Category: -  L.A. Tripp
 
A picture is worth a thousand words. Or so they say. Are they right, or are they wrong?

Don't judge a book by it's cover. You also hear that all the time. Do you agree with it or not?

Well, unfortunately, we all do just that constantly. We judge books by their covers. We judge by the pictures we see. Our guest today has a bit to say about book covers. You just might find it interesting. Katie Jennings, take it away!

You never get a second chance to make your first impression. At least, that’s what my dad always told me, and he’s completely right! Think about your life in terms of the products and services you are exposed to on a daily basis…which ones stand out the most to you? Which ones really take off and which ones fall into the dark depths of obscurity? I’ll answer the question for you: the ones that succeed are the ones that draw in potential buyers with a clear, instant impression. In other words, a picture is worth a thousand words. Or, in our case as authors, a book cover is worth every single word you ever wrote in a novel.

Think about it. You’re perusing the aisles at Barnes and Noble, or scanning the Bestseller’s list on Amazon. What catches your eye? What appeals to you? Obviously, for every consumer the answer to that question is different. Which is why as authors we MUST know our market. We MUST know who we are trying to sell our books to.

As an example, take my book cover for Breath of Air, which is the first book in my contemporary fantasy series The Dryad Quartet. On the cover you see a girl, her face hidden so that the reader (I’m marketing to females, FYI) can easily slip into the main character, Capri’s, shoes. Much emphasis was put on her hair, so that readers can identify that Capri is the light, airy blonde in the book with a soft nature and sweet disposition (note: the bird on her shoulder is both representative of her “Snow White” qualities as well as her gift of Air). In the first chapter of Breath of Air, you learn that Capri can control birds, so having the bird on the cover was key.

Also note the castle in the background. This gives potential readers a clue as to the “type” of fantasy book Breath of Air might be. It’s clearly not set in a grungy New York alleyway or a sweltering Florida beach with palm trees. No, according to the distant image of the castle, the book will take place in a strange land, both elegant and extraordinary. It lends to the concept that Capri feels like something of a “princess” fallen into a realm she had never before imagined.

Okay, so the imagery is all very important, right? But what about when your book is shown in tiny thumbnail form in the midst of thousands upon thousands of other books? What is it that will cause readers to click on your thumbnail before someone else’s?

For me, anyway, it’s the coloring. Coloring is very important, but keep in mind that this varies drastically by genre. Is your book a thriller or horror? You should have dark colors, maybe reds and grays, and there should be plenty of contrast. Or, alternately, do a lighter version with big, bold text and contrasting images in stark black and white. Convey an emotion through the colors you use. If it’s a romance novel, the softer the colors and more dramatic the imagery (a woman with flowing hair, arching back, delicate hands, etc) the better. Readers will notice the book first by color, then by image. Think about your market and the readers you want to attract, and what colors may catch their eye.

So what about your title font? What I recommend is looking up other books in your genre, and seeing what other authors have done. Fantasy and romance books generally have loopy, calligraphy-like text. Thrillers tend to have bolder, stronger, harsher text. It is important that you get the text right. Make the extra effort and surf the free font download sites, and hunt up some new fonts to use. As long as it’s easy to read and available for commercial use, you should be good.

Lastly, I offer you my most important, crucial bit of advice, even though it will only appeal to some of you. But here it is anyway, because I honestly cannot stress this point enough: If you have a book series, make sure that each and every cover in that series is CONSISTENT with the other covers. And I’m talking style, imagery, title text placement, author name font and placement, etc. Readers should be able to easily identify that those books go together. It breaks my heart when I catch authors not following this important rule, because they are not imagining their books sitting side by side on a shelf. And that is how we must look at our work. We must think of ourselves as not just self published authors, but as good enough to be up there with the big boys, our books sitting right beside theirs. If we lose those high standards for ourselves, then the reputation for self published authors suffers.

So please, keep all of this in mind as you create your covers, and good luck!

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.
 
Ever have that charitable cause that just pulls at your heart? That thing that almost gives you a reason for living? That organization that you'd work to your bones for? That only happens when something touches you deeply. So deeply, it impacts you and you'll never be the same. Some of us have experienced that while others haven't. Today, we'll hear about a cause from editor extraordinaire Laura Clark:

Late last year, I met a guy on Facebook. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. It wasn’t the beginning of some strange internet romance. It really was just a case of me finding someone who posted interesting status updates on a regular basis and deciding to friend him so I’d have something to read.

Well, this guy posted a lot of very positive and thought-provoking status updates. He got me started thinking, and feeling, things that I hadn’t in a while. One of the things I started thinking was that I wanted to use my major talent – writing—for something other than entertainment. I just wasn’t sure how.

Then one night my brother was talking about a project that the creative writing group at his college was putting together – a short book of flash fiction to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. It was then that I decided to put together a collection of short stories for a different charitable organization. I knew that my co-conspirators might have pet charities they’d like to benefit from a project like that, but from the beginning I knew that only one organization would do – MusiCares.

So what is MusiCares? The MusiCares Foundation is a non-profit that helps music industry folks in times of need. They helped a lot of people after the massive Nashville flooding back in 2010. They provide medicine and food for those in need, or help pay medical bills or rent. They also help those who want to get clean and sober.

But why MusiCares? Because they once helped the very guy I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post. A guy who’d helped me pull myself out of depression and despair. A guy who helped me find my strength, my faith, and myself again. I didn’t have any way to pay him back, so I decided to pay it forward instead. I also liked the idea of helping others who might have a similar impact on other people’s lives. And so Music Speaks was born.

Music Speaks is a collection of eleven short stories, in a variety of genres, from nine independent authors. It pays tribute to music and its special kind of magic. 100% of the royalties will go directly to MusiCares to help keep that magic alive.

 If you’re interested in reading some one-line teasers from each of the story, they are available here: http://t.co/f6nLhSd1

The book is available in ebook format for $2.99 at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble. The print edition ($6.99) is coming soon via CreateSpace and Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Music-Speaks-ebook/dp/B008C88QTE/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339964647&sr=1-2&keywords=music+speaks+clark

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/172910

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/music-speaks-lb-clark/1111615979?ean=2940014693677

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.
 
Circles? We're going in circles now? Ah yes, the circle of life, the circle of writing life, the circle that is the ring that we give as the marriage symbol, the tire that's on our vehicle....wait, I'm going a bit far, now, eh? Let's let today's guest tell us about her idea of circles...Kd Rose, take it away:

The Circles of Writing Life

Our circle starts with my book at about 90 degrees around. It's brilliant! It's original! Very few will "get" it! It doesn't fit in a genre! It's a hard sell! It's almost unnoticed! Wait- did the exclamatory hyperbole change?

First books usually have the author's internal organs indelibly attached, and whether the books are avant-garde like mine, or simply lost among the growing number published each month, most author's still wouldn't change a word.

The circle moves to authors who've had better fortune. Or talent. Or both. And those special ones who've done even more. For example, Dave Eggers. Dave Eggers does not need another article written about him. (Wouldn't the rest of us like to say that too.) Yet, Eggers continues to be one of the most deserving. Eggers is now known for his work with 826 National Nonprofit and McSweeney's Publishing House. His actual award-winning first novel, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, almost takes a backseat.

Eggers is one of the co-founders of 826 National, a nonprofit that uses pirates, superheroes and mysterious voices booming from the back of rooms to create a learning environment for kids that actually produces results, while almost tricking them into increasing their reading and writing skills. The kids write books. Real books. Titled, bound, printed and sold books.

When we forget; when we're so busy marketing our wares, selling ourselves on social media, pleading for unknown strangers to just take a chance on our book, it's fitting and rejuvenating to return to the beginning of the circle.

"826 helps young people learn that language can be play, that work can be joyful, and that they, themselves can be the inventors and caretakers of their world." - Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize winning author and 826 volunteer.

So in the middle of this authorship, this selling off pieces of ourselves-but hopefully not our souls, we can think back, and thereby forward. Words are play. Writing, (even marketing) is creating. A writer is a caretaker who bears responsibility for all his or her words touch.

Then perhaps the pen becomes a little lighter. Facebook becomes a way to share information that matters. Twitter becomes a tool to express wit and connect with other minds- minds that are enigmas yet have unlimited potential. And maybe, just maybe, one of those minds will add play to words, authenticity to redundancy, and launch a caretaking campaign that touches future generations. After all, who wouldn't want a career like Dave Eggers?

Readers can find K.D. Rose's book Heavy Bags of Soul at: http://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Bags-Soul-K-Rose/dp/1475170629 as well as on Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million.

Email: kd.rose@aol.com
Twitter: @kdrose1
Facebook: kdroseauthor
LinkedIn: KD Rose
Website: heavybagsofsoul.com

Readers can find more on 826 National at: http://826national.org
826 National also has 8 satellite chapters. There may be one near you!

About the Author:

K.D. Rose is the author of Heavy Bags of Soul, an edgy- hits you in the gut- gives you the education you never knew you needed- indie book. Written with irony, truth, and a spiked pen, Heavy Bags of Soul takes the reader past the self into self-evolution.

Watch the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd8vw2jlxts.
Get the Book: http://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Bags-Soul-K-Rose/dp/1475170629

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.
 
For a VERY interesting perspective on the current dynamics of going indie, open those ears wide for a quick listen to our guest today, Dino:

MY VIEWS ON SELF PUBLISHING
By Dino Simonetti

Author Consider this-when a writer asks you to buy a book, they’re asking you to
trust them. They’re asking you to part with hard-earned dollar(Well unless its an E-book). When a reader buys the book, we’re hopeful they’ll love it enough to tell their friends etc to buy/read it as well.

My topic today will be about independent publishing and my experiences with it. I will also discuss my choice of publish-on-demand services. Here’s the typical writing scenario we all dream about: We sit down to write our monumental best-selling novel. We dream of the day a big publisher will pick up the manuscript and say "Eureka-I think you've got it!"

Has that happened to you yet? Yes at least twice----right?

Well the dream, once you get to know what color the lining truly is, can be fraught with all sorts of trip-ups-unless you have a high-paid savvy lawyer reading your agreement. As always, it’s about money. 

Well it seems there are as many Indi-publishers as there are writers. It has become a lucrative business for some indie-publishers that offer book set up, artwork, reviews and ghost writing etc. The average poor Joe, such as myself, cannot and will not fall for it. Why? Let me share a little horror from days gone by.

I was in the music industry for over twelve years and spent tons of money on fancy equipment and web sites with streaming music--and tons of publishing. I also got sucked into the promoter game where they supposedly promote you nationally for five-hundred dollars a month(then dollars). I analyzed what I was doing I realized that I could do exactly what they do, for free and by only adding twenty hours a week to my already hectic work/family life. Truly-promotion is a full time job if you’re trying to make market share. The energy I expended did pay off to some degree; gosh I spent a ton on stamps and fax paper. I ended up producing thirteen disks of music of various types. The musical got rave reviews from the critics. Did you know if you buy advertising space and schmooze enough you can get a 5-star review? Well, I did make a pretty good splash and was noticed by lots of larger labels that I was hoping to license with.

They have marginal budgets too(inside tip) as well and the only ones who make any money are the owners unless you’re an absolute wonder. I rubbed elbows with a few luminaries and one was kind enough to tell me “the world isn’t ready for you yet-give it about 10 years. I guess that’s why I’m a visionary. I also managed to flooded the college radio market and made many play lists and a bit of notoriety; I was invited in for several interviews. .

Three years after leaving the game, I still received a play list from a Canadian radio station that played at least one of my tracks every night. The lesson learned? How incestuous the industry is and how record deals are actually run and all the pitfalls of getting wrapped up with the big guys. How does this equate to the literary world-we try to keep it tight but there is a certain percentage of ‘stuff’ going on.

One day I was sharing with a dear friend back east how I thought it was finally time to release my series of not-so-short stories. I explained to him the style of my writings and how five books will end up being over three-thousand pages when all is said and done. He was happy to share how he had self-published 11 books, short stories about monsters and such. He expounded on how he used Create Space dot com. He further explained that it's free and they do a good job.

I contacted them-they really are a nice bunch and are tied in with Amazon. Since joining them about three-years ago, they’ve grown to a 24/7 operation. They answer all of your questions whether on the phone or e-mail. If you don't understand something-they will explain it so that even me, Roger Rabbit, can understand-no I don't smoke marijuana. I recall having a book cover issue and after a phone call they accepted my cover. Most book publishers that offer cover services want bleed around the edges etc. I got them to understand the black edges where my pictures fade out are designed to flow off the edge of the page. I do my own covers and even Createspace say they're unique and wonderfully wild-that's a subtle marketing hint.

Createspace offer all sorts of templates and services and if you're patient you CAN do the entire thing yourself without enlisting their pro’s which requires a fee. It took me no time to figure out how to make it all work. I called and they gave me the math formula to figure binding width etc-it's really easy once you have the page thickness.

Some of the nice things they evolved was the 3-D version of the book, you can get a complete view of what it will look like when it hits the stands. Also, you can now digitally proof your book with their handy tool-you get a screen shot of your manuscript and it will show if you're outside the margins etc(coloring outside the box). 

It used to be, you'd send the manuscript via PDF and all the set up, they'd okay it, you'd order a copy and sometimes it would be right, sometimes not. I tend to be anal so it was never right and it would cost me 2-3 books-now its none.

They will issue you a unique ISBN number, both 10 and 13 digit if you like.

You can do your own sales-copy on the site because you access to do your own web space. Mine is createspace.com/3599541. I created the entire thing in an hour or so.

Now here’s the rub. If you use the web space, you can make decent royalties. Example, take a 458-page book, and price it at 12.95, you can make almost four-dollars. If you use Amazon, they take forty-percent and still make over two-dollars. The pros and cons are this: 
A) You can drive people to your web-space, make lots of money but it will tak a while before people will know who you are. B) you can use the Amazon channel not make as much, but you have the opportunity to be noticed in the rankings. It’s best to use both.

You can also use the expanded distribution system feature, such as libraries, book re-sellers. The only caveat is you must price the book out of sight to make a few cents-some where in the neighbor hood of sixteen-dollars. I myself plan to use my own marketing and agency to get wholesalers to buy my books at much less than the aforementioned process. I can sell them for less and we both make money. Yes it’s a bit labor intensive to buy your own books and have them dropped shipped but worth every buck if you have a book that is moving already.

They now offer Kindle set-up for $69.00 and they will take your PDF and convert it-or you can go to the Amazon site and do it your self-(Yup, I'm a terminal DIY'er). Same with B&N Nook, they have a site to do it yourself.

There are challenges to all of this but if you really want to make money, pull out a few hairs and figure it out.

A sidebar here, I want to use a portion of the royalty paid per book to raise ten-thousand dollars by years end to donate to the Autism Foundation to assist in researching this affliction; it afflicts my youngest boy Connor If you'd like to know more, just write me at by_noble_hands@yahoo.com.

I have other links I’d like you to visit as well.
http://www.facebook.com/Witches.N.Demons.of.Salem
http://dinosimonettiwriter.blogspot.com/
http://www.authorsden.com/dinopsimonetti
and of course
createspace.com/3599541

Shape-shifters and Succubae
An unusual way to deliver a Thriller? What makes this thriller different than all the rest? First of all, it’s a book that can be used as a screenplay to a movie that would be simply awesome. There’s more-take a blend of toe curling murders, horrifying gore and people disappearing (and reappearing not quite the same). Add steamy erotica only a well-mannered succubae would partake of-nice combo; that’s not all take our central character Jade, having nightmares and hearing voices-possibly from the other side is that you Hecate? Graveyard rituals performed by young witches that ought not be performing and-well-what happens when an esbat is disrupted? Combine a bloodthirsty demons with that sex starved succubae and.... had enough?

Now take a disturbed young female with only one thing on her mind-Billy’s heart and soul. So when you’re at the beach reading this summer, stick your toes in the sand and settle back with a copy-your toes will curl under the sand. Nothing like a dark and macabre book-you'll love it! Shape-shifters and Succubae is now available on Amazon or Createspace.com/3599541 grab a copy for yourself and a friend or loved one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dino Simonetti hails from Winthrop, Massachusetts, a small town east of Boston. Simonetti lived his first 28 years in this historical town and can recall stories told by Edward Roe Snow, a neighbor at the time. He also took a liking to Poe's works as well. He credits much of his influence to King, Koontz and Barkers works. He stated some of the light, breezy prose is influenced by Janet Evanovich as well.

Mr. Simonetti has a sense of humor that lends to his charismatic demeanor and you will find him quite easy to talk to. One thing I did notice is he listens intently and takes a great interest in you and he will ask you questions about you and not speak of himself unless asked. He is always quick with a joke and quite witty.

Mr. Simonetti stated he was a pharmacist for over twenty-years and has just recently embarked on a career in massage therapy. He is a father to four children, all fully grown and living in Salem MA. He himself resides in Utah for the time being.

Simonetti can spin a yarn that will definitely scare you. The pieces described to me were certainly teasers to read his book-I was delighted to read it. He states that to make a scene really scary or gory, he has to imagine what would gross him out or scare the life out of him-he claims to have a high threshold to horror and gore. The style of writing he credits to an idea his son gave him. The manuscript can be likened to a screenplay and is written from the point of view of a twenty-something recounting a movie in exquisite detail. The book is peppered with the cleanest and most inoffensive erotica I've ever read and it is placed strategically within the story line. The vernacular of the characters is precisely what you would expect from young adults who have spent a great deal of time on the streets; I found it quite entertaining at times.

The story started out on a single premise and became more and more twisted and convoluted, until he put together a tale that will run into several parts and top the 3000 page mark. This first installment, Shape-shifters and Succubae, lays the groundwork for the mystery, the horror, and the suspense all rabid horror enthusiasts will enjoy following, in the end, hopefully leaving them breathless.

Mr. Simonetti currently lives in Midvale Utah; contact him there by e-mail for readings, signings and tours.

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.

 
Yes, yes, that's right! 


My book, Woe to the Rich! is now available on Amazon.com! Check it out, read it, ENJOY IT!


I've finished my "interview" for News4U which is due to be out next month (November). 


Working on generating media buzz for this book so that signings will go well . . . which means sales . . . which means money, lol. Hey, we ALL have to pay bills . . . I'm just being honest about it, lol.


It won't be long before my book is also available in Barnes and Noble.