Tag Archives: self publish

Cover Reveal – At the Bullet’s Tip

I was sure I posted this a week ago. Anyways, don’t worry… haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. It’s been a busy past few weeks as Isaac gets prepared for grad school. We’ve been stripping furniture (old furniture, from the 1920s…) to stain, and that took up quite a bit of time for about a week. Anyways, I do have a new book cover to show you. 🙂

“At the Bullet’s Tip,” by Erika Lindsen, a romance thriller. 🙂

SBibb - Cover for "At the Bullet's Tip"

This was a cross between photomanipulation and digital illustration. Parts of it were drawn in (using Photoshop CS6), while other parts of it were originally photographs that I used the “threshold” tool on to give it that sillohuetted look. 🙂

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The Socks Project: Ashes Cover Reveal

As I get closer to self-publishing “Ashes,” I thought it might be nice to do a cover reveal. So here it is, the cover to “Ashes.” It’s got some similar treatment done to it to resemble “Socks,” but it has a different color scheme to match the themes in the story itself. As an interesting little side note, I believe this is actually the same picture I used in “Socks,” but done differently enough that it shouldn’t be noticable. (Except that I pointed out, but anyway).

As a side note, I was debating on whether or not to include a blurb on the cover mentioning that it was a short story or prequel. After some discussion on Absolute Write, I decided not to include it. Why? Because the same information will be mentioned on the web page where it can be bought/downloaded. Also, because hopefully it will resemble the cover of “Socks” close enough that a connection will be made. Granted, this is experimentation on my part, but that’s kind of the point of doing this. 🙂

Without further ado, the new cover!

SBibb - Ashes Cover - Blog

Also, as a quick note, I found this article and thought those of you interested in doing your own cover creation might like reading it. It’s about font choice. 🙂

http://clancytales.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/how-to-font-your-cover.html

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1000 Words: The Socks Project Continued

Good news! I’ve finally started editing the prequel to “Socks,” one of the short stories from my 1000 Words project. I’m happy to announce that the title will be “Ashes.” I’m currently in the process of planning the cover, which shall be done in similar fashion to Socks, as a way to show they’re related. The difference is that “Ashes” is not restricted to a one thousand words word-length, and is currently closer to 7000 words. I’m planning on self-publishing it and selling it for $0.99 on both Smashwords and Kindle.

So, for a little more information about “Ashes,” it takes place in the time before “Socks,” so you’ll get to see a little more about the bunkers and the world she lives in. It’s also young adult, sci-fi romance. I hesitate to call it dystopian, since it’s not technically a dystopia, but it runs along similar worlds to popular dystopian YA right now (Pandemonium is the one that comes to mind, though I wrote this before reading that book). It is a complete story, however, if people like it, there is room to continue it before the actual “Socks” story begins. As well as room for right afterwards. Granted, it’ll be competing for time with Distant Horizon, the novel my husband and I are working on, but we’ll see how well it’s recieved. 🙂

In the meantime, go check out “Socks” if you haven’t already. It’s available on Smashwords, and best of all, it’s free. 🙂

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/154150

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Marketing Your Book

So, as Isaac and I get closer to finishing Distant Horizon (and thus starting querying), I’ve been doing reading on how marketing of a book is done, both for trade and self-publishing. After all, both are looking for readership, right? I found a few interesting tidbits I thought I’d share.

One is the article at the link below. It talks about how marketing is done of a book in the trade publishing world, and points out some good tips that could probably also be used if you’re self-publishing, too. It talks about the importance of marketing as a way to gain publicity, but that marketing doesn’t always equate to publicity. It’s that word-of-mouth you want, when you get other people promoting your book without your asking. Needless to say, I thought it was an informative read:

http://editorialass.blogspot.com/2009/04/why-dont-we-throw-some-money-at-it-like.html

Another interesting idea I came upon was the idea of offering signed prints of your book cover (if it’s one that looks really good)  for the first people who buy your book off Amazon and show you a receipt. Found this at Madame Guillotine’s blog, here: http://madameguillotine.org.uk/

Of course, ARC (advanced reader copies) are also a good idea, and it looks like Goodreads contests may be a good way to get publicity for them. The hope, of course, is that they’ll read your book and leave a review, and maybe, just maybe, recommend t to a friend. 🙂

Also, another neat blog (not so much on marketing, but on publishing) I found is called The Intern: http://internspills.blogspot.com/

Thought I’d share that, too. Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for you at the moment. 🙂

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1000 Words: Name change on Smashwords

So it turns out you can’t have two pen names linked to a single Smashwords account. The result is that I’d either have to create a second account for Stephanie Flint, or change all the covers and copyright info on the previous books. Seeing as how I wanted to keep “SBibb” for the account link, I decided to change the covers.

Overall, it might’ve taken a couple hours. Luckily, most of the covers had layering where I was able to just change my last name with a couple modifications, and Photoshop CS6 (loving the new save function) is helpful with doing some easy adjustments. Afterwards, I adjusted all the front matter and bio info on the stories themselves (again, yay for having everything in nearly one place).

I also added tags to each short story that included “SBibb, Stephanie Bibb, Stephanie Flint” to make it easier to find. Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to having your websites and books and such found, so I also included a note about the name change in the long description. I didn’t put it in the short description since I’d rather reserve that space for info about the story itself.

I also linked the “Where to find this book in print” to the1000 Wordsanthology (print edition) on Amazon. Since I don’t want to change the inner covers of the ebook version on Smashwords, I’m unpublishing it there. Kindle allows me (as far as I understand) to keep the older editions of the book the same, while putting my new name on any new books I publish. Therefore, I decided that will not change.

However, one thing I did try to do was make it easier for people to find my work, whether they look it up under Stephanie Bibb or under Stephanie Flint. I imagine it’ll take a little while for my stuff to show up on search engines under the new name, but this way, it should be linked. Also, when I did the book covers, I was careful to make sure the font didn’t change when I switched out the names. That way the quality of the cover remained the same.

Then I went through and made sure that all the edits were in place, and finally changed my profile name on Smashwords itself. I also uploaded my profile picture, taken by my wonderful husband, Isaac. 🙂

Here’s the response I got from Smashwords about the name change, in case anyone else needs to know it:

You have two options:

1. Open a new account for the new name.  I wouldn’t recommend this because the books won’t be linked either with us or with the retailers.  It’s also a pain to manage two accounts.

2. Here’s a link to the FAQ’s section on changing the author name:

https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#Updating

Scroll down a bit until you see the section “I’ve decided to change my Pen Name.  How to I change it without de-listing my book at retailers?”

Some additional recommendations:  A.  You should change your profile to the new name, and then update your front matter for all the books so it reads “Copyright New Name 2012” Originally written and published under the maiden name, Old Name

… this will help our vetting team and our retailers understand why the name on the cover doesn’t match the name in the metadata.

B.  Also, update the tags, bio and long description so both names are mentioned.  This will help make all the books more discoverable if someone’s searching on the old or new name.

So hopefully this is helpful. Meantime, I’ll see if everything transferred over smoothly. If it did, then maybe the premium distribution will start working again soon. 🙂

 

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New Book Cover and Promo Materials

It’s my pleasure to announce the latest completed book cover, “30 Days to the End of the World” for Diana Bocco (http://www.dianabocco.com)

SBibb - Kindle Cover - 30 Days

Of course, once the final wrap-around cover is completed, I’ll reveal that and let you know when she expects her book to be available. 🙂

Meantime, I thought I’d mention something about promo materials. I’ve decide to plan on including promo materials in all but the most basic cover packages. This included an 8.5×11 flyer, a signature and avatar for those who want (such as if you’re on an online forum like Absolute Write), a thumbnail image, blog image, bookmark, business card, and post card. It’s up to the author whether they want to use them and how, but the idea is to make it easier for potential readers to remember your book.

Say you’re at a convention. Or maybe a book signing, and someone is debating whether or not to buy the book or doesn’t have money on hand. By providing them with a business card or bookmark, especially something that is a teaser, they’ll have something tangible to look back to if they want to look on Amazon for it later. Granted, everyone uses these differently, but I like for the option to be available for those who do. And with something like a bookmark, you could make a point to sign it. Or make notes on the back of a business card, if there’s something you’d talked about. The possibilities are endless, really.

But these are the promo materials I made for this cover, and I thought I’d share. 🙂

SBibb - 30 Days Postcard SBibb - 30 Days Business Card

SBibb - 30 Days Signature

SBibb - 30 Days Bookmark

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Interview with Rebekkah Ford – Author of “Beyond the Eyes”

SBibb - Beyond the Eyes Book Cover

So, this is the completed cover for Rebekkah Ford, my first willing client I did cover art for. She’s just released her book, Beyond the Eyes, online, and to celebrate, I offered to do an interview with her about her new book. I’d like to thank her for being willing to have the time and patience with me as I got a start in cover design, as well as let the world know about her release. 🙂

And now, an interview with Rebekkah Ford:

What was your inspiration for Beyond the Eyes?

The idea for, Beyond the Eyes came to me when my husband had suggested I should write something that would totally freak me out. Well, the movie, The Exorcist, has always scared me. In fact, I’ve had bad dreams for years over that movie. So that’s where my inspiration for this book came from: writing something that could be plausible and creepy.

What was your favorite part about writing Beyond the Eyes?

The characters surprising me and showing up out of nowhere.

Did you run into any hiccups while writing Beyond the Eyes?

Yeah, I did. Writing the first sentence and the beginning of the first chapter was difficult. I struggled with that for a while.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I was burnt out on querying agents, getting wonderful comments and encouragements from them, yet their client list was full, or my story didn’t fit the type of stories they represented. I did have some agents interested, however, it didn’t work out or feel right to me. I then did a lot of research on self-publishing and was pleasantly surprised with all the information I discovered about it. One day, at the beginning of January of this year, my husband looked at me and said, “Just do it and quit screwing around. Your book needs to get out there.” And in that moment, I decided to give into that constant gnawing in the back of my head that’s been going on for months, telling me to self-publish, and I decided right then to do it. Not to mention, I have a fire in me that believes strongly in this series.

Who’s your favorite character and why?

Hmmmm, that’s a hard question . . . I think Nathan is. In my second book to this series, Dark Spirits, starting at chapter fourteen, the book goes into Nathan’s POV, every other chapter. It’s pretty cool, actually. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it totally did. Nathan is my favorite character because he doesn’t mess around. If he says he’s going to open the gates of hell upon you, watch out because he will. I also like that he has a soft side to him.

What’s your favorite thing about Beyond the Eyes?

Paige and Nathan’s relationship.

When should we expect to see Beyond the Eyes available and where?

The Kindle and ebook is available now at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and Smashwords. My paperback should be available by the middle of this month.

Want to share a small snippet of your story to give the audience a taste?

Sure. This scene is towards the end of chapter one. Paige is at a dance club called The Lion’s Den, and her best friend Carrie is pulling her onto the dance floor where their friend Matt is already dancing:

            “As we made our way through the crowd of moving bodies, my ears started to ring again. Okay, this was seriously getting on my last nerve, but then I reminded myself I was here to have fun and began swaying my hips when we reached Matt. My body automatically moved inside a bubble of energetic sound waves–free and unencumbered. I was no longer the freak, with a mother who showed up when she wanted to and a father who had died when I was four. None of that stuff mattered, because in that moment I was one with the music and the pulsing lights. And as each song changed into pure techno melodies, I became more entranced, closing my eyes, swaying my body to the beat of the music, entering my own world.

            Then something strange happened. The people around me were now far below me, and I was tethered to a silver cord attached to my dancing body. I wasn’t scared though, and found myself enjoying this sense of release. I had no worries. Even when I thought about the premonition, the fear I’d felt toward it earlier didn’t touch me. Probably since I knew I wasn’t dead. I mean, hey, the silver cord remained attached to my body, so I was good, right?

            As I took in my surroundings, a guy wearing a long black coat caught my attention. He was on the high platform overlooking the floor with his hands gripping the black railing. His hood concealed his face, but he appeared to be watching the people down below.

            My eyes swept over the crowd and rested on Matt standing there staring intently on my swaying body. He took a step closer and leaned forward.

            Was he sniffing me?

            He looked up, searching for something.

            At that exact moment, the hooded guy jumped off the platform, over the black railing, and ran to the dance floor. And then Matt’s eyes locked onto mine. They were pale and glowing.

             I shuddered.

            The silvery cord rippled, and then yanked me toward my body, as if I was a balloon being pulled down by an eager child’s grasp. Everything rushed before me: the tables, the crowd of moving heads, and my own head, moving in a figure eight along with my body. I closed my eyes, and collided into a hard, confining surface, and that was the last thing I could remember.”

Beyond the Eyes Blurb:

“A thrilling, wholly satisfying first book to a new young adult series. It will keep you wanting more.” –Valentina Cano, Carabosse’s Library

“Beyond the Eyes is haunting yet passionate. This breakout novel is quick and hip, a saucy must-read.”–Charles Land, Judas Pistol

Paige knows evil exists in this world, but she never imagined it would want something from her.

After a ghostly voice whispers a haunting message to seventeen-year-old Paige Reed, Paige’s life takes a nightmarish turn. Unwilling to tell her friends about the supernatural occurrences happening in her life, Paige feels more alone than ever–until she meets Nathan Caswell.

Nathan is not only hot, but seems to peer into Paige’s soul, evoking a magnetic energy between them that cannot be denied. But he’s no ordinary guy. He tracks dark spirits, and becomes alarmed when they set their sights on Paige.

And then there are the two power-hungry dark spirits who believe Paige can find King Solomon’s magical ring for them, because when her father was alive, he was close to finding it. If Paige doesn’t comply with their demands, they’ll kill her.

Paige is forced to dig deep into her father’s past and unearths shocking secrets about him and his bloodline. With the past and present colliding, Paige is only sure about two things in her life: she needs to outwit the dark spirits to stay alive, and she’s completely and helplessly in love with Nathan.”

***

Rebekkah Ford grew up in a family that dealt with the paranormal. Her parents’ Charles and Geri Wilhelm were the Directors of the UFO Investigators League in Fairfield, Ohio, back in the 1970s. They also investigated ghost hauntings and Bigfoot sightings in addition to UFO’s. Growing up in this type of environment and having the passion for writing is what drove Rebekkah at an early age to write stories dealing with the paranormal. At one point in her life, she thought she wanted to be a journalist, and although she enjoyed writing articles, she quickly discovered her real passion was writing fiction. Her fascination with the paranormal is what led her to write the ‘Beyond the Eyes’ series. Visit her online and read her blog at http://themusingwriter.blogspot.com

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And there it is! Hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to take a look at her new book. 😀

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/168857

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-the-Eyes-ebook/dp/B0088JF7HQ/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1338957308&sr=8-7

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rebekkah-rebekkah-ford/1111386817?ean=2940014746496

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“The Importance of Cover Design and Genre” – I got to be a guest blogger

I’m a day late in posting this, but I thought some of you might be interested. Yesterday Nichole Severn (Also Natascha Jaffa, from my most recent post) hosted a guest blog from me. It’s titled “The Importance of Cover Design and Genre.” If you’re at all considering designing your own cover or looking into hiring someone to design your cover, it might be helpful. At least, I hope it is. 🙂

So take a peak: http://www.nicholesevern.blogspot.com/2012/05/importance-of-cover-design-and-genre.html

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“Research That Makes Good Fiction” – Guest Blog – Natascha N. Jaffa

We have a guest blogger with us today, Natascha N. Jaffa. Hopefully you’ll find her advice helpful, whether you’re considering trade publishing or self-publishing. 🙂

     

Natascha Jaffa dedicates her experience to helping writers grow through her editing firm, http://www.spjediting.com/, which she considers the best job in the world. When she isn’t editing, you can catch her snowboarding, rock climbing, or training for her first Ragnar Relay. She’s an active PRO member of Romance Writers of America, an editor for SoCal’s Mystery Writers of America chapter and is published in suspense and romance as Nichole Severn. Writers can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/SPJ-Editing/271063536289907

https://twitter.com/#!/SPJEditing

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/natascha-jaffa/50/258/98b

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“Research That Makes Good Fiction”

Natascha N. Jaffa

No matter what genre you write, accurate research pulls your readers into your story. Plotting, formatting, world-building and character research are just four items on a list of many that make your reader unable to put that book down.

Plotting research. A lot of writers write by the “seat of their pants” and that works for them. Others plan every detail of their work, following a close outline, but, no matter how you plot (or don’t), there is a basic guide to follow in fiction.

This includes A) introducing your reader to your character’s ordinary world, B) diving into adventure, C) accumulation of bad things happening, D) answering the call to adventure, E) gathering friends and allies, F) the point of no return G) things falling apart H) your crisis or “black moment”, I) resolution, and J) your happy ever after.

In all actuality, your plot should look something like this: 

 

Larry Brooks has an excellent book you may want to check out called Story Structure Demystified or you may want to look into Martha Alderson’s The Plot Whisperer for more info. Her site http://www.blockbusterplots.com/index.html has actual video of her lessons if you don’t want to read!

Formatting research. It’s a simple idea, but there is a lot of information to sift through in regards to what should be included in the header of your MS, where page numbers should start, the actual font of your MS, and what the title page should look like and include. Authors use their own formatting in a lot of cases, but that’s because they’re allowed to. They’ve become accustomed to what their editor is expecting. Therefore, we must research. Find a copy of Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino. It will answer those questions whether you’re submitting a short story, a full novel, or an article to an agent or editor. Remember, the more professional your MS looks, the more professional you look.

World-building research. I’ve read so many manuscripts, especially paranormal, in which the writer doesn’t take the time to actually build the world they’ve created in their book. Readers want to know an era’s/world’s clothing, language, mannerisms, government, architecture, atmosphere, customs/traditions, and culture. Nailing down the details is what keeps your reader engrossed in the story and believing they are right there with your character.

Regency is a huge in the market right now and it requires a lot of research. This means reading history books, watching films in which the era is correctly portrayed, finding other novels in the same time period as your book and learning new words. Unless you’ve done your research, readers will see exactly how much time you took to get it right.

A word of warning: world-building research can become addicting. Never research more than you need to write about or you’ll never finish the book!

Character research. Characters make the book. This is the reason readers will pick up yours, so make them believe your characters are real. This includes setting your character’s goal, motivation, and conflict and not just for your protagonist and antagonist. Every character has an agenda. This is what drives your plot. Tell the reader what, why and why not. A great resource I recommend for every fiction writer is Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Her tips will make your character multi-layered and believable.

You also need to paint a picture of your characters for your readers. A lot of writers actually find a photo that best suits their purposes and refer to it often to keep their descriptions clear throughout the book.

You as the writer need to know your character inside and out. Their job, their likes, dislikes, relationships with family and friends, favorite foods and everything else you can think of. Some are a little easier than others to construct, but either way, it must be done. Maybe you have a protagonist who is a cop. The best way to learn about your character and step into their shoes is to interview a cop. Find out how that officer spends his day, how many years of training he had to go through before he was allowed on the force, what tests he had to take. When it comes to the simpler things, Leigh Michaels has a great list of questions to ask your character in her book On Writing Romance.

 

There is a similar warning here as with world-building research. Don’t get too into your interviews or studying. Learn just enough that you can confidently portray your characters to your readers and not have to stress about inaccurate details.

Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, Carolyn Jewel’s historical romances and even Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series are all great examples of well-researched fiction. These authors have taken the time to get the details right in their plotting, formatting, world-building and character development, drawing readers into the story and not pushing them out by focusing on incorrect information.

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Well, there you have it! That’s all for today, but hopefully you found something useful. Thanks, Natasha, for joining in. 🙂

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