I’ve made progress in the last few months: I created a new website and managed to migrate the content from my old WordPress.com site to a new self-hosted site; I also created a book cover and am nearly finished editing/tinkering with my novel.
Designing a new site
I thought this would be easy as I’d changed the theme and design of my old WordPress.com site a few times. Yet I struggled with designing a self-hosted website and figuring out how to set up the new site with the same functions my old site used.
I’ve learnt about installing plugins (e.g. JetPack and Yoast SEO), SEO tips, troubleshooting tech problems, and uploading sitemaps to Google. I’ve already switched themes a few times after finding a few bugs and content that I couldn’t change in certain themes. Now I’m happy with the design (I think) I need to create an email list and integrate a newsletter sign-up form into the site.
Book cover design
I found a stock photo that I liked a while ago, which has a noir/crime fiction feel to it and a dark, moody background. When I researched how to market a book a while ago I learnt that readers prefer book covers focusing on people (e.g. someone who looks like your protagonist), which creates more of an emotional connection with the reader.
Also a book cover should represent your genre and the general feel of your book, rather than being abstract or representing your title or one particular scene from the novel. Readers DO judge a book by its cover and spend seconds (if that) looking at your cover on Amazon/Kobo/etc. I’m not sure yet if I’m 100% happy with the fonts I’ve chosen, but I can always change the cover in the future.
I decided to change my book title from Thorns (which I’ve called my novel for years) to Deadly Sins, as I think this represents the main theme of my book more and is in keeping with my crime/noir genre. I’ve also added a short subtitle (‘An organized crime thriller’) to include the keywords of my genre. Hopefully that’ll help when I launch my book on Amazon, when I’ve finished editing and formatting the book.
It’s difficult to find the time to keep switching between different projects (e.g. freelance design work, my website, book cover design, and editing/formatting the book), but hopefully the next time I blog I should have finished my novel!