Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Can't Tell My Book By Its Cover

Yesterday, I finished the first draft of my second book; now for edits and rewrites.  But while the book is being edited for both content and my usual flagrant misuse of hyphens, I have to get rolling on the cover.  For the first book, I lovingly tinkered with the cover for a couple of weeks, using everything I have ever learned in Photoshop.  I ended up with a sort of comic-book looking depiction, and it turned out a lot of people really hated it (see it still at Goodreads, along with other nominees for “Worst Cover Art”).  So, about three weeks after publication, I did some alterations and that is the current cover (Special Offers).  Since the new version went up, at least no one has said it’s the worst cover they’ve ever seen - an improvement for sure.

Now, I am confronted with designing the cover for the still-untitled sequel.  Below are two early-stage versions of potential cover art.  The first sort of depicts a scene from the book:

The other really doesn’t have much to do with the book but I think it looks cool:  

Such a dilemma.  Plus, I keep thinking that I should just cough up some money and get a “pro” to do it instead.  My only hesitation – well, not really the only one, but the most pressing – is that the covers from artists I can afford don’t look better than what I can come up with, and most of them kind of look the same. 
I really don’t want the ubiquitous kick-ass heroine with midriff-baring /skin-tight black leather/ rear-view…you know what I’m talking about (check out this U-Tube video; it sums up the problem better than I can).  A significant percent of urban fantasy/paranormal romance books have pretty much the same image gracing the covers.  Hell, my first book's cover is a tame variation on the theme.

I guess I'll continue trying to come up with a cover that I'm happy with, and if I can't, I'll bite the bullet and fork out some dough.  Any feedback is appreciated!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Keep Your Daily Word Counts to Yourselves

Maybe it’s just me, but I hate it when writers tweet how many words they wrote that day.  I understand they are excited to be so productive, but do they need to share that information?  No one ever posts, “I wrote 10 words today, and each one was like pulling a botfly worm out of a cat’s nose”.  It’s always a perky, “I just finished writing 3,021 words, all before breakfast”.  

I’m happy for them, I really am.  But I don’t want to be bombarded with their ability to spit out words onto paper like that Duggar woman spits out babies.  The conspiracy theorist in me suspects it is part of their nefarious plan to psychologically undermine all the other writers out in the Tweetasphere.  Because, let’s face it, who knows if they are even telling the truth?  There’s no way of checking their progress.  And even if they did type all those words, how do we know it wasn’t the same word typed 3,021 times?  

So please, I beg of you, stop making me feel inadequate and keep your word counts to yourselves.  I spend enough money on my therapist as it is.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

This Self-Publishing Gig is No Day at the Beach

I am almost finished with the first draft of the second book in the Coursodon Dimension Series.  While I’m pleased with both the progress and the content, I find myself dawdling a bit.  When I was close to the end of the first book, I relentlessly plowed ahead, sometimes writing for 8 hours straight without a break.  And when I was finished, I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment.  I had done it, I wrote a complete novel!  With the current book, however, I feel much less inclined to forge ahead with the same tenacity.  I haven’t quite figured out why, but I suspect it is because I don’t want this story to end.  Oh, I am already planning the third in the series, so it isn’t angst over the end of the characters.

Maybe I’ve enjoyed writing this one more than the first?  I don’t think so, I’m just as excited about this plot as the first, perhaps more so.

It’s more likely I’m dreading the not-so-pleasant tasks of edits, re-writes, cover design, formatting and marketing associated with self-publishing.  I was blissfully unaware of the amount of time I would spend on what’s required after the book was done when I gleefully completed Special Offers.  Now, I know in excruciating detail what I’m in for.  Days and days trying to design and implement a cover that illustrates what the book is about, captures the feel of the plot and characters and doesn’t look like it was done by an amateur.  Then, dithering over if a professional cover artist is worth the cost.  Hours sending out review requests, most of which will go unanswered.  And on and on.

People may think that self-publishing is easy; you write some stuff, you put it out there, and that’s it.  WRONG!  To me, that’s more what traditionally published authors do.  Sure, they have to get someone to agree to publish their work in the first place, but after that, the decision making is mostly out of their hands.  They may not always like what the publishing house decides, but they don’t have to use time they could be writing on marketing and cover design.  I guess the difference is traditionally published authors may spend more up-front time convincing someone their work is worthy of being published, while self-pubs make up for that on the back-end of the process.

In any case, I’ll have to suck it up and finish writing.  Only a couple of chapters to go, and then the real craziness begins.  Time to refill that prescription for Xanax.  Or maybe I'll just take a trip to the beach...