Cover art, artists, and design

Happy Saturday! I hope you are having a nice weekend. I am resting my shoulder today from too much mousing yesterday. But I did spend a bit of time on the ol’ computer anyway. Even if I’m not doing that much work on the computer, when I have some leisure time, I like to read. Blogs and articles, mostly. Here is an interesting article about art and artists. It is a review about an Ethan Hawke documentary:

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/ethan-hawkes-life-changing-music-lesson

What I love about the article is the part that talks about continuing to “do” art privately. And that how one’s art is going is how one feels as a person.

I’m excited about something new I learned. A friend talked to me about viewing book covers as blocks, top, middle, and bottom, and to see what is going on with each block. What is there to look at in the block. The middle block should tell the reader what genre the book is. Based on this feedback, John Holland and I are changing the cover for Left of the Rising Sun from this:

Left Cover 2

to this:

Left Cover 4 C new final

I needed to do a poster board to display at a table where I’ll be selling these books and I had the idea to summarize the book in very few words and some images. This is the result.

Left poster

I also made this poster, but I found it much more difficult to boil the books down to just a few words.

Poster

That’s what I’ve been up to. I hope you have a nice remainder of the weekend!

Nicci

My first edit and what’s next

In the featured photo, blue indicates changed text.

Receive first publishing contract for a romantic short story (50 pages), do the *happy dance,* sign the contract.

Next comes edits. The (wonderful) Wild Rose Press editor sends high-level view of what can be improved. Sends an Author Guide with self-editing tips.

Apply each tip systematically, 57.5 hours, but who’s counting.

The story transforms! Improves. Deep point-of-view achieved! (Reader feels like they are in the character’s head, rather than being told a story by an author.)

VERSION 1:

She neither blinked nor breathed as the door swung open, not wanting to miss a second of his reaction. What she hadn’t prepared for was her own reaction to the sheer physicality of him as he sauntered through the door, a white, button-down shirt tucked into belted khakis over what she knew to be tight, muscled abs. His deliberate style of movement came to a smart stop as his perceptive gaze settled on her. Her throat dried and a rustling motion stirred in her abdomen.

VERSION 2:

He sauntered through the door, a white, button-down shirt tucked into belted khakis. When his dark gaze found her, he stopped. Stared. Her throat dried and a rustling motion stirred in her abdomen.

VERSION 1:

His deflated expression provided a measure of payback. But no satisfaction. Enough pretending. She raised her hand with the note and nodded.

VERSION 2:

The corners of his mouth drooped. Payback. But then she lifted the note and nodded. Like a fool.

The types of edits shown above tightened and removed distance between the reader and the characters’ experiences. But a lot of the (57.5 hours) of effort came from adding a sense other than sight throughout the manuscript.

VERSION 1

“A, it’s not a date. B, who says I like him? I never said that.”

VERSION 2

“A,” she said, opening the car door. With the sun gone, the temperature had dropped 10 degrees. She picked up her sweater. “This is not a date. B, who says I like him? I never said that.”

Excerpts from The Last Straw, copyright 2013, Nia Simone.

Accomplished: Manuscript Info Sheet (excerpt, blurb, cover quotes…) DONE. Cover Art Sheets (what do you want on the cover, describe the story, provide links to similar book covers you like, go overboard and do mock-ups in GIMP (actually, they like the writer to do as much as possible.)) DONE

What’s next? Get to skip second round of full edits. (Yay! Editor actually gave virtual gold star.) Next step is “Author copyedit.” Then it goes to copyedit (another editor). (Love editors.)

Lesson: Being Type A works really well for being an author, too. (Like for being a tech writer and project manager.) Doesn’t work that well for retirement.