketing department). ‘The authorities’ know that by pitching a manuscript that comfortably fits into a salable category they have a much better chance of ‘selling’ your book to ‘the suits’.

Word count comes into this overall equation. Most literary genres have expected word lengths, which have been driven by audiences – in terms of their own expectations of the genre, as well as our (the professionals) expectations of them (an obvious example for this: children’s books need to be shorter than science-fiction for adults, simply because children don’t have the attention span that adults possess).

Adhering to the expected word count demonstrates that you understand your market. It also shows that you have the ability to pace your narrative and make every word count (that you are disciplined at self-editing).

Publishing realities such as ‘production costs’ are another reason that ‘the authorities’ need you to respect word count expectations. The greater the word count = the larger the book = more sections and pages that are required to be printed = upping the price of your book once it hits the shelves. And why would a publisher want to spend more on producing a book and then taking the risk of selling it at a higher price point than they have to? Ultimately, if they have five other books in your genre that are ‘as good as’ your book then what would persuade them to publish yours? It would have to be pretty darn good to demand a higher sales price point and the chance of losing sales to a cheaper book in the same genre.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to compromise your manuscript and make it homogeneous, however by trying to tick a few boxes it might well help you find publication. And keep in mind that although there are always exceptions to the rule…don’t count on it that you are that exception.

So, with the above in mind, here is a rough guide for expected word lengths for adult fiction.

Here are the general figures that you’ll want to know:

SHORT STORY:

  • Under 500 words can be described as ‘Flash Fiction’
  • Between 1000 and 8000 words is a short story (also, most short story competitions will stipulate their required word length for entry)
  • Between 5000 and 10,000 words is a long short story

NOVELLA: This is a story that is between 10,000 and 40,000 words.

NOVEL: A manuscript over 40,000 words is considered to be a novel. However, very few novels these days are as short as that. Generally a 50,000-word novel would be the minimum word count. Most novels are between 60,000 and 100,000 words. A single novel can be longer, but once the length is above 110,000 words publishers may look at cutting it back, unless it is a particular kind of book – books over the 110K word count are usually considered ‘epics’. Here are some of the genres in a little more detail:

Adult fiction (commercial and literary): usually fall between 80,000-100,000 words. Dropping below this figure is passable, however not by too much. Exceeding the 100K word count by too much could make the book more expensive to produce – the story would have to be really worth it for a publisher to want to fork out more money than necessary on production!

Science and fantasy fiction: are the exceptions to the ‘word-limit’ rule, but even so they don’t usually exceed 150,000 words (and usually fall within the 90,000-120,000 range). The reason they are the exception? Audiences of this genre are happy to read epic novels, they expect it to take time to build the fantasy world around them and want to immerse themselves into that world for some time. Publishers and agents know this and as a result they are willing to show more leniency when it comes to word limits, so you are less likely to lose out on a deal due to word count for this genre.

Romance novels: 50,000-100,000…this is a fairly vast bracket thanks to all the sub-genres that can be found in this category (think Regency, contemporary, historical, paranormal, erotic…even chick lit). Aim for somewhere in the middle and you should be pretty safe – when writing your romance novel, consider your reader: where and how will they be reading your book? On the plane, by the pool, on the commute to work? What do you think they want out of the book – is it that they want a quick, light-hearted read, or an epic love story? This will have an impact on where you take your word count. This can be applied across all the genres really.

Historical fiction: Similar to sci-fi and fantasy-fiction, you are creating a world for your contemporary audience – you need to make this real and believable for them…but not dull and lifeless. Too much information and your novel could be at risk of being boring, too little information and you will find it difficult to place your audience in the time period. Aim for the 100,000-word mark in order to offer up something that is rich in detail, but not tedious to read.

Crime/Mysteries/Thrillers/Horror fiction: All these categories have one major thing in common: suspense. Any book that falls into this category needs to be a real page-turner. Too many words and you risk losing your audience, too few and they might feel like they missed something. So it is advisable to follow the guidelines on word length for this category. Generally speaking a 70,000-90,000-word count is a comfortable range. Publishers and agents expect that authors in this genre will understand how to be ruthless with their words in order to keep their narrative on-track and moving at an engaging pace – lengthy descriptions tend to be like a needle to a balloon…it pops the crucial tension that you have spent so long ‘blowing up’.

Young adult fiction: Although we covered this to some degree in our Publishing: Children’s Books Explained article, there is a little more to YA than meets the eye. This category has an ‘expected’ word count of around 50,000-80,000…however there is a little flexibility here, due to the sub-genres found in YA. For instance a sci-fi YA title could be expected to be a little longer due to the world-building requirements and also the expectations of the reader for this genre. But general YA titles should always keep in mind the age of their targeted audience and realistically consider their attention-span to an ‘epic’ versus something they can read comfortably before moving onto their next book ‘conquest’.

Children’s fiction: see more in my Publishing: Children’s Books Explained article.

Non-fiction: I really should break this category down into sub-heads such as: memoir, history, photography, reference, design, novelty… the list goes on. And for this reason, it is almost impossible to place a word restriction on non-fiction titles. Many books in the non-fiction category are also ‘acquired’ on concept alone, rather than a completed manuscript. If you have written a nonfiction book and want to know if you are hitting the word-count ‘sweet spot’, I suggest reading widely in your area to see what others are doing – this will give you a better sense of what publishers (and readers) expect/want.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

Always keep in mind that each story has its own natural length, which may fall outside these guidelines. If this is the case, just be prepared to ‘justify’ your reasons for falling outside the ‘norm’…always keep in mind, you are selling this to the agent/publisher/commissioning editor in the first instance, but then they have to sell it to the sales and marketing team (which can be a particularly hard sell! You can emotionally trap the creative team more than you can ‘the suits’…they want numbers and figures and hard facts. And at the end of the day, they have a lot of power, so it is important to keep both these audiences in mind when you are ‘selling’ your book).


Source: http://manuscriptagency.com.au/word-count-by-genre-how-long-should-my-book-be/