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This week: CoverWorksEdited by: Fyn
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Makeup is not a mask that covers up your beauty; it's a weapon that helps you express who you are from the inside. ~~Michelle Phan
(think of a book cover as your book's face...)
Never judge a book by its cover, until you've read the pages that are inbetween the book.~~Bryant Collins
To judge a person by their weakest attribute is like judging the power of the ocean by 'one' wave.~~ Elvis Presley
The way a book is read - which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book - can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts in it. Anyone who can read, can learn to read deeply and thus live more fully. ~~Norman Cousins
Yes, everyone knows the quote: "Don't judge a book by its cover." Thing is, one does. People do. We seem to be a judgmental species. It isn't just a books! Given that -- Staring at a wall of books, what prompts someone who is merely browsing to pick up one book over another? I'm not even talking about buying a book yet, just picking one out of the pile. Might it be the colors on the cover that catch your eye? The picture? The title? All of the aforementioned? A combination of them?
The title of the book is the heart. It must be exactly right. Not almost. Not close. Simply. the right words. Period. I've awakened at three in the morning having dreampt it. Several of my authors have called at odd time, squealing the title. Others hem and haw, stress and fret and drive them and their characters crazy. Some make lists of possibles. Others, perhaps annoyingly, just seem to be able to grab it out of thin air. Some have it before they start writing, some can't finish the book until the perfect title has been chosen.
Does the title focus on the theme of your book? A central character? An event? A metamorphosis? A place? A target? Are you pulling it from the climax or the journey? A character's name or where they are? Which cqame first --the title or the book? (And yes, happens both ways!)
My book, my title. Yes. Sort of, Maybe. Has anyone else already used it? They have. What kind of book used it the first time? X-rated? Hmmm. (Yes, it has happened!) Perhaps you might want to rethink your title. Oh, 127 other folks have that as the name of their book? Find a new title. Okay, no one on Amazon has a book with your title. Can buyers pronounce the words in your title? I had a heck of a time with 'Aikegahara' no one wanted to even figure out how to say it.- went with Jukai. Short and sweet? Two or three words? Five at the most? Much longer and it will get shortened on ordering lists, people's minds won't remember the whole thing, and it can/may then become forgettable. Last thing you want!
Coverwise, once the heart is beating, you need to have a frame for it! Front and back are two perfect opportunities for you to sell your book! Stock covers can be super --especially if you find one and see it and shout, "That's Emily!" ( or CJ, or Josh or Elijah! ) Sometimes, you can find one and it is the right place, season, or it simply screams at you.
Some people prefer artwork, others prefer photographs, some just a design or color splash. All can work. Clean, fairly simple, not too 'crowded.' "My book is a journey from point A to point L Here are pics from each place they stop. Make it a map and show all the places." A place or two, possibly, all and the buyer sees a mishmash that won't grab their attention in a good way. A hint of the book's tale, something that says, "You want to know more! Pick me up - NOW!" Once the book is in their hands, they will turn it over and look at the back.
The 'dreaded blurb.' Time and again I've been told it is harder to write the 'intriguing synopsis' than it was to write the book. *Nods her head. Pretty much!* How much to say and what. In less than 250 words. Possibly a quote. Being sure not to give anything away. And yet give the reader enough to entice them, to want MORE!
Colors are also important. Little tip: ALWAYS print your cover out IN COLOR! Your cover will look different that it will on your monitor because it
will not be backlit! Is it too dark? Do you lose details?
Is your book part of a series? You need to let your readers know that and that you are (also) the author of 'Your Previous Book." It needs to have certain features in common with the rest of the series, even if it is the font or way the title is set uo. Perhaps a common element of the cover art insome form or another. As an author, a book or a series, as well as the author all needs branding. It is a product you want to sell as many as possible of!!! Think about some of your favorite authors and their books. What grabs you?
You may be working with a publish or a cover artist who tries (tactfully or not) to tell you that your 'perfect' idea for a cover is NOT. At all. Don't be afraid to ask why. Also realize that their vision might be slightly different than yours. Both of you are right! Compromise time! A successful cover artist, a seasoned publisher will know, have learned what works and what doesn't. They will be aware of current trends and what's been 'overdone' to the point it may not work. Usually, they are quite willing to explain all the various ramifications! Take advantage of their experience and work together to make your cover do all it needs to do!
Think that just about, ah, covers it! :)
"Ashelynn" by Sorji
"The Good Cop" by D. Reed Whittaker
"Ken Reaches For The Heights" by Robert Edward Baker
"Great Truths ... and Other Lies" by Fyn
"TIME TO BE A MAN" by DRSmith
"The Library Lady" by Mara ♣ McBain
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The prodigal son returns 2021. writes:I just wanted to double-down on a vital part of your "Shoot The Bear" newsletter. Namely the idea that characters can act autonomously if they are developed strongly enough. After writing six novels, I am still amazed at how true this axiom of fiction can be, if a writer does their work well enough.
Just short of being supernatural in nature, it's almost safe to advise writers of short stories and novels of the following: that some or most of their characters "must" take on a life-of-their-own. And if they don't, then you haven't described them well enough. When shooting the bear, the death should be a painful one, sometimes bringing the author herself to tears. Either the bear or shooter (or both) should suffer such that the "kill" is never trivial or mundane. Not always, of course, but something to keep in mind. Force the suffering, if need be. I need to stop my preaching before you shoot the respondent.
Write 2 Publish 2020 says: I'm 66 I published my first book at 61. Its never too late.
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