Tag Archives: selfpublishing

Step away from the iPad…

I asked a new friend of mine to give me her thoughts via a guest blog post and am STOKED that she agreed! Please enjoy.

Step away from the iPad…

Guest Blog by Helen Treharne

Step away from the iPad…. these are my words of caution for the newbie self-published author.

I’m not generally one to give advice on writing, or to listen to it for that matter – I tend to cherry pick the bits that suit. There is one bit of advice, however, that I urge you to take; it’s about design. No matter what anyone tells you, unless you happen to be a graphic designer on the side, it’s unlikely that you will ever create great artwork on your own.  When I was preparing to publish my first novel, I read lots of conflicting opinions on this. One set of views were firmly entrenched in getting a professional designer to sort out your cover, the others of the view that you can do decent job yourself with some basic IT.

On a tight budget I decided to side with the second camp. I got InDesign on my iPad for 77 pence, some licence free images online and mocked up covers for the whole “Sophie Morgan” series. “Ta-dah” I exclaimed to my husband, who made lots of positive noises, in the vein of “not bad for a first go”. Happy with my achievements, I used these early attempts as promo images for my blog and on social media – they helped build interest and enabled me to upload a pre-order version up on all the main websites.

Then came the kick in the creative nuts – I wanted a paperback version of my book so needed a cleaner image. What works as a thumbnail will not work on a larger print and I’m not just talking about design. There’s quality of text and images to consider.  That’s when I decided to bite the bullet and pay for a cover. Please, please, please, save yourself a lot of time and hassle by doing this from the get-go. If you know a good graphic designer and can afford it, then do it. If you don’t there’s plenty of options available.

  1. CreateSpace has some templates which you can personalise with your own images (for paperback and Amazon KDP). This won’t suit everyone and the templates have their limitations – although you can personalise them to a degree with your own images (license free, licenced or your own of course). Alternatively, you can upload your own fully formatted paperback cover as I did.
  2. There’s a raft of ready-made covers you can purchase – the internet is filled with them.  If you do this, make sure you select an option which uses more than one stock  image (to minimise risk of looking like another book) and that once you buy the cover, it isn’t sold on to anyone else. There’s downsides to this – not least that you narrow your selection and that it may still resemble many others.
  3. An alternative is to, like me, go on to Fiverr.com where you can find some freelance guys at a decent rate who will design a bespoke one.  With a decent brief, I had my art work within 48 hours which I then uploaded to CreateSpace for my paperback, and to Smashwords and Amazon for my e-book. Already sales are up and I’ve got a smart looking paperback to sell to boot!

Your book cover is your shop window – you MUST make this inviting and give potential readers a flavour of what it’s about. Save yourself stress and poor sales by getting it right first time. Get the professional (or a skilled amateur) to do it for you. So my parting message is this, when it comes to design… step away from the iPad! Abandon your Android. Avoid the “app”. Cast away the clip-art. Apps will only get you so far. Get designers to design and stick to the bit you’re good at – the writing!

Helen's Book

Relative Strangers by Helen Treharne is available at Amazon: http://bit.ly/Vu4Ve3  , iBooks http://bit.ly/1mTRyv7 and all major online retailers.

To find out more about the author, visit her at www.helentreharne.wordpress.com or hook up on  Twitter @Tea_Talks https://twitter.com/Tea_Talks

WIP: My next story – Vamps and Wolfs

Resounding

September 5, 1830
Greenwich, England
Council of Shadows

The sun had started to set behind the edge of the earth, the cool breeze of autumn throwing dandelion’s into the air as if decorating the moment perfectly for them. England had yet to see the true effects of winter, summer hanging on with consorted effort and pressing with sustained might to keep the air temperature most pleasant. That evening would began a three night council meeting where the shadow walkers would join together to discern issues common to them and try to work through various agreements and concordances with one another. It was assured to be filled with tension and bickering, but Seraphine had been in the center of the circle for a very long stay and cared not what was presented or in what manner, only that it was discussed and a decision was made.

Her mind was far from the cold circular room that the meeting would be in as everything was set perfectly and ready for nightfall to arrive. She stood in the shadows of a watch tower with the sun hidden behind her and the man she loved in her arms. It was forbidden and though she wished that she could find the strength to let him go, she could not and would rather give up her position and title than allow the council to step between the two of them. He smiled at her, the warmth of his welcome, the strength in his embrace could not leave her without returning the gesture. So many years she’d lived for vengeance and retribution and found love a weakness to exploit in others, but to never take it into her own bosom.

Things drastically changed more than a century ago when she was assigned to work along side the next Alpha male from the council to discern the propagation of the church and the success they’d held thus far in expansion. The task was most challenging and the two had to work closely together, their relationship at first quite hostile and unyielding. It wasn’t until she was in grave danger one night, surrounded by a large group of hunters that he risked himself to save her and through his bravery they both escaped. The resounding effects of his willingness to sacrifice himself took them to a place she never imagined and one that would have them tried my the council and killed. She looked into the warm chocolate colored gaze that continued to focus on nothing but her as her fingers ran along the soft skin on his shoulder, the muscles so beautiful and on display for her pleasure.

“What is it that takes you from me, Sera? You are not in this moment from me, my love.” He pulled her tighter, the nakedness of their bodies tugging at a hunger that lay in the core of her being. She let her eyes drift along his strong features, memorizing each one as if she could feel the plague of loss hanging tightly overhead.

“I am just concerned that we will not be able to keep confidences. Tonight the council will meet and after your coronation to Alpha you will hold the chair for your pack. To have us both holding a chair almost gives us a majority run of the group and I’d not want anyone to ever think that we worked together to gain some nefarious advantage. I live for my people and I die for them as well.” She bit at her lip, long chestnut hair danced around them as the wind chilled his skin and left her wanting to comfort him. Their afternoon of love making was never enough for her and she waited for these meetings to see him again. To meet up outside of England was too dangerous and so they lived lives that were split in two, both of them almost sick with not having the other by their side.

“No one will ever know, Sera. It is our secret to take to the grave. Come now… let us not waste our time worrying. Hush and let me enjoy you.” He smiled and she couldn’t help but smirk at him. His arms tightened and pulled her into a compressed embrace, a large hand sliding into her hair and beckoning her rest her had against his shoulder as he caressed her. She let all thought dissipate and closed her eyes, the smell of his skin divine and earthy, the strength of his body perfect and comforting. Her soft crimson lips brushed along his shoulder as he made a small sound of appreciation and the rest of the afternoon was lost to the desires one the other.

It wasn’t until later than evening that Seraphine discovered the small golden locket in the pocket of her black slacks, her fingers twirling around the cold metal for a moment before realizing that something was out of place. She pulled it up as she headed toward the council room, each species given a separate waiting room where they could meet and discuss their agenda items and strategize or vote for a common cause. She’d invited Walter, Petra and Lucius to join her. Petra would sit on the Winter Council as her second in command and after that each of them would take a turn. She wanted to see them in action before making a decision of that brevity because when she was done, they would take her place as head of the Vampiric Coven.

The light caught the locket as she moved, her long dark hair swaying behind her and no color to be found on her outside of her crimson lips and matching heels. Her silky black top wrapped tightly around her and she knew it was a bold move, but to tease her secret lover with her beauty would make the night go by so much faster. The small golden teardrop hung from a sort chain and inscribed on the back was “forever yours.” She slipped it on before moving into the cold confines of the Vampire Waiting Room, her eyes on the blood wine already prepared and her mind of a handsome wolf that had given her a reason to truly live again.

“Yes baby.. you are,” she whispered and growled softly.

Picture from http://www.anypics.ru/large/201211/37385.jpg

The Key is Confidence or is it?

passion

How quick are you to react to someone that’s confident in whatever they’re selling? Is it confidence really or perhaps passion? Maybe its a mix of both?

There is something quite contagious about a confident passionate person, isn’t there? I run into very few people like this, but when I do, I find myself wanting to follow and spend a few minutes in the warm glow of whatever they have running through their veins.

I was thinking how depressing it is to only sell one or two of my books a day and then my AWESOME husband reminded me that I’m a successful CPA with several other businesses in the works. I didn’t write my book to sell it. This has nothing at all to do with money, but acceptance perhaps.I wrote them because I’m passionate to the point of vomiting color wherever I go. I needed an outlet – not your typical accountant to say the least.

I wrote it to release passion into a world that didn’t exist and create characters that I’d love to know and showcase as part of who I am in my heart. So if it wasn’t to sell, then it’s pretty cool that it has sold. I’m up to 80 copies or so from Amazon in the last two weeks and considering that all I wanted to do was write for me, that’s not too shabby.

So I’m confident that the next book will do better than this one, and the one after that even better. Why? Because I’m overtly passionate about my books to the point of talking to everyone about them. Are you passionate about what you’ve created? Do you want to desperately share it with someone?

Then do it – with confidence. Let that passion show and people will grab onto it and hover above it like a fire on a winter’s night. The world says, “no” and “go away” and “we’re not buying what you’re selling.”

Well you know what? The world is simply missing out. Share with confident passion and invite us in.

L.

**Picture from http://www.freespiritsunited.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/passion.jpg

Cover Reveal Scheduled – Check!

Hi peeps! Hope you’re having a great day.

I just scheduled my cover reveal for Destroyed, book two in my Soul Keeper Series. I ABSOLUTELY love this cover. I loved the first one, but I think I love this next one more. Let me tell you, if you need a design for a book cover, website, t-shirt, bookmarks, post cards, flyers, logos – anything… these people at 99Designs know what they’re doing. My guy over there is Brand Launcher. Tell him I sent you and I promise you’ll not be at ALL disappointed. The talent leaves me speechless.

Back to the cover reveal!

I’m looking forward to having a cover reveal done by Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours, her professionalism and willingness to get back to me uber quickly is quite refreshing.

For any of you who might be willing, the link is listed below to sign up for hosting the cover reveal. Not sure what that entails, but I’d assume its just you being willing to post up the cover on your blog with a few links to my website for the next book, which will be released November 1st!

I’d be grateful if you’re willing and would return the favor fo-sho!

http://xpressobooktours.com/2014/09/16/cover-reveal-sign-up-destroyed-by-l-a-Starkey/

Love, love, love book covers. Anyone who tells you that people don’t judge a book by its cover are lying as they judge. Or maybe it’s just me? 🙂

L.

My head just might explode…

Might I just state that I love to read. It is a passion that my addictive personality will gravitate toward and cost me a lot of money and even more time. I have been reading for years and years, as long as I can remember. I won several awards in school for reading more than anyone else in the school and where this was rocking awesome (I was NOT nerdy… okay, maybe a little), the one thing that I cannot stand is researching.

Yes, I want to know more about self-publishing and yes I will spend my time looking into it, BUT…

I abhor reading in the context of reading. I read to escape and play in places that could never exist and yet because my mind runs along the hills and valley’s of the creation – to me they already do exist. But to research something, even with the incredible speed and vast accumulation of information from the internet, I still find myself slugging through opinions here and there.

The best part of it all is that everyone constantly contradicts one another. This is the beauty of having an opinion though, right? Everyone asks your thoughts and then sighs exhaustively when your response is different than the majority.

So I truly believe that my head just might explode….

The path I intend to forge is going to be one that is unique and yet seems so familiar to those that have been on it before. I’ve researched all I can handle for the next few weeks and have decided it’s time to wrap up my last review on the book and start the next one.

That being said, I need a good recipe for dinner tonight and as such… I began once again the process of researching.

Save me from myself?

L.