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Stand by Me RP exceeds expectations!

Stand by Me RP by Dave Steele

Only one week into launch and Stand by Me RP has already sold over 100 copies, made back its production costs in royalties and launched on Kindle. This has been a great title to work on for Kissed Off Creations Ltd.

The book was created to raise awareness of RP, as well as helping those who have been diagnosed with the condition.

As a first time author the publication of my first book was something I was very nervous and excited for. Natalie and all at Kissed Off Creations put me at ease straight away guiding me through every step of the process whilst showing a real care and understanding for the content of my work. From editing developing the structure and content of my book to designing the cover, Natalie made each step stress free and exciting as we moved closer to the release date. My Book entitled Stand by me RP has been out for only a week and has already been noted as the number one European poetry release by American Amazon and with the support of Kissed Off Creations it looks certain to go from strength to strength. I plan with following it up with an audiobook and other versions with Natalie’s help in the near future.
Kissed off creations have made a dream come true and this is just the beginning of a long and successful relationship.
Dave Steele Author of Stand by me RP

Stand by Me RP

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Cover image: the Importance of a Great Cover!

Portfolio-Mockup

This month we have seen a number of cover issues arise. I thought this week’s blog post could be a way of covering these frequently asked questions to help you get your book right first time.

Can I use a cover I’ve already had designed?

Our packages all include cover design, however some authors come to us having one “ready to go”. In some cases, we are approached as “I’ve had this designed for me by [my daughter, my neighbour, a uni student, my dog]”, and while we celebrate creativity in all its forms, great cover design is key to good sales. People unfortunately DO judge books by their covers, and when its shown at 2x4cm on Amazon it needs to make an impact!

I’ve even received covers from other graphic designers that don’t meet the basic standards! Artwork not in the correct ratio, let alone the correct size and resolution for print. A few have even come with licensing issues (and therefore fall foul of our terms and conditions).

Cover guidelines for designers

If you are going to use another professional designer and/or illustrator to design your cover, then we recommend the following…

  • Add on extra design for bleeds as well as any formatting issues that may arise through changes in your book. We would recommend a 9th of your cover design size all the way around – too much is a lot better than too little.
  • Make sure artwork is supplied in a vector-based format PDF, with fonts embedded.
  • Any images and fonts used must be supplied with appropriate proof of licences.
  • Do not provide spine artwork with text unless your title is over 130 pages.
  • If your design has an underlying texture, provide this as a separate file.
  • Ensure your cover is legible when viewed at thumbnail size.
  • Mock book covers are unacceptable.

What we do with unacceptable designs

Where we are provided with unacceptable covers, we either ignore the file provided or use it as a base concept (depending on the issue).

A recent example used a strong concept, but all the images used had licensing issues. Instead, we used the basic concept to create a stronger, impactful cover that works much better on the platform.

Where this is not possible, we will ask you about the file you have provided in order to get a brief for your new cover.

Our usual process for cover design

Where we are left to do the cover design as included with your package, we simultaneously design your cover to fit your book’s specification as well as viewing it at thumbnail size. Our vast experience in cover design has been honed across many platforms, so we can deliver cross platform success.

Our cover development stage occurs towards the end of our process. Once, your book inners have been completed, we can ensure the perfect design including any spine that may need to be included. Before the sign off of your inners, this cannot be guaranteed. So by this time, we thoroughly know your book and its intended/likely audience, sales platforms and production methods.

We develop 3 initial concepts for your book outer as well as how the back of the book would work. It’s easy in these times of online book buying to underestimate the importance of your back cover. You can then choose your preferred concept, mix and match or we can create a new concept based on your feedback.

Once you are happy with your book design, we also develop a mock up book for social media and other marketing strategies. That way, you can market your book before its even out on Amazon. We encourage our authors to build their following throughout the book publishing process. If you want to ask your followers about your book concepts that is fine, and we can even help you by supplying social sized images.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… #CookerySOS

#CookerySOS Xmas Book

Following on from the success of #CookerySOS, we’ve created a special limited edition to help you get through the Christmas cooking easily and affordably!

We travelled up very early only a couple of Sunday’s ago to catch up with John, drop off some more books (as he had sold out) and to photograph “a couple of dishes” for the download. What followed was a feast for the senses! We started with the Orange Carrots and Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese. In between shots we were trying to convince Stanley the Santa hat was a good look – he didn’t really buy it! The Cranberry Sausages are also another of my favourites from when we went up to Blackpool to photograph these great dishes in the #CookerySOS Christmas kitchen. The cover shot with Stanley the Ice Cold Pooch was just the icing on the Christmas Cake! What you can’t tell from the cover pic is how quickly Stanley could use his paw to get his Santa hat back off! Then it was onwards to an afternoon of sweet delights!

The #CookerySOS Christmas download takes you from defrosting a turkey through to party nibbles and all points in-between. My personal favourite are the Marzipan Snowballs that are so easy and yet so amazing fresh and christmassy I fell in love with them at first bite! It also has really helpful conversion tables and tips for each recipe to take the stress out of Christmas cooking!

We’ve included lots of help for those who may not have cooked a Christmas dinner before – making this book ideal for students, new carers and even new parents! I can’t wait to be curled up with my mug of Festive Latte (or as some would say a bucket)… and now with a Marzipan Snowball with raspberries! A real treat for Santa this Christmas!

My kitchen will certainly be smelling festive this Christmas!

Download your copy today for a £5 donation!

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Ice Cold Chef launches his first book on pre-order

ICC-Spiral-Book-Mockup-1

Ice Cold Chef AKA John Joyce has launched his first book!

You can now pre-order #CookerySOS by The Ice Cold Chef. Through the support and encouragement of his social media followers, John has finally put some of his great recipes into a book we all can learn from – along with some ‘donated’ recipes from his friends, chefs and more that have discovered him on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The book will feature approximately 200 (it is still growing as I write this post!) recipes aimed at the new cook, with simple ingredients that focus on fresh food served on a family budget. This book will be wire bound for ease of use by all in the kitchen, which mirrors how this book came into existence…

John became known as the Ice Cold Chef because of how he learnt to cook – while holding a glass of Ice Cold Beer! Here is the story as told by his wife, Bev.

John is not, nor has he ever professed to be, a qualified chef. He is an ordinary man, who works and also happens to care for me, his wife.

Eight years ago, we were your “average” couple, with one daughter, Louise who were living life as we wanted, going along nicely. John was a brick layer, I worked for the DWP and our daughter had just moved into her first house. John had decided on a career change as he didn’t want to work away from home any longer. He applied for and secured a job with Blackpool Council. It was a big change adapting to the office world, but as with everything he does, John put in one hundred per cent and really took to it.

Unfortunately, at the same time, I began to have strange symptoms and feelings in my legs that resulted in me being referred to a neurologist and eventually being diagnosed with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

I enjoyed and had always done all the cooking at home. However my progression into MS was  so fast that it soon became apparent that I could no longer continue to do this. We tried various processed foods, but within a couple of weeks knew that this wasn’t for us. John asked me to teach him to cook. I taught him the basics but as ever John took to it and decided to take things a lot further. He started to talk about cooking on social media and was soon receiving encouragement, ideas and recipes from chefs and other amateur cooks from all over the world. This support gave John the idea to put his and their recipes into a book, firstly to show anyone they can cook if they really want to and secondly to raise money for charity.

John has since taken Ice Cold Chef further than he could ever have originally imagined and won Adult Carer of the Year in 2014 and now teaches young carers to cook. He also cooks at events raising awareness of MS and has been invited to the Houses of Parliament to discuss his work.

#cookerysos started out as a dream of mine through the need to cook simply using fresh produce. This book is the fruit of our labours and I hope it will go on to be a great help to many people.

John Joyce
Ice Cold Chef

This book serves as encouragement to all those facing adversity, and teaches us all about how positivity can make even a bad situation something not always so sad.

This book is now available for pre-order from us. Profit from the sale of the book will go back into raising awareness and more for MS sufferers and carers.

John & Bev Joyce
John & Bev Joyce
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Subscribe to support our latest title

St_Johns_Mock_Book

With our latest title due for publication shortly, the author has taken the unusual step of raising funds via subscriptions.

Fairly Mounted on a Hill by Simon Henderson is about the history of St John’s, Bromsgrove and its parishioners. The book has been written to help support the growing need of the Church in terms of restoration and protection for both this generation and those to come. A previous history of this Church was also funded by subscribers, and so the Friends of St John’s thought it would be nice to use this as a way to bring this title to publication. As with the previous title, this book shall feature the names of those who have subscribed as well as continuing to raise funds via the profits of the book after release.

The book is currently in its final stages of editing, however you can download an excerpt of this book now as a preview snippet.

Fairly Mounted on a Hill EXCERPT

If you would like to have your name immortalised in print, as well as supporting a great cause, then subscriptions are still open via Subscribe to “Fairly Mounted on a Hill”.

Are subscriptions a way you could fund your next book? Speak to us today to discuss your options to raise funds prior to publication.

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Join the Club!

Club together to support Charity

St Richard’s Hospice has launched a new Book Club at it’s Cafe in Worcester. The aim of the book club is to reach out to the local book reading community while building a thriving group. Director of Kissed Off Creations Ltd, Natalie Ballard, is chairing the meetings following an invitation from Lydia Repton.

Inaugural meeting

The first meeting took place today, and while many books and topics were discussed, the chosen book for our meeting in June is “Life of Pi” by Yann Martell. This was met with unanimous support by the Club’s members. The next meeting is scheduled for the 15th June at 9am.

Copies of “Life of Pi” are available from the bookstore for £1.75, and why not have a great coffee and a browse while you are there!

The backup books are: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore and the Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – for those who are unable to finish reading the Life of Pi or would like an alternative book to read.

Club aims

The book club will be focussed predominantly on all realms of fiction, however we will also be looking outside of this genre on occasion as well as previewing forthcoming releases from Kissed Off Creations Ltd. There is no pressure to finish books nor to read the backups, all we ask is for you to bring along another book review or a recommendation of a title for the group.

If you cannot attend the group, simply drop in your review before the meeting at the store either to Lydia or to one of the other volunteers, and we can add your comments to our discussion.

Book reviews may be abridged and used to support window displays and advertising of the group.

Come along and join in

Pop along for a chat about books and a lovely coffee (and maybe a sneaky piece of cake too!) on 15th June. The cafe has wheelchair access and is situated through the charity’s well-stocked bookshop… even if they haven’t got your book in store, they are sure to be able to source it for you.

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How we tailor our eBook designs to your needs…

Affiliate eBook Introduction

Tailor your brief

Great design starts with a great brief.

Specification

One of the most important things to consider all the possible uses you will have for your eBook:

  • Will you want your eBook printed at a later stage?
  • Will it be printed on an office inkjet printer and how would you bind it?
  • If it could be professionally printed – how would you like it bound, are there any particular features and links that would need to change between versions?
  • How will your eBook be distributed? Will it be embedded directly into a web page? By email?

The answer to these questions will allow us to tailor the physical specification of your eBook to your needs.

For example, the eBook below has been designed specifically so that it can be printed on an office printer without showing to typical white border that features on so many inkjet prints.

LCT Accounting eBook
This eBook is designed specifically to allow for print borders common in many office printers.

As this could be used at trade events, it has been specifically designed for wire binding as well as allowing for economical and easy printing. This extends, not only to the client, but also to the end user who may not necessarily want to read your eBook on screen and would prefer to read it on paper. By tailoring your specification at an early stage, it allows your eBook to be flexible for alternative uses at a later stage without adding additional costs to your project.


Design

The briefing stage is also the time to specify any design requirements you have: branding, preference and target audience all have a bearing not only on colour scheme, but right through to accessibility options and font choices.

In the eBook below, the client had a very clear idea of how he wanted the eBook to look and gave clear examples. This has resulted in an eBook that was quick to conceptualise and is ready much quicker for publishing.

Affiliate eBook Detail
A clear brief led to an easy conceptualisation and approval stage
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Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

Tweet Your Way to Success (book)

As part of our continued improvement for our Authors, you can now purchase their books directly on Amazon.

The first book to be listed this way is Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly. This is an essential guide to Twitter for any new and small business owner covering how to get the most out of Twitter.

Buy it now or read more on Amazon

 

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Our First Publishing Experience

Eating for Energy by Yuri Elkaim (iPDF only eBook)

It’s nearly that time of year again!! It seems to come round nearly as quickly as my own birthday!

In honour of the forthcoming anniversary, I’ve decided to repost a guest blog I wrote for Stoned Press back in April about the beginnings of Kissed Off.

Our First Publishing Experience

New beginnings

I started freelancing online initially due to being made part time due to my employer being in financial difficulty due to the recession. I aimed to build up a graphic design business that would give me a route out of traditional employment.

My second freelance job however sent me off in a new direction – a series of cookery eBooks for a Canadian author.

I had never before published an eBook, but as the client wanted them in PDF format it was essentially no different to other graphic design projects I had previously carried out. Initially the project was for one book, but this quickly stretched out to 12 books for his first product range – as well as a further large book on cookery that contained a three figure number of pages (a typical eBook is around 40 pages).

This project would directly lead to 6 new clients, and over 250 books later we are now a fully registered UK publisher with books in all formats and on all platforms all over the world.

How did I do this?

Firstly, all 7 contacts complement me on turning around projects quickly (some even with CRAZY deadlines), efficiently while creating great graphic design and meeting the client’s brief. This led directly to word of mouth recommendations to their contacts (accounting for at least another 3 clients and more leads in progress).

Communication

Communication is key in maintaining customer relationships. If there is a barrier to completing a project or action, keep the customer informed. Never hesitate to send an email saying “I’m working on this but…” or “I’m still chasing our supplier for this on your behalf.” This simple action lets your customer know you have their interests at heart.

Communication works in both directions, so respond promptly to any questions and dispel any misconceptions quickly. We often end up educating the client in pretty complex subjects – so another key is to Keep It Simple. Watch out for any terminology that may be familiar to you but completely foreign to the client.

Efficiency

What can I do that makes my client’s life easier? Checking links, making sure content is logical and more are all part of what we do. If we can’t do something in the above due to time constraints, we make the client aware. This way they can either delegate the task internally or sub contract out to a third party.

Going one step beyond

We often go beyond our client’s expectations of our service. Either by taking their project to the next level, suggest improvements or even new ideas for future titles.
By taking that next step we become memorable. This is the key to being recommended to others your client may network with. We all network – family, friends, or in business we rely on networks to build trust and to gain initial impressions.

Moving forward what challenges did I face as a new publisher?

As a hybrid publisher, I have spent the first two years of business breaking ice (as it felt on the bad days) and building a new road (on the good days). There is no one in my area with the same business to discuss best practice with, or indeed within the UK.

In our first two years we have:

  • Registered as a UK publisher
  • Become a Limited business
  • Started offering low print runs to compete against Amazon’s CreateSpace program and other print-on-demand services.
  • Created truly interactive titles that go beyond the PDF basic format
  • Had our first best sellers- #1 on Clickbank
  • Produced books and eBooks for all major formats and vastly different subject matters.
  • Published our first audiobook
  • Exhibited at trade shows (both successfully and un-successfully)
  • Joined and left networking groups (not all groups have quantifiable business for someone who is as unique as I was).
  • Become an expert in Social Media
  • Created several online bookstores on a range of platforms (paid and unpaid… you can see which we decided on at store.kissedoff.co.uk/?b=guest)

We have made mistakes along the way, but I like to think we have saved our clients making the same mistake.  Most of our clients come to us from having a bad experience of book conversions, printers, marketers and more. We are now passionate about helping first time authors so the joy of having your first book published doesn’t have to be tarnished with the bad experiences that many of our authors had sadly had previous to finding us.

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How can an eBook market your business?

Concept stage

It seems everyone is now offering a free “eBook” about their service or area of expertise. These vary from a simple Word document through to an iPad app (and all points in-between). These range from a great use of the platform through to someone obviously producing it because they feel they HAVE to. However, with the right approach, an eBook CAN successfully market your business.

Types of business

Most businesses can benefit from an eBook to build an “expert” reputation, however I want to focus this post on those who can EASILY benefit from an eBook.

The visual business

So you’ve got hundreds of pins (and hopefully followers) on Pinterest – filled with your work, projects and products. An eBook can be a great way of drawing together visual media into one manageable package for distribution. A great way for reaching out to those who DON’T follow you on Pinterest, an eBook is more lasting than a tweet, instagram, snapchat etc and becomes a great way of informing your potential client. This could be an essential tool in your briefing process – “Is there a particular project or style you liked?”, “Could we apply this approach to your sector?” and so much more. It also becomes a great catalogue – include links to your online shop, your client’s products etc. and because its DIGITAL it can be quickly updated without the COST IMPACT of traditional printing.

The one touch business

For those who will probably only work with their clients 1-3 times, an eBook can be a great way to educate a client who may not understand the intricacies of your business. For example, an estate agent could take the reader through the process of selling their first home – legalities, checklists, essential actions, accepting an offer or asking for more. This type of eBook is great for the legal sector, weddings (for most 😀 … and divorce), pensions and investments, wills and probate, instruction services (driving, piloting, seamanship), estate and letting services and educational services.

The expert business

An eBook is a great way for building an expert reputation using your inherent knowledge of your sector, the services you offer and how they benefit your potential client. This is particularly the case for the professional services industry – architects, engineers, doctors, specialists and accountants. An expert reputation will help you to grow your business, both through your marketing but also by word of mouth where others can recommend you using your eBook to introduce you to potential clients you may not be aware of.

The lifestyle business

From cars to five star hotels, these are the businesses that people aspire to as a lifestyle choice. An eBook in its truest form can utilise many of the latest technologies to really showcase your brand to its best – from video through to interactive diagrams, there is a visual way to show your product to it’s best.

A well-designed eBook can help you market your business better – whether you choose to give it away, or if you decide to offer it as part of a bigger service. We can help you produce an eBook to promote your business from as little as £75.