Tag Archives: covers

Slowly but surely getting there on the paperback version of Yseult

This is what I spent most of the day on today:

I’m not very Photoshop savvy, and my daughter was out and about today, so I decided to tackle it myself. Of course, I had the front cover of Yseult already, designed by the lovely and talented Derek Murphy of Creativindie Covers. I’ve sat beside my daughter many a time while we designed covers together, have tweaked them myself in accordance with feedback. Besides, Britta is moving to the States soon, which will make it a lot harder to work on covers with her. It’s time I learned how to do a bit more on my own. I figured it couldn’t be all that hard, right?

Wrong.

I had to google all kinds of little steps that would have been super easy for someone else. But the thing I spent the most time on was the text on the back. The first time I tried to copy the description in, I had a long line of text with everything superimposed on top of each other. So I kept googling, trying to figure out a way to make Photoshop treat text like text. I finally found an apparent solution — but for the life of me, I couldn’t get it to work with my ancient version of Photoshop. Some little arrow that I was supposed to pull down that I couldn’t get to appear …

By this time, I’ve deleted more layers than I’ve kept, and hours have passed. I finally gave up, created a text box in Paint, saved it as a JPG, and copied it onto my cover as a layer.

If anyone with more design experience than me has any suggestions, please let me know how I could improve the cover!

Thursday was my birthday, so that day was taken up with preparation and celebration:

Birthday

The next day was taken up with recovery. As a result, I haven’t gotten very far on recreating the revisions I lost on Island of Glass. At least I’m moving forward with a couple of big things. I really do want to get Yseult off to Createspace, and off my to-do list. A number of readers have asked me about when a physical book will be available, but I’ve been so wary of all the work involved, I just kept putting it off. Soon now!

And before I forget, I would like to point out that Elle Casey is hosting a massive Springtime Indie Giveaway. Most of you reading this will probably already have my book Dragon Time, but perhaps there are some other books on the list you might be interested in. 🙂 And if you think it looks good, pass the word along if you’re so inclined!

ETA: My daughter showed me how to make the text box this morning — rather than clicking on the surface of your image, you hold down the left mouse key and pull. Now off to make my cover correctly and then upload!

Over 2,000 sales (and other self-pub news)

Sometime the end of last month, I passed the 2,000 sales mark for my ebooks. Even though I knew I was getting close, I don’t know exactly when I hit the second thousand, since I wasn’t adding up totals daily. It might be slow progress, but it’s still progress. It took me about five months to make the first thousand, and less than four months for the second thousand. While I am uploading new ebooks on a fairly regular basis, which of course helps with the increased sales, those four months also covered summer, notoriously bad for ebook sales (at least according to all the savvy folks on the Kindle Boards, who have way more experience than me). Even though I make a fair amount of money with the borrows, I don’t include that in the sales figures. (If anyone is curious, I’ll be happy to share some more specific numbers at some point.)

The other day, I also finally got the first short story in my Alaska series up (my Northern Exposure fanfic *g*):

This is the first time I’m publishing a short story individually rather than in a collection, so I will be quite curious to see how it goes — and how many negative reviews I get because it’s short. *g* If this works, my idea is to get at least one short in this world up a month, and once I have several published, start bundling them. For the collections I can then ask 2.99, so I can get the 70% royalties rather than only 35%. Once I have a couple of Alaska stories up, I also intend to make at least one of them permanently free, to hopefully generate some interest in the series.

When I wrote the book description, my creativity was waning, and I would be happy to hear any thoughts anyone might have:

Jordyn has brought the birds of sorrow with her to Rolynka, Alaska, where she hopes to start over after a tragic accident.

But in Rolynka, nothing is quite the way it seems, and the help of neighbors takes very strange forms.

“In the Middle of Nowhere with Company” is a short story of about 5000 words, or 20 pages. It is the first in the series “Tales From Far Beyond North.”

On the weekend, my daughter and I also worked on a new cover for the next story in the series, “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife”:

Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife

Thoughts? Reactions? Suggestions?

Wishing everyone a lovely October!

Cover for first Alaska story, etc.

Chameleon in a Mirror is coming along nicely, despite all the cooking and harvesting around here at the moment (see my last post). It’s presently at 71,000 words. I’m consistently getting about 1,000 words a day done on the new version, pretty good for this time of year, with a fairly typical August tomato glut. What isn’t as typical is all the chili peppers we have this year. I already made jalapeno jelly, and it’s a big hit.

Jalapeno jelly and BBQ sauce

Next I will have to try pickled jalapenos. I did that last year; the whole chilis were strangely bitter and had to be tossed, but the sliced chilis turned out great.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time recently working on covers with my daughter, since I have several things scheduled for publication in the next month or so. And now I’m finally ready to share the first cover in the series “Tales From Far Beyond North,” set in fictional Rolynka, Alaska. My Alaska stories are magic realist, contemporary fantasy style stories, where the magic tends to be very subtle. So although the setting is contemporary, the series is very far removed from paranormal. 🙂

In the Middle of Nowhere With Company

What do you guys think? Our idea is that the top and bottom frames will stay the same through all the stories, just with varying colors, picking up on one of the colors in the cover image.

I’m tackling this series with a certain amount of trepidation, since the short stories are exactly that — short stories according to the literary definition of the term, none of them much longer than about twenty pages. I intend to only charge 99 cents per short story, and once I have several out, start bundling them, but readers of ebooks are notoriously unforgiving of works that are not novel length (as I recently experienced with Never Ever After.)

Speaking of which, my short collection of short stories, regularly only 99 cents, is FREE tomorrow and Tuesday. Do me a favor, and get yourself a copy. If you’re so inclined, please pass the word along!

Working on Chameleon and Covers

On the weekend, we took a short trip to the Mosel, which is why there hasn’t been an update from me for a while. I’m hoping to get some pics up soon so that I can give an illustrated report.

On the writing side, I’ve been making great progress on Chameleon in a Mirror, over 5000 words last week, and 3000 so far this week. Things are slowing down a bit now, though, because I’ve reached a section where I need to write completely new material — which I have not sufficiently brainstormed or researched yet. 😐 Tomorrow I have the granddaughters, so probably won’t get much done then either. They are off on vacation on Monday, though, so I need to get some Grandma time in before they’re gone for two weeks.

On the writing business side, today my daughter and I did some work on new covers this evening. Nothing I want to show yet, but I will eventually be posting some designs here on my blog. These are mostly for a series of magic realist short stories set in the fictional town of Rolynka, Alaska. My mother was from Alaska, and I grew up hearing all kinds of whacky tales of gold miners and honey-buckets and tundra and permafrost, and a lot of those second-hand memories fed into these stories. That and my love of the old show “Northern Exposure.” The first story is entitled “In the Middle of Nowhere with Company,” but that’s a bit long for a series title, so I was thinking of give the series the name “Tales from Far Beyond North.” How does that sound?

Hope everyone has a lovely rest of the week!

Beyond the Waters of the World off to beta readers, new cover

The next installment of Looking Through Lace, Beyond the Waters of the World, is now off to beta readers. Yeah! Yesterday, my daughter also helped me with a cover:

Beyond-the-Waters

At the same time, we also made a new version of the Looking Though Lace cover so that the fonts match. Although the images are very different, I’m hoping the style is similar enough that people will identify them as part of a series. I uploaded the new cover to Amazon today, but it usually takes a day before changes like that go live. I am now shooting for a publication date of August 31 for Beyond the Waters of the World. Please let me know if you have any suggestions / thoughts on the cover!

I got back to Chameleon in a Mirror today, but I haven’t made too much progress yet. I read through the last chapter to get my mind out of the future and into the seventeenth century, but that’s about it.

Oh, and the other day I made four big jars of dill pickles. That’s one thing I can’t get here in Germany, so I have to make my own. And since we have the garden, I’ve discovered that zucchinis make great dill spears! Just throw away the soft center, cut the rest into spears, and pickle just like you would cucumbers. Next on the canning list: sweet pickle relish (also with zucchini).

Hope everyone has a great week!

Edits and cover images for Shadow of Stone: Almost there!

I’m making progress again on Chameleon in a Mirror, my Aphra Behn time travel, but not as much as I would like. Since I last posted, I’ve gotten over 2200 words written and am now working on a couple of completely new scenes that I realized I needed. Recently, however, I’ve also been spending a lot of my “writing time” attending to various non-creative aspects of my writing life: jotting down notes for a guest lecture I’ll be giving at the University of Stuttgart later this month; checking the edits I got back from my editor for Shadow of Stone; and consulting with the cover artist.

Those are of course good things, but they nonetheless eat up time that I could have been using for actual writing. But if I want to get Shadow of Stone published by the end of the month, the edits and the cover art will have to go the top of the priority list for the time being.

Concerning the cover art, I would love more opinions. Here are some of the covers Derek Murphy has come up with that friends have persuaded me should be in the final running. (As you can see, for one cover there are already two versions):

STONES10

STONESnew12

STONESnew10

STONES1

What do you all think? Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Yseult: Covers and Edits

I’m afraid I’m not going to get Yseult up by Christmas after all, too much Christmas-like stuff going on for me to spend as much time on e-book creation as I’d intended. Besides, even though this book has been through so many hands, has been critiqued and edited and translated, I’m still finding a lot more minor typos and little things to change than I had expected. I’m about halfway through the 750 page manuscript now after a week of work, but I also already have all my Christmas presents bought and most of them wrapped. I’ve changed my goal for getting the book up to before New Year’s Day.

I’ve hired an artist for the cover, Derek Murphy of Creativindie Covers, and I’ve gotten permission from him to post some of his initial designs to get some feedback. Please tell me what you think!

Yseult Cover 4

Yseult Cover 3

Yseult Cover 2

Yseult Cover 1

Do any of these covers grab you? Why or why not? What suggestions do you have to make them better?