[BIZ] Business versus Hobby

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Phoenix
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[BIZ] Business versus Hobby

Post by Phoenix » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:14 pm

Before I ask my question I will provide a bit of background...
I am a fifty-six year old Australian male who has been writing in one form or another all his life, but never as a professional. I have reached that time in my life when I want to write those stories that I have always had in me but never had the confidence or the formal education to commit to paper. I am the first to admit that my skills are no comparison to the writers I love to read. That said, I am determined to make that effort before it is too late.

I also do not have unlimited funds to throw at my projects, being a humble Caravan Park owner/operator in a small country town in NSW, Australia. I know full well that unlimited funds can certainly assist in making the book.

I have read a few times on the CreateSpace community forum how bad the regulars think the cover creator covers are. It has been thrown around a few times that a few dollars spent can get you a great cover. I explored one supplied by Walton recently https://www.selfpubbookcovers.com only to find that once you purchase the cover, you must then fork out more money for a rear and a spine!

I am not in the least bit talented when it comes to drawing or anything in that area of the visual arts, so for me, the CreateSpace Cover-Creator is a Godsend. Easy to use and unlimited combinations and colours if using your own photographs as backgrounds.

I spend what I can afford on editing, the most important part of publishing in my opinion. I spend money to buy my books for book-signings and local sales. I do not want to be a top-selling author, nor do I seek fame. I want to write and publish a book to the best of my ability. So, my question after all that... Can a purchased cover be all that important in the scheme of things? I know I can be the only person to truly answer that question for myself, but I would like an honest opinion of the experienced people here. Surely the content is the most important thing to get right? While a great cover will enhance and attract a few more readers and sales, the content has to be good in order to capture a reader?
Cheers,
Joe.

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Re: [Business versus Hobby]

Post by walton » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:03 pm

The "common wisdom" is that CoverCreator is a sign of being an amateur. I disagree. (Many people say that of Times New Roman, and I disagree about that too.)

Coscto (I think you've got a few in Australia . . . maybe like Aldies?) is a hugely successful book seller, although they have only about 6 large tables of books. Their book person is consulted by traditional publishers about covers because she is so good.

But once the cover has caught your eye . . . what? You thumb through the book. Then it's everything. Design, formatting, snippets of writing (style, content, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.), back cover, spine . . . . Everything.

The cover may catch my eye because of the title, the graphics, a photo, the subject matter. Maybe just because it's red. Who knows!?

So what is a good cover?

If you make sure all of your book is as good as you can get it, that what you have to do. After that it's marketing and luck. Or luck and marketing.
Walton

Bleeds , free, 91 page guide to bleeds, margins, covers, and annotated CreateSpace guidelines. Prepress Glossary free, 79 page, fully illustrated prepress glossary with annotations forCreateSpace users. Typography free, 112 page illustrated guide to designing books, typography, with glossary and type specimen pages. Free list of free PDF downloads.

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Phoenix
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Re: [Business versus Hobby]

Post by Phoenix » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:14 pm

Thank-you Walton, that is a very encouraging reply. I would post a pic of my intended cover in here, only I have no idea how to go about that.
Joe.

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Michelle
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Re: [BIZ] Business versus Hobby

Post by Michelle » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:01 pm

If you're selling books yourself, you can probably get away with the Cover Creator and few people will care. They will be more interested in the content, so you're right to ensure the editing is top-notch.

If you want to place your book in a bookstore, it needs a professional cover or they won't take it. Same for if you go to large events like writers festivals and conventions. I was at Book Expo in Sydney two years ago, and two authors in booths next to each other had used the exact same Cover Creator template. Embarrassing!

You can get professional covers done quite affordably if you need to go next-level with your book marketing. The pre-made cover websites are not bad, but make sure you get the front cover at 300dpi -- with bleed. Depending on the price, you can skip getting the spine and back from the designer, and do those bits in the Cover Creator.
Michelle (Forum Moderator)

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Phoenix
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Re: [BIZ] Business versus Hobby

Post by Phoenix » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:39 pm

Thank-you Michelle. I don't think any of my books are ever destined to be more than mementos for me and my family with the odd one or two sold by me, or on-line. I do not envisage going to, or representing myself at conventions or otherwise to market by books. I can see how the same cover appearing at two booths would be more than a little embarrassing, so I would not want that for myself. By the same token, unless I actually start to make a few dollars from my efforts, I do not see them as worthy of yet more expenditure. Only time will tell on that score. I look at some of my favourite authors' book covers and can honestly state that I am unimpressed with the majority of them, David Baldacci's come to mind immediately as being quite bland. Lee Childs' are also of cookie-cutter quality, yet both these authors sell countless books, probably because of their established names and writing credibility I assume. If ever I have more ready funds at my disposal, I shall certainly take the step of attaining a professional cover and even better editorial input. Until then I am simply an old man having a go at writing a few stories, nothing more.

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Re: [BIZ] Business versus Hobby

Post by Ozed » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:32 am

Strewth Phoenix I know it's hot out there but you are wilting much to fast. From 54 to an old man in one day. Cricket.

Cheers ed

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danwiz
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Re: [BIZ] Business versus Hobby

Post by danwiz » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:04 am

You said:
"I am simply an old man having a go at writing a few stories"

Heck no!!! I'm 69 and will be 70 in another 18 days and I AM NOT AN OLD MAN! My God, 54 years young is still a spring chicken! You should be out chasing girls (or guys, whatever you choose) at a mere 54 years old!
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Phoenix
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Re: [BIZ] Business versus Hobby

Post by Phoenix » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:22 pm

:) Ha, ha, well said Dan'l. I didn't say that I was a decrepit old man, just not young anymore. I meant simply that my aspirations are no longer as lofty as they were in the day. My days of chasing skirt are long gone thanks to a wonderful second wife. I hope I am as full of piss and vinegar as yourself when I reach your age. Happy 70th birthday!!!!!
Joe.

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Re: [BIZ] Business versus Hobby

Post by danwiz » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:43 pm

I am sorry that your aspirations are not as lofty as they once were. Let's see, where was I when I was 54 and what was I doing? Okay, that was 2001. I left NYC, working as a temp for Deutsche Bank and went to Japan to teach English. In December of that year, I met the love of my life and we are now married and living in Alaska together. (Before you say "congratulations on your Japanese wife", let me just say that we are husband and husband and today was our second anniversary, but we've been living together since 2002.)

Thanks for the early birthday greeting, it is very much appreciated. But, even at this age, my aspirations are pretty lofty. We went out and hiked 19 miles in 2 days last week - high in the mountains near Eagle Summit, Alaska - the most amazing country you can imagine - well, maybe not, in Oz you have some equally amazing country, I am sure! The point is, we're still climbing and hiking long distances together and do not plan to stop doing just that. In some ways, I am tougher than my 38-year-old husband. I hope to toughen him up so that when he is 70 years old he can still climb and hike, and have him thank my ghost for the toughening up.

So, Joe, I guess what I'm just trying to get across to you is just this, keep your aspirations lofty, maybe not as lofty as they were when you were 25 or 30, but lofty. I have always believed that we are only as OLD as we tell ourselves we are. I once met a 37-year-old who thought he was old, and he was, because in his mind he was!! A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine had his 60th birthday and was kind of devastated by it - he decided well in advance of the birthday that when he became 60 that he was "over the hill". Sad. For myself, I'll be "over the hill" when I die!

Ha! :D :lol:
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walton
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Re: [BIZ] Business versus Hobby

Post by walton » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:27 am

Yeah, 70 in November. The only two things I notice are hair loss and I think it's getting hard to clip toe nails. I was just asked to play sax for a theater production in opening 9.9. The catch . . . as of 8.6, I didn't have a sax, never played a tenor, and the last time I played a single reed instrument was, over 50 years ago. I got a cheap Chinese tenor on 8.8 . . . I'm playing competently enough in 5 days, that even today, I wouldn't be embarrassed to play a gig on sax! It's society that says, "Oh, you're old."
Walton

Bleeds , free, 91 page guide to bleeds, margins, covers, and annotated CreateSpace guidelines. Prepress Glossary free, 79 page, fully illustrated prepress glossary with annotations forCreateSpace users. Typography free, 112 page illustrated guide to designing books, typography, with glossary and type specimen pages. Free list of free PDF downloads.

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