Monday, April 14, 2014

3D Book Covers for Indie Authors?

 
  As I surf around the web, I notice plenty of new and daring ideas out there that authors are employing to sell their Ebooks. Some ideas are astoundingly simple. Others can be a little out there - like creating social media profiles for fictional characters so they can interact with fans. But I'm a little curious about how the authors can track some of these ideas directly to sales in any quantitative sense. It seems to me that no matter what fabulous contrivance authors come up with, Ebook success usually just comes down to the basics. The well written book with a spectacular cover, an economical price and numerous favorable reviews (hundreds or more) often translate into Ebook success. Of course regular marketing is necessary but the rest - all that weird and creative exposure -  is kind of just icing.

Still, it's all those Ebook success stories that make me wonder about how indie authors could tackle the paperback and hardcover market as well. Pricing isn't quite as flexible as it is with Ebooks. Also, just getting hard copies into stores is an enormous challenge and requires legwork. So what can the indie do? Maybe a fantastic  and unique cover will be one of the strongest tools the indie has working in their favor. It makes me curious. What new and possibly risky things can the indie author really do to a cover in order to push their paperbacks and hardcovers into the limelight? Have you seen how incredible the book covers are in bookstores these days?

I was thinking about the book cover angle when I came across this site http://3dprint.com/1239/first-3d-printed-comic-book-cover/. It's an article about a comic book that utilized 3D printing to produce a cover. I immediately thought... Aha! 3D printing. As indie authors, we're already DIYers. Makers. Crafters Creators. Just like with the print on demand revolution for books, general manufacturing as an industry is about to be turned inside out with the new availability of 3D printing. Sites like Shapeways, Thinglab and i.materialize print and ship your 3D design to you. In a variety of materials no less. Even many libraries have 3D printers available to the public. Now it's extremely unlikely that an indie could easily 3D print out a cover like the one on the comic book linked above (although it is a rather spectacular cover). But here's an example of a cover that fits over the paper book http://www.dezeen.com/2014/01/15/first-3d-printed-book-cover-created-with-a-makerbot/.  Worth trying? Definitely. Or how about just designing a 3D plastic 'box' for your indie series boxed set? Have a look around the internet and see what can be accomplished. Maybe you only ever make one or two of the covers for special giveaway contests?

If you are an indie author and you give one of these crazy ideas a try, please let me know. I'd love to post an image of your 3D book cover here. And if you have any other crazy ideas that have helped you as an indie author and would like to share them here, please comment below. Gimmicky or innovative, it's your choice. I'd love to hear from you.

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