Every picture tells a story and every story paints a picture – by Jane Ayres

Beware of the Horse 4 (1)
Klaus Hartleben

We are drawn to images (excuse the pun!). People respond more readily to images than words.  They have a more immediate impact on the emotions.  They transcend language and literacy.

As writers, we are using words to create the images we want to evoke, the internal cinematic experience.

A bookshop (or Amazon page) provides a rich gallery of myriad images from which we can make a selection.  If we are attracted to the book cover, we pick up (or click on) the book.  Then we read some words – the book blurb – before making a decision on whether to sample more words.

The importance of the cover image cannot be overestimated.  Somehow, it has to capture the flavour, the essence, of the story within a relatively small space frame.  I wonder if designers realise the major factor they play in the initial success of a new book.

I love working with a designer and am thrilled with the images Medway-based Klaus Hartleben has produced for my book covers.  The internet has also brought me into contact with some wonderful artists and illustrators I would never otherwise have met, and in 2013 I hope to commission some original illustrations as part of the design, which is really exciting.

The Book Designer invites entries for its monthly e-book cover design awards and I would urge any indie authors and designers to submit work for feedback.  You get to see a range of diverse designs which is inspiring and stimulating.

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/12/e-book-cover-design-awards-november-2012/

Interesting how much I favour clean lines, bold powerful images, and neat uncluttered designs, yet in real life I’m messy and untidy.  Or maybe that’s why I appreciate clarity in art!  The psychology of what attracts us and the reasoning behind it is endlessly fascinating.

To find out more about Jane’s publishing experiences, go to her blog www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk

Her recent e-book, Beware of the Horse, is available from Amazon.

Writing for Charity – by Jane Ayres

cover design by Klaus Hartleben

“As a creative I can speak for most of us and say that often our motive is not money, it is to make a difference in the world.” Natasha Steer

This statement, from Natasha’s post on Networking Vs Making Friends, really struck a chord with me about why creatives create.

When I hear about best-selling authors making a fortune I envy the fact they can then give lots of money to charity.  Writing can be a powerful force for change.  But could it also offer a pathway to giving? I thought about how I could contribute more.   I could publish my work and donate any royalties to a charity I cared about. And, rashly, because of my motives, I disregarded a lot of practical advice, believing it didn’t apply.  Of course, whatever your reasons for publishing, if you want to raise money from it, then it is always a business decision, as I have since learned.

Having been traditionally published for over 30 years, and with 20 years plus experience in marketing, you would think I would have an awareness of what is involved.  That’s what I thought.  Funny how you can become blinkered…

I had decided to publish three of my backlist titles for the kindle to raise funds for Redwings Horse Sanctuary, who rescue and care for neglected, abandoned and abused horses and ponies.

I commissioned a professional Medway-based designer, Klaus Hartleben, to create my cover designs as this is the first thing that potential buyers will see.  For a digital book, Amazon is your shop window. Because I was donating all profits from my books to charity, I decided that using the Amazon “free” days to promote the books would defeat the object of the fundraising. ButI have been advised by several professionals that if Book 1 is free for a while (and readers enjoy it) they are more likely to buy the next two books in the series.  So later this month, I will be offering Book 1, Matty and the Moonlight Horse, free for 5 days.

Similarly, I ignored all the advice I read on pricing strategy as part of the marketing plan because the money was going to charity and I wanted to raise the maximum amount from each sale.  But comparing the prices I am charging to other similar titles, my books cost a lot more.  So now I am tweaking the prices and testing the market to see what works best.

No sales = no funds for the horse sanctuary.  So whether your motives are to do something good or to make money to live, I now understand the rules are the same.  Be businesslike.

By Jane Ayres

To find out more about Jane’s publishing experiences, go to her blog www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk

Her trilogy of Matty Horse and Pony Adventures books for pre-teens and teens (and nostalgic older readers!) are available for Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. All profits from these stories are going to Redwings Horse Sanctuary.