With us today we have C.S. Wilde, bestselling author of A Courtroom of Ashes and other fantastic stories. Wilde has written since she was eight years old, and hasn't stopped since then. Between writing and marketing, we're just wondering how Wilde handles the Design part of it all. Let's find out?
1 - Why did you chose the self-publishing route?
While setting up my online platform, I started giving out a short-story for free to people who subscribed to my list. At that point, I was still pursuing traditional publishing for my other books, so I sent a query letter to an agent whose name I forget. The next day I got a form rejection (one out of a hundred, literally), but on that same day, I received an email from a reader who had LOVED my free story and couldn’t wait for more. At that point, I realized I wouldn’t let anyone tell me that I couldn’t be an author. Not anymore.
2 - When did you start thinking about your book cover design? Was it before or after your draft was finished?
It’s always after, but for my next series, I’m feeling it’ll be before, only because I have it pretty accurately outlined already.
3 - When it was time to get your first book cover designed, how difficult was to find someone to do the right job for the right budget?
VERY. When I first started, I paid $500 on a cover that didn’t resonate with my market. Lesson learned. It killed my budget for my next book, so I had to DIY my current “From the Stars” cover, but I plan on having it re-done soon. So right now, I’m working with a variety of designers, all of whom are wonderful and affordable.
4 - Did you have a concept in mind for your book cover design beforehand?
Yes, but remember that your cover doesn’t need to accurately portray your character or setting, just the feeling of your book. Also, research covers within your genre.
5 - Were you happy with the first results?
Yes, but they didn’t resonate with my market.
6 - Have you ever considered the DIY route for your book covers design?
I have and I did, but a better cover will always generate a greater return on investment, so save up to hire a good, affordable designer (there are GREAT ones that will charge you only $150 and that’s awesome).
7 - When do you think it's a good time to get a book cover redesigned, if ever ?
It depends. I’d say when you notice a drop in sales?
8 - You have a website AND a blog. That's great! How important do you think both your website and blog have been for you and your marketing efforts?
At the beginning, my blog was SUPER important (it was how I got subscribers), but nowadays I do most of my marketing efforts through Facebook, my mailing list, and Amazon directly. So the blog is catching dust at the moment.
9 - How long did it take you to start your own website and why did you do it?
I knew it pretty soon, like, even before I had published my books. A website is super important to establish your online presence, every author must have one and it needs to look amazing.
10 - Did you hire a professional to build your website or have you done it on your own?
In the beginning, I did it on my own. It looked pretty good, but now it’s just fantastic, and right the way it should be. That’s because I was super lucky. I have a friend who has a web designing business, and she worked on my website and also my email set up.
11 - Would you have done anything differently?
Yes. If you’re a starting indie author and your book isn’t part of a series, do not spend $500 on a cover. If you do have a series, and you can release them rather quickly, then go ahead. You’ll see a much better and faster return on investment.
12 - In terms of costs, how much approximately do you think you've spent in Design overall? Was that within your budget?
Well, the $500 certainly weren’t. So, counting that plus the newer ones, I’d say $900. Which is fine as long as you get a return on investment. I know authors who spend a lot more per cover, others a lot less.
13 - Do you think authors should have a budget for Design?
Totally. I do a lot of my own design, but authors in general should definitely have a proper website, a proper book cover and proper ad/social media images. I only pay for the first two, the ad/social media images I do myself.
14 - How important do you think it is to connect with other authors, not only readers?
It’s insanely important. The indie community is simply amazing and mega supportive. Helping each other is key if you want to gain exposure, or even ask questions and learn. You can’t do this on your own.
15 - Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us today, C.S. Wilde. Would you have any quick and dirty tips for any new authors out there?
- Grow a mailing list.
- Join Facebook author groups.
- Get a proper website (I did my own in the past because I was familiar with the requirements, but if you’re not, save up for a proper web designer). After that, learn how to work with your template.
- Don’t underestimate the power of proper marketing. Churning books every 2 weeks is all fine and well, but if you get your marketing right, it becomes an automated process and you get time to write at your own pace AND earn a profit. So it’s definitely worth putting your brain (and budget) into this.
C.S. Wilde wrote her first Fantasy novel when she was eight. That book was absolutely terrible, but her mother told her it was awesome, so she kept writing. Now a grown up (though many will beg to differ), C. S. Wilde writes about fantastic worlds, love stories larger than life and epic battles.
A Rio de Janeiro native, she currently spends her days in Switzerland. She also, quite obviously, sucks at writing an author bio. She finds it awkward that she must write this in the third person and hopes you won’t notice.
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