Moving towards the middle of October. The nights in the city are cool. The days are surprisingly warm and delightful. The trees are stubbornly beginning to turn, and I am working tirelessly on my upcoming book. I have been busy since my last post. When I left off, I had finished paying BOOKBABY.COM for their Premium Publishing Package and I sent them an email to ask about the website and book cover design. I expected them to double talk their way through not doing either, and true to form, they tell me, “I'm sorry, but our services can only be used after you upload your manuscript. We're simply not set up to offer any of them "a la carte". Here's the thing: that's not what their website says. They say when you make your payment you get 60 days free on their website hosting and $30.00 discount on your book cover design. It does not say that you have to upload your book first before you can avail yourself of these things. I called them up and got this really powerful woman who, instead of answering any questions, intended on steamrollering me with her explanation. I got my point off through tedious repetition. If you repeat something over and over again, people get the message that if they don't shut up and listen, you'll bury them with your repeating the same thing.
But even after getting her to understand just how stupid her reasoning was which she continually tried to cram down my throat: “You wouldn't have your book cover or website available before your book is ready because people might want it right away.” She is either a person that is really lost, or will say anything to explain away a serious limitation in their services. I'm not really complaining about BOOKBABY.COM, I think their services so far are beyond parallel, but this is the only thing about them that I think could use improvement. The marketing of your book should come out long before the book is released. I'm not talking about a year before, like two weeks to a month. That way you can build up a buzz before people start panning your book. Not that I'm expecting my book to be panned, I do realize, however, that it will not appeal to everyone.
But never mind. I was enervated by talking to her to DO something now before JP finishes editing the book itself. It's time to get the ball rolling in spite of silly BOOKBABY.COM. Since they will take any book cover designed anywhere else, I decided to find a good book cover designer like I found a great editor. So I put in a search term in Google and found a few designers. I looked over a few, which appeared kind of pedestrian until I came across DAMONZA'S AWESOME BOOK COVERS. I have to say, the books on the site JUMP RIGHT OUT and KICK YOU square in the FACE!!! WOW! Bruce Lee would be proud. I looked at their sample book covers and was mesmerized by all of them. I didn't see a book cover that I didn't like.
I read through the site and acquainted myself with the details and then I did what I call a character search. I put in the name of the company to look for any complaints. I dug around here and there and could find nothing but praise for the company. With this in mind, I took the plunge again and paid the 50% down payment to have the people begin working on the book cover. You have to first fill out a form where you describe what you want the cover to look like. So I went into detail about the story and the cover and sent it off. Almost immediately, I got a reply. Damon wanted more information, and explained some of the difficult to understand issues. We built an instant correspondence, going back and forth, quite rapidly at least a dozen times as he began building the book cover on his end, and he was very professional and cordial.
I've got a tremendously good feeling about this move. I can continue to put together my book without waiting for BOOKBABY.COM. I'm beginning to believe that it's not good to put too much of your project into the hands of one company or person. After I gave Damon enough information to go ahead and construct the cover, I moved on to the web page design. Once again, I did a Google search and came up with several prospectives. I stopped at the second choice after seeing it's sample web pages. Very smart, very sophisticated, and just what I needed to launch my book. Not as generic, cookie cutter as with Bookbaby, where all of their web pages look somewhat similar...this was a company that made unique, high quality pages with a number of perks to go with it, but at a price. Yes, the company was pricey but well worth it if you are looking at any substantial R.O.I. (Return Of Investment). The old biblical saying is that you reap what you sow. If that is the case, if I skimp on the things in the beginning, I will get back meager returns in the end. Therefore, I asked this company, Webmaster Studio for their information, and they right away called me back, speaking to me over the phone. We spoke of a contract and what should go into it, and with that being done they emailed it to me.
I read over it carefully, checking this point, correcting that point to my liking and mailed to back. They had no problems with my changes, especially the fact that I wanted to be free to investigate SEO in connection with my web page (Search Engine Optimization) that uses search engines such as Google and Yahoo to drive web surfers to your site. The more eyeballs on my book, the better the R.O.I. There are a hundred and two other perks that I can avail myself of as I move forward in time after the book release. This was important to me, and this was one of the many reasons why I chose the more expensive Webmaster Studio. I also did my due diligence, searching the web for any negative reviews of the company and finding nothing but good mentions in articles.
I have not signed or paid the half of the job costs down for the contract as of yet. I need to have my content worked out as well as my book cover art completed before putting it all together and handing it over to a webmaster. So, that being said, I am way ahead of the time for implementation and have to put the contract on the shelf until these criteria are met.
However, I am pleased with my choices and am ready to go ahead with putting the marketing framework of the book together. By the time Bookbaby distributes the book itself to the online retailers I hope to have a Facebook Page, a Web page, a blog (this one) and my merchant pages all set up and running at full steam.
It's all about timing. I'm hoping that I can wrap all of this up and get it churning before Christmas. There's nothing like the gift of an e-book for Christmas.