Your book will first be judged by its cover, make it awesome!

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No matter how you want to rationalize it, potential readers and the audience at large will judge your book first by its cover before they open it and read the pages.

The cover is what everyone sees first. If we don’t like what we see, there’s no point opening it. We just move on. If you do not take out time to create a striking design alongside your publisher or graphic designer, your book will automatically lose a large percent of its potential readers. 

Our brains are wired to process images faster than words. When we see an image, it makes us feel something. A great cover can help your reader instantly recognize that your book is for them.

Bookshops display books with their covers facing the reader. It’s the first thing a reader sees. It is the reason a customer picks up the book, particularly in a supermarket setting where every book is front facing.

When a reader sees an amateur cover on a book, they will expect the content itself to be amateur. If it looks cheaply produced, then they will expect the inside quality to be cheap also or that there has been little or no editing, proofreading or it contains bad prose. If a reader sees a cover and has that expectation, why should they buy the book? And it’s not just about someone buying a book, but about them investing their time to read it. 

Poor designs on the other hand can be a huge turn off. With millions of books for readers to choose from, the first “sales pitch” is the cover. If it is not striking enough to draw attention, it will be passed over for something more interesting on either side.

Don’t ruin your book’s chances of success. 

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The world doesn’t need another Shakespeare or J.K Rowling, it needs you!

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Shakespeare, J.K Rowling, Stephen King, Jeff Goins, Ernest Hemingway – we admire their work, we marvel at their creativity and definitely want to read more from them. What we don’t want is to read another person who is failing at trying to sound or write like they do! Nope we are not interested. 

Writing is simple; it is about looking at the world and saying what you see. If you are trying to say what someone else sees you will struggle for the most part of it. 

One sure way to ruin all your chances of becoming a good writer is by trying to be someone you’re not. The reason that you’re intimidated by other writers is probably because you think you need to become like them to be a good writer. Absolutely not. 

You might be thinking that the best way to get to the top of the writing ladder is to read about the daily routines of Dickens and the like and to follow their every step. You might be thinking that you need to read all the classical literature you can find and follow every single element of their writing styles. At best that will only get you to a wear a mask. No matter how accurately you can copy the writing styles of the great wordsmiths, you still won’t be as good as the original. People will see through the fraud that you’ll become. You won’t become a trendsetting phenomenon in the writing world.

The world doesn’t need another Shakespeare. The world needs something new, original, and authentic. And the only way you can bring in something new into the world is if you show the unique way in which you see your world.

The world is waiting for the manifestation of your talent! 

Your book cover design will be splendid if you read this!

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Many more writers are considering the idea of documenting their ideas in form of books which is great. The problem, however, is the rise in substandard book cover designs. You do not have to dig a hole in your pocket before you get a design that will make you stand out. 

A poorly-designed cover tells the book reading public that you didn’t care enough about your work to make a good first impression. That’s not the kind of impression you want to give.

Here are a few things to take note of;

Use Eye-Catching Original Design

The last thing you should do is go to the internet and pick get the first picture that looks like what your book talks about. Apart from you running the risk of being sued for piracy you will come off to your readers as lazy and make the cover page look like an afterthought. 

First impression matters. 

Hire the best book designer you can afford. Talk to people who have experience in designing book covers. A general graphic designer won’t know how to place text and photos or illustrations for maximum impact. Make sure the image used conveys the message in the book and while you are at it make sure it is appealing.

Find the right typography

You may not know this but the text used for your book cover also affects the general look and feel. Don’t be quick to use Times New Roman or Arial as your book cover text. 

A designer will experiment with fonts sizes to see what looks right to the wandering eye; more specifically, your target market. You don’t want to use a font and colour that won’t blend in with the background visuals, rendering the title illegible.

The font style you use should be a mix of sharp, professional, and eye-catching styles.

 

 

#WritingQuote – Writers are like dancers, athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.

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Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up. Jane Yolen, Author of Owl Moon.

Today’s author whose quote we are focusing on today is top notch. Jane Yolen is the prolific author of children’s books and science fiction and has written well over 300 books. Trust us when we say this author is phenomenal. And she advises other writers, including you reading this right now, to exercise the writing muscle. Her advice is definitely valid based on what she has accomplished in her lifetime as a writer.

What you write about does not matter. All that matters is that you write not just weekly or monthly but every single day. Think about it. If an athlete forsakes his daily exercise routine for as long as a month, it would tell on his ability to run or jump properly. Usain Bolt would not be all that exceptional if he was not actively involved in daily exercising his muscles.

There is no shortcut to being a terrific writer. Writing daily is the surest way.

So, dear writer, just write. No matter what the subject of your writing is about, just write your way into excellence every single day. Do not allow your writing muscle seize up and get all rusty.

                  

 

What’s the big deal about creativity?

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Today, we are going to talk about something very crucial; something you cannot do without as a writer and that is creativity. Ever been to an art exhibition or a book reading? What is it that you appreciate about these events – yeah, the CREATIVITY. You appreciate the creativity in each of the paintings or the creativity in the way the writer of the book has crafted the words in such a manner as to convey his message in a succinct and striking way. Creativity has an uncanny ability to pull the reader into your world has a writer. Creativity is a transformational skill that writers should not leave behind in their writing. Make conscious efforts to be creative.

Creativity has an uncanny ability to pull the reader into your world has a writer. Creativity is a transformational skill that writers should not leave behind in their writing. Make conscious efforts to be creative.

For a moment here, we would like to define what it means to be creative. Creativity is not necessarily writing words that have never been written before. Rather, it is saying the same thing in a novel way such that your readers can see the same picture they have always seen from a different perspective.

One way in which writers can be creative is in the infusion of metaphors in their writing. Well, for those who are not very familiar with literature and what figures of speech are all about, metaphors are ways of making strong comparisons between two often unrelated concepts. So, for example, if you want to describe the concept of Love, for instance, you might say that LOVE IS A BATTLE. Here, you are comparing the abstract concept of love with the physical concept of a battle so that your audience will immediately get your ideological point of view of what Love is to you in particular.

Creativity could also occur in diverse ways such as the manner of ordering or the arranging your words in your narrative or in any piece of writing; it is using the same words in such a way that it causes your audience to see things from another perspective and if possible have an epiphany.

We do hope that this article will help you get your creative juices flowing.

Against all odds, this is how to keep writing

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We are here with a million dollar question to ask and it goes thus: Why do you write what you write?

Knowing the purpose behind everything you do matters a great deal because purpose keeps you going even when the tides are against you in the vast ocean of life. It is often said that if the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. As cliché as this may sound, there is a whole lot of wisdom we can glean from this as writers.

Knowing the reason you are on earth sets you off in the right direction. If you know, for example, that you were born to be a singer, you will find yourself going to voice coaching classes or a music school to hone your skill and no matter how many times you may have been rejected in one of those singing-related programmes, your purpose will drive you towards being a great singer even if the entire world does not believe in it.

That is our point exactly. Knowing why you write is magical. It will propel you to write even when the odds are against you. Dear Writer, never lose sight of the reason why you write. It is essential that you remind yourself of the reason for writing. The truth is this: understanding purpose when it comes to your writing will keep you standing even in the midst of the storms of rejection, lack of encouragement, lack of huge sales and even the lack of inspiration.

So, we ask again, why do you write what you write? Think slowly and carefully about it because it makes all the difference.

Dear writer, be your own Chief Encouragement Officer

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As a writer, one thing you have to learn is to be your own CEO – Chief Encouragement Officer.

To be a successful writer, you have to learn how not to depend on the encouragement of others to keep you writing or to keep you going. You have to learn how to speak nice words to yourself about your writing. This is because you might not always get the encouragement you desperately desire from people. We know that writers can be harsh critics of their own work. So, here is how to go about being your own CEO.

Whenever you write and you feel like your work is not good enough, just say this to yourself: “This write-up isn’t so bad but I can always make this better.” That should be the attitude rather than saying, “This write up is so dumb, no one would ever want to read this.” We already know that if you keep up with the negatives, the write-up will end up in the recycle bin.

Now, we are not saying that you do not need cheerleaders (encouragers) in your life. Cheerleaders are an important part of a writer’s life. Rather, all we are saying is that you cannot afford to allow other people determine your confidence level when it comes to your writing. 

Learn how to be your very own CEO. In other words, inspire yourself to greater heights. Always remember that you are your own biggest fan.

 

A guide to finding your writing style

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Hello Sparkle Writers, we know some of you do not still understand what writing style is. Today we’ve found a simple and profound way to explain it to you.

For a minute, we would like you to think about all the fashion designers you love following on Instagram and why you love following them. Your reason would, most likely, be that you love their style, which might probably include how they are able to take the mundane, everyday fabric or clothing and transform them into something exquisite, adorable and wearable. 

So, you would most likely recognize your favourite fashion designer’s work anywhere because they have managed to carve their own niche and create their own style which is kind of like their personal signature on the outfits they design.

I hope you can catch a glimpse of what writing style means and what it means to have one as well. To have a writing style is to have a voice that sets you apart from the rest of the writers out there. 

To have a writing style is to have a unique way of transforming ordinary words into the most wonderful of write-ups or articles or stories or whatever it is you write. Every writer has a voice; every writer has a style. Imagine a writer with no style or voice? That would be terrible. 

The reason you love your favourite authors is because they have a voice or a style that you resonate with. Your favourite authors remain your favourite authors even if your best friend does not share your point of view or your perspective about the way they express themselves. 

All of these writers found their style and developed it. Now, it is time to find yours. When you do find your voice, stick to it and stop trying to copy some other writer’s style. Doing that would be tantamount to answering someone else’s first and last names. We bet you don’t want to do that!

This is what successful writers have in common

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Have you ever wondered how the famous writers you admire made it to the limelight? Even more so, have you ever thought about what they had to grapple with before their names and works ever saw the light of the day? The thing is, these writers might be domiciled in different corners of the world but these three qualities bring them together—Discipline, Persistence and Patience.

Discipline

Discipline is the art of writing one word at a time until you are done with the article, book or novel you had in mind when you began. This is easier written than done but successful writers write and get the job done even when they do not feel like it. In this thing called writing, feelings do not matter. What matters most is doing what must be done. Mystery writer Janet Evanovich pulled in $33 million in the year 2012 but wrote for ten years before getting published. Only a disciplined writer would keep on writing for ten years with a name and story unheard by the entire world. Keep on writing even when you do not feel like it. Even when you feel like you are writing crap, keep writing.

Persistence

This is the art of digging the ground until you find gold. When it comes to writing, discouragement always lurks around the corner, waiting for you to throw in the towel and surrender to negativity. Successful writers do not stop digging for gold even if there are slim chances of finding it. Do not stop digging; do not stop writing. No matter how many books you sell, no matter how many people visit your blog and no matter how many rejections you get, do yourself a favour and keep on digging. You will surely find gold, depending on what you see gold as. Judy Blume, who has sold 80 million books, got nothing but rejections for two straight years. Judy found gold after two years of digging. Never say never!

Patience

This is the art of waiting for the seeds you have planted to bloom and grow. A beautiful garden takes time to bloom. It has to be cultivated, nurtured and fertilized to flourish. It is the same with writing. Whenever you write, you are planting seeds and nurturing them. Successful writers understand this principle. Give your writing time to bloom and flourish. The only way to do that is to keep on writing. Do not be in a hurry to “hammer.” Great writers are patient enough to hone their talents and skills to perfection or near perfection. Always remember, patience has the ability to bring out the best in any writer.

 

Don’t be afraid to evolve

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You either evolve or you disappear.”  Tupac Shakur 

We had to quote Tupac for today’s post! Think it’s too direct? Not so much. It is the absolute truth. Whether in personal life, business, career and for us as writers, evolution is a necessity and as Tupac has said you either evolve or you disappear. 

Evolving as a writer means getting better at what you do. 

When you start off, nobody expects you to be perfect. Nobody is perfect really. In as much as we all have our individual writing weaknesses we are not expected to celebrate them. This however does not give you the liberty to sit on your skill. There is no finish line. Regardless of how adept we become at writing, there will always be room to evolve. 

One fundamental way to do this is to let go of the pride, limiting beliefs and embrace learning. You have natural talent but there’s still a lot of experience to garner. 

This is the hardest and most important ‘mind shift’ every writer needs to go through. We all come into the journey believing our writing is good, and special which is something that is true but most times, our writing still needs to be polished.

Once you are open to learning you’d be amazed as to the number of things you didn’t know and are pretty important for your career. 

Attending writing workshops and training will do a lot to your career.

We do not know how and why it is believed that every writer must be an introvert who is only in love with his computer, journal and pen. Writers do not necessarily have to be introverts and NO we are not saddists too. You should be able to associate with other writers not just online but offline. Attend writing workshops and conferences because you’d see things from different perspectives and improve your writing.

Remember that evolving is not an option, it is a necessity especially if you want to stay relevant.