Tag: Book covers

Covers, Cover copy and Categories

Covers, Cover copy and Categories

Hi everyone, I’ve come to the conclusion that a set of covers may not be working properly for a series of novels of mine. The series is set in a beach resort town in the summer. It involves a romance. Sounds like a contemporary romance, right? The challenge is that the story also has paranormal elements and a building suspense. The level of darkness and suspense builds throughout the series, though I’ve kept the summer feel of the place. So I’m going to show you two covers for the first book in the series as well as the two blurbs and I’d really appreciate feedback on which better conveys the idea of the story I’ve described above.

Current Cover and Blurb: 

Unlocking Her Heart_cover_final 200-300When Kylee Jensen returns from Africa, she leaves behind her fiancé and brings back a badly broken heart. To heal, she seeks out her best friend in the idyllic lakeside town of Peachland, where she meets bad boy vintner Brett Main. Meeting Kylee might just be the incentive Brett needs to change his ways, but Kylee’s barely mended heart can’t take a man like Brett. Then a mysterious death disturbs the peace that Kylee desperately needs, and only Brett can keep her from being next on the killer’s hit list. A killer on the prowl, a peculiar bracelet that won’t come off, and a man she can’t handle… Africa is starting to look a lot safer than Peachland.

Karen L. Abrahamson creates a cast of wonderful characters in this, the first book of the Bracelet contemporary romance series. The book takes readers to the sun-soaked Okanagan Valley where orchards and vineyards cover the hills and sometimes magic raises its head, like the ancient Okanagan Lake monster.

Possible New Cover and Blurb: (note that the cover is still in draft form so it still has shutter stock on the images)

Bracelet 1 cover23 200-300In this supernatural romance, Kylee Jensen had worked hard to turn a string of bad luck into a life that every woman dreams of. She’d met the love of her life, they’d both quit their jobs, and she and her fiancee were on a romantic round-the-world tour together…until things fell apart.

Returning to North America with nothing but the realization that she’s a disaster at relationships, Kylee seeks the help of her childhood best friend who co-owns a new-age jewelry store with three other women in the small beach side town of Peachland. Drawn into the shelter of the group of friends Kylee finds herself the focus of their efforts to help her heal. All seems well…until Kylee tries on a mysterious magical bracelet linked to a recent murder.

Brett Main is the typical beach-bum, bad boy—at least he used to be. With his blonde good looks, and his half ownership of Elkhart Winery, a long line of women litter his past. But then he meets Kylee. The petite blonde may be everything Brett ever wanted, even if she has vowed not to become involved with anyone.

When supernatural forces threaten Kylee, Brett realizes that he’s in danger of losing her. Kylee and Brett will have to come together with their circle of friends to defeat a ghostly, entity that can turn any man into a killer.

Fans of steamy sex scenes, suspense and the paranormal will enjoy this story of evil infiltrating a summer beach town.

Prepping for the Market

Prepping for the Market

This post is on preparing your novel/story for the e-market. I’m not talking about the formatting required to put a novel on Amazon or Smashwords, I’m talking about what you need to do after you complete the manuscript, but before you begin the Smashwords or Amazon process. To make this of the most value to the most people, I encourage readers to please share what you’ve found worked for you.

Editing –

Of course you edit. We all learned to do this before we sent a manuscript to the traditional publishing world, but the stakes are a little different in the indie-e-publishing world. In the traditional publishing model, writers sent the best manuscript they could manage to an editor and it was that editor’s task to make sure that the book was the best it could be before it went out into the world for readers to see.

In this new world of indie publishing, the writer is selling directly to the reader, and thus ensuring the book is ‘the best it can be’ is now the writer’s job. Sure, we all say our manuscripts are the best they can be, but if you talk to writers who have been through traditional publishing they will tell you things like ‘the editor didn’t just pick up on things I’d missed, they saw the possibilities I had failed to explore’.

Editors are the ones who suggest to writers that their manuscript would be better if they shifted points of view. Editors are the ones who point out, for a second book in a series, that you’ve changed from writing a romantic thriller to just writing a mystery. Why is this important? Because the readers who loved the first book in a series are going to be expecting the thriller in the second book.

So editors are our friend and we writers becoming indie publishers need to find a way to overcome the lack of an editor. This means that writers have to develop new skills and resources.

Not only must the writer complete their usual editing process, but they must also go one step further to ensure their book is ready for the reader. This means that the writer must cultivate first and second readers for their books. These readers need to have the skills to not only read for proofing, they need to read for things like (and this isn’t a complete list):

  • Opening hook,
  • logic,
  • plot,
  • character arc and consistency,
  • consistency (e.g. character with blue eyes on page one, must have blue eyes on page 300), and
  • whether the book fulfills its promise and the promise of the series.

Sometimes this can be accomplished through a critique group, but in my experience most critique groups are not at a level to critique a book in this way unless they are professional writers. If you do have access to a reader like this, whether they be a librarian/spouse, or a writer friend, cultivate them and listen to them like they’re gold and treat them very well. If it’s another writer, trade reading/editing with them. We can all use a friend with those skills.

If this option isn’t available, then an alternative is to pay an editor. No, I don’t mean going to one of the author service agencies I mentioned here, because they often expect to sell you a package of other services along with the editing. Nor am I talking about the services of a book doctor who might keep you revising your manuscript for years.

But there are other services out there. For example, Lucky Bat Books  offers complete editorial and other services based on what the writer is looking for. Or check within your local writing community for writers who also provide editing services on a fee-for-service basis. Fee for Service means that you agree on the task and a price before the ‘editor’ provides the services and they DO NOT receive any royalties from your work. This is important as it could be a nightmare for the indie publisher to have to provide royalty payments and statements to an editor.

While this service will cost you, it pays in the long run. You’ll provide a professionally edited product to your readers, rather than alienating them due to numerous errors in the manuscript. Finally, even though your editor will provide you with a proofed copy and editorial comment, this doesn’t mean that you don’t still have to provide the manuscript one more read-through to make sure the manuscript is clean. Even after having one of my manuscripts well-edited, I found a continuity error no one else had picked up on.

Covers –

Lady of Ashuelot
Lady of Aushuelot (2010) Twisted Root Publishing

The bane of my existence and very important, because covers are (unless you are a known author) one of the most important ways to draw potential readers’ attention. I’ll discuss what makes a good cover in a future blog, but here I wanted to mention the importance of this and that you need to take the time to put a cover together. For e-publications, the easiest program for this is PowerPoint. You can change the slide size to 6-9 and then create a cover using photographs found on line and graphics provided by the program.

PowerPoint created all of my existing e-book covers using photographs either I had taken or that were available royalty free or free on the internet. If you are going to create your cover yourself, consider what you’ve written and what are strong images contained in your book. Go to bookstores or on line and check out the covers of the books that are in your genre. Often there are style conventions (some might say clichés) for the covers. For instance, Urban Fantasy often has the main female character in black leather standing before something indicative of the story setting. When you are designing covers, start well before you want to publish so that you can try different cover possibilities and get friend’s reactions. I had a cover designed for me and was pleased with it, but when a friend’s daughter saw it (and she was my target demographic) she just shrugged and said it ‘looked like a photo’. Back to the drawing board.

The alternative to creating covers yourself is seeking a cover artist. To find such a beast you can look at covers you admire and try contacting the artist, but this can cost many hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. The alternative is to look for graphic artists who are just starting out. This can be through your local art school or college and can give you the opportunity to work closely with the artist to sort out your vision. Like with editorial services, you want to conduct business on a fee for service basis so that the artist isn’t expecting ongoing royalties for the cover. Definitely set this out in writing.

If you are going with a graphic designer, make sure you give yourself enough lead time before your planned publication. Often preparing a cover can take an artist at least a few weeks, so while you’re doing your editorial reviews, get busy with the cover, too..

So like I said, creating a cover isn’t something you should do last minute. You spent a long time writing a book. You want it to sell. Spend the time to make sure your cover helps.

Blurb –

The blurb is what, in traditional publishing, you would find on the back of the book. In e-publishing, this is the description you’ll read on Amazon or Smashwords or Barnes and Noble that tells you what the book is about.

Let me emphasize that: It tells you what the book is about.

It should be short. It should be snappy and it should catch readers attention and make them go: “I’ve GOT to read this.”

It should not give you a detailed look at the plot or the back story. I’ll talk more about blurbs in a future post, but suffice it to say that if you are starting to think about Indie publishing, start seriously reading the backs of books now. Start to get a sense of how blurbs hook you and try out those techniques for your book.

So what do you do to get ready to publish? How do you make sure your book is edited properly and what have you learned about producing a book cover or blurb, that might help the rest of us?

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