If you're a debut author and not exactly awash with cash (like me), it's tempting to ask your friend's brother/sister/cousin who has a bit of experience with Photoshop to whip something up for you - but I'd avoid this. I worked with a graphic designer on mine and in the end we went for something fairly simple but striking
My writing straddles too many genres to be categorised. So I turned Indie. However, when my self-published, first novel made it to the Amazon bestseller list, I realised I had a niche: a group of readers around the world who liked what I wrote. They wanted to know what it meant to come of age in a complex environment like India.
Of course I could just go and seek out a pirate version of the book. I'm sure that someone has already ripped the Kindle version of the book and made it freely available on a pirate website, but I'm a writer myself. I know that people who put months of effort into books deserve to get something for their efforts.
I've kicked around the publishing game for a while. In the past decade I've had two books published by traditional publishers, and four by digital publishers. On the flip side, I've collected more rejections than I can count. I've experienced the high's and the low's, and now I'm going to share with you some of what I've learned...
I love the pursuit of a book. Perusing the selection of a bookshop, running my finger along the spines and looking at the artwork and the blurbs. Judging every book by its cover. It's something to do alone, become absorbed in the task, every bookshop has a gem in the dirt for you. Just enjoy the dig.
Criticism is great and without it there'd be a lot less motivation for humans to push themselves and keep coming up with better films, better ways of farming, better cars and better air travel, but empty, meaningless remarks don't help anyone. And if the authors of such remarks are being honest, it doesn't help them either.
Here is a community where these high affinity content generators feed off each other, building on each other's ideas and elements, taking up the plot lines where the others leave. A vibrant creative world, set around the show or game or movie of that world, which grows with each new story, generating new ideas for the original content producer or studio.
The last month has been completely bonkers, Sealed with a Kiss was still number one in the Amazon romance chart. I hadn't really had any thoughts about what would happen next. And then the emails started arriving from agents. My instinctive reaction was to steer clear - I was quite liking the whole going-it-alone self-publishing thing.
As Winston Churchill famously said, 'Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.' We may well be 'at the end of the beginning' of of a period of change in publishing trends. Amazon et al have now made their mark in the direct publishing world, and if they haven't yet caused the industry to sit up and take note, they surely soon will.
One day, books will be like antiques. A standard paperback will cost hundreds of pounds depending on the year and edition. War and Peace will be out of print. And I will be an old lady with only dreams of ghosts of cats, telling the illiterate kids on the block how these same streets were once paved in books, each one costing less than a halfpenny.