Build it and they will come – the power of seeing your book before it’s published

I subscribe to many writers’ newsletters. Sometimes I have the time to take a look at them, more often than not, I end up deleting them (and feeling a little guilty about it.) I just don’t have the time to read them all.

But it was the post title (and the recommendation from a friend who told me to “build it and they will come” ) from that intrigued me enough to open a particular email during a lull one weekend.

The title was “How to Make your Ebook a Run-Away Success: An Interview with Jim Kukral.” I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the marketing of ebooks lately what with all the hype around 50 Shades of Grey – the Twilight fan fiction that went nuts based on word of mouth. When done effectively, there is some potent mo-jo around emarketing of ebooks.

In a nutshell, Kukral defines these steps for your ebook:

Step 1: The very day when you have the idea of the book in your head, sit down, give the book a title, and write down who the book is for.
Step 2: The next step is to create a book cover. You can get that done  on for only $5.
Step 3: Place the image of your bookcover on your blog, on Facebook, or wherever you tend to hang out. You can say, ‘Hey, I’m writing this book,’ and build anticipation. It’s like the way big movies do it. You can see the trailer long before the film is ready for viewing.
Step 4: Create a short video or blog post about your book idea with an email signup form. Six months down the track when you’ve actually written the eBook, you’ll already have a group of customers waiting for it.

Here’s the funny thing. These are pretty much the same steps you would take if you were writing a hardcopy book.

I have a book in mind, I’m trying to pitch it. It exists. The only problem is that, right now, at least, it’s not real to others.

So I followed the article’s advice and I went over to to get a book cover for my idea. Why not right? It certainly couldn’t hurt. After signing up and doing a search on book covers, I found someone who would create a cover for me (along with a 3-D cover for, you guessed it 5 dollars total.)

I filled out the designer’s form and waited the 3 days. Sure enough, I got an email message telling me that my book cover was done. I opened the file and what I saw took my breath away.

Not because it was so magnificent, in fact we ended up making a few small changes to the design, but because it took the book from my mind and turned it into a reality.

I’ve printed out this cover and I have it on the wall in my office. The psychological difference in “I’m writing a book” and “this is the book I’m writing” is HUGE. I liken it to those vision boards where you paste pictures of the things you want to happen in your life.

So here’s my advice to you. Even if the thought of a book is just a gleam in your eye, figure out a title, go over to, and spend 5 dollars turning that gleam into something that is concrete. Print out that cover and post it on your office wall, as well as by your bed, so that it’s the last thing you see at night and the first thing you see each morning.

And then go out and tell all your friends that you are writing a book.


Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens).

Look at me, I’m building. 

30 thoughts on “Build it and they will come – the power of seeing your book before it’s published

  1. I had not heard of until you mentioned it, and honestly, I was skeptical. I’ve seen a lot of BAD ebook covers that I don’t think helped sell the concept at all (I’ve literally seen stock photos with MS “Word Art” for the title *cringe*) BUT, that cover is adorable, and it’s an interesting concept to bid out artwork for such a low price. I mean, if it’s terrible, it’s at least only $5? And hopefully someone you’re at least paying SOMETHING to is going to put more effort in than say, your cousin’s son Gabe who’s “good with computers.” (back away slowly).

    My only caution, and this is based on personal experience, is sometimes these extras can get us ahead of ourselves when we should focus on improving our writing craft. Just wanted to throw that out there because I’m guilty of it myself!

  2. Thank you so much for your informative post. I am writing a book and can not wait to find get help designing a cover!

    • Glad you could use the information. I was actually amazed to find out that you could get a product for so little money. Totally makes it worth it in the happy department.


  3. I am hoping to have my daughter, a 16 year old artist, do my cover. But for now, she is knee deep in school work and has little time. This is a fantastic suggestion! Even if I don’t keep the cover work, it would be another way to keep me moving ahead and visualize my published book. Five bucks is worth that.
    Your chicken book cover is adorable!

  4. Reblogged this on alreadynotpublished and commented:
    I’ve never reblogged before, I hopt this works. I really enjoyed this post about having an actual cover of your book. My first manuscript came about after a nad November of writing in a NaNoWrimo experiment. On completion we had a free code for an author’s proof from CreateSpace. I actually have a real book sitting on my shelf from that, I love it. The book isn;t finished by any means but how fabulous to have my vision, mhy imagination actually made real.

  5. This is frickin’ amazing! Thank you for writing this blog! it’s such a good idea and what a powerful visionboard to have! I’m hopping over to check it out now!

  6. What an amazingly useful and inspirational set of tips!! Thank you so much. I have my book almost fully formed in my head and had no idea where to start. Now I do and I am off to get a cover for it. Thanks again x

  7. So GLAD to find out about!!! I am also working on a cover illustration for my book in Paintbrush and saving various versions to my flash drive. Then I am tinkering the title scripts, etc. My target is to show this “cover” of my WIP on my blog in May, hopefully for Mother’s Day! Great post here that has spurred me on incredibly!

  8. Pingback: Ooops! Failed reblogging attempt | My Artful Life

  9. Can’t wait for your actual book. Thanks for sharing the idea with us. I have my own book cover design but need to get my grandkids over to help me put it together. Love those grandkids.

    • This is a great idea for visual inspiration for the sake of the writer, but based on my experience, your book cover will change and evolve dozens of times over the course of writing a manuscript. Just because you like something visually, and just because you like a certain title, doesn’t mean it’s going to work (or sell books.) Unfortunately, many DO judge a book by it’s cover. You need LOTS of feedback from multiple parties to design a book cover and develop an effective title. And there’s more to it than words and visuals. FEEL of the cover is also vitally important, not to mention key words that become tags.

  10. Thanks for the tip. Just ordered a book cover for my blog’s 3 month birthday – the time frame I set for writing exercises before I start work on the book itself. Wonderful visual incentive as I take this next step 🙂

  11. What a fun idea! I love it. Also – cuz this is my thing – you need to be able to talk about your book before you write it. Just have a snappy, one-line answer when someone asks, “So, what’s your book about?” It piques their interest and gives you so much confidence.

    Here’s what it should look like: [Title of book] is a [genre] about a [main character’s defining characteristic] who faces [whatever they face.] I am serious – it’s that easy. You’re not trying to sell the book here, just not be casting about desperately for words.

    “Gone with the Wind” is an epic novel about a Southern belle who faces love and loss during the Civil War.

    Great for dinner parties and PTA meetings!

  12. Pingback: The art of beginning « body, remember

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