Cover Reveal: Snowbound

ImageBack in 2011, I wrote a holiday-themed novel for Nanowrimo called Snowbound. It’s now with a freelance editor, so soon I will have her feedback and begin a speed session of tweaking to get it as close to perfect as possible. (I don’t believe in perfection. It doesn’t exist.)

While I wait for the edits, I thought I’d share with you the gorgeous cover Design for Writers has created Snowbound. I love it, and I think you will too. I’ve got a couple of releases lined up for the coming months–A Little Night Music and Maybe Baby are just two of them. My plan is to release Snowbound in mid-October. 🙂 It’s the story of two people who weren’t supposed to meet and what happens when a little snow conspires against them. 😉  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

That’s it for now. Before I sign off, I’ve got a question for you: if money were no object, where would you spend your Christmas vacation? (I know it’s August, but I’ll bet  you want it to cool off a bit.)

Happy reading (and writing)!

Cover reveal: A Little Night Music

The lovely cover for A Little Night Music, designed by Andrew Brown from Design for Writers.

The lovely cover for A Little Night Music, designed by Andrew Brown from Design for Writers.

I was going to wait awhile before revealing the cover for A Little Night Music–I’m still tweaking the manuscript–but I love it so much I just had to share it.

I started A Little Night Music three years ago and then set it aside.  There were a lot of reasons I stopped working on it but then I decided to ignore them. I loved the story. I wanted it to see the light of day and people who’d read parts of it urged me to keep working on it. They cared about Naomi and Liam and wanted to find out the rest of their story.

So I resurrected the story, worked on it here and there. It’s nearly done and my plan is to launch it either late July or early August. I’ll keep you posted on the actual launch date. 🙂

Many thanks to Andrew Brown from Design for Writers for helping me with the cover design!

Happy reading (and writing)!

Need help with cover design? Check out these peeps…

Indie writers, we all know how insane it can be trying to find good covers for a book. We’ve done our research and scoped out benchmarks, figured out what we like and what we hate. Now we need to find people who can help us make our cover dreams realities. In my search good cover designs, I’ve found (on my own and with the help of fellow authors) great designers and now I’m sharing that info with you.

Custom or Pre-made?

Cover designed by Cover It! Designs

Cover designed by Cover It! Designs

If you’re not sure which option is best, you should check out designers who offer both. Cover It! Designs and Go On Write give you this flexibility. They have great pre-made covers to choose from. If none of them strike your fancy, then both offer affordable custom cover packages for ebooks, print books and promotional material.

I’ve already worked with Go On Write and been very pleased with the quick turnaround and flexibility. The gorgeous cover of Choose Me, the collection of short stories I’m finishing up and which I shared with you last week, is a Go On Write creation and I love it!

Author Ada Slowe has worked with Cover It! Designs and recommends them highly. The cover of her upcoming novel, The Power of Love, is atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful in my opinion.

 

Only Interested in Custom? 

Then you can try Design for Writers. You can check out their portfolio on their Facebook page. I am currently working with Andrew from Design for Writers and look forward to a cover reveal soon.

Gorgeous cover created by Sue Traynor

Gorgeous cover created by Sue Traynor

Or…you could work with an illustrator, which is what I’ve done for Playing House, a novel I plan on releasing in a few months. I worked with Sue Traynor, an illustrator whose work I’d first come across through istockphoto. I liked her whimsical style and I thought it would translate well for the story I was telling. I couldn’t find any stock images that worked for my story so I contacted her about creating custom images. I provided her with reference images, a short summary of the book’s plot and the feel I wanted to capture. And she created the cover for Playing House, which I think looks great. Can’t wait to finally be able to say the book is ready. For now, we’ll have to settle for a sneak peek at the cover.

Working with Sue was great. If you write women’s fiction or chick lit and you want an illustrated cover with custom images, then you should definitely get in touch with Sue.

That’s it for now. I’ll post links to more designers and illustrators as I continue compiling my reference list.

Happy reading (and writing)!

 

In search of the perfect book covers – Part One

Even when I was more of a reader than a writer, I judged book covers. A horrible cover–no matter how good the book may have been–was enough to prevent me from purchasing a book. So when I decided to begin self-publishing, I knew I had to make sure that my covers were nice enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen reading my own books. Shallow, I know, but I doubt I’m the only one who’s felt that way.

The first book I published, the collection of short stories entitled The Melanie Chronicles, was what I saw as my experiment in self-publishing. I wanted to see how to Imagego about with formatting, designing a cover and marketing a book. Some parts of it were more difficult than others, but I already had a cover image and I had a little help from my colleagues. I found the cover image on Shutterstock. I knew I wanted an illustration or vector image instead of a photograph. Even though I am not such a big fan of the color pink, I liked that the shade used in the picture was a deeper shade, not baby pink or pastel pink. In the end, I liked the image so much, I also used it on my business cards and as the header for my blog.

For Linger: a short story I designed everything myself. It took a while to find the right cover image. Many of the images I found were too cheesy-looking. I didn’t like the emotion they conveyed. Others felt overly sexual when I wanted a picture of a woman grieving. You don’t know how difficult it can be to find a good image of a grieving black woman. I found plenty of pictures of women spilling out of bras or naked and clinging to men. I found a few that almost conveyed the emotions  I wanted, but they weren’t quite right. In the end, I found the right cover image. But making a cover is not easy, especially when you aren’t proficient in Photoshop or InDesign. I couldn’t really find the right font and I ended up having a font I don’t really like with an image I loved. It was an experiment. I guess you could say it was a semi-successful experiment since I did everything for it myself.

ImageFor my next book covers, I’ve found pre-made book cover designers who also help with custom-made covers. One such designer is James at Humble Nations. He has a great selection of pre-made covers. You can buy one or buy them in bulk and save them for later. The cover images are great and James is helpful, friendly and funny. Since I have quite a few books that are close to being ready for publication, I decided to try his services. The cover for Choose Me, which is a collection of short stories I’m working on, gives you a great idea of James’ work. I love it. I think it captures the feel of the stories, which are stories about love and relationships with a touch of sensuality. I knew I wanted something that felt sexy without feeling cheap and tawdry. I saw this image and I thought it was perfect. I just think it has the right feel. I’m not sure yet when Choose Me will be published. I still need to tweak a few of the stories. I’ll keep you posted on the actual release date. Once it’s ready, it will be available as an ebook and a POD paperback.

I’m also trying to finish the edit of A Little Night Music. I’ve been discussing it with another designer, Andrew, at Design for Writers. As soon as I have some samples, I’ll share them with you.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to share some new blogs/sites with you:

Coming next week: a book review and (maybe) an interview with Nick Alexander.

Happy reading!

The perfect price for an ebook…is there such a thing?

ImageI’ve spent the last few months trying to polish up a novel that started off as a stress reliever for me. I needed to write something that would make me feel like my writing was worthwhile, especially since what I write everyday for a living is often ripped apart, watered down and then mistranslated to a point when I don’t even recognize it anymore. Well, that’s life. 

I think my novel may soon be ready to send out in the world. I am going to get some beta readers to give it a once-over again. I’ve also found someone to design my cover–Andrew Brown at Design for Writers. He was recommended to me by Kirsty Greenwood from Novelicious (one of my new favorite sites) and the author of Yours Truly

The book I’m planning on sending out into the world first is A Little Night Music, which I started for Nanowrimo 2009. I didn’t finish it on time. It took me another year to get a finished first draft. Then I tried to workshop it but it wasn’t always a very good experience. In the end, I decided to focus on revising it based on what jumped out at me. I think it’s pretty tight now. I like the story and the first beta reader liked it and gave me good feedback. 

So now as I contemplate how much I should charge for a novel as an ebook or as a POD edition, I can’t help thinking about an experiment I tried last week. I decided to try a free promotion for my Kindle-only short story, “Linger”. In three days, it was downloaded 200 times. Prior to that, I’d only sold around 20 copies.

Linger costs 99 cents, so now I wonder if the moral of the story is that people think it’s too much to pay for a short story. And if I publish a 75,000-word novel, will people pay $3.99 for it? Or will they expect me to charge 99 cents for it since so many other indie writers do this? 

I am always a little skeptical of books that are too cheap. If a novel is available for 99 cents the first week, then I think it’s a good promotion. If it’s always 99 cents, then I think it’s either not very good or the writer doesn’t value how much work went into their craft. But maybe that’s me being a book snob. 

So what do the rest of you think? How much would you be willing to pay for an ebook if it’s a full-length novel?