I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Five Do's and Five Don'ts to Creating a Stellar One-Sheet

Since ACFW Conference is just a month away, I'm freshening up my one sheets--those 8x11 single-sheet, handy-dandy sales sheets that (along with a business card) can be given out in appointments or during conversations to agents and editors as take-home reminders of who you are and what your book is about.

....After the one-sheet is requested, that is. We authors shouldn't hand them out unless they've been asked for. But I've never had an appointment with an editor or agent that didn't include a request for my business card and a one-sheet.

They're basically flyers, ads, references that sell You and Your Book. (One-sheets for other types of business will follow different rules, but the following has served me pretty well as an author of inspirational historical romance.)

Take a breath and have fun with it!

I am not a graphic artist, but one-sheets don't have to look splashy. You can type it yourself and print it at home (using fresh ink) or take it to Office Depot for printing, or you can use a template on a site like Vistaprint.com, which is what I do. This costs more, but I feel it gives my one-sheets a more professional look that makes me feel more confident.
instrument music Flyers
Example of a template on Vistaprint, which would be perfect for a story about a violinist, wouldn't it? Vistaprint fonts, font sizes, text boxes, and photo boxes can all be changed to suit your needs.
Whether printed at home or online, one-sheets should include the following information on the front:

  • Book Title (and name of series, if applicable)
  • Genre
  • Your Name
  • Your agent's contact info. If you don't have an agent, include your contact info.
  • A story blurb, written as if it's back cover copy (and an overview of series, if applicable)
  • Your Bio
  • Your Photo
  • Length of story, whether completed or not, etc.
The backside can be blank or contain additional information in either color or b/w.

For instance:
  • Blurbs for all books in a series, if they don't fit on the front.
  • Awards.
  • Endorsements.
  • Website, Twitter handle, Facebook Author page link, etc.
So what else should you do? Consider these DO tips:
  1. Start off with a nice big title: the title of your story, in fact. Others may not agree with me, but my title is always in a bigger font than my name is, because I'm trying to sell a book.
  2. Keep in mind that readers scan through printed pages in a "Z" format, according to ad execs. They read the header left to right to gain understanding of what the flyer is about, then they scan down diagonally to the left to see if it's interesting, and then they read the "signature line", to find out who sent it. Therefore, I put the title at the top, try to have strong blurbs in the middle, and put my photo and agent's contact info at the bottom.
  3. Write the best blurb you possibly can, keeping it tight and using language that gives the agent or editor an idea of your voice as well as the story.
  4. Include a good strong photo of yourself, so the agent or editor can better remember your appointment. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the photo shouldn't be too big or too small. 
  5. Include a photo or graphic that reflects the story's setting, if it's not incorporated into the template (if using one).

Now for the DON'T tips:

  1. Don't use up all the white space. An editor or agent's eye needs a bit of resting space, and if there's too much text or graphics on a page, they may not read your amazing blurb.
  2. Don't say everything about your novel, your series, or yourself. Focus instead on the most pertinent facts: a blurb about the story (and series overview, if applicable) and a short bio.
  3. Creativity is awesome, but it shouldn't overpower the sales pitch. Don't lose sight of the goal.
  4. Don't make the font too fancy or too small to read clearly. You get a brief opportunity for this to be read, so make it easy!
  5. Don't be afraid to use color...but don't overdo it! Colored fonts can make nice headers, but black or white text (depending on background color) is easiest to read. Just make sure you can read what you've put on the page! 
Once they're done, pack them carefully when you head out to your writer's conference. Keep them with you at all times when you're there! You never know when you'll have the opportunity to hand one out!


Angie Dicken said...

Great post, Susie! I have to admit, I love graphics! One sheets are some of my favorite musts to take to conference each year. These past couple weeks, I have been busy designing one sheets for ACFW'rs. If anyone needs a one sheet designed, let me know!...I have a few spots left before ACFW. :) Can't wait to see you! http://angiedicken.blogspot.com/p/cba-one-sheet-design-service.html

Susanne Dietze said...

Hi Angie! I didn't know you designed one-sheets...how fabulous! I wish I'd known and I would've linked to you in the post! Thanks for including your link. Your designs are lovely!

Angie Dicken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angie Dicken said...

Thanks, Susie!!