Your Book Cover Is So Important

I think I’m safe in saying that every writer feels a special sense of excitement when it’s time to start picking out the illustrations to be used to express the feeling and story of your book. 

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There’s an excitement as you’re writing. You keep the little things in the back your mind; this scene would look good, or, that character needs to be enhanced on the cover. Throughout the writing process your mind is constantly thinking of what is going to look good enough to catch a reader’s eye and hopefully get them to buy your book. Which phrase was catchy enough in the book to be used in your promotional blurb prompting someone to open the book up and read your words? If you’re writing a series, what is going to make the series look unique, but let each book have a distinctive cover?

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For me, I knew exactly which scene in all of my books I was going to use on the cover. There was just something that popped up and said “this is it!” Even before all the words were written, I knew on all three books what was going to be on the cover of my book. Now, not at all writers follow that process. Many of them pick multiple scenes and create multiple covers before deciding on the one that they really want. They get feedback from other writers and friends on what looks the best. To a certain point, so do I, but I’ve followed my natural instinct more than I do anything else. If it speaks to me, then I hope it’s going to speak to others.

I’m also realistic, and I know my limitations. I’m not an artist, and even though I love to take pictures, I’m not a photographer. This is when I call in the professionals. I picked out the scene, I have a vague idea of what I want to accomplish on my cover and then I turn it over to my illustrator. As a writer, it’s good to know your limitations and talents. If you are a writer that is multiply talented and can write and draw than you are in a league of your own. For the rest of us, we are writers. So, it’s only common sense to delegate something so important to a professional.

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Also, there’s nothing wrong with going back sometime in the future and redoing your covers, updating them or giving them a new look. This is especially important if you’re writing a series. Times change and your whole attitude and outlook on the series may differ from when you originally started. I know after just three books that there are a couple of things I’d like to change on my very first cover. But I’ll wait until I get three or four books ready to be sold as a set, and then I’ll do a complete cover change. By keeping the parts I really like and changing the things that need a bit of tweaking, I will be able to keep the look of my books fresh. Of course if you your book is one that will withstand the test of time, and be easily recognized for years, then don’t touch a thing.

And while we’re talking about covers – don’t forget your title must show up on the cover and grab the reader’s eye. Your name is just as important – because if they don’t remember you, then readers are not going to be looking for your next book.

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The point I’m trying to make is that your cover is an exciting part of your book. It should be given just as much care and consideration as the words that you put on the pages.

Remember the Emotion, Use the Emotion

Turn something bad into good, this writer’s way to deal with a bit of a set back.

It was not a good way to start the day…

I opened the passenger side door of my car as usual this morning. At first everything seems normal and I throw my briefcase and purse on the floor. Then I notice a notebook that is normally in the glove box is on the seat. I look a little closer, and I realize the compartment where I store my business cards and extra cash is open.

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I begin a frantic search, making sure that everything is there – but it’s not. The cash and change are gone, and I feel a moment of panic- is a car registration still there? I open the envelope, yes it’s still there. But somehow they missed the $20 bill that was lying between the document pages. Now I know that it must’ve just been kids looking for some quick cash. Or maybe somebody on drugs? Nothing was trashed or damaged, so the idea of a drug user doesn’t make sense. Maybe it was just someone monkeying around and they got lucky.

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I hope that whoever took it needed it and wasn’t just being malicious. I hope that if it was the kids, the next time they try this stunt on someone else they get caught and taught a lesson.

Even though there’s only a few dollars missing and some change I still feel violated. My skin crawls and I look around to see if there’s anything left behind from the person that broke in. I now decide I need to empty the car completely out and get it thoroughly washed inside and out. Regardless of whether it was just kids fooling around or if it was somebody on drugs- looking for money, I still feel unclean, even though I had nothing to do with it.

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Then there’s the anger over the fact that the car was left unlocked by somebody other than me! But that’s petty and I get over it quickly and then I praise God that I remembered for some unknown reason to take my electronics out of the car. These are things that I normally leave in the car. Something told me to reach back into the car and throw them into my briefcase.
I guess this is a good reminder to listen to your feelings and follow your instincts.

The Year of Acceptance

As I do my annual year of review, I think the title I would give this past year would be one of acceptance.

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Acceptance that my son is grown up and off to college and is now on his own – that was a hard one for me.

Acceptance that I can’t do it all. That was brought to a head when I fell and broke my shoulder and had to have surgery. I suddenly found that I had to accept help from other people. I had to realize that it was okay to receive help, I couldn’t do everything by myself.

I had to except the death of a couple of pets and mourn their passing, while rejoicing in the years they gave us. I accepted two new kittens into my life and I have had a ball from day one.

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But I think the biggest acceptance that I made this year with this fact that, yes, I am a writer. I accepted that this wasn’t just a fluke, that I really do love the write. With two books under my belt, I guess I can safely call myself a writer. So this year has been spent on finishing off book number two, promoting my books, writing my blogs(Pen in Hand & Gossip from the Southern Garden) and getting the website up (VictoriaLKWilliams.com).

This was a big acceptance. I no longer have to be embarrassed to say I write books. I have accepted it, own up to it, moved forward and strive to improve with each page that I write. Along with that acceptance the ideas have begun to flow. I have an outline for three different series, with multiple books within each series. I am so excited to get to them.

But the one acceptance I’ve also had to make is the fact that I still have my own job to do, and my family to take care of. They have to come first. There will be a time in my life when I will be a full-time writer. But right now I just have to except that each page I write, each book I publish is one more step towards that ultimate goal.

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So, for now, I will accept being a writer part time while I look forward to my “retirement years”.

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