Archive for the ‘#covers’ Tag

Cover Reveal   Leave a comment

Reveal Is Coming   Leave a comment

I believe that covers should have something to do with the book they represent. For example, the cover for Life As We Knew It (Book 1 of Transformation Project) featured a mushroom cloud behind a barn with a bomb shelter sign on it. It was meant to make people think … just how ready are we for a terrorist attack? Most communities are unprepared for the scenario I set up in the book.

Then, the cover for Objects in View (Book 2) featured the same mushroom cloud in the mirror of a car that is stuck in traffic. Wouldn’t that be exactly what would happen to us in such a scenario? We all live in cities and the preppers all plan to bug out, so everybody will be on the road, trying to get away.

So now I’m getting ready for the third book in the series, A Threatening Fragility. Watch for the cover reveal on August 30. You can join us on Facebook and sign up for the Rafflecopter giveaway if you’re interested.

Interview with Ellie Douglas   Leave a comment

Today’s interview is with Ellie Douglas. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself.

 

Douglas Author PicMy name is Ellie Douglas, I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and have a wonderful hubby who earns enough so I can stay at home with the kids and write my novels 🙂 I have four ankle-biting horrors, twin girls and two boys, I scored the lottery with them 🙂

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I knew I wanted to be a writer from a young, very young age. I wrote my first story when I was 15 but I didn’t do anything with it. Then many years later I picked writing back up and haven’t put it down since. No intentions of stopping at all.

 

I don’t think real writers can ever turn off the tap. Tell us about your writing process.

My writing process is a little, well, lets just say eccentric. I write when I want, and when the mood strikes. I could be laying in bed struggling to sleep. So I get up and write. I could be at the beach and the mood strikes so I start writing. I have no outlines or plots that I work from, I start at the beginning and build from there, even I don’t know what the ending will be until I finish the novel.

 

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

Horror for both reading it and writing it.

 

What are you passionate about?

My family are what I am most passionate about.

 

What is something you cannot live without?

My kids

 

When you are not writing, what do you do?

Douglas hounded1smaller.pngI like to read, a lot. I also love watching TV shows. I’m a also a big fan of movies. I also create book covers, professionally. So when not writing I can be found doing those other things and, of course, spending time with my kids 🙂

 

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

No

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

A few places, sometimes I get them from the book covers I create, sometimes I get them from movies and/or other books. Mostly I get them from just ideas that rush through my head like a steam train out of control.

 

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

I do a lot of research, location — weapons, clothing, interior design, exterior …. Every novel I have ever written has been thoroughly researched. I even had to research psychology and doctors, phobias and other mental illnesses.

 

If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I’d say be afraid, of being grossed out and scared. It is my aim to do just that 🙂

 

Do you have a special place where you write?

Not really, I do tend to sway more towards, writing in my lounge. Kicking back on my lazy-boy, extending my legs and using my laptop.

 

Douglas Zombie Dogs

Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

I guess if you call Zombies a theme as I have a tendency to write more about them than other themes.

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Douglas Coloring BookCharacter driven, because I believe building the ultimate character to give the reader the joy of knowing someone that isn’t real yet feels very real and realistic at the same time is gold.

 

 

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I am a discovery writer, why? It is just how I prefer to write, no real explanation to why, sorry. It is what it is 🙂

 

 

I totally understand. What’s the fun of knowing what’s coming next … even if you are the writer. I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

First, thank God, it is summer. I’d have my laptop. I’d have movies and books, far too many to list specific titles, but they are all horrors.

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I want readers to be scared. I want them to be grossed out. I want them to feel excitement and to fall in love with the characters. To travel with the characters both good and evil, to experience what my characters do through the eyes of the readers.

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Mostly impatience and the flexibility of being self-published. That need to get my story out now, instead of a year after it has been finished.

 

There are people believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

Neither, because neither of those are true. Traditional publishing will always be there, and self-publishing will as well. That is what I believe, hey I could be totally wrong, ignorant to believe what I do, it is what it is though 🙂

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

The greatest advantage is to have what you worked hard on, to be on the market for sale straight after it is finished.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

 

Not a great deal really. If you sell the rights to your book you could be underselling yourself. Keeping the rights to your book and nominating the prices you wish to sell, are the things you can’t get if you are traditionally published. But being traditionally published has its perks too. It would be nice to experience both so I could answer this properly.

 

With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

Yes, it is increasingly difficult to be seen. The only way I know how to increase visibility is to constantly advertise. Promotion is the best advice I could give to any author, both self-published and traditionally. Word of mouth is top of course. But overall it is pumping out the links to the books you have on a continuous basis. Remember you are competing with millions of other authors. So it is even harder to be seen. Don’t be discouraged. Keep on going 🙂

 

 

Who designed your book cover/s?

I designed my own book covers. I do it professional as my regular job.

 

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

 

Yes they can, provided you have a good editor and beta readers, not family members and not friends. But professionally paid services that will polish your book to it’s highest. They don’t come cheap, so save before you even finish writing a book. Save hard. But, it is vital that you hire a professional editor. And a proof reader.

 

Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

 

No I don’t. Not yet, but one day soon I will.

 

 

Where do readers find you and your books?

http://bit.ly/zomDog1   Hounded (Amazon)

http://bit.ly/EllieTube YouTube Channel

http://bit.ly/FB-ELLIE Facebook

http://bit.ly/LinkedIn-Ellie LinkedIn

http://bit.ly/Ellie-Pin Pinterest

http://bit.ly/Ellie-Instagram Instagram

https://twitter.com/AuthorEllie Twitter

www.authorellie.com

Cover Design   5 comments

So I’m working on the cover for Objects in View, the second book in Transformation Project. Someday, maybe, I’ll be able to afford a cover designer, but for now, I can’t and I am not without skills in this department, so why not use them?

I am not without bravery when I create my covers. I could go with a generic faded background where you can’t tell what the book might be about, but I don’t. I’ve always liked books that gave me a hint of what is inside the cover. Books don’t just speak with words. The way they are designed communicates so much.

I honestly think a lot of authors and publishers miss the point that the cover is a teaser. You want folks to see the cover and say “Hey, I want to read this book.”

The trend in book covers these days is to stick a face somewhere against an out-of-focus background with a nice bold title. There’s a similarity to many that doesn’t tell me much. I like a book cover that presents a puzzle, that makes the reader think.

 

You clearly don’t want to overdo this and confuse the reader, but you want the cover to create questions that the reader would now like to have answered. At the least, there should be something from the book on the cover. Hence why I added the cover images of other authors to this blog post.

You can buy cover images from websites and I’m not denigrating these. They’ve opened up a world of decent covers for indie authors who are not artists or who don’t know any artists or who can’t afford more expensive cover art. Just be aware that generic covers may lack what you want most from a cover, the “free” marketing potential of a cover that says “Hey, there’s something good beneath this cover. Come check it out.”

So, let me critique the covers I’m featuring here. Katharine Kerr’s Deverry Cycle had smack-awesome covers after the first two books were published. The scene from the cover actually occurs in the book, by the way. That’s Rhodry and Yren sheltering in a broken dun. More, though, if you had never read one of Kerr’s books, you might be curious about the clothes these men are wearing and what those strange ruins are behind them. They’re in intense conversation about something. What? And why the heck do the horses still carry their burdens when the men are resting by a campfire?

fantasy_coverThe Way of Kings has less detail, but it makes it really clear that there will be epic battles in this book and probably involve very challenging landscape — which the book has. And the use of color definitely catches your eye even in a thumbnail. Brandson Sanderson’s name dominates the cover, and would eclipse the title if the title weren’t in red. That’s fine … for Brandon Sanderson who is just coming off finishing the Wheel of Time series. He’s an A-list fantasy writer. As an indie author, my name has no marketing value. The title is far more important and it should take center stage.

Now, let’s use an example here. I have published two epic fantasies. Would this generic cover be appropriate for either one of them?  I would argue “no”. The cover says to me that there will be a weak female with a fencing sword being victimized in this novel and maybe it’s going to rain and … is that a campfire near her butt? None of that occurs in The Willow Branch or Mirklin Wood. So why would I elect to put this cover from The Book Cover Designer website on my book?

Willow Branch Blue White Recreation CoverI wouldn’t. This is not a complaint against The Book Cover Designer website. They have some cool covers advertised and a few I actually would buy if I needed a cover and couldn’t create one of my own. I can go out and buy my own images and put them together in a collage that will hint at what is inside the book. So why wouldn’t I do that since I actually have those skills?

My point in this article is not to discourage indie authors from using cover designers, but to point out that we don’t need to be constrained by rules when we are indies. The “authors should never design their own covers” rule should be grouped with the “self-publishing is only for bad books” thought. The point of self-publishing is to put out a quality product. If you can’t do that with the skills you have, hire the skills you need. If you can … that leaves you with more money to spend on some other facet of book publishing where you need help.

Don’t be discouraged by rules that other people put on you. It’s okay to get advice, but ultimately, remember that its your name that ends up on the front of the book.

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