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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 22 June 2012 · 199 views

Meet the BBC Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description [url="http://crossingthehelix.blogspot.com/"]RC Lewis[/url] and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

[center][url="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MAvrORptKTc/T4xRk0x9XQI/AAAAAAAAAeM/G_WLmt8stog/s1600/UseSaturdaySlash.tiff"][img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MAvrORptKTc/T4xRk0x9XQI/AAAAAAAAAeM/G_WLmt8stog/s200/UseSaturdaySlash.tiff[/img][/url][/center]We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox. Also, at the end, I'm going to tell you what I think your story is about, based on your query. I know how hard it is to get your ideas across succinctly, and how easy it is for your author's brain to fill in the blanks and not see the gaping holes that the average reader may very well fall into.

Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on AgentQuery Connect. You'll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!

And now for the next brave volunteer. For clarity, my comments are in [color=yellow]yellow[/color].

When a chair lift accident leaves seventeen year-old Lauren Peterson in a coma, she can’t imagine anything worse than being trapped in her body with no way to communicate. Until, she’s trapped in someone else’s. [color=yellow]Rockin'. This is solid.[/color]

After hospital employee Dave Cooper rips Lauren’s soul from her unconscious body, no one even knows she’s missing. Her monitors continue to beep and the oxygen still whistles; but she is now inside of Dave. [color=yellow]I'm totally hooked.[/color]

Lauren watches helplessly as her captor continues to take souls one by one. But when his other victims begin to control his behavior in odd and sometimes dangerous ways, she thinks it may be the key to her freedom. [color=yellow]How so?[/color]

As she fights to get through to someone on the outside, she knows she’s running out of time. Not only are the other souls disappearing, Lauren’s starting to question everything. Because when you have a front row seat to someone’s life, it’s easy to see that everyone has two sides. [color=yellow]Very nice.[/color]

SUSPENDED STATE is a young adult paranormal thriller complete at 50,000 words.

[color=yellow]As you can see by my lack of comments, I'm not sure how much you need me here ; ) I do have some overall suggestions though.[/color]

[color=yellow]The writing here is sparse and tight, perfect for a query. But there are some broader things that I need as a reader to understand the story. What is Dave's motivation for stealing souls? What does he gain by doing this? He can't be living vicariously through comatose people. Also, it sound like they control him occasionally, so perhaps it's not always to his benefit?[/color]

[color=yellow]Also I made a note about how is that fact the possible key to her escape? And what do you mean by the other souls are disappearing? Is this why she's running out of time? I very much like the idea that she's questioning everything. That line, along with your sinker implies that our bad guy Dave isn't horrible through and through. Unless that's not what you're going for, it's pitch perfect.[/color]

[color=yellow]Get those larger ideas out there and you're ready to query. Great job, and fantastic concept - I'd buy it![/color]



You Just Can't Make This Shit Up

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 June 2012 · 185 views

My life really is a never ending stream of ridiculousness. Last night an All-Family-Distress-Call went out when my mom's Scottish Terrier got herself stuck under the driveway.

Ahem, yes - [i]under[/i] the driveway. For those of you who are unaware of what a culvert is, you might want to click [url="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/culvert"]here[/url]. For everyone else, I'll just keep going.

My sister and I are aware of the minor miracle that made us able to pass through our German mother's care without becoming morbidly obese. We're not sure how we escaped the fate of every single family pet, but I think it was being athletic and also the fact that it was the 80s and most of us wore spandex whenever possible.

[url="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OWMMu_WRF58/T-Kb64t8yNI/AAAAAAAAAkg/6RomlFQFzAk/s1600/0-1.jpeg"][img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OWMMu_WRF58/T-Kb64t8yNI/AAAAAAAAAkg/6RomlFQFzAk/s1600/0-1.jpeg[/img][/url]For those of you who don't know,
this is a Scottish Terrier.In any case, Abby (named after Aberdeen) is the most recent in a long line of Scottish Terriers. As a breed, they are incredibly intelligent and ferocious little shits. Individual results may vary.

Yesterday Abby got it into her head to dive into a culvert and investigate tight spaces that her very large arse had no hope of fitting into.

Or back out of.

And so, Abby was in fact, stuck [i]under[/i] the driveway.

[url="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-g3yIAvpse18/T-KeO2XKjVI/AAAAAAAAAko/aZ8jDPqTjkE/s1600/0-2.jpeg"][img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-g3yIAvpse18/T-KeO2XKjVI/AAAAAAAAAko/aZ8jDPqTjkE/s1600/0-2.jpeg[/img][/url]Individual results may varyI got the call around 9 PM because I'm the owner of a very nice Mag lite and my mother had managed to turn my dad's on at some point during the afternoon and never ever turn it back off. So I drove over to my parent's house to find the neighbor, my brother-in-law, my cousin, and my dad all standing in a hole up to their waists and pounding on the drainpipe to see if the dog was in that particular pipe or the next one.

Note - it's very difficult to see a black dog inside a pitch-black pipe after 9 PM.

[url="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EzUjc4fs2O8/T-KfVARjOCI/AAAAAAAAAkw/xyMkH0G92C0/s1600/0.jpeg"][img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EzUjc4fs2O8/T-KfVARjOCI/AAAAAAAAAkw/xyMkH0G92C0/s1600/0.jpeg[/img][/url]For those of you who don't know,
this is a backhoe.
Abby wasn't in that pipe, so the next element came into effect - the backhoe. Yep. We dug up the driveway, cut the phone line and continued beating on the pipe in the hopes that one very fat Scottish Terrier would get up the gumption to push herself on out. But she didn't, so the backhoe was implemented into Plan C, which involved pulling the entire culvert pipe up and getting it vertical so that her fat butt just fell out one end.

And she then proceeded to go up to the front porch and beg for a treat.

She got it.



I'm Being Interviewed on Chasing the Crazies

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 June 2012 · 193 views

And I thought I had the market on awesome blog titles cornered...

I've got an interview up on [url="http://chasingthecrazies.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/w-o-w-writer-o%E2%80%A6mindy-mcginnis/"]Chasing the Crazies[/url] today about my slog through the query trenches, where it's wet, cold, muddy, and you don't think anyone loves you.

Plus you feel like your hair always looks bad.



A Cover Reveal Interview with Elsie Chapman, Author of DUALED

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 18 June 2012 · 145 views


I love talking to debut authors. Our experiences are so similar, yet so very different, that every one of us has a new story to share. Everyone says that the moment you get your cover it really hits you - you're an author. The cover is your story - and you - packaged for the world. So the process of the cover reveal can be slightly panic inducing. Does it fit your story? Is it what you hoped? Will it sell? With this in mind I put together the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) Interview.

Today's guest is my fellow [url="http://thelucky13s.blogspot.com/"]Lucky13s[/url] and [url="http://fridaythethirteeners.blogspot.com/"]Friday the Thirteeners [/url]member Elsie Chapman, to talk about her awesome cover for [url="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13401993-dualed"]DUALED[/url], available from Random House February 26, 2013.

[i]The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.[/i]

[i]Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.[/i]

[i]Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.[/i]
[b]BBC: Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?[/b]

EC: Not at all, actually. A lot of the time, I have a hard time pin-pointing why I like or don’t like something, only that I do or don’t. I was just hoping that when I saw what my publisher came up with, I would simply fall in love with it.

[b]BBC: How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?[/b]

EC: Over a year in advance. Which seemed early at the time, but looking back, I’m so glad they got a head start on it. So many people are involved with the cover process, and there’s a lot of back-and-forthing which takes time.

[b]BBC: Did you have any input on your cover?[/b]

EC: My editor and DUALED’s art director presented me with concepts and ideas and asked for feedback. I really appreciated being asked for my opinion, and it was great that they were interested to hear my thoughts on everything!

[b]BBC: How was your cover revealed to you?[/b]

EC: Step by step, in that they’d tweak, come back to me, we’d all talk, then they would tweak some more. By the time I actually saw it, I already had a good idea what it was going to look like. But seeing it all actually finalized—with the title on it, my name and picture, the tagline and blurbs—it was an overwhelming moment. It just hit me that this was how DUALED was going to be presented to the world.

[b]BBC: Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?[/b]

EC: Not really, but my editor gave me the heads up about when my publisher would be releasing it online, so I could plan my own reveal ahead of time if I wanted to go that route.

[b]BBC: How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?[/b]

EC: With the finalized version, about a week or two, I think.

[b]BBC: Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?[/b]

EC: It was! I really wanted to share it, but I’ve learned to be a much more patient person now, with the publishing process being what it is. So I try to keep in mind that all good things take time.

[b]BBC: What surprised you most about the process?[/b]

EC: How involved it is, and how much thought is put into every single detail. From the font to title placement to whether or not any special effects such as gloss or foil will be used. And as much as it is an art and a super creative process to put together a cover, it does make sense that the sales and marketing department also has a say in the final product.

[b]BBC: Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?[/b]

EC: To always remember that your publisher wants nothing but the best for your book, and for it to succeed. And that they know more than we do about what works for a cover. So trust that they’re going to do an awesome job, just as they trust you to do the same when it comes to filling the pages in between!



Round Robin Blogvel - BLOOM Chapter 3

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 17 June 2012 · 343 views

Today you get something a little different. I'm participating in a Round Robin Blogvel which is the brainchild of my buddy Michelle over at [url="http://greenwoman.wordpress.com/"]Greenwoman[/url]. My lot fell to Chapter Three. If you'd like to read [url="http://greenwoman.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/bloom-chapter-1/"]Chapter One[/url] and [url="http://thecreativityrebellion.com/round-robin-blogvel-bloom-chapter-2/"]Chapter Two[/url] (which you probably should or you'll be lost) click on the links.

BLOOM - Chapter Three

I woke to the sound of windchimes. My first thought was to be thankful for the breeze, my second was that we didn't have any windchimes anymore because my brother tore them down to fight off his recurring migraines.

I opened my eyes and instantly regretted it. My room had become a pinball machine for sunlight, and it bounced off of everything, searing my vision and leaving crazy patterns on the backs of my eyelids. I shaded my eyes before opening them again. Grandma always said being prepared was half the battle.

My closet door hung open. Metallic vines had pushed their way out, then snaked up the walls and intertwined on the ceiling while I slept. Copper and silver petals dangled against each other with the breeze from my window in a song that I would've found gorgeous if it weren't so terrifying.

I jumped out of bed, racing downstairs with the childish hope that if I found an adult and told them everything would be better. "Gran!" I yelled, busting through the downstairs rooms one at a time. "Gran!" The last place I looked was the sunroom, where Grandma started her seeds in the spring.

The ceiling was a mass of metal roots that had punched through the floor of my closet. They inched their way down the wall as I watched, so stunned I seemed to have grown roots of my own. When they reached a vase and curled around it, smashing the crystal into a thousand shards it broke my paralysis.

"Gran!" I screamed as I blew out the backdoor and down to the stream. "Gran, where are you?" There was no answer, and I sprinted down the path away from the house, back to where I had found the flowers, as if there might be some answer there for me. I don't know if I wash hoping for some kind of corrosive metal version of Roundup, but what I found took what little breath I had left in my lungs right out of them.

The massive oak that the flowers had been going under was almost impossible to look at. The vein I'd noticed the night before sneaking up the trunk had taken over the entire living system. Where the sun broke through the canopy and dappled it's trunk, tiny explosions of light shimmered. The ground around the base was littered with branches and leaves, too heavy to hold their own weight now that they flowers had infected them.

I dropped to my knees beside one branch and plucked a leaf away. It came away with a metallic [i]snick [/i]that reminded me of clipping wires with Jamie when he showed me how to steal the nearest neighbor's cable. But the leaf in my hand was much heavier than any cord I'd ever held, my hand bowed under it's weight and it fell, hitting my sandaled feet and making my toes curl up in response.

It was gold. Solid gold. The entire oak that I'd spent so much of my childhood under spinning dreams and fairy tales had just turned into one of its own. I gathered up as many leaves as I could carry and shuffled back home under their weight. Wherever Grandma had gone, once she got home I'd have a lot of explaining to do, but the fact that I was now carrying more money than her house was worth might make the explanation go down a little easier.

"Gran," I called as I pushed through the back door. "Are you home?"

"In here, child," came her voice, sounding much weaker than usual. I went into the sunroom to find her in a rocker, deflated and half the size I usually thought her to be, staring at the ceiling.

"Gran?" I said softly. "I need to tell you something."

She sighed. "No, no you don't. What I see in front of me tells me all there is to know." She finally looked at me, the resignation in her eyes so dead that not even the glittering spots from the gold leaves I carried were reflected there.

She reached for my hand. "But what is this?"

"Gold, gran. The old oak in the woods it's - "

"No, girl," she said, turning my hand over and snaking her finger along the molten line that trailed from the leaf cut. "What is [i]this[/i]?"



The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 15 June 2012 · 235 views

Meet the BBC Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description [url="http://crossingthehelix.blogspot.com/"]RC Lewis[/url] and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.


We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox. Also, at the end, I'm going to tell you what I think your story is about, based on your query. I know how hard it is to get your ideas across succinctly, and how easy it is for your author's brain to fill in the blanks and not see the gaping holes that the average reader may very well fall into.

Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on AgentQuery Connect. You'll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!

And now for our next brave soul. For clarity, my comments are in [color=yellow]yellow[/color].

All it took was one bomb to incinerate her life… [color=yellow]"All it took" implies that normally the following object wouldn't be so life-changing. But a bomb incinerating something is pretty much what they're supposed to do, so I'd definitely rework this hook. And kill the ellipses.[/color]

As seventeen-year-old Sadie James celebrates the hundred year anniversary of the South’s liberation from the North, [color=yellow]I like this idea, but because of the "what if" twist, it almost has me wondering if we're actually in America, or if this is set in another world entirely. I usually say to put the genre and word count on the bottom (as you have) but in this case it might make more sense at the top - unless you can do a little rephrasing to make the setting clear[/color], an explosion rocks her town square. Escaping the chaos, Sadie follows a young rebel soldier into hiding. What she discovers is a safe house and the identity of the uprising’s leader – her presumed dead mother – very much alive. [color=yellow]That's cool, I like having Mom in the mix, but... why are there rebels in the first place? What are they uprising against? If the entire "what if" of the novel is what if the South had liberated itself from the North, it feels like any more rebellion is kinda overkill - we need a good reason.[/color]

Sadie’s first instinct is to turn her in as a traitor. [color=yellow]Why? Does she even know her mother? How long has mom been presumed dead? Is Sadie really that much of a government believer? [/color]But as she listens to the rebel’s plan, and accusations of her government’s crimes, she doesn’t know what to believe. Then the government sends her a deadly warning: tell what she knows or everyone she loves will die. [color=yellow]I definitely need more here - a rebel plan (to do what?) government crimes (like what?), a deadly warning (how did they send her a message if she's still with the rebels?) This para makes it feel like she's "with" the rebels, "listening" to their plan, etc., but if the gov't is sending her messages asking what she knows, she must not be.[/color]

With nowhere else to turn, Sadie reaches out to her mother. Together they infiltrate a government compound where they find evidence [color=yellow](like what?)[/color] that will devastate the nation and trigger a second civil war. [color=yellow]OK - here's something, maybe even the crux of the novel and the best optionfor a hook[/color] But before the truth can be revealed, an unforeseen betrayal [color=yellow]Aren't all betrayals unforeseen? [/color]cuts out the heart of the rebellion. Now on the run, and the rebellion looking to her for guidance, Sadie will have to let go of the past if she expects to have a future. [color=yellow]Really? Why? It's a good line but it's actualy saying anything. If "letting go of the past" is a reference to her mother, you need to capitalize on their relationship in the query if you want this pack a punch.[/color]

RESISTANCE is complete at 68,000 words. It is a YA fantasy [color=yellow]sounds more like dystopian[/color] that re-imagines a modern day America with a “what if” twist, contemplating what life would be like if the United States weren’t united at all. It will appeal to readers who enjoyed the social injustice and military rebellion themes found in Ally Condie’s MATCHED and Marie Lu’s LEGEND.

[color=yellow]Great comp titles, and I really like the premise, so don't be disappointed by my reaction to the query. You need more here - why are people rebelling? What does the fact that the South succeded in seceding have to do with the overall plot? What's the relationship with Mom like? Her first reaction is to turn her in, but how does she feel about the fact that she's alive at all? It sounds like Mom is removed later on in the story, and Sadie (love the name, btw) will have to fill her shoes - awesome. But if that's actually what happens, don't be afraid to just throw it out there. You need the emotional tension of the mother-daughter relationship (which sounds like the heart of the book / character identity crisis) to underlie the action here, or else it feels empty.[/color]

[color=yellow]And lastly, it sounds very much like you're just asking the agent to accept what you're saying, without making it really clear what's at stake. There's a rebellion, there's a bad government, the whole crux of the action revolves around the fact that you need the reader / agent to be sold on the rebel cause in the first place - but we don't even know what they're rebelling against.[/color]

[color=yellow]It sounds like a great story, but also very generic the way it's presented in the query. What makes your rebellion worthy, and different from all the other YA rebellions? What makes your government bad, worse than all the other YA dsytopian governments? If you can get those details in there, and find a way to get that 'what if" premise into your hook, you've definitely got something to sell. [/color]



BBC Book Talk - DAEMONS IN THE MIST by Alicia Kat Dillman

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 14 June 2012 · 188 views

[center][url="http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1335995897l/11830312.jpg"][img]http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1335995897l/11830312.jpg[/img][/url][/center]Patrick has been infatuated with Nualla for years, but always from a distance. He's a normal guy with normal friends, and she's... she's Nualla. Gorgeous, rich, and seemingly unaware he exists. That is, until the day he steps in between her and an outraged ex, and suddenly she's very interested in him for no reason that he can think of - but he's not questioning it too hard. After a crazy weekend in Vegas with Nualla's friends, Patrick wakes up married to her.

This would pose problems for even the most normal teenager, but marrying Nualla carries its own set of risks. The fog and mist of San Francisco conceals more than just buildings. Nualla is a daemon, and not just any demon. She's next in line to inherit leadership of the realm and while marrying a human doesn't necessarily disqualify her, it does pose unique problems. Patrick has to turn daemon within a year, something he wasn't quite counting on when he hopped a plane to Vegas.

And it turns out there was a good reason why Patrick always felt like he was invisible to Nualla... a very good reason.

From debut Indie author Alicia Kat Dillman, DAEMONS IN THE MIST takes the reader away from the expected cliches of paranormal romance and delivers a sweet love against the odds tale with a twist you won't see coming.

Don't miss my [url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2012/06/indie-sat-with-alicia-kat-dillman.html"]interview with Alicia[/url] from earlier this week!



Call for Submissions

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 14 June 2012 · 375 views

I'm in the editing cave, friends. No Thursday Thoughts today because my mind is kind of on a circuit right now that involves taking out all the double spaces after a period that was ingrained in me at college.

Instead I want to talk to you about a writing opportunity with an Indie press, The Elephant's Bookshelf. My short story "First Kiss" was the anchor story for their first anthology offering, SPRING FEVERS - which by the way, is available for free now on [url="http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/B007EDIAGC/ref=sib_dp_kd#reader-link"]Kindle.[/url]

Elephant's Bookshelf is now accepting submissions for their next anthology, titled THE FALL. The theme is apocalyptic, dystopian, or otherwise end-of-the-world related fun. Guidelines for submissions can found [url="http://elephantsbookshelf.blogspot.com/2012/06/guidelines-for-coming-apocalypse-call.html"]here[/url].

So come play with us! I've submitted mine.




An Indie SAT with Alicia Kat Dillman

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 11 June 2012 · 224 views

We all know there are many different routes to success in this industry. Today on the blog I have someone who not only said, "Hmm... I think I'll go Indie," but, "Hmm... I think I'll just go ahead and start my own Indie business." That kind of spirit and determination is an amazing thing to see, and I've made room twice-over this week on the blog for Alicia Kat Dillman for that reason. Today you get an interview with her, on Friday I'll be reviewing her book DAEMONS IN THE MIST for the BBC Book talk.

Indie author & illustrator Alicia Kat Dillman is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. Kat illustrates and designs book covers & computer game art by day and writes teen fiction by night. Her first book, DAEMONS IN THE MIST, features seventeen year old Patrick Connolly who has been hopelessly infatuated with Nualla for years, though he is all but invisible to her. Until, that is, he rescues her from a confrontation with her ex. Little does Patrick know he’s just set off a dangerous chain reaction that will thrust him into a world of life altering secrets and things that shouldn’t exist, because the fog and mist of San Francisco is concealing more than just buildings.

[b]BBC: What made you decide to become an Indie publisher?[/b]

AKD: Most little girls play house or with dolls, I played store. I think I’ve wanted to own my own business since I was five. I come from a long line of people with that entrepreneurial spirit, so it was inevitable, really. I have nothing against traditional publishing, I have a lot of friends who work in the industry. But for me, it was more important that I do this myself, than hand my project over to someone else. I really like the idea that this is mine; that I made this. My words, my art, my design, my drive, moving it forward. That my readers get one complete vision, one story, one voice. Pure, the way it was meant to be.

[b]BBC: Did you do a lot of research? What resources do you recommend?[/b]

AKD: I do a lot of research before I do anything, but yes, I did a lot of research before I decided to open my own indie publishing company. I joined a few online groups. Read a ton of articles, blogs and books. I started going to two twitter chats each week geared toward indie publishers. I researched and learned a few new computer programs. I studied books, not the stories in them, but the books themselves. The way they were constructed, the way they were laid-out, the way digital books are formatted, to make sure I could make something just as well put together as the big guys.

Books that were helpful:
Self Printed: A sane person’s Guide to Self publishing by Catherine Ryan Howard
Smart Self Publishing by Zoe Winters
The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing by J.A. Konrath

Twitter chats:

[b]BBC: The cover art for DAEMONS IN THE MIST is fantastic - and you did it yourself! What's your process?[/b]

[center][url="http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1335995897l/11830312.jpg"][img]http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1335995897l/11830312.jpg[/img][/url][/center]AKD: I hit the books, analyzing what’s out there. Trying to design something that’s true to the story while at the same time something that will stand out from the pack of other new releases.

For the base of Daemons in the Mist’s cover, stock photography was used as part of a newer art form called enhanced photo-imagery. I head on over to the stock photography sites and browse for what I need. I then download their mock images and jump into InDesign to start mocking up a cover based on the template generated by the book printers. Because Daemons in the Mist is part of a trilogy, all 3 books were mocked up at the same time. When I get the cover design the way I like, I purchase the chosen images and head on over to Painter.

I then use my custom designed brushes and go to town. I tend to use what they call “illustrative color” even though my process with the cover was a departure from my norm, my signature style and use of vibrant color and dramatic lighting is still present. Once the painting is complete, I head back over to InDesign and import the final art before exporting the file and sending it off to the printer. And that’s how my covers are born.

You want to know a secret? The photo-enhanced cover I did for Daemons in the Mist is only the second one I’ve ever done.

[b]BBC: Your trailer is also very nicely done, and again - you did it yourself! You're so useful! :) What made you decide to take the approach that you did with it?[/b]

AKD: Daemons in the Mist is told in first person so I figured the trailer should be as well. I decided the trailer would be Patrick’s story, told from his point of view, so I chose two scenes from Daemons in the Mist as the base of the trailer. Why those two scenes? Because really, the whole story pivots on the decisions he makes in those chapters.

The Words
Most of the lines in the trailer were lifted from actual passages in the book and then edited to fit the format of the trailer. It gives you a taste of what you’ll get in the story and a look into the way Patrick thinks; his voice. The few lines he says speak volumes to all the conflict he’s going through in the story without giving too much away and spoiling the story like our modern movie trailers do.

The Music
I wanted a song that was quiet and dramatic like the rain because it is in those small moments we hear ourselves the loudest. Or at least I do anyways.

The Visuals
I wanted it to look like you were one of the people on the street watching Patrick and Nualla through a mix of passing cars, fog and rain. And I wanted that beautiful and dreamlike quality of mist and fog. It’s a metaphor for the whole story. Like fog, the things in it are never as they seem. The farther you go into it, the more you see, the more you realize that everything you thought you knew, was wrong.

[b]BBC: What's your marketing strategy? How do you plan to raise awareness of yourself as an author and DAEMONS IN THE MIST as a title?[/b]

AKD: I’m easing into it so I don’t get overwhelmed. I’m new to indie publishing and I don’t want to take on too much and get burned out. That being said, I use all the digital tools at my disposal. If it’s high-tech and social media based there’s a good chance I’m there.

I have a [url="http://www.facebook.com/pages/KatGirl-Studio/328820976920"]FB page[/url] for my studio, my [url="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alicia-Kat-Dillman/282721028417862"]writing[/url], and for the [url="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Daemons-in-the-Mist-The-Marked-Ones-Trilogy-Book-One/181184415278156"]Marked Ones Trilogy[/url]. As well, I have a [url="https://plus.google.com/107343779782669356935/posts"]Google+[/url] for me and a page [url="https://plus.google.com/b/111263822423420967899/111263822423420967899/posts"]for the books[/url]. A lot of authors are on FB but they completely ignore Google+ I don’t, in fact the tour wrap party will be on the DITM Google+ page on June 23rd.

I’m also a regular on [url="http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3478175.Alicia_Kat_Dillman"]Goodreads[/url], [url="http://katgirlstudio.deviantart.com/"]Deviant Art[/url], [url="http://pinterest.com/katgirlstudio"]Pinterest[/url], [url="http://katgirlstudio.tumblr.com/"]Tumblr[/url] and I participate in 5 twitter chats a week. Part of it is about being where my audience is, but mostly it’s because I spend 90% of my day working alone in the studio and I’m a very social person.

This year most of my marketing is internet focused. I’m only attending half the events I normally do because I’m getting married later this year. But that doesn’t mean I ignore the outside world completely. It’s all about a good balance of both. Aside from all the social media, I also exhibit at conventions and festivals and do events and signings at my local indies.

On top of all this I’m doing a two week 30 blog virtual book tour. Which of course you know because you’re on it.

[b]BBC: Any last tips for those considering going Indie?[/b]

AKD: Learn to do as much as you can yourself and hire pros for the rest. I for example, am dyslexic, so editing and copyediting just isn’t in my skill set. So I hired people to fill those positions at Korat Publishing. You can skimp on a lot of things when it comes to running your own indie company but editing and a top-notch cover design should never be the place where you make your cuts.

Lastly, if you’re not willing to put in the work to deliver a professional product, then don’t even try to go it your own. There are plenty of publishers and indie presses out there still looking for talent. Do yourself a huge favor and work with one of them.

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CADET OF TILDOR Cover Reveal & Giveaway!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 10 June 2012 · 174 views

I'm excited because today I'm hosting my first ever official cover reveal! Unlike the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) interviews, which feature interviews with the author about covers that have already been revealed, today I'm one of the bloggers that gets to show you the cover for fellow [url="http://thelucky13s.blogspot.com/"]Lucky13'[/url]er [url="http://www.alexlidell.com/"]Alex Lidell[/url]'s THE CADET OF TILDOR for the very first time!


[left][i]Having already survived six years at the Tildor's top military academy, sixteen-year-old Renee De Winter is determined to graduate, training day and night to compete with her male classmates. When the boys overpower her parries, she works harder. When a bully sabotages her gear, she fights without it. But when an underground crime group captures her mentor for its illegal gladiatorial games, she must choose between her career and her conscience. Determined to penetrate the group's inner circles, Renee will leap from academia to the crime filled streets, pick up a sword, and weigh law against loyalty.[/i][/left]

[left][i]THE CADET OF TILDOR will be available January 10, 2013 from Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin). Add it to your [url="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13549523-the-cadet-of-tildor"]Goodreads[/url] shelf, or [url="http://www.amazon.com/The-Cadet-of-Tildor-ebook/dp/B007HUD5QC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339305443&sr=8-1&keywords=the+cadet+of+tildor"]pre-order on Amazon[/url] today![/i][/left]

[left]Not only do you get to have a close encounter with great cover art, but the author is also giving away two fantastic swag kits. Giveaways are limited to US addresses only, the author will contact the winner. Giveaways end Friday, June 15. [/left]

[left]The First Swag Pack: (For Readers and Fans!)[/left]

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The Second Swag Pack (For Educators): Laminated vocabulary words scratch-off cards. All vocabulary are SAT words that appear in CADET. Includes a teacher's guide for using cards in higher-level thinking classroom activities. 25 of each - laminated words cards, definition cards, scratch-off cards. 75 total.


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