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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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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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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.

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Why an eBook isn’t just a PDF!

Female Fat Free Club eBook series (iPDF only)

Recently, there has been a proliferation of “digital publishers” that will convert your brochure to a page flipping PDF. These are great for those who want a literal translation of their documents for reading on several platforms. However, this approach fails to make the most of what the technology has to offer.

What can’t a PDF do – and why would I want to create something new?

A PDF in its traditional format was designed as a way to transport static documentation that could be guaranteed to look the same on all platforms it is viewed on. This was a great leap forward when it was invented back in the late 1990’s when it meant that you didn’t all have to be running the same software to preview files or send hard copies to clients – and I even remember creating animations of flipping pages in the early 2000’s. However, a traditional PDF such as those utilised by many page flipping companies, software and plugins rulers out what is best about the eBook platform.

Media Support

In 2015, we can now add videos, audio and animations to our eBook formats (i.e. ePub 3.0 which is utilised by iBooks and many other readers). These are true eBooks that take full advantage of the media available to further explore, express and convey the content of your book. These are great for “How To” topics as well as taking the reader on a tour behind the scenes, for additional content on a subject that they want to explore further. Imagine how much books have changed in last 20 years – especially for the education and manual arena. Now most books that teach us about or how to do something have lots of visual imagery to support the text. eBooks enable us to take this to the next stage – especially for complex subject matter.

Interactivity

Now reading a book doesn’t have to be a passive experience. We can now add interactive features such as puzzles, workbook sections and more that can enhance a book’s content and help the reader engage with the content more. Think of the fun you had as a child with a pop up book – now this is the adult equivalent where learning can be fun for adults too!

iPDF

Now an iPDF allows you to do some but not all of these things… however support for interactivity across all PDF readers is not yet stable. Even simple interactive features such as buttons are not supported within the iPDF framework. This is why as ePub 3.0 support widens, we encourage our authors to go down this route instead. iPDF is great for all platform coverage currently, but ePub 3.0 will only continue to grow and it will change how electronic publishing functions.

How can I utilise interactive features within my eBook?

This is the easiest bit for the author – simply give us an idea of how you want the interactivity to work and we will do the tricky bit. So if you want a diagram that the reader can label, we can do that and more using interactive fields the reader can fill in, and then “reveal” the correct answer.

Also, by having a video or animation, you can start to grow a following on YouTube, use the video in your social media and more. Book trailers are now seen as a key way to draw in new readers.

But you haven’t mentioned Kindles!

The Kindle (as in the older paperweight versions NOT the Fire tablets) can’t handle interactivity or moving imagery. But what it lacks in tech, it more than makes up for in accessibility! A large population of readers can ONLY read on Kindles due to visual impairment. It is a common misconception that blind people use Braille books to read, yet with the non-glare surface of the Kindle it is ideal for those suffering problems with their eyesight. Someone in this situation would be unable to read the PDF flip books (and would find the animation more of a hindrance than a benefit), and would therefore be unable to engage with your content.

This is why Kissed Off create more than just PDF formats of books, and as a registered publisher we have knowledge that stretches across all print and digital platforms.

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Publish Your Book with Kissed Off

Portfolio-Mockup

Publish your book with Kissed Off easily. Here is a quick overview of our process of publishing your manuscript to book and/or eBook format. We will be releasing more detailed videos for each section of this video – from our manuscript template to publication and beyond.

To find out more how we can help you publish your book, visit our Design & Publishing Packages, or for more information on our service and our portfolio visit our main website. Your dream of being published is only a couple of clicks away – whether in print or in a digital format… or even both! Some of our books have made it on to the market as quickly as two weeks, and our latest book debut launched at #2 in its respective category!

Start your own publishing journey today by purchasing our Publishing Base Module and we can guide you on your publishing journey. We can publish to all major formats – paperback, eBook (on all major platforms) and audiobook.

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Girls Have Fun: Book series for cheeky fun for adults!

Girls Who Do It by Sophie Reynolds

Welcome to Girls Have Fun!

The Girls Have Fun series is packed with cheeky humour, naughty antics and intrigue – always with a twist in the tale!

Girls Who Do It by Sophie Reynolds is the first in the Girls Have Fun series. It follows four firm friends throughout planning for, and while they are staying at the Clover Spa Hotel in Ireland.

Hi-jinx ensue between the four friends, but intrigue lies just behind the scenes. Just who is Barbara Knox? Who is Aoife Cassty? And to whom do the sexy knickers belong to? Join us as we follow Babs, Cathy, Lou and Shad-rick on their “relaxing” spa break, but will the girls be able to leave their worries at home?

This story is a great holiday read! Be prepared for tears of laughter, twists and turns and maybe a blushing cheek or two. You are sure to recognise a bit of Babs, Cathy, Lou and maybe even Shad-rick in your friends!

It is available in paperback, digitally and shortly as an audiobook.

Visit the Girls Have Fun website for the next instalments. The audiobook will be launching soon along with the next book in the series, Girls That Ride the Waves launching in 2015. Get ready for more giggling, naughtiness and frolics with the girls in the sun! Watch this space for audiobook availability!

You can purchase this book on Kindle 

Also available in paperback 

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Cavalier Capers – book series for children

Cavalier Capers Flash Screen LITTLE READER

The Cavalier Capers series is written by Grandma Sysum and is illustrated by Natalie Ballard.

Cavalier Capers are based on 42 real life King Charles Cavalier dogs and puppies. You can visit the Cavalier Capers website and find out more about the pups and what’s new at Grandma Sysum’s. You can also follow Cavalier Capers on Facebook and Twitter. The books are available both in printed and electronic formats.

Old-George-1

Book 1: Old George is an old dog, but he loves to tells the younger pups tales of his (mis)adventures when he was younger.

One day, when poor Old George is feeling tired (after the pup have worn him out), he snuggles down with the pups to tell them stories of his youth. In this book, a young George as a pup takes a trip with his brothers and sisters into the woods! Wet fun ensues… but will it be poor Old George who will get the wettest?

Old George is the first in a series of books aimed at young and learner readers. This title is aimed at 5-7 year olds or to be read with Mum or Dad with bold illustrations and a great storyline. Each volume includes a collectable character card featuring the main character from each book.

This book includes the Old George character card for you to copy, cut, laminate and collect!

Cavalier Capers 2: Jungle Adventure
Cavalier Capers 2: Jungle Adventure

Book 2: In the second instalment of the Cavalier Capers series we follow Josie and Kipper into the “jungle”.

What frightening beast will they find lurking in the jungle undergrowth? It could be a lion! It could be a giraffe! Or… well you’ll just have to read it to find out!

Jungle Adventures is the second in a series of books aimed at young and learner readers. This title is aimed at 6-8 year olds or to be read with Mum or Dad with bold illustrations and a great storyline. Each volume includes a collectable character card featuring the main character from each book.

This book includes the Kipper character card for you to copy, cut, laminate and collect!

Book 3: In the third instalment of the Cavalier Capers series the Pups have been listening in to Grandma Sysum’s telephone conversations.

We all know what trouble comes from listening in to one end of a telephone conversation. When will Jessie be coming and why is she bringing a Kitty with her? Doesn’t she know Pups don’t like Kitties? Will Grandma replace them all with cats and kittens? All the other pups are sure to laugh while Kipper and Josie search for the Kitty that is somewhere in the house!

This book includes the Josie character card for you to copy, cut, laminate and collect!

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Making an Impact with our latest book

The Impact Code by Andrew Pain

This isn’t a book about goal-setting, being passionate and living the dream. You can already find lots of those. 

This isn’t a long and wordy book, which takes you a month to read but six months later you can only remember one or two of its key points. You can find lots of those too.

This is a book which gives 24 memorable insights to develop your resilience, productivity and influence, so you’re equipped to make a lasting impact on the world around you. Whether you’re a business leader, a team manager, an entrepreneur, a parent, an aspiring professional or young person, your ability to make an impact will define how happy and successful you become. Imagine how your life would be if you could:

  • Attract more people to follow you – out of choice not obligation
  • Bounce back quickly from your disappointments & set-backs
  • Overcome your fears and live beyond your current horizons
  • Achieve more without adding to your overstretched ‘to-do’ list 

Choose to make an awesome impact in your world or don’t – it’s up to you! 

Andrew is an experienced coach, trainer, blogger and parent. His unique writing style has created an inspirational book which packs a powerful punch, is effortless to read, and easy to apply.

You can order The Impact Code in paperback. It’s also available to purchase for Kindle, and shortly for iPad and other formats.

Buy the eBook for Kindle

Buy the Paperback