Monday, January 10, 2011

Official Cover for The Horse Charmer

Drum Roll Please!!!!!






Applause for the gorgeous cover Tamra Westberry designed. She took my loose vision and made it perfect. 

I had a lot of fun playing with cover design and will probably continue to play with it as it really helped me to know what I wanted for The Horse Charmer, but I was happy to discover when I emailed Tamra "just to see" that her fee is super reasonable and I already knew I liked her work from other covers I had seen in her portfolio.

Friday, January 7, 2011

More Covers for Horse Charmer

Still a work in progress. Playing with different colors and fonts. Here are a couple of them.

I like the fuzzy border on this one, but the black font does not work with the green.

The pop of the purple really jumps out and the white font is a lot better. But I don't like the lines of the border and the script font is too hard to read on smaller images.

Put the purple with the fuzzy and trying a less scripty font.

Playing with the purple color some more, with the blurring edge tool and with the coloring on the image.
 Playing with the layering tool on this one. Lettering is too small and I still can't figure out how to rotate layers, but I did get the basics figured out.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First Cover Attempt

I decided to play around with designing a cover for The Horse Charmer. With Jumping Thoughts I discovered it is really a matter of trial and error for me to find the right image, picking a font for lettering, and moving it around to get it right. Lucky for me with the ongoing e-book craze covers are getting simpler. What looks great on a hardback doesn't necessarily translate to a thumbnail image. Simple is better now. And in my research last night - translate to: trolling Amazon's site to look at young adult fantasy covers - I discovered that covers are a heck of a lot simpler now. They tend to be dark (but this could be because of the vampire craze) with a single object image or person(s) image with big lettering for the title and author. Makes me a little sad as I've always been fan of the artwork on covers. Some seriously great stuff has shown up on a book cover.

Okay, got off track there. Here is my first attempt for The Horse Charmer




Looks pretty, but very, very simple. I also don't think the font is quite big enough though I like the script since it is a fantasy novel. If you downsize the image the title and author name are harder to read. since the text isn't thick.
Back to the drawing board....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Adventure into E-Publishing

I mentioned before I was putting a short-short story I wrote up on Kindle to experiment with the process as I am looking at some novels which I might put up as well. So far so good. I figured out how to get it formatted for Kindle, BN.com, and Smashwords. I designed three different covers, settling on the one to the left for now. Jumping Thoughts is now up on all platforms and it's selling. This was a pleasant surprise.

Only thing I wasn't happy with was the pricing structure. Since it is a short-short story I would have prefered to sell it for less than .99 cents, but that is the minimum price for all of the sites. There is a free option on Smashwords, but I haven't figured that out yet and how it would work with Amazon and BN price match program. I'd hate to have it free at Smashwords, but then charge on Amazon and BN. I also am not sure if Smashwords will send it off to other markets if it is free. I'm currently in the pipeline to be approved for the iBookstore and a few other retail markets Smashwords distributes for.

As with anything new, it's a fun and interesting learning process into the world of ebook publishing. Curious to hear from anyone else who is currently doing it or looking into it. I self-published the first edition of my guide book Horse Schools back in 2002 and it's amazing how much has changed since then.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The New Year

I'm taking a different approach with my writing goals for this year than I did last year. Last year I tried to be very specific in my goals to see if that would keep me on track. Afraid not. It's not that I didn't do anything. I did, but it wasn't always the things on my list. So, this year I'm going to be looser with what I'm actually going to write and produce and focus on quantity. I've decided to join The Race and The eRace. You can learn more at Dean Wesley Smith's blog.

The basic premise is you earn points for each item you have out on submission or which you self-publish onto Kindle/PubIt/Smashwords.

I've started The eRace by getting my short story "Jumping Thoughts" up on Kindle and am currently working on putting it up on PubIt/Smashwords. I already have some partials and fulls out to editors for The Race.

My goal for 2011 is to increase those numbers. Hitting 60 points in The Race seems a bit daunting, but I'm ready to give it a go and planning accordingly.

What are your writing goals for the new year? Did you achieve your goals from last year?