You can’t judge a book by its cover, or is it you can judge a book by its cover? I know, I know, it’s the latter unless you are a Bo Diddley fan. But I digress. I will admit, I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to browsing for a new book. I won’t even pick up a book that isn’t appealing to me. We have become such visual creatures and with such short attention spans, the cover of a book is more important now than ever, possibly. Don’t you hate those damn qualifiers? Stephen King would have already stopped reading this post I am sure.
Anyhoo, one of the things I have learned in my short Indie author career is the importance of the cover and title. Early on I was asked by someone I trust, and with knowledge in the publishing industry, that my first two novels had horrid titles that told the reader nothing. After clearing the lump in the back of my throat, I listened and then went to my loyal readers. All of them said they loved the titles and the covers. So I, of course, left them alone. Three years later now with anemic sales and the books buried in Indie Author anonymity, I have decided to rethink my stubborn strategy. I learned it is easy for someone who has read a novel and enjoyed it, to understand the title and cover. But to try to get someone to pick it off the shelf, or click on the image online is a different story. I may have been better off with the novel cover I originally created, see image included in this post, than the one I professionally paid for. Since I can’t go back in time, I am off to Kickstarter to launch a campaign for new editions. Let’s hope the new titles and covers give a good representation of what the novels are about. Cheers.
I can’t remember how many times over the last couple of years I have heard, and read, that you should write for yourself. If you like what you are reading, others will like it as well. This is certainly the direction I took with the Outlaw River Wilde series, and my newest novel, due out late May, early June, Hidden Beneath the Pines. I remember reading Moby Dick as a teen and being surprised and totally enthralled with Melville’s short chapters. I could pick the book up and read for five minutes, or an hour, and always find a good place to stop. At the end of a chapter that is. I can’t stand getting so tired, I can’t read anymore, and have to stop before coming to the end of a chapter.
So in my writing, I write short chapters. I try to move the story along at a good pace so no one will ever read just one at a time, but if they choose to they can. How about cliffhangers? I love them, so yet again this is my style. I always love being left wanting more. At the end of chapters, and the end of novels. Don’t you hate the feeling of a good novel or story coming to an end? The anticipation at the end of the Hunger Game novels for me was exciting. I couldn’t wait to continue with the next book.
I have received harsh criticism, from a few, for The Outlaw River Wilde series, book I, because of the ending. I loved it when I was writing it because, as a reader again; I want more and to continue. My hope was that since people knew going in the book was part, one of a duology and that chances are the first book is going to end with unanswered questions.
Oh well, you can’t please everyone all the time. I still enjoy reading all three books, so I must be doing something right. Cheers.
The creek rippled with the powerful invigorating force of spring. Winter snow gave up its passive seat as the warmth of the sun penetrated the snowflake layers sending its new form cascading down the rugged slope of the mountain. I properly anticipated the weather dressing with layers, none of which I had yet to peel off.
I removed my sunglasses from above the bill of my baseball cap. A dark blue hat with two smiling baseball players shaking hands. The retro hat, one of my favorites, signifying my Air Force brother’s beloved team from the upper Midwest. Glasses now in place, their effort to block the sun rays piercing through the majestic pine trees appreciated, I could now see, without straining, the creek’s opposite bank. I calculated the distance across, confident I would be able to make the leap to the other side without soaking my feet and brand new shoes.
I struggle with the reasons behind why I would care if my shoes get wet. Water dries eventually and it would not ruin these shoes. My mind settles on leaving my wife of twenty one years less than a week ago. The constant barrage of her negativity and false illusion of normal family life no longer weighed me down. My immersion in the power, strength, and calm serenity of the woods propelled me forward with cleansing thoughts. The first purchase I made with my new freedom was the shoes. A new symbol of my independence. At first, I felt they needed to stay clean. Untarnished have you. The now clear message from my inner-voice preached a different yarn. I looked upward at the sun, penetrating the thick Oregon pines and laughed as I playfully walked through the creek’s spring chill, soaking my new shoes. The universe nurtured me, tugging my soul as she showed the cleansing, healing force of the outdoors.