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Showing posts with the label cover art

At the Point Where I Can Tell You

 I sent my next book to the copy editor a few days ago, which for me is a major turning point. It's a commitment of sorts; the book that for a looooonnnnngggg time has been only mine is close to being offered to others. I've certainly talked about it at length to friends and family, but no one has read it except my first-draft beta reader, my content editor, and me (many, many times). And yes, I do pay three different people to critique a manuscript before I inflict it on the public. Sending a book to the copy editor indicates that it's in its final narrative form, so now it's her job to find the silly stuff that would take away from readers' enjoyment: spelling errors, extra commas, etc. Once that's done, it will be formatted and prepared for print, e-book, and audio offerings. In other words, I'm saying I don't intend to make substantial changes anymore, and that's really hard for me. Any time I look at past work I think, "I could have done t

Being All-Indie

I reported recently on the reversion of the Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries, my historical series, to my own again. When you sign with a publisher, they get the rights to a book or series for X number of years. They're professionally edited, and the publisher builds an audience that can speak for their quality. Downside: the cost is high due to people other than the author needing to make a profit. When I got Simon's stories back, I got new covers and re-published the series at a much lower cost. Now Loser will get the same treatment. The Loser Mysteries center on a homeless woman who finds herself involved in solving a murder. From the beginning I knew it would be a 3-book series, since the stories begin with her at her worst and follow her recovery from trauma. The books are beloved by a certain set, and many suggested I might extend it, but once Loser is back to (almost) normal, I felt that further stories would only have presented more murders to solve. There were too f

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

So here's the new cover: better, I say! A few months ago my newest book, KIDNAP.org , was released. I had worked with the cover artist, who was very good about doing what I thought I wanted. I wish she'd been a little bossier. The author is usually asked what she pictures, and I had a vision. The only problem was, I'm not very good at vision. No artist's eye. No ability to see what the prospective reader will see--and deduce about the book. I imagined how cool it would be to have all the main characters pictured in front of the house they end up living in. I included the van they use for kidnapping bad guys. I thought it gave a good sense of the story. What I got was more Scooby Doo than kidnap capers. Yeah, it's cute, but the spookiness of the house and the cartoonish characters say the wrong thing to readers. When I ask audiences for an impression of the book I get, "Young adult, right?" Um, no. It's a caper novel, meaning the characte

30 Days of Christmas Day 15: All Those Other People

At first, writers write in a vacuum. We go to whatever place works for us and we write--for hours, days, weeks, and months. If we’re lucky, we produce a book. That’s the last time we’re alone with it. If you like a book, here’s who to thank--in addition to the author. The Beta Readers : Authors write from inside their heads, but beta readers help us see what needs more explanation or less. They find those crazy little factual errors that ruin a book. Their feedback turns one person’s story into something many can enjoy. The Editors: A finished story needs content editing, copy editing, and line editing. In every case but one (long ago), I’ve been lucky to work with good ones. Sometimes it’s difficult. At first I skim the comments out of the side of one eye. Then I walk away for a while. Phrases like “How dare she?” come to mind, but after a day or two, I go to work to fix the manuscript. The Cover Artist : Covers are supposed to attract a reader’s eye and give him

Choosing New Covers

I asked the original publisher of the Dead Detective Mysteries to give me back the rights to the books. They were very nice about it, and I began the process of re-publishing them. Since audiences are often interested in how book covers come about, I thought I'd share my experiences with this series. When publishers accept a manuscript, they often ask the writer for her ideas on what the cover should look like. There is NO guarantee they'll listen, and other writers I've spoken with had covers they hated or felt didn't represent their books at all, but they were stuck with them. When asked about a cover for Book #1, I said I pictured a girl on a ship with a mysterious man in the background. My publisher's cover artist chose this as the cover for The Dead Detective Agency. Some people liked it; some didn't. A couple said the girl looked like my daughter; others said she looked like a robot. My first reaction was disappointment, but I recognize that I am NO ju

And the Winner Is--

Almost everyone liked the cover with the two figures on it best. I can't show it to you yet in final form, because I asked the cover artist to do a little touching up, which she confided this morning is driving her crazy. (Better her than me!) I don't like the messiness around the girl's left hand, and since I have no idea how much work it is to smooth that out, I asked. Apparently it's a lot. Anyway, I should have that cover soon, so the first two Dead Detective books can be re-issued by the end of June. Don't buy them again if you've already read them. I mean, you can if you want to...   :) I talked to a fan who thought she liked Book #3 (DEAD FOR THE SHOW) better than Book #1, so she went back and re-read the first one. Now that's dedication! I almost never re-read books, except of course for editing and re-editing and re-re-editing. By the time mine are published, I'm tired of them. It was interesting, therefore, to read the first 2 DD books se

Help Me Pick a Cover

The Dead Detective Agency will soon be re-released, since I got the rights to the series back from the original publisher. I must choose new covers, and these are some options the cover artist sent me. I'd love some feedback. This is Book #1, where Tori finds out she's dead and on the ship that takes people to the Afterlife.  .