Covering the Bases

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Covering the Bases

A book cover has a daunting job. Done properly, it will:

  • Grab people’s interest
  • Let them know what the book is about
  • AND give them reason to open it up and read a few pages

That’s a tall order for a small space – extra small if you’re publishing is limited to the E variety.

In developing the cover for Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, my goal was a cover that was artistically stylish, indicated world travel, appealed to both men and women, somehow included the dog, and offered just a hint of baseball. You’ll have to be the judge of whether we accomplished those goals.

stanfinds-cover

I started with a globe and some “before and after” images of a guy who could have been Stan. Stan looks pretty shaggy by the time he makes it around the world. Unfortunately, my Stan came too close to the friendly Jesus images from Bible-based stories I remember reading as a child for my liking – so we scrapped the idea of putting Stan on the cover at all.

I gave the whole concept to my artist friend, Dana Ball, of Art Guy Creative, and he came back with what I believe is a masterpiece. In his first draft, however, the ball representing the earth was pretty much just a crumpled piece of paper. That was the perfect place to add the hint of a baseball.

Since the book’s not quite done, the cover’s still in process. I haven’t settled on the dog image yet. Or the fonts. I keep trying different ones for the “finds himself on the other side of the” part, and I haven’t really loved any of them. Yet. Good thing there are about 1,000,001 more fonts out there for me to look at.

The back cover contains a brief excerpt from the book, the inciting conversation between Paula and Stan that causes him to take the trip. No author pic – I think that’s wasted space on the back of a novel. I’ve reserved that for the “About the Author” page.

Next step: finish the damn book. Thanks, Joe Torres.

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

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Outfitted for marketing

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Outfitted for Marketing

When one thinks of a costume, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of Halloween and masquerade. However, I know a few very good (non-book) marketers who regularly don specific outfits when they go out and greet the world because it instantly alerts people to who they are and what their business is.

Ever been to a networking meeting and seen a guy in workout clothes? He may have just been coming from the gym – or he might have been my personal trainer, Miles Beccia, of MindMuscleMemory.com. My longtime friend Dolly Kennedy is always dressed for a party, as she’s become a walking advertisement for her namesake, the Dolly Steamboat.

When it comes to book marketing, a costume – or uniform of sorts – could be an author’s best friend, particularly at a book festival, sale, or other signing event where the goal is to stand out and get attention.

As I’ve come closer to completing Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, I’ve been amassing a growing collection of globes of all shapes and sizes. Among them are a wristwatch and a ring, which will, no doubt, be part of my Stan Travels Marketing Getup.

jewelry

I also envisioned a vest with a map print of some sort – kind of like this:

map-vest

But when I went to look for an image for that vest, this dress was the first one that came up under “map print vests.”

map-dress

The Spanish word for dress is vestido. Maybe Google got confused? At any rate, with Miles’ help, I may one day be able to look that good in this dress.

In the meantime, this one is more my style – I actually ordered one while I was saving this image!

map-tee

I’ve also thought about making a paper vest out of printed maps I’ve been collecting. That might be a fun marketing activity that gets beyond just the basic book signing event.

I’ll also have to hint around to my husband that these gorgeous globe earrings would make a lovely Christmas present!

globe-earrings

Other map/globe accessories might include:

Map Shoes

globe-map-flats


Globe Cufflinks

globe-cufflinks


Map Scarf – could double as a headband!

map-scarf

So while I doubt you’ll see me sporting this guy’s outfit anytime soon…

map-suit

…there’s a good bet you will see me in some combination of the others at a signing event near you in 2017!

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Are you a TED-Talk loving, Whole-Foods shopping, NPR-listening Gen X dog owner who loves to travel?

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Are you a TED-Talk loving, Whole-Foods shopping, NPR-listening Gen X dog owner who loves to travel?

ideal-reader

So when you write a book, more than likely you have an idea of who your reader is. Any author who doesn’t is probably struggling with the message of their book, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. Of course, an author can begin their book without knowing who will read it, but in fairly short order, they’ve got to have an idea of who their reader is or they run the risk of muddled writing, mixed messages, unclear storylines or thematic development, and generally utter chaos.

Additionally, knowing who the reader is helps the author develop a plan to market the book – that is, find those prospective readers and introduce the book to them. This is can be a fairly elaborate process – and rightly so, as marketing a book generally takes a lot more time than the actual writing and publishing process.

In the case of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, it’s a big story with many moving pieces – and, of course, a dog. A Jack Russell terrier named Isis, to be specific. So, we’ll start with dog owners as a key demographic for this book.

The story is about a man who’s dissatisfied with his life, although he’s pretty tightly wound and very security conscious. He leaves his job as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs to travel around the world. Second demographic: people who love to travel – or imagine that they’d like to see the world.

Stan’s best friend is a visual artist named Paula, who’s a free spirit. She teaches Stan to loosen up a bit, and ultimately issues the challenge that causes him to set off on his round-the-world trek. Third demographic: art lovers, culture seekers, folks who listen to NPR and have season tickets to their local theatre companies.

How can we pin this down even further? I’d guess my ideal reader is likely college educated. They exercise more than the average person. They probably have an above-median income. I’d guess they’re not overly religious; though they may belong to a particular religion or sect, they more than likely attend only on high holy days as opposed to doing so with any kind of regularity.

They probably read more than the average reader and may belong to at least one book club.

They’re probably politically savvy – and would tend to lean center-left; if not, they might have a hard time with aspects of the story.

They likely have a couple favorite TED Talks.

They may or may not have kids – that doesn’t seem to be a big determinant either way.

They’re probably at least Gen Xers, if not older. As my husband pointed out recently, since there are no vampires, zombies, or dystopian teen storylines, Stan is unlikely to attract younger readers. I told him I could add a zombie – it would definitely be unexpected.

What does all this knowledge do for me? It tells me where to look for my readers. They probably shop at Whole Foods or Sprouts or Natural Grocers – so a venue near one of those shops might work well for a book signing. Book club organizers are another good target for me. Cultural Meetups may be another good place to connect with these folks. Philanthropic organizations would probably draw a lot of my readers as volunteers, so there’s another good place to do some networking.

If you like the sound of Stan’s story but don’t find yourself in any of the above-mentioned categories, that doesn’t mean the novel is not for you! Please be sure to download and read the first 5 chapters and let me know what you think. And please be sure to look for the finished book in early Spring 2017.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Here’s the thing…

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The teacher teaches what the teacher needs to learn. Isn’t that the old saw? Well, this is the fourth time I’ve hosted the Author Blog Challenge. This year, it’s called the NO EXCUSES 3-Week Author Blog Challenge. And this is my third post on this blog … for my book, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World … on which I have been working for 12+ years.

So anyone out there who’s been at it for a while, take heart. I’ve written many other books since starting this one, which began as an entry into the 2004 3-Day Novel Contest. It didn’t win, but I received the most delightful rejection letter. I long ago committed the handwritten note to heart: “Stan made it pretty far into the process. Good dialogue. Good flow. Good job.”

Then life happened. And kept happening. And I’d take Stan out and dust him off. Write a few chapters. Think I was getting close to finished. Then more life. More shelving. More dusting. More writing. And it’s been that way for, well, more than a decade now. I’ve made progress, though. In the last year, I printed ARCs (advanced reader copies) and have had a few people read it. All the reviews have been uniformly positive – though some more constructive than others.

And then I had an idea for a new novel … which I wrote and submitted for the 2016 3-Day Novel Contest. Can anyone say ADD? At any rate, I continue to work on Stan. And since I’m bringing his blog to life with this challenge, I suppose I may as well get the damn book finished this year and ready for publication by Spring 2017.

Oh, yeah – and here’s the pitch:

18 months. 23 countries. 11 modes of transport. 28,432 miles. 1 dog.

stan-infographic

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

_______________

LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.