Looking for a book cover designer? Our next guest is book designer, Colin Dunbar, who is also a self published author and business owner. Not only has he written and self published several books, but he also has 30+ years experience as a book designer. His successful online business, eaziHOMEBIZ.net, helps you plan, start, run, and build a successful home business.
I know you will learn something new in today's interview!
1. Welcome, Colin! I'm excited to have you share from your extensive experience as a book cover designer, author and business owner. Before we begin, share a little bit about your books, your book design services, your business and anything else that you think might be helpful to our readers.
Hello Shelley. Thank you for granting me this interview. In 1990/91 I wrote the first draft of my first book: "Profile of the Technical Writing Profession". The literary agent that I submitted the outline and first chapter to came back to me, and advised that the publishers did not feel there was a market in South Africa for this type of book. I still wanted to be a writer, but I sort of lost faith in the traditional publishing world.
For several years I wrote short stories and poems, although I don't regard what I write to be poetry - it's more just feelings and ideas I put down in words. I "self published" 3 or 4 poetry bundles: designing, photostatting, and binding these small booklets.
For the year 2001 I kept a daily journal, and turned this into my book, Invest In Yourself. The book is about following one's passion, and is the real life story of my business endeavors; both failures and successes. I hope the book will give my readers an insight into what to avoid when attempting any business venture. I also really hope it will encourage the average guy or girl to follow their dream; I hope it shows that a goal CAN be achieved, if one has focus and persistence. I self published this and sold copies to colleagues, friends and family. This was actually my first real experience of self publishing success.
In 2005 I self published my ebook, How to Get What You Want. This was available on my site and I sold it through ClickBank. The ebook detailed the system I used to achieve all my goals.
In 2010 I self published Seasons at Lulu. This is a collection of my short stories and poems. and I'm presently busy with 3 books (2 will be launched in 2011, the third in 2012). These will be self published online through Lulu, and I will be looking at CreateSpace as well.
2. Your love for writing is something that you have in common and connects you with self publishing authors. Tell us how you first got started with writing, even at a young age.
It started when I turned 11; my folks gave me the encyclopedia Britannica and a manual typewriter. I was ecstatic, and filled many hours creating documents on a wide and varied range of subjects from the encyclopedia. I'd make up booklets, typed on A4 sheets, folded and then stapled in the middle.
In high school I turned my interest to scriptwriting, wrote a few scripts, and made old 8mm movies of some of these.
I've written many poems and a few short stories over the years. With my interest and passion for technical writing, non-fiction is my first choice, and the past few years this is where I've focused my attention.
3. One area of your expertise includes book design, with over 30 years experience as a book cover designer. You've redesigned the interior of an eBook by Carla Vaughan titled "How to Design a Professional Resume." Share with us the main changes you made to give this book a professional look.
Carla's book was actually originally designed as an ebook, and a hard copy. She used to have a POD service, and was able to offer her book as an ebook, from her site, and also printed hard copies to sell offline.
The main changes I made was changing the layout to make it suitable for double-sided (hard copy) printing; in addition I made readability changes to the text, and also changes to the example resumes and forms in the book. Carla's re-design was actually one of the easier projects I've done.
4. You offer book design packages that include interior design as well as book cover design. You also design eCovers. What do you think sets you apart from other book cover designers?
I'd say it's having a real passion for it, and 30+ year's experience. Also, being based in South Africa, I'm able to offer very competitive rates due to the Dollar/Rand exchange rate, but still offer a quality, professional service.
5. What is your #1 piece of advice to self publishing authors on this topic of book design?
Don't cut corners. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing medium, and although the actual content of the book is why the customer buys the book, if it has a shoddy and amateur design, the reader will not spread the word. If a book is difficult to read or use, there will be no word of mouth promotion.
6. You recently self published a book titled, "Seasons," on Lulu.com. I love your cover by the way! What were your main reasons for choosing Lulu as your self publishing company?
Lulu was my first choice, as I had experience of uploading books to them for clients. It was easy, and my book would be available at Amazon. I'll also be uploading "Season" to CreateSpace in the very near future. In addition I'm looking at other online publishers.
7. Not only is your book available on Lulu but also available electronically through Smashwords. The unique part about Smashwords is that they give you the ability to sell your book in ten different electronic formats. Share with us what you learned through your experience self publishing with Smashwords. Any advice to help our readers decrease their learning curve?
Yes, Shelley, they are a great medium to make your book available in the e-publishing arena. It's a matter of uploading your manuscript to one place, and as you say, your book is then available to 10 different formats (9 if you don't count the txt version).
Smashwords have a neat Style Guide, and I would really suggest anyone using them to spend the time and read the guide properly. At first glance it can look easy to format a manuscript and while it is very simple, there are small things that can have a manuscript rejected. Depending on the size of the book, it can take time to format it correctly.
Also, authors should keep in mind that e-publishing formats are not ideal for books that have graphics.
And having your book in the Premium Catalog, means it will be distributed to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and Amazon.
8. Colin, you have been very successful in many areas of your life and you attribute much of your success to goal setting. When it comes to writing and completing a book, do you have any goal setting tips for authors?
It may sound simple, but I've found it to work with all the goals I've reached (not only writing goals). Step by step.
For my writing goals, I create a spreadsheet, and plan daily tasks for a month at a time. I keep this on my desktop, and every day, it's the first thing I open. I also make sure I don't plan more than I can handle. An example of this is instead of planning to write 1000 words a day, I make it 750. I've found that by reaching every milestone I set, my motivation tends to remain intact, and I get more done.
9. Thank you so much for sharing so much great information. In closing, how can we keep in touch with you and what is the best way for our readers to contact you regarding your book design services?
Thank you, Shelley.
Other designs by Colin:
"I Have Never Been so Impressed With a Newsletter I've Signed up For."
"I Wish I'd Found Your Site a Year or Two Ago"
"Incredible Source of Information"
"Amazed at the Number of Tools for Writers"
"I Am So Blessed to Have Connected With You"
"You Are Amazing..."
"Well Done!"More feedback