Wednesday, March 6, 2019

We have a Cover! - Why a Fantastic Cover is Crucial

First, I want to share my totally awesome, shiny new WINDY HOLLOW Cover!

I'm so enamored! enchanted! encouraged! I have to thank my wonderful, talented cover artist Ricky Gunawan--he's a genius! Covers are vital. Even for ebooks. Covers set the mood of your book, give a glimpse of what adventures await inside, and help readers make up their minds to buy it! So for IWSG this month, I decided to share some tips for great covers...

"Remember: Most people in book publishing believe that a cover is a book’s No. 1 marketing tool." Writers' Digest

Cover Tips I love, from Writers' Digest, KoboWrititngLife, and 99Designs

  • TITLE - Big and easy to read. Keep it simple. And pick a solid font--nothing too fancy or silly, unless your book is a joke book!
  • ART - hire a professional. Or pay for a photo. Don't chintz! Don't frame images. Don't scare readers with crazy colors.
  • AVOID CLICHES - No sunrises, no sunsets, no ocean beaches or fluffy clouds...
  • THINK LIKE A READER - and know your audience. Take a poll on social media.
  • LURE READERS IN - make them feel something, send a message without spelling it out
  • GET FEEDBACK - keep an open mind, listen, and go with your gut

Sounds easy, right? No, I know. It's immensely hard! Your vision isn't the same as your friends or readers. And these are just guidelines to help. If your book is set on a beach -- a beach on the cover works!

Yes, I have a cover, but I don't have a release date yet. Here's hoping and here's the blurb...

WINDY HOLLOW, Beast World: Book 3

Gabe just can't stay out of trouble, even when he's just trying to help.

It's summer break and the young beasts are riding dragons across the Great Sea for a week-long wedding extravaganza. But Gabe suspects Professor Hardaway is up to something more serious behind all the festivities. Sneaking around and eavesdropping, Gabe discovers news of a human village across the mountains--Windy Hollow--and they might be in trouble from the mysterious activity at the old castle above the Mist.

Despite the professor's warnings, Gabe and his friends venture over, risking more than they realize when they get caught up in the dangerous experiments of a deranged scientist who's recruited a large, vengeful beast. Gabe wonders if he's gone too far this time, but he's in too deep to quit. It's do or die, hopefully not die!

And lastly, more encouraging NEWS!
I was honored to be featured in, not one, but TWO high school newspapers!

  • The school where I'm currently teaching is Badin High School -- article
  • Mason High School is where my older boys graduated, and I sub frequently there -- article
Thanks for hanging out! Enjoy the rest of the month. I'm cutting back on posts until things settle down with work and getting Windy Hollow published... Hope things are well with you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Read all about it!

Time for IWSG February installment. I'm really struggling to figure out what to do about my books. I'm trying to stay positive that my 6th book will be published SOON, but it's very difficult when so many of my compadres are in sour spirits!

Then finally, I got some GOOD NEWS!

Firstly, I went ahead and commissioned the new cover for WINDY HOLLOW myself with the same artist who creatively crafted the covers of the first two books in the series. He's fabulous! He already sent me a terrific sketch and he captured the image I pictured perfectly. Can't wait to share it (and hopefully set a release date SOON!)

Good news #2 - I entered another Janet Reid Flash Contest--and I came in the top five, with some much needed positive feedback! And I also won a book--Yay! It was great to see Madeline Mora-Summonte got honorable mention in the contest too!

Then I realized that Ms. Reid is the best at giving authors cold hard facts and solid advice that works! So I sent her a question as I debate what my next step will be with my books... Basically, I asked if another publisher might be willing to pick up my series. I have a feeling that since my sales are but a trickle, it would probably be a No. But I look forward to her advice--Here's what she said...

So my dear IWSGers, the writing business has its ups and downs and we just have to deal with it and keep going. There are times when things get downright depressing. Then there are the moments of wonderful and surprising uplifts, so don't give up!

Keep Writing!

Monday, January 14, 2019

True Apocalypse

When I started this post, I intended to write about how to create a better apocalypse story. With all the tragedies in the world lately--uncontrollable fires, devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, and so many other world tragedies--I was going to relate the true apocalypse of losing everything and starting over in real life to sci-fi world destruction apocalyptic writing. I feel terrible for all those whose lives have been turned upside-down, with surviving as their first priority.

I had lots more to say, but now I have some depressing news myself... not apocalyptic, but still sad.

Lately, I've mentioned here and in my newsletter that my publisher Curiosity Quills has been going through a rough patch. It feels like the entire industry is at an all-time low. People just don't seem to read like they used to with all the other forms of high-speed, attention-grabbing, immediate-response entertainment at their fingertips. Anyway, CQ isn't going under or folding just yet, but they are definitely reorganizing, leaning toward primarily e-book publishing. And many of its authors are taking their rights and running. Funny thing, Susan Gourley/Kelley recently posted about both these turmoils--lack of readers and failing publishers!

With the release of Windy Hollow so close, I'm trying to stick it out, but it has been put on hold temporarily. It's just about ready, but there are a few items that need to be resolved. I have informed my faithful friends and Street Team helping me with my release blog tour. And as soon as I have any news, I will be blasting it. Hopefully it will be very soon!

I still want to give a shout out--this week it's to my fellow CQ commiserate...

Rena Rocford is what happens when a Mad Scientist writes books, has a kid, and herds cats with helicopters--results may vary. She writes Science Fiction and Fantasy for all ages.

Her first book Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon is available now from all major book retailers with sequels and more books on the burner.

I love Rena's sense of humor and writing style--her stories are awesome! We've been writing and bloggy buds for quite a while. I feel partially responsible for her joining CQ by talking it up, and it was great for a time... You can read about the twists in her publishing adventure on her blog.

I'll keep pressing onward.
Thanks for your support!