Wednesday, February 1, 2023

#IWSG--Covers, art, and being Indie

 Welcome to the monthly jog around the writing world, known as the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop! 

Each month a question is offered (optionally) for folks to contemplate. Today's was asking about covers.  As an indie author, specifically do I make my own?


That's it. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.

Kidding. As usual, I have things to say ;).

I was an art major for three years, and while I can have a decent eye for layout, I know my limitations (and they are massive-LOL). I have always gone to the pros for my covers. (The exception is my Quarterly Planner--that's all me with a photo I took of Tintern Abbey last year ;).

A good cover artist understands your genre, and hopefully has examples of other covers they've done in it. Some cover artists do only photo manipulation, some paint over photo manipulation, and some are doing either digital or old school illustrations. 

They also understand text, placement, good fonts/bad fonts, kernelling, etc.

It's more than just good art.  I have seen some authors who are also artists do amazing work on their own covers. I've also seen train wrecks that made me want to wash my eyes out.

My goal with my covers is to get across the genre (fantasy/SF/steampunk), to indicate it's female led, and to show it's character focused. (On the whole, people on covers indicate character focus, huge landscapes, spaceships, etc usually indicate more plot focused--not true all the time, but often.)

I have worked with some amazing cover artists: Aleta Rafton, Julie Nicholls, Joolz & Jarling, Deranged Doctor Designs. All of them have worked with me to make the cover eye grabbing. 

People DO judge a book by its cover. For me as a reader, unless it's one of my auto-buy authors, my first level of interest in a new book is their cover. Then I read the copy, then a peak inside. Doesn't matter if it's online or in a bookstore.

I tell new indie authors to save for a great cover and a great editor!

My current covers are all on the bar to the right, but here's one I got done a while ago, that I'm still working on the book for. But I love the cover!  This was done by Deranged Doctor Designs (photo manipulation only). 

Have a great IWSG day and if you have questions about which artists did which of my covers, just ask :).  

One of the reasons that I LOVE being indie is control over what my work looks like :).

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

#IWSG Planning world domination!

 I'm BACK!

Welcome to the wonderful and amazing world of insecure writers everywhere!

And the start of a new year ;).

Today I wanted to talk about planning...for world domination. Or at least just to keep things on track. 

I have a confession, I love calendars. Planners too. It feels good to see my goals mapped out and ready to go. BUT, it also means the goals need to be workable and have a good chance for success.  Saying, "I will write ten massive books this year!" is great, but there needs to be a method behind it.

First-- is the goal feasible? If you didn't get out 9 books in 2022, probably not. 

Secondly--are there steps in place to make it work?  I make an Estimated Word Count for each month in my planners (have two ;)).

It's based on my average word count per hour/day. I actually work in 2 hour blocks, and can hit 2k in two hours (not really 1k an hour, as I re-read the prior day's work in that time too).  I do two blocks on each writing day (five days a week)...therefore a week with no other tasks (like editing, etc) can give me 20,000 words.

I use that EWC, subtracting editing days, travel days, etc, and figure out the EWC each month.

Then each quarter. I've found the quarterly system works best for me, so I'm now ONLY planning one quarter at a time. More room for pivots if something veers off course.

Knowing my EWC, allows me to estimate how many projects I can complete in that quarter.

Thirdly--how dedicated are you to this?  Not everyone has to be "ALL the words, ALL the time!" Understand your long term goals and your own personality.

Lastly-- make sure you PIVOT. Making huge goals and missing them can be devastating. Unless you have a plan in place to see where you jumped the rails. Tracking your mood, health, other issues next to your word count can help see that.

Aim for the stars, but allow for some bounces.

How do you plan? Goal set?

It's nice to be back-- Happy IWSG Day!