Your book cover design will be splendid if you read this!

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Many more writers are considering the idea of documenting their ideas in form of books which is great. The problem, however, is the rise in substandard book cover designs. You do not have to dig a hole in your pocket before you get a design that will make you stand out. 

A poorly-designed cover tells the book reading public that you didn’t care enough about your work to make a good first impression. That’s not the kind of impression you want to give.

Here are a few things to take note of;

Use Eye-Catching Original Design

The last thing you should do is go to the internet and pick get the first picture that looks like what your book talks about. Apart from you running the risk of being sued for piracy you will come off to your readers as lazy and make the cover page look like an afterthought. 

First impression matters. 

Hire the best book designer you can afford. Talk to people who have experience in designing book covers. A general graphic designer won’t know how to place text and photos or illustrations for maximum impact. Make sure the image used conveys the message in the book and while you are at it make sure it is appealing.

Find the right typography

You may not know this but the text used for your book cover also affects the general look and feel. Don’t be quick to use Times New Roman or Arial as your book cover text. 

A designer will experiment with fonts sizes to see what looks right to the wandering eye; more specifically, your target market. You don’t want to use a font and colour that won’t blend in with the background visuals, rendering the title illegible.

The font style you use should be a mix of sharp, professional, and eye-catching styles.

 

 

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#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Writing is not a mediocre craft

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

I had a conversation with a publishing agent a few days ago and she was telling me about how difficult it is to get good manuscripts from writers to publish. I found this interesting because I have many writers at The Sparkle Writer’s Hub who complain that no publisher wants to publish their manuscript despite all the time and effort that they put into writing it.

This was something that got me thinking. Publishers are desperately looking for writers and writers are looking for publishers. So why is it hard for both parties to connect? After all, this appears to be a seamless fit.

As I spoke to the publishing agent and remembering my experience with some of the writers I have had the privilege of coaching, I had a better understanding of the cause of this problem.

Here it is.

Some writers are simply not ready to be published.

Before you raise your defenses, let me explain.

Publishing a book is serious business. Unfortunately, we live in a country where anything goes so we have a lot of sub-par work being thrown into the market. There are also sub-par publishers who throw standards to the wind by publishing any and everything.

Have you ever bought a book and right from the blurb you find cringe-worthy errors? I have found a lot of such books which are published locally.  

I believe all writers should be held to the highest standard possible. This applies to publishers as well. In the few years that I have been able to coach writers and connect them with freelance writing opportunities, I have realized that some writers are not as good as they think. Getting them to improve is also a battle because they believe so much in the quality of their work that they feel there is nothing to be improved.

It’s quite sad.

As a writer, you must be committed to self-improvement on a daily basis. I have been writing professionally for over four years and I still make mistakes. Sometimes I have to check the dictionary to ensure that I’m using a word in the proper context.

A perfect writer does not exist. So if a publisher rejects your manuscript and tells you that your work is not good enough, don’t take it personal. The publisher is not out to get you. While I understand that there are bestsellers that were rejected by publishers because they failed to see the potential in the manuscript, sometimes the problem is with the manuscript itself.

The publishing agent I spoke to told me about the number of manuscripts they had to reject because they were poorly written; bad English, grammatical errors and structure. Instead of the writers to implement the feedback, they simply find a publisher who will accept to publish the manuscript despite the very obvious errors.

Writing is not a mediocre craft. You have to put in your very best. I don’t think you want to be known as the writer who always brings out low quality books. That’s not the kind of writer you should aspire to be.

Contrary to what you’ve been made to believe, there are publishers who want to publish your work. Your duty is to make your manuscript as irresistible as possible.

It’s my desire that the gap between publishers and writers will get smaller and completely disappear in the coming years. We are working hard at The Sparkle Writer’s Hub to bridge that gap.

If you need help to improve your writing skills, reach out to us. You can be the best writer that the world has ever seen.

#WriterSpotlight – For Margaret, writing is her calling

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We are excited to feature yet another exciting writer on our #WriterSpotlight Series. She is a writer who has been able to monetize her skill. There’s so much to learn from this interview.

Hello, please introduce yourself

My name is Bolu-Adebayo Margaret and I write under the pseudonym Maggie Smart. I’m the second of three children in a family of five. I attended University of Ilorin and bagged a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in 2011, then I proceeded to earn a post-graduate diploma in Journalism in 2013.

You have been writing for at least five years and have found ways to monetize your writing talent. How did you do this?

Yes, I have been writing for close to five years now. I published my first novel in 2012, and then went on a long break until late last year when I decided to be intentional with my writing gift. Since I made that decision last year, I have earned from transcribing for clients, from ghostwriting, from creating content for brands, websites, and magazines, and from selling my own works.

What would you say is the biggest challenge a young writer will face?

The biggest challenge a young writer will face is what I call the ‘unknown syndrome’. A young writer, especially those who want to follow the traditional route to publishing their work might face a lot of discouragement getting the publishers to take them seriously. Publishers are businessmen, and they usually don’t want to take risks on unknown writers. Also, as a writer, if you seriously want to sell your books one day and make good money from them, you need to start building your fan base from the very beginning.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

No, I didn’t. I was fortunate to meet someone who recognized the talent in me, pursued me doggedly until I published my first work, and the rest as they say, is history.

How rewarding has writing been for you?

Writing has been rewarding to some extent. I say that because I’ve not in any way gotten to the heights I know I will get to as a writer. The rewards are still coming, but for now, I’m focusing more on releasing good works and building my fan base.

You write romantic stories how were you able to discover that niche?

Yes, I do. I read a lot of romance while I was growing up and I think to some extent that played a huge role in my choice of niche. Besides, I love love and I believe everyone is entitled to love, no matter the circumstances or situation.

What’s the worst thing anyone has said about your article?

I can’t remember anything off hand right now. People are generally very receptive to my works and find them enjoyable.

As an author do you prefer self publishing or traditional publishing and why?

I prefer self-publishing because you get to have complete control over your work and how it turns out. You make the decisions, for better or worse, and you deal with the consequences as they come and learn from them. You can promote your work as you see fit, work very hard on it, and when the monetary rewards come, you don’t share with anyone (laughs).

Has there been any time you wanted to quit writing?

There’s never been anytime I wanted to quit writing. I know writing is my calling, and I know that wherever I get to, whatever work or career I focus on, I know that writing will always be there, and that is my destination and final goal. I feel discouraged from time to time when I don’t get the results I expect, but this just challenges me, it never makes me feel like quitting.

What do you do in your leisure time?

I read, a lot. This year, I challenged myself to read 100 books before the end of the year, and I am on my 62nd. So, every free time I have, I just grab a book and start reading (laughs)

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to get writing! Don’t waste anytime pursuing frivolous activities. Focus on what you want, work at it until you see results. It’s a lot better when you start working on your dreams early. You get to make all your mistakes and learn your lessons early, and you achieve success early too.

What would you say is your ultimate dream as a writer?

For myself, I would want to be recognized as a world renowned writer. I want my brand to stand out, and I’ll like to be able to rub shoulders with the big guns in the society. I also have a dream to see Nigerian writers stand with the ‘professionals’ and be recognized as successful people in their own right.

Do you consider writing as work or pleasure and why?

I consider writing both work and pleasure. I enjoy writing, so it’s pleasurable for me, but to be an outstanding writer, I have to take it as work, and pour everything I have into it to make it a successful career.

Any last words for upcoming writers especially those who want to become freelancers?

I would advise upcoming writers to start early, build their brand, build their fan base and focus on what they want to achieve as a writer.