I had been giving some thought lately to how I could increase sales, especially of our signature book, Jay's wonderful HOW TO BUY A CAR Without Losing Your Shirt. I had just finished watching Nick Stephenson's webinar, and recalled that he stopped thinking of Amazon as a place that sells books, but instead, as a search engine that also sells books. So I redid the cover a bit, and changed the keywords to add a few that I thought someone might type in if he were looking to buy a car, not necessarily looking to buy a book on buying a car. We'll see if that improves sales! It should be available for sale in a day or so with the new information. And I did a major tweak on the cover--same design, but did a much better job of matching the background color to the wash background on the original painting, and tweaked the text color to opposite that on the color wheel, for better contrast. That may help a bit as well. UPDATE: I made another change to the cover--now it resembles my original intent when I ordered the artwork. I had to crop and stretch the artwork, and even copy a section of the wash in the background of the painting, and paste it below the painting, but now the entire background of the cover--both front and rear covers--is the wash from the painting. I did those changes entirely in Microsoft Publisher, and it probably took a whole lot less time than I might have thought it would! Check it out on our landing page.
I spent the afternoon at Office Despot, where I spent about $20 for copying charges.. I did the original 11" x 17" flyer on card stock in full color, for a little over $2.50 each (two of them), then a few of the flyers on the Smashwords sale, B&W 8-1/2" x 11", for about 25 cents each, then the full color 8-1/2" x 11" flyer on card stock at about 65 cents each for the work in progress. The Review request was a DOCX file, and a PDF file, neither of which I can load here, so I created a JPG from it, but had to compress stuff and change the font size, so it looked better than this. I printed up 50 of those, regular copy paper, B&W, a few cents each. I had intended to buy a package of ten sheets of pre-perforated card stock, thinking it would be $7-$8.... What a shock! That stuff now is 20 sheets for about $25, and the cheapest package of all was 12 sheets for $18! So I just had them print my PUB document on card stock for about 60 cents a sheet and then I stood there and cut them into individual cards. And then it was over to the bar for the book signing. I did not know what time the owner got there, so I was early--and he was late! But I was all set up by 7 PM, and Tom, my fellow author and painter (he who paints pictures of roaches) was also late. He brought along three copies of a new self-published (as in printed on his own printer stapled in the upper left corner, with blank cover sheets except for the title.) He brought along a magic marker and proceeded to create three different one-of-a-kind covers to make these "books" collectible! When he arrived, he immediately got on Facebook and created a LIVE video to invite people over. We had 32 views in about ten minutes, one local author came over with his girlfriend, possibly because of that video. I had blown ten dollars on having Facebook "Boost" my flyer to anyone over the age of 18, and living within 25 miles of Gainesville. I had at least six people I had never heard of "Like" the flyer, but they never showed. I sold two books, and Tom sold one book and a couple of roaches, so he made more money than I did, but not a lot. I did not even break even on the expenses, but I pulled in $20, out of $30 spent, and I had a couple of promises that people would buy the e-books online, and a promise of at least one review. By the way, all of these flyers, business cards, etc, except the review request, were created in Microsoft Publisher, which is a free download if you have Office 365. If you do not have that program, you need to get it and learn how to use it. I create all of my covers on it, and anything like this. I used to edit a couple of local charity/community organization newsletters on it as well, and I have been using it since it first came out for Windows III back in about 1993. I used Express Publisher for DOS before that! That was back in the days of the 80286 processor running at about 8 MHz.
Windows is updating to the new Creator's Update on my laptop, so I'm sitting in the library with nothing to do. I just created the cover to the first book of my photography course, a book which I have intended to write for years, and I think I will set it up for pre-release, with an anticipated deliver date of December 1st, or possibly November 15th. At least I have started a specific project, and I already have some notes that I have been jotting down from time to time.
I just got off an online chat with Microsoft, while in a public library trying to rough up a cover for a new book, and totally unable to create a portrait mode slide to use as a cover, using the online version of MS Power Point. I crank out covers all day every day, using MS Publisher on my laptop, but here I was using my Chromebook, for much lighter work, and I had been looking over photos I took on July 4th, and spotted a nice shot for the cover of the book. Wendy V. had no concept of what I was trying to do, and apparently did not know that Microsoft has online versions of their Office Suite, for people who are stuck in that position. Actually, I first tried Google Docs, and had the same problem there, but I know that people use Power Point to create book covers, and I myself had done some work with it before I installed MS Publisher on my laptop. I actually wound up editing an old version of the Power Point cover I did for another book, to show the general idea for the new one, but I will have to start from scratch in Publisher to create the new one. She did send me instructions after this, but they were not applicable to the online product, only to the full installed product. I did not realize that the online product was as limited as it was.
Here is the copy-and-pasted transcript of the help session:
Info at 16:56, Jul 10:
Thank you for contacting Microsoft. An agent will be with you shortly. You are currently 1 in line.
Info at 16:56, Jul 10:
Want a copy of this chat emailed to you? Click on the (+) button below.
You are now chatting with Wendy V.
John at 16:57, Jul 10:
I am trying to rough up a book cover, which I would normally do in MS Publisher, but I am not on my regular computer, so I have to use Office Online. How do I make a portrait mode presentation in Power Point?
John at 16:58, Jul 10:
Or why don't you have Publisher online????
Wendy V at 16:59, Jul 10:
Hello, John! I would be happy to guide you in the best way to accomplish this book cover. What Office solution are you currently using?
John at 17:00, Jul 10:
Power Point Online. I am used to Publisher, and have used it since it first came out, for Windows III on about a 386 computer. Before that I ran Express Publisher in DOS!
Wendy V at 17:02, Jul 10:
Allow me to rephrase my question, John. What version/Edition of Office do you have?
John at 17:02, Jul 10:
I have Office 365 which is up to date, but not on this computer, so I am using the online version of Power Point.
John at 17:03, Jul 10:
John at 17:04, Jul 10:
Chrome (up to date) browser, on a Chromebook
John at 17:04, Jul 10:
In a public library
John at 17:06, Jul 10:
And all I see is landscape , with no visible means of changing to portrait mode, or even changing the size of the work.
Wendy V at 17:07, Jul 10:
John, some of our Office 365 plans have our Publisher included and you can install in up to 5 different devices, this might be a solution for you. Let's find out which Office 365 plan do you have. Allow me to share a resource with you.
Wendy V at 17:08, Jul 10:
What Office 365 business product or license do I have? (click here & follow the steps)
John at 17:10, Jul 10:
I have Office 365 Home, and I have Publisher installed on it. I am not using a Windows computer, and I am using your online tools, for people who are stuck using another device, and don't have access to their installed version of Office. I DO have a full install of Office on my laptop, but I am not using that now, so I have to use your online product!