Do you judge a book by its cover? Part Two

My guest today is Anita B. Carroll, the wonderful lady who designed the new cover for my novel, The Wind Weeps. Anita will explain what is involved in designing book covers and if you are in the market for a book cover, you can’t go wrong by checking out her qualifications, her portfolio, and her very reasonable prices.

Here’ s Anita:

How important do you think your cover design is? Is it worth it to spend the money on a professional designer? That’s a good question and you would expect me, a designer, to push for hiring a pro.

However, when you look at the facts, the question really is, can you afford not to hire a designer?  I welcome you to read an article I wrote for KOBO Writing Life, where I show the effect the cover designs have on the book sales, in numbers:  http://kobowritinglife.com/2013/11/22/weve-got-you-covered-friday-lets-talk-numbers/

Selling a book is an art form in itself, and there are some important areas to factor in to not only help reach your target readers, but most importantly to increase your book sales.  Selling your book will probably be the biggest challenge you are going to face, and what it really boils down to is the packaging, delivery, and the value — which I talk about in more detail in this blog post:

http://race-point.com/2015/03/03/authorbranding/

Some samples of my work:

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From behind the scenes of a cover designer

I thought it might be interesting to talk about how the cover design process works and what to look for in a cover designer.

The cover design process is probably a lot more in-depth than you might think. Just like writing a manuscript for your story, designing a high quality cover that is a true representation of your story, takes time, research, and patience.

Every cover designer’s process, is different.  I come from a background with website User Interface Design and Development with focus on product development, which is also known as brand identity. So in my world, to design for a product, you have to fully understand it and for me the best way to do just that is to read your story.

After reading it, I will have a set of questions for you which will help ensure we are both on the same page and your vision and expectations are met.

Once we finalize the concept, I begin searching for stock imagery or do a custom photo shoot, which I present to you for  final approval. Once we settle on imagery I begin designing and do send off a cover sample to you for your review to give you a chance to give me any edits/tweaks. Once the revision is complete, so is the cover design.

The whole process can take anything from 24 hours to 2 months. It varies from one cover project to another.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for finding that right cover designer:

  1. View their online portfolio. Make sure the designer’s design style fits your vision. Understanding the difference between an illustrator and a digital manipulation designer is helpful.
  2. Provide your designer with ample time. The more time you give the designer to work on your cover, the better it will be. This gives us time to really think the design through and create a much more involved design.
  3. If you have something specific in mind provide samples. Pictures are always better than descriptions, especially when it comes to colors.
  4. Know that you don’t have to know what you want. We are trained and will help you brainstorm great ideas. The more specific you are, the more restricted we feel and you could stand to lose out on a great concept, since we always will work our hardest giving you what you want. Always.
  5. And lastly, keep in mind the cover design does not have to be literal, but focus more on the emotion the imagery represents.

Best of luck!

About the cover designer:

Anita B. Carroll, at Race-Point.com is a Visual Design provider with over 18 years of creative professional experience, and produces high-end quality cover creations for both print and online mediums including custom photography.

Anita works primarily with self-published authors in addition to freelance for publishing companies.

Learn more about Anita (http://race-point.com/about-2/ )and view her cover works. http://race-point.com/portfolio/

Get a quote:  http://race-point.com/quote/

Do you judge a book by its cover?

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I used to believe and follow that advice. I’ve read some excellent books that came “in a plain brown wrapper.”

Years ago, when most hardcover books came in  plain cloth or hard paper covers, not illlustrated, a discerning reader had to look for a synopsis on the inside of the flap jacket  to decide whether the book might be more interesting than its cover.

When paperbacks came out, covers of the classics and non-fiction books were still plain. Then a new kind of paperback with illustrated covers hit the market. Yes, there were a few good books among these, but many covers were associated with a lesser quality of writing or cheesier topics. Often a cheap photo or drawing attempted to lure a reader into buying.

Times have changed. Now that everyone is a writer, the market is more competitive and since most authors want to realize some sales now rather than 100 years after their death, they resort to a flashy advertising campaign. And it works!

Put a boring plain cover next to a flashy modern one, and it’s no contest. The eye, and hand, are almost always drawn to the flashier cover. Of course, in the end, the real test still lies in the text between the front and back covers of the book.

Anita B. Carroll has helped bring me into the modern age of competitive book covers. With her amazing imagination she has created a new cover for my novel, The Wind Weeps.

After reading the book, she said it had the same suspense as the movie Sleeping With the Enemy starring Julia Roberts. I was so pleased that she found it to be a page turner.

For the novel, The Wind Weeps, I had thought of book cover images with a stormy ocean,  a desperate young woman, perhaps a boat … but none of these images conveyed the terror that is also a part of this love story. Andrea’s husband brings her orchids. Perhaps orchids could feature in the cover? But the cover image can’t be too rosy (sorry for the pun). It is also a dark story – the kind of darkness that makes you want to turn the page, looking for the light.

In the end, I told Anita, “Just forget my ideas and see what you come up with.”

She really came through for me. I was shocked at first because it was so different from what I expected, but she has captured all the elements of the story. The delicate orchid, the tears dripping from it into a desolate ocean; love gone wrong. The red sky symbolizing (for me) pain and fear, and the dark, rough ocean symbolizing Andrea’s remote isolation and desperation.

Here is Anita B. Carroll’s amazing creation for The Wind Weeps. This novel is available at all amazon outlets, and at smashwords.com

WEB_WRAP_2If you are looking for someone to design and create your next book cover, why not give Anita B. Carroll a try?

Anita’s  contact information:

www.race-point.com

The Lovely Blog Hop

I’ve been challenged by Darlene Jones, author of five novels (www.emandyves.com), to join the Lovely Blog Hop to share some of the things that have helped shape my writing and my life. Thank you, Darlene.

The blog rules include telling a bit about myself and my interests. So here I am, Anneli Purchase, sharing my trivia with you.

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First Fond Memory

In the summer, going to the playground was always fun. My mother sat nearby on a bench while my brother and I played on the swings. I haven’t been able to figure out what it means that I was always the one who stood protectively (and in charge) on the swings to pump them ever higher with my brother tucked safely between my feet. Either I love my brother very much, or I’ve been a control freak since the age of five, or both.

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In the winter, my dad was the one who pulled the sled and had mock snowball fights with my brother and me. My mother was usually at home making sure the hot chocolate was ready for us on our return.

Books

I got in trouble for reading at school. Nancy Drew mysteries were such page turners. I had to learn that even though the object was to teach us to read, the teacher needed my attention on her at times, and I had to abandon Nancy for a while. Later when I became a teacher, I used to wish I had students who would rather read than anything else in school.

Libraries

Our small town had very little to offer in the way of library books or guidance for children who needed to be steered towards something more challenging but just as stimulating as Nancy Drew mysteries. A huge gap in reading followed those early elementary school years. I was a young adult before a bookish friend got me on track again. That’s a story for another time and place.

Passion

Anything outdoors was my passion. Learning about the animals, camping, fishing, exploring, gardening, mushroom picking, birdwatching; that was a perfect way to spend my time. But wait, that’s not all. I had indoor passions too. I loved painting, making music, creating artsy things, writing, making up stories and plays, and playing sports — basketball, tennis, badminton, volleyball, even scrub baseball in the vacant lot across the street.

Learning

My first teaching job was in one of the last one-room schoolhouses on Vancouver Island. I had no teacher in a classroom next door to go to for help, so I had to learn fast in order to survive. My big passions while teaching were to make sure every child learned to read (because if all else failed, a person could catch up on knowledge later on if they could read), and to show the students that each one of them had an artist hidden in them. They were often surprised at their results and always proud of their artwork. Just a little guidance, and magical things can happen.

For myself, learning has never stopped. If I don’t know something, it bugs me and bugs me until I find out. I’ve always been like that, and while it drives some of my family crazy, it works for me and I love learning something new every day.

Writing

Writing is an addiction. I’m not happy if I’m not writing. All I need is paper, pen, and some quiet time. A computer is better, but paper and pen still work for me, too. I’ve written three novels and am working on my fourth. I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.

If you want to know more, check out my web page and my other blogsite.

www.anneli-purchase.com

http:wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com

And now I nominate Barbara Beacham.  https://salmonfishingqueen.wordpress.com/

Rewriting. What to do and when to stop.

I love rewriting better than writing the first draft of my novels.

  • First I’m much more relaxed because I know the hard work of getting the storyline on “paper” is done.
  • As I rewrite I find mistakes and have a feeling of satisfaction when I fix them.
  • I find little treasures like a paragraph that I can rewrite using dialogue rather than boring narrative, and I’m pleased with myself for figuring that out.
  • I can’t believe I fell for the use of other words as dialogue tags instead of “said” and “asked” and I fix those, reaffirming that I can make the dialogue do the job of expressing the emotion rather than relying on the dialogue tag to provide it. Fancy words like “inquired” and “replied” just slow down the action. “Said” and “asked” are more like punctuation—necessary, but meant to be glossed over. This is also the place where I look for “ing” words and get rid of them if possible. (For example: “I’ll be right there,” she said, putting down the phone.) If she was putting down the phone when she was speaking into it, I wonder if the other party even heard her.
  • I look for repeated words and try to avoid using the same words or expressions in one paragraph. Repetition becomes obvious immediately when reading your work out loud.
  • Speaking of repetition, character names are often overused, especially in dialogue. Have you ever noticed that when you’re talking to someone, you rarely speak their name? The other person knows you’re talking to them and you and that person both know his or her name. Why would you keep on saying it? So for natural conversation, use the other person’s name sparingly. I often have to take out names in dialogue, and in narrative sections I replace them when possible with he or she.
  • In dialogue, the sentences should be fairly short. I need to check for long sentences that give a lot of information. People just don’t talk that way. Often they use only one or two words or phrases. Besides, short, snappy dialogue heightens the tension and that is what every author is striving for.
  • In the rewrite, I can also add little tidbits of description of people or places, but I try to be careful to do it in small doses. Long descriptions have a huge “yawn” factor.
  • When someone speaks, they may have some physical or emotional reaction that should be added, usually before the quotation. This is a good time to add that information.
  • As I reread my first draft, it’s important that I remember which point of view I’m in. I’ve made some awful POV mistakes that my critiquing buddy or I have found. For example, if I’m telling the scene in Andrea’s POV, I can’t write a thought that is happening in Jim’s head. Andrea has no way of knowing what he is thinking. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to fix POV problems before publication and save myself some embarrassment.
  • Now that I’ve mentioned my critiquing buddy, I have to say that my writing efforts are made so much easier because of her. I try to do the same for her and it makes us a great team. If you don’t have a writing buddy to exchange files with and help each other out, it’s very much worth your while to try to find someone who is willing to work with you. I find my buddy’s help invaluable! Oops! She’ll say not to use exclamation marks unless it’s for a one- or two-word expression, but in this case, I do want to stress that her help is invaluable!

 Most authors are perfectionists and they tend to rewrite over and over. I’ve heard it said that an author can tell that they’re finished rewriting when they end up with what they originally wrote in the first rewrite. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but sometimes you wonder ….

What Inspires Us?

My guest today is author Sharon Black. I’d like to tell you a little bit about her.

Sharon grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University.
She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner.
Sharon had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.
When she is not writing, she reads, walks, and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction, and good stand-up comedy.
She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.

 

Sharon 254 ac

Going Against Type is a romantic comedy, set against the backdrop of Dublin newspapers.
It’s the story is of two rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names. Unknowingly, they fall in love with their bitter enemy: each other. They have good reason to keep their alter egos safe, so as their relationship blossoms, each is blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….
My inspiration for Going Against Type, was the 1940s Hollywood film, Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. Hepburn played a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist, defending his beloved sport. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.
In Going Against Type, I turned the stereotypes upside down. So Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.
My hero, Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer and also writes the back page gossip column The Squire for the rival paper. They fall in love, but they don’t discover that they’ve fallen for their bitter rival.
That build up was fun to write, but very challenging. Charlotte and Derry’s columns had to be sharp. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their weekly banter in their columns – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake.

 

Going Against Type by Sharon Black - 500

 

Excerpt:

‘I hope you like Mexican food,’ said Derry as they drove from Charlotte’s house into the city centre on Thursday evening.
‘Well, I’d love to try it,’ Charlotte said, uncertainly.
‘Maybe another time, so. We’re actually going Greek tonight,’ Derry deadpanned.
Charlotte smiled and snuck a glance over at him from the passenger seat of his twelve year old, very beautiful Ferrari. She placed her hands tentatively over her stomach, trying to calm her nerves.
She’d spend an hour readying herself, much to Helen’s amusement.
‘Why are you so nervous, Charlotte? It’s just a date!’
‘Oh come on, Helen. The last guy I dated was Mr Uptight Conor, and before that I dated sports jocks. Derry is different. He’s Premier League status!’
‘And you’re Scumthorpe United? Take a look at yourself, woman!’
‘I’m not sure what he expects, but I’m not his type, Helen. I’m floundering.’
Helen caught Charlotte’s hands and forced her to meet her gaze.
‘Don’t you dare run yourself down, Charlotte Regan. You’re intelligent and totally gorgeous! But you need to do one thing!’
‘What?’
‘Allow yourself to be a woman! How do I put this without you taking it the wrong way? Don’t talk sport all night. You are incredibly bossy when you start. Let Derry take charge a bit. Allow him to be a man!’

*****

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Work in Progress

Renee

Renee Rivers

Renee Rivers has tagged me to participate in a “Work in Progress” blog tour. Renee is almost finished writing a book that I can’t wait to read. Find out about it by clicking her link here: unpacked writer.com

The “Work in Progress” blog tour rules:

Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.

Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress. Some writers give more than the first sentences, and I like that idea, too.

Nominate some other writers to do the same.

My nominations are:

Patricia Sands at http://patriciasandsauthor.com/

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Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else.  An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France, for her annual visit.

As of January, 2015, along with being a proud indie author, Patricia is also delighted to be under contract with Lake Union Publishing for her Love In Provence series. This is the women’s fiction arm of Amazon Publishing.

With a focus on travel, women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, Patricia has heard from readers (men too!) ages 20 to 83.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and the audiobook, read by Patricia, will be ready by December 2014.

*****

Darlene Jones at https://emandyves.wordpress.com

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Darlene Jones

Darlene says:

A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart-wrenching poverty. The story line of my books reflects my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place. If only wishes could come true. And of course, every novel needs its love story, so along with the sci-fi magic, I’ve added the requisite romance.
I’ve always believed we can’t be the only beings existing in the vastness of the universe. There must be others “out there somewhere” and I brought some of them along for the ride.The setting stays, for the most part, within the realities of our world, but I’ve found that I love the magic the sci-fi element of other beings can bring to the story.

*****

I was thrilled that these accomplished writers have agreed to take part in this work-in-progress blog tour. Please stop by their sites and get to know them and their work.

*****

Anneli[7]

Anneli Purchase

And then there’s me. I live on Vancouver Island, where I write and work as a freelance copy-editor. I have always loved animals and the outdoors, so much of my writing reflects that. I have three novels published and am working on my fourth.

My “work in progress” is just that — in progress. I have finished the first draft but still have a lot of work to do before it’s ready for publishing. In a way, it feels wrong even to “publish” anything about it on my blog, but as long as you understand that there are still big changes underway, I don’t mind sharing some of my first efforts.

The story is a sequel to The Wind Weeps. It is meant to continue that novel and resolve some issues that were purposely left unfinished.

My main character, Andrea, is no longer as naive as she was, and is making better decisions in the sequel. She is still trying to avoid being found by the husband she ran away from. It is difficult to tell much about the sequel without spoiling the first book, so suffice it to say that the sequel continues where the first book stopped, and resolves the situations that developed in both novels.

Here are short samples of “not polished” beginnings of the first three chapters of my WIP.

Chapter 1

Setting – St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver.

“Nurse!” I screamed. “Nurse, come back!”

Robert’s smile vanished. He advanced and tossed the three orchids onto the foot of my bed.

I twisted around grasping for the call button. “Get away from me!” I hit the button frantically.

Robert lunged for the cord. “No, Andrea. Don’t!” He ripped the cord away from me. I pulled my fist back to punch him, but he was quick and caught my wrist in an iron grip. His eyes narrowed into slits.

Chapter 2

Setting – St. Paul’s Hospital

The next day I woke up feeling groggy, struggling to make my brain work, struggling to remember where I was and why I was in bed with sunlight streaming in through the window. Why wasn’t I up and … doing what? Where was I anyway? Flashes of memory formed in my scrambled mind—hospital. Why was I here anyway? I was running away…. Robert—Robert! I lifted my head off the pillow with a cry.

My eyes quickly took inventory of the room. Oh my God! There he was! Behind the curtain, I could see his legs sprawling out from a chair in the corner near the foot of my bed. He must have heard me. He was getting up. I opened my mouth to call for the nurse again when I heard him say, “Sh-sh-sh, Andrea. It’s okay. You’re safe.”

Chapter 3

Setting – In the parking lot outside the hospital

I must have dozed off for a few minutes. Stupid to fall asleep. I might have missed them. I’d give it five more minutes and if they didn’t show I’d go back in and look around.

Hah! There they were, him all huddled over her in case she fell. What a namby-pamby. He looked stupider than usual without his glasses. I took care of those all right. Bloody four-eyed freak. Can’t figure what she sees in him. Ah, piss on it. What did I care? Let him look after her until her leg got better. She wasn’t much use to me until she had two working legs anyway. I could always grab her in a few weeks when she was stronger and could do a good day’s work around the place. Building a cabin was going to be a bit of a grunt and she could damn well help me. After all, it was her fault the cabin burned down. She shouldn’t have made me so mad. And anyway, she was my wife.

*****

While I’m working on the sequel, you may want to read the first book. Click on the link to order The Wind Weeps.

The Wind Weeps

To find out more about The Wind Weeps, click on:  amazon.com

And They Lived Happily Ever After

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The setting of my next novel.

Everyone loves a happy ending. At the end of a novel we want to read the equivalent of “And they lived happily ever after.” But is that realistic? Do we even want “realistic”? Maybe that happy ending is too predictable.

After months of agonizing over writer’s block, I have at last reached the end of the first draft of my next novel.

In writing the ending, I was conscious of trying to follow the storyline in a logical manner, and still craft an ending that the reader will find as satisfying as a perfect dessert after a  tasty meal at a five-star restaurant.

How can the author prepare such a gourmet dessert?

1. The events that wrap up the plot must be believable.

2. These events must follow in a logical sequence, while keeping the reader wondering if they will indeed happen.

3. The characters involved should have their character flaws redeemed and resolved by this time.

4. Our hero should be successful in his endeavours.

5. The villain should finally get what’s coming to him.

These steps would allow for a happy ending.

Of course, in real life, happy endings can often have twists. But do we want those twists to happen in a novel?

What do you think? Do you want that dessert to be perfect, or do you want some degree of reality weighing in?

Reality comes in many varieties. The dessert might be too sweet, too bland, too rich, or too ordinary. There might be a fly in it, or worse yet, a hair.

Think about some endings you have read. How do they make you feel? What kind of endings do you like?