We all do it ... judge a book by its cover.
And the title, too. It's hard not to.
This is the cover of a new ebook I put together. I like the cover, but I wonder if the black cloud, or the title, could be off-putting.
After all, even though that bird is coming out from under the black cloud hanging over its head, who wants to admit they're feeling out of sorts?
The ebook is available for download on Waystation Whistle, so public opinion on the cover will be clear. It's a test: lots of downloads = it works. Not so many? Not so good.
Good days and not so good
I wrote the book because in the last few months I've had good days and not so good days. The days when I'm able to turn things around are the days I do something. Something I enjoy.
At least for a little while.
It's the distraction that makes things better. To step away from my routines, the news, my work, and worries.
How are you doing?
Even if things are going well for you today, consider downloading the book and passing it on. Maybe it could help someone you know. Share it with them ... and let me know what you think.
A cover that does work
Last week I submitted the cover for my book, A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing, for a public, online review by a publishing company.
You've seen the early sketch.
Because I'm self-publishing the book, I was interested in getting feedback from professionals in the book business. More than 600 covers were submitted. Yesterday I watched the webinar, wondering if my cover design would be selected. It was.
Of course my initial excitement was quickly tempered with the knowledge that I had to be prepared to hear the good ... and the bad, so I braced myself.
Would it be a good review? Yes, it was. And I have to admit, it felt good.
What did they say?
"Really nice. It's got a retro vibe."
"This has that cohesion, that gestalt ... where it just feels really tight."
And two suggestions: remove "by" in front of the author's name, and "make the author's name bigger." Done. Here's the final.
Of course the cover is just one element in writing and pulling together a book. It's a lot of work. If you've got a book, ebook, report, or magazine idea simmering and need help with the structure, inside layout, or editing, let's talk.
Look like the professional you are
digital (and print) publication design
ebooks • books • magazines • reports • catalogs
Five Ways to Build a Better Website
You've got a website and it's been up for a while, but is it as good as it could be?
1. A fresh approach
If your website is more than a couple of years old, it may be time for an update.
Take a critical look at your site. Does it inspire confidence? Is your information up to date? Is your logo big enough? Too big? Do the fonts and colors on your site reflect your logo and branding?
Do you have large blocks of text that read more like a novel than a website?
Writing for the web is different than other forms of writing. Keep your audience engaged with:
This article is a good example. People like to skim headlines, subheads, and lists and then go deeper. Make it easy for them to skim.
Does your site feature a dark background? Though it can be striking to have a dark background, it makes reading difficult. And that means people will stop reading before they finish learning more about how you can help them.
2. Is it all about you? It shouldn't be
Do you welcome visitors with a line that's all about them ... or is it all about you?
Sure, your website is about you, but when people visit they're thinking about themselves and how you can help them. Your landing page should start with sentences like:
We help YOU make better decisions when you have to _________ , or
Become the best ________, or even,
Discover how to ________.
Open with sentences that make people feel welcome and let them know right away what you can do for them.
Sentences like, "WE have 25 years of experience ...," or "WE'RE members of ..." belong on your about page.
Who you are, your background, your years of service, it's all important information. But it's information people want only after they know how you can help them.
3. Share your expertise
When someone comes to your site they’re looking for information, hoping to be inspired. Make it interesting. Aside from the usual menu items (home/about/contact), what else can you offer? Maybe you could consider a blog or special features:
Blogs are great if you commit to posting regularly, but clearly not for everyone or every business. If you have a blog and the last post is from over a year ago (or, gasp, three or four years ago), you might consider taking it down or breathing new life into it.
Special Features. Consider features like how-to articles, a behind-the-scenes segment, staff profiles, infographics, and updated photographs.
Regular updates can also help with search engine results. Turns out a stale website is, well, stale. New information garners attention and boosts your ranking.
4. Offer downloads and products
If you have how-to information, a special edition poster, infographic, a report, an ebook or print edition, promote it on your website.
You can also consider sharing what you know for a fee or by subscription. You have information people want and need. Position yourself as an expert and distribute and sell what you know.
5. Stay In Touch
Email remains one of the best ways to connect with customers and associates. Consider a monthly newsletter delivered by email.
You can build your email list by offering something in exchange for contact information. Something like an ebook, a top five list of something relevant, or a discount for services or products.
As you build your email list, you can help others by sharing what you know. And it will help establish you as an expert in your field.
Is it time to refresh your website?
Call or write today to learn more about making your website the best it can be.
book editing and design + website upgrades
Write today to start looking like the professional you are.
Look like the professional you are
The demand for online content continues to grow. Done right, it can elevate a business and bolster credibility.
Done poorly, it does the opposite.
Make it easy for people
When people visit your website or read an email or book you've produced, they want to know if the information you're giving them is the information they need.
They want to know they're in the right place.
Good design provides a positive user experience where visitors find what they need and are encouraged to take the next step ... to download your book or get in touch with you.
Bad design is distracting and confusing, and it can hurt your business. If visitors to your site can't find the information they need, you'll lose them. If what you present is hard to navigate or poorly written, they'll wonder how good you are at what you do.
It's all about them
When a customer or client visits your website or reads your book, they're looking for information that can help them.
They don't need to know how long you've been in business, or how good you are at what you do. It's important information and they'll want to know all of that, but first they need to know they are in the right place to get the help they need.
The opening line on your website or the title of your book should make it clear.
Let's give them what they need
It can be a challenge to figure out what to say and how to organize it in an easy-to-navigate format.
Need help? We've got the ideas and experience to make it happen.
Call or write today and we'll help you look good ... online and on paper.
Boost your credibility.
Writing a book can boost your credibility as an expert in your field and it serves as a permanent record of your achievements, ideas, and expertise.
Make it the best it can be.
If your book is hard to read or lacks a professional presentation, you'll lose readers before they get to the last sentence in the first chapter.
Let's make your book real page turner.
Together, we'll make your book read well and look good. From creative page designs to illustrations, photos, and sidebars, we'll make it a real page turner.
• illustrated biographies
• reference books
• corporate histories
Get the 5 Compelling Reasons to Write That Book
Call, text (207.252.9757), or write today, for a free consultation to see how I can help make you look good in print and online.