Monday, March 23, 2015

How to Rock your Cover Reveal


Are you looking for a tried-and-true, fail-safe, how to guide for planning a cover reveal? Read on for my awesome, enlightened eight step approach to Rocking your Cover Reveal ...

Recently, I had the opportunity to reveal the cover of my debut historical fiction, Avelynn. As a good little author, I wanted to shout my cover to the mountaintops; I wanted the whole world to share in my joy and pride. But one cannot simply post the picture and say here it is. We must do it up to the nines—and rightly so. This is a big deal in the life of an author. A momentous occasion, a milestone of sorts.
However, to others, it’s merely another cover reveal in the onslaught of cover reveals on the internet. It’s just another image, another self-promo tactic in a sea of authors yelling, ‘Hey, over here, look at me, see what I’ve written, isn’t it awesome!’ But here’s the kicker—my book is awesome! ;) I want you to see what I’ve written! I want you to love the cover and the words painstakingly rendered on each of the three hundred odd pages as much as I do. I just need to help you filter the cacophony out there until you notice me.

The book :D

Lisa Abellera wrote a great blog post about the importance of a book’s cover. And continuing on a theme first introduced by Charlotte Gruber in her latest post on charactersjudging a book by its cover is akin to going on a first date.
 
We might claim that we’re not superficial, but deep down, under the surface of our altruism and genuine desire to be nonjudgmental, we’re all deeply influenced by what we see. A perfectly  symmetrical face is considered the most attractive to our wandering eyes, and like our first impressions of another person, our first impressions of a book are often determined by the design elements on its cover. It has to be captivating, intriguing, and aesthetically pleasing. In those first moments, within that suspended breath, we should be able to catch a glimpse of what we will find inside.
 
Off course, yet veering into a slightly relevant tangent:
 
I love my husband. We’ve been together twenty-four years. I fell in love with his personality, his sense of humour, and his genuine and selfless character, but I have to admit, when I saw him walk through the doors of that submarine shop all those years ago, I first noticed his handsome face—taking in his gentle blue eyes, the outside edges crinkling slightly when he smiled, his high cheekbones, his perfectly coiffed blond hair, strong jaw line—and his tight little soccer-playing ass. In fact, many years later at one of those soccer games, he jumped to head the ball just as the goalie lunged to fist it away. Both missed the ball but made contact with each other—husband’s face/goalie’s knuckles. When I saw him the next day, all puffy and rocking a technicolour eye, which I might add was swollen shut, I told him point blank: “I never realized how superficial I was until just this moment.” ;)
 
The husband :D

Isn’t he cute! But I digress. So, back to the cover reveal. I wanted to make a good first impression, but I wanted it to be meaningful. So what to do? Google it, of course. I scoured the internet looking for information on how to reveal a book cover. The pickings were abysmal at best. I hunted, scrolling through over ten pages of google search results for anything I could find. I stumbled onto a lot of individual author websites and blogs that highlighted their cover—one image, a few words of buildup, maybe an excerpt or two, but that was it. Nowhere could I find a tried-and-true, fail-safe, how to guide. So, after pouring though several sites, I improvised. I combined a few ideas, came up with a couple of my own, and here’s what I garnered:

 
How to Rock your Cover Reveal



1. Plan it
 

Pick the date
  • I chose the handy six month pre-publication date to reveal the cover.
  • I.e., the book is coming out September 8th, 2015, so I held the party on March 8th.
Set the time

  • I wanted this to be a big event with the option for people to pop in throughout the day.
  • My party ran from 12:00pm EST to 8:00pm EST.
  • Plan on being glued to your computer from at least an hour before to an hour after.

2. Facebook it



Set up a Facebook event
  • Setting up a Facebook event is effortless, and it’s easy to invite everyone on your friend list to the party!
  • Since it all takes place on Facebook, you can host the event in your pyjamas.
  • Your friends can also attend in the PJs.
Caution: Not everyone knows what a Facebook event is! As the awesome organizer of this spectacular soiree, it’s very important to make it clear to your invitees that the event takes place ON Facebook, not AT your house. Take it from me … this little distinction is key.  


3. Guest Authors
 

A party is always better with friends
  • If you’re a writer, you probably have lots of author friends who might like to find and meet potential new readers.
  • Dog-earing an hour at the start of the event to set the atmosphere (e.g., describe contests, giveaway rules, reveal guest author line-up) and an hour to close the festivities (e.g., finally … Avelynn’s big cover reveal), I offered each of my guest authors a full hour to interact and have fun with our guests.
Tell your friends what you are doing to build up the event
  • One week prior to the event, I revealed a tiny piece of the cover with a word hidden within the image.
  • Every day thereafter, leading up to the event, I would post another puzzle piece.
  • Readers were told to jot down the hidden words and bring the list to the party. If they got them all correct, they were entered in a draw for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.
  • Pimp out the event on all your social media pages and outlets. Talk it up, blast it out there! Create some noise.
Be clear up front about expectations
  • Yes, it’s your cover reveal, but this party is actually more about your guest authors. After all, you don’t even have a book out yet.
  • Ask them to invite friends from their personal Facebook pages.
    • This is very important. Only a small percentage of those invited will actually attend, so the more invites the better it is for everyone involved!
  • Ask that they post their ‘special guest appearance’ on their blog at least twice leading up to the event and tweet with abandon.

 4. Giveaways


Make it worth the reader’s while to give you their valuable time
  • For each correct answer to the hidden word puzzle challenge, a reader received an entry into the draw for the $50 Amazon gift card.
Scavenger Hunt
  • Building an author newsletter list is essential.
  • Building a presence on Goodreads is essential.
  • Having readers ‘like’ your author page is awesome too!
  • So, I sent my readers on a scavenger hunt, so to speak. For each ‘action’ completed from the list above (i.e., going to my website and signing up for my newsletter, hopping over to Goodreads and voting for Avelynn in Listopia and adding the book to their ‘to read list,’ liking my author page) they received an additional entry into the $50 Amazon gift card draw.
  • Win/Win. :D

5. Author Giveaways


 
Each of my guest authors offered a giveaway of their own
  • Whether it was an ebook, a print book, a pdf, or a gift card, each guest author brought a giveaway to the party … so that meant FREE stuff every hour!
  • At the beginning of every hour, I would introduce a new guest author in a new post. In the comments, under that specific thread, for that specific author, readers would post questions and generally interact with my guests.
  • For each comment, a reader received an entry into the draw for that hour’s prize giveaway.
  • Every comment garnered an entry, ergo, the more you commented and had fun, the more chances you had to win!
 
6. Facilitate



Keep the conversation going
  • Have a list of author interview questions handy.
  • There are lots of great examples of author interview questions on the internet. I strove for a balance of serious and silly and launched at whim.
  • Your job is to introduce your guest authors and start the dialogue rolling, periodically offering up new questions if a current thread tapers off.
Once I started the conversation, readers took over, asking their own questions. Once that happened, I could sit back and drink my coffee (or finally run to the bathroom … damn coffee). I had only to keep an eye on the time and make a few witty comments of my own.


 7. Organize


Prior to the event:
  • Collect all the bios, images, and links your wonderful guest authors will provide.
  • Copy the text into a specific file folder, e.g., Cover Reveal Party Author Deets.
  • Copy the images into a specific photo folder. Bunch each author’s images together within that folder, e.g., author picture, book covers, teaser photos etc.
  • This allows for fast and seamless copying and pasting into the posts. A Facebook event is like a live reality television show. There’s no stopping for retakes and editing!
Important: Organisation is the key to success! An hour is not a lot of time to run amuck on your computer, trying to find and organize everything for your next guest at the last minute, in real time, while you’re trying to facilitate the conversation for the current guest … not that I would know, of course.


8. Acquire Minions


Having multiple giveaways every hour requires an insane amount of effort, and Rafflecopter just isn’t going to cut it. This is a back-to-basics, pen-and-paper kind of affair. If possible, enlist the services of adorable minions, or unpaid labour … i.e., your family.

Since I had every comment = an entry, there was a lot of name dropping going on. I had a pad of lined paper beside my laptop and once the sheet was filled, I had my wonderful children cut them into nice, neat little rectangles, and place the entries into the ceramic bowl. My youngest was the official winner-picker. In hindsight, I’d have the paper cut and ready to go beforehand.
Here’s the link to my Facebook Party event page. Feel free to have a look around; see how the conversations for each author was organized and how it unfolded. Check out the puzzle images … heck see if you can find the hidden words. The draws and giveaways may be done, but the fun never ends. Looking forward to hosting Avelynn’s Launch Party in September! See you there!  :D
For more information and to keep up to date on Avelynn and the awesome prizes coming in September, join my author newsletterDid I mention free stuff? There’s a sexy short story delivered straight to your inbox just for signing up.
In gratitude,
Marissa xo

 
P.S. I just made this awesome teaser video of Avelynn, in case you're, you know, curious. :D


xo


8 comments:

  1. You, my dear, know how to throw a party! Thank you for including me, and thank you even more for spelling out exactly how it's done. I'm going to bookmark this one, for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved having you there, Liv! Glad you liked the post, too! :D xo
      In gratitude,
      Marissa

      Delete
  2. I'm SO doing EXACTLY this when I get my book deal! Not that I'm copying or anything. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Copy away, Charlotte! :) xo
      In gratitude,
      Marissa

      Delete
  3. Great tips!! And lovely cover, congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary. :D xo
      In gratitude,
      Marissa

      Delete
  4. CAn't wait to use these great tips someday!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Janice!
    In gratitude,
    Marissa xo

    ReplyDelete