Sunday, July 26, 2015

So you've signed your book contract, what's next? The Cover and my reveal for my next book!

For those of you who have published a book, the process is pretty standard. Once your contract is signed, your book goes into the editing process. From both of my publishers, there was a waiting period of about four months before my manuscript came back with suggestions and edits from the first of two editors.

Usually the editing is grammatical in nature and depending on the strength of the story line, suggestions are made about characters, plot points or observations of logic that we tend to lose sight of during the writing process.

At this point, the publisher will contact you about your cover. As an author, you have a choice. Either use the cover artist /art department chosen by the publisher, who will pay for the cost of the cover, or find a cover artist on your own and pay for the cover yourself.

Which option should you use?  Depends on how passionate you are about the cover and if like me, are a control freak about font, color and image.

Before you make the decision, please do your research. Look at the other covers from your publisher. Are you publishing Romance? Do you want to go with a traditional cover with the couple in states of steamy undress or something contemporary that hints at Romance with objects or a setting? Is it a mystery? Does the cover scream intrigue and make the reader want to know what happens next?

Keep the following in mind when making your decision. Cost, Control and Craft

  1. Cost - A cover from your publisher will not cost you anything. It is one of the perks of signing. An independent cover artist will charge you. The range differs with every artist, from $150 to $500 +. Often the packages differ depending on if your book is being published as an ebook or as an ebook/paperback.
  2. Control - Many publishers use cover artists who charge for changes to the cover, so having the ability to change font, color or images are minimal with the cover from your publisher. For my first book, I loved everything but the model chosen for my heroine. Her outfit didn't match her character as a futuristic Detective. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to change it, because the stock character came dressed that way. Even with this small issue, it still conveyed the sci fi theme and remains one of my favorite covers to date.

What do you want the cover to say? The pictures alone should give your reader an impression about theme, setting, and atmosphere. We are visual in nature and can see in an instant, whether the book appeals to us. Don't believe me? Do a google image search for book covers and see which one's jump out at you. Those are the same reactions that others are having.

    3. Craft - Unless someone has read your book, at this point your cover is your craft. It is the thing you will use for your marketing, identify new readers with your brand and make people want to pick it up, click on it, or take their precious time to read it. Do not underestimate the importance of a smart, savvy cover. You will be living with it, as you market your hard work and introduce people to you, your characters and your brand.

Questions only you can answer

When you finally make your decision, the artist will want to know what you want on the cover. Because he or she won't be reading your book, it's important to give a sense of plot, theme, characters and atmosphere through the questions you will be asked.

Some of the questions include:

Book title
Author's name
What is the genre? Romance, mystery, YA, non- fiction, horror, etc.
What is the book about - I recommend sending in a short synopsis or at the very least, the blurb you will be putting on the back cover
If Romance - details about the hero and heroine from color of eyes and hair to if they look like a certain movie star. All of these are important because most smaller prints use stock model shots, so they will be sliding that picture into a background that will reflect your book.
Key Elements in the story - objects or locations that figure prominently. For example, a treasure chest, flowers, a castle.
Are there other covers that might compare - it's a good idea to look at other covers in your genre and reference them for a particular feel or look. Submitting links or websites will give the artist a good understanding of a cover with a similar feel.
Is there anything you don't want on the cover - One of my cover artists - Rae Monet, asks this question. For myself, although I write romance, I don't necessarily want to see abs and or a typical couple posed on the cover. Answering this question, will give your artist an idea of what you might consider cliche and narrow the vision they have in their head for your book.

My Reveal !

So for my newest book, I did my research, looking at other blogs and cover artists that had a great reputation in the industry. Because my book will be in print and as an ebook, I had to find an artist who offered both packages as well as other options like multiple designs, liberal options for changes and a decent turnaround time.

With multiple awards and numerous covers on the USA Today and New York Times bestsellers lists, I opted to go with Damonza. After filling in their questionnaire, and anxiously waiting for ten days, I received back two covers. The first shows the location and a key object in my book.

 The second is a more traditional romance cover, but with the suspense and edginess that comes with a paranormal mystery romance.  

So which did I choose? After several days of polling friends on Facebook, I went with the majority, which was ... ( drum role please), the blue cover.
 It was then submitted to my publisher for approval and I have to agree, my friends made the right choice.
 I did however purchase the second cover as well, which I will use for marketing purposes, and because I love it too. Did I make the right choice? Feel free to comment below.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

So you've signed a book contract. Now what?

The other day, I signed my contract for my new book, Surviving the Summit of Good and Evil. This is my third book and second with my publisher Black Opal Books. Unsure of etiquette and having published two previous books - I submitted my query to both publishers.

I soon found myself in an enviable position - both publishers wanted my book. How then to decide which publisher to go with? Both are amazing indie publishers. I had nothing but great experiences with both of them. Both gave me great attention as an author from correspondence, marketing, wonderful editors and timelines to publication that were realistic.

So what made me go with Black Opal?

My book in print. While I loved my experience with my other publisher, they have chosen to go in a direction of ebooks only,and for me, I am a traditionalist. I love feeling my book between my fingers or being able to see it on my bookshelf as I dream of the day when it will be on many other bookshelves. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of ebooks but as an author who is building my platform, having multiple avenues for readers to access my book is also important, and having my book in print and ebook is a non negotiable for me.

So what now? My contract has been signed, my book is queuing in the edit line and if history is correct, will be four months before I get the first edits back, then another six months for second edits and finally publication.

Now it's up to me as an author to start promotion of my new book and try to generate buzz for the upcoming birth of my new paranormal baby.

First things first, here's the pitch for my new book, Surviving the Summit of Good and Evil.

New York Detective Kate Morgan carries a lot of secrets. The black sheep of America’s most notorious crime family, she walks a fine line between her commitment to truth and justice and the obligations demanded from her family.  Her ability to read minds doesn't help either.
FBI agent Grant Anderson embraces his role and place in the Anderson family, America’s richest and philanthropic example of good will and kindness but also bucks his family’s expectations of settling for their idea of the right girl. To them Kate is anything but the right girl.
For thousands of years, the Morgans and Andersons have been sworn enemies. Families steadfast in their loyalty and commitment as handpicked first families to the Devil and God. Both sides tread carefully, maintaining the balance between good, evil and immortality and endure each other only once a century, during the Summit of Good and Evil. With the mysterious murder of Gus Morgan, the balance is threatened, the future of humanity in jeopardy and it is up to Kate and Grant fight their attraction  and solve this murder before all hell comes crashing down

So that's what I sent as my query, along with the book and within forty eight hours, this was Black Opal's response, which makes my heart sing, every time I see this.


I definitely want the book. Do you have a synopsis?

I will have the attorney prepare you a contract as soon as he gets back from vacation.


Lauri Wellington
  Acquisitions Editor
black logo without background for letterhead

Over the next few months, we'll examine the process of taking this book to press. Next steps for me - soothing my inner control freak and choosing a company to design my book cover.
Next up - choosing a great book cover.  Stay tuned ....