“Patience is its own reward,” and “Work hard, and you will realize your dreams”. These are two quotes that we hear over and over throughout our lives. This leads me to say that patience and hard work are my constant companions.
And, it’s true. However, if you’re going to be an author, you’d better be totally prepared to be realistic, patient, and work hard without pause. Why? Because you are competing with hundreds of thousands of authors all over the world. That’s even double, triple, or even quadruple the authors, because many have far more than one book out there.
Working hard is just a first step, and it does not guarantee a darned thing. If you’ll notice, most books and authors that are recognized are on the “Best Seller Lists” – and they stay there. It’s not often a new author is on it. A handful of new authors make it big, but the majority don’t.
Is it a mistake for those who make Best Seller Lists to ignore new authors? Absolutely. So many of my followers are authors – all, like me, trying to just get their work out to the public. And, they are really great writers, too!
Before I ever began to write, I was (and still am) an avid reader for years. Books were my getaway from reality. Going to a bookstore was so overwhelming, because I like so many genres, just trying to choose was a headache! But, today? Well, it’s e-books. Just go to one of the big book sellers online, and see how many books there are for you to choose. It’s almost impossible to choose! My problem was, and still is, how to choose a book in the first place!
Well, since I became an author, there are so many amazing authors that are following me on Twitter, that helped narrow choices down for the moment. So, I have opted to choose my followers’ books. I just hope I can live long enough to read them! ROFL! I am wholly impressed by these authors.
Of course, I think the difference between a good book and a great one is editing. Now, I’m not talking about editing to the point that the book bares no resemblance whatsoever to the book that the author wrote, but one that has had collaboration between both editor and author to keep the author’s vision of their book intact while making it read better with the correct grammar, punctuation, and other things. That is not to say that rules cannot be broken. They can. After all, it’s imagination that drives all of us as authors. But, in general, grammar, spelling, and punctuation are the most common complaints among reviewers and readers. Unfortunately, most authors do not have the money to buy an editor. I think this is a sad thing. Being not only an author, but an editor, I can attest to this.
But, back to the main point of my blog. Patience. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll be picked up by a large publishing house whether or not you are self-publishing or with a small, independent publishing house such as the one I chose. But, let’s face it. Most of us will never be picked up, but some of us may make it enough to make a decent living, or even as a supplemental living.
I honestly don’t know if all the work, and PR in the world will accomplish this for any of us, but if any of us quits? Well, that’s where failure starts.
I am going to admit something to everyone. I have failed at so many things in my life. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the 5 star reviews, which my books have been receiving – and they are REAL book reviews, I never buy them – I have decided, for the very first time in my entire life, that I won’t quit. Not this time. I believe in my story trilogy. It was fun to write them for the adult women who dreamed of the same things to read that I did. And, even those who know me who have read them, never had a clue that I could write!
I kept my books a complete secret from everyone until I had the entire trilogy finished. Once I did, an old friend of mine I’ve known since Junior High School, and is an educator, flat out told me that I had missed my calling. She could not believe that I could write like this! In fact, it stunned her so much, she told me she couldn’t wait for the rest of them, and I’d better not disappoint! Well, that put me on the hook. I had a couple of others read the first book before I ever published them, and they were so thrilled, they, too, said the same thing.
Now, for me? That was the most flattering thing ANYONE has ever said to me! With these, along with the reviews that are being posted on Amazon, I realized that I would fail THEM if I quit – especially, when so many people I knew, and did not know, believe in my ability to write?
So. I won’t quit. I have made so many friends on Twitter, and other social networks, that if I decided to stop, I would not only fail them, but I would fail myself.
I will not stop, because of all these wonderful people who have so much faith in me. So much so, that I have begun my second series, and am almost finished with my first book in this new series. Once it is edited, I’ll have it ready for you.
And, still, I have learned a great deal of patience over the past year and a half. I have built my Twitter followers from only 18 followers to almost 10K – every single one of them real, and I never bought any! I won’t buy them simply because I believe in my own books. I also love tweeting about others books, because I think it’s fun! I expect to reach the 10K mark within then next month. Watch for the 1 follower, 3 books coming up!
It is fitting that my first #book #interview call-in should be a great TV show like Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics with hosts Deadgar Winter, Victoria Bathory, and Celeste.
I had never done anything like this before. Oh, I’ve been on TV, but not like this. Not for anything personal. I had the best time ever with these group of people! It was fun, and they had me laughing at every turn from the moment of the “mic” check to the call after the show. They cracked me up during that as well, and yet were so professional, I was amazed!
The show is hilarious, and they host old television horror flicks – something I absolutely love! Deadgar asked me a while back what my favorite horror movie was. I couldn’t believe that the very first thing out of my mouth was “The Raven” in 1963 with none other than horror greats Vincent Price, Boris Karlov, Peter Lorre, and our own, contemporary Jack Nicholson.
When you have that many greats, you know there’s bound to be some hilarious exploits, and the movie delivered! So, he put “The Raven” on for me a few months ago. He had already invited me to come on the show, but my work schedule was the pits, and I had to find a time when I’d be off so I could devote my time without rush. I mean, I didn’t want to embarrass him, or myself. I do so much better with the written word!
But, Thursday, March 12, 2015 was the perfect day! I sort of knew how things worked due to my own daughter who had been in TV for several years as a producer, but the statistics eluded me. After the mic test, I waited for about 20 minutes until I was on the show.
It was so strange for me to talk to them knowing someone was taping it! But, they put me at ease, and had me laughing. I had to think on my feet. I was prepared for the questions about my book, but not for the off-the-cuff things. However, it was hard not to be able to work with them on the spur of the moment answers.
I highly recommend this show! Wisconsin is so darned lucky to have these amazing vampire characters who have all kinds of comical friends join them on occasion. Quite frankly, I wish I could have been on the set, because they are so much fun! He has been on Channel 14 for the last 2 years, and the show has received numerous rewards. In addition, these wonderful people are extremely active within their community, and have all kinds of fun with their fans!
So, I had the best time, and it went so fast, it was over before I knew it! It was awesome, and I loved every second of it! Thank you, guys, for having me on your show. I can’t thank you all enough!
A Sidenote: I don’t wear garlic around my neck, because this Werewolf LOVES Vampires!
~~~ LK Kelley, author of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy ~~~
When I first wrote this blog, little did I realize that it would be my most POPULAR Blog of all. I wanted to let other #authors out there realize they can design their own #bookcovers just like I did. So, without further adieu, I hope you enjoy this Blog, and it helps your own ideas. And then, a little “imp” got into me, and I wanted to do something totally different I have never seen another #author do.
Originally, this was never the plan, and it was a total accident. After putting the first wolf on the first cover of the first book, I decided that I wanted to have a bit of fun with my books by putting a “hidden wolf” on each cover of each book. Later, I noticed people were having fun trying to find it, so I decided to make it a game, and I called it “Find the Wolf”, eventually, offering a chance to win a signed copy of the last book in the #trilogy!
After you read the #blog, I #invite you to “Find the Wolf” on all 3 books. With my 10k Follower, I plan on offering the complete #trilogy – all signed – to all those who Find the Wolf on all 3 covers of all 3 books. (Tip…there is more than one on Book 3). I will announce this on my facebook page. Thank you for taking a chance on a new #author and reading my books! #lkkelley
Now, on to the subject matter at hand.
DESIGNING THE COVER
I chose to design my own from scratch using my own, personal photos, and those of a couple of great photogs! Because of the cost to have someone else design it, and because I despise the “pre-cover” designs which so many are using, I wanted it unique to my first book, The White Wolf Prophecy ~ Mating ~ of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy. I wrote all three books at the same time, and it helped me decide my first book cover.
Book Cover Concept Designs for The White Wolf Prophecy ~ Mating ~
First, I decided what I wanted based upon the locations in my book, and the descriptions of my characters. In fact, in one case, I rewrote my hero’s description to fit in with the man I chose to be the hero. It was pretty easy, and I used Photoshop 9 for my book cover.
And, believe me! If I CAN DO IT, so can you!
#DESIGNING THE #CONCEPTS
1. CHOOSING THE BACKGROUND PHOTO: I was lucky enough to have taken many photos on many trips to Colorado. You can do the same thing by using one of your own photos even if it’s not exactly in the book, you can make it work.
My first idea was to pick no less than 3 photos. After deliberating for days on the 3, I decided upon photo #3 for its continuity. It was perfect. Step # 1 was done.
#1 ~ Mt Evans
#2 ~ Mt Evans
#3 ~ Echo Lake
After a lot of jiggling around in Photoshop 9, and learning a bunch of new things I didn’t know before, this was what I came up with for the first cover.
2. CHOOSING THE FIRST CHARACTER PHOTOS: This was a lot harder. I had to dig into my photo database to find just the right look. I wanted something that would match, as best as possible, the characters in the book. After a long search, I decided upon these.
Next, I chose 3 different backgrounds of the same background photo which represented different ideas, and put my concepts together into them.
Well, there I had it! My very first concept cover! I was so pleased with myself, I got up and did a jig right in the middle of my Den! I presented it to my husband and my characters as well, and they loved it. Next, I did a “test” by letting several other people see the different covers to choose from. It was unanimous, and #3 was my basic design!
3. I had my background, I had my faces, and I finally had a working concept. Next, came something even more difficult – the PhotoShoots.
I knew this wasn’t going to be as easy as everything else. Trying to time everyone to be in the same place at the same time, and flying whoever in was going to be tricky. Luckily, I just happened to have these 2 people who were the PERFECT subjects. They were the same as in my original concept.
First, we held photoshoots in my #character’s places of residence thanks to two awesome photogs – Erica Boniface & from Razorbackfoto.com, the incredible Matt McClenahan! This first as done at their discretion, and time constraints. It was their job to just get them as soon as possible. We did have a deadline, but luckily, it was a month. So, I waited until they got it done. There were only a few I wanted of Cordone Valon, but I knew I’d need many more of Kaitlan since she is my heroine, of course. She and Erica did not only photoshoots inside in professional studio, but they decided to take it outside as well since Kaitlan was, after all, a werewolf! The photos that were taken were unbelievably wonderful! Here are few examples:
After considerable time, and frustration, the following are the photos that I decided upon.
First, Kaitlan O’Hara:
Now, I had to narrow it down even more. Oh, goody! I was so excited! NOT! Anyway, again, and after seeing these final choices, I chose Kaitlan #2 and Cordone #2.
Now, we were ready for the photoshoots for the website! We flew Kaitlan into Tulsa, OK, and proceeded, the next day, to drive to Little Rock, AR where Cordone & Matt lived. As fate would have it, it rained. And, when I say it rained, I mean it POURED silos of water down onto us all day long, so all our outdoor shots had to be cancelled. Kaitlan’s hair wouldn’t cooperate, because of the humidity, and for a while, we almost had to cancel. But, finally, after 4 hours of waiting, she was ready! And, like everyone else, I LOVE #behindthescenes so while the pro shot the photoshoots, I shot the #behindthescenes! So, here are a few of those pics as well. First, the BTS shots. Trust me…it’s NOT a glamorous thing!
And, wait: And, wait:
And, wait: And, wait: Until:
FINALLY: We can begin!
Second, here are some of the finished shots:
And, of course
Next came one of the hardest things to do. I had to remove the backgrounds of both. This, I believe, takes the longest time – especially when you have never done it before. I can’t even count how many times I removed the backgrounds. BTW…I’m an expert, now! LOL!
#Assembling the #Final
4. ASSEMBLING:After all of this, I had my faces, my photos, and all I needed to do was assemble the pieces together, and put a white wolf into it.
Sounds easy, huh? As I mentioned above…the first step was specific – I HAD to remove all backgrounds. Photoshop makes it easy, but I discovered that there are some things that even photoshop just can’t do! I was able to eliminate a great deal, but not enough. I could remove things, but some of those things I wanted to keep! So, I had to resort to another cool little tool in the Photoshop arsenal. And, with it, I was able to completely take out only what I wanted out, and keep what I wanted. What I didn’t realize? Was that this was going to take me FOREVER! For over a week, I worked at it, and had to start over far more than once. But, the more I did it, the better I got at it, until I can do this with my eyes closed, now! Anyway, I managed to get exactly what I wanted, apply effects and filters to the photos, and FINALLY, I was ready to apply it to my book cover! BTW…I’m an expert, now! LOL!
Well, I finally had my cover finished! I sent it to the publisher who told me he loved it…EXCEPT!
As writers, we ALL know that there is ALWAYS A “BUT” IN THE EQUATION! If I kept the photos where they were, they would be cut off on the spine of the book! So, back to the drawing board, and I had to REDESIGN my entire cover! So, that’s what I did. I basically kept the same design, but moved it over to the right side of the book. And, then…
…HOLD THE PRESSES…
“DANGER WILL ROBINSON!”
…HUGE OOPSIE AHEAD…
It was at this point that I thought I was almost done. I was satisfied with the finished product (see below). All I needed to do was to put the name of the book, and my name. I did this, and sent it to my publisher who approved it, and sent me the finished book cover. I looked a it, and kept thinking something didn’t look right. That was when I cussed – LOUDLY! I quickly typed off a fast note to my publisher telling him to NOT have the cover printed, and why! But, why was I so upset?
Well, I discovered, much to my dismay, after I had thought I finished, I realized I had split the background photo into two parts, and what should be the back half for the book of Echo Lake? Well, it was on the book’s front! I was really irritated. Now, I had to go back and redo it – AGAIN – to make it right. I’m going to admit to you that I was so angry at myself, I almost threw it out the window, and I was actually tempted to leave it as it was. But, my gut, and my penchant for excellence, was telling me that I was taking the easy way out, and so, I redid the front – again. But, I closed it all out, and didn’t bother to come back to it until a few days later, simply because I didn’t need to be angry!
Background photo should be the back of the book
After a few days, I came back, and did it all over, again. This time, though, I went slowly to make sure I had it right. And, voila! I had it! I almost danced all over my house in glee! Until my #publisher told me that I needed to move Kaitlan’s face over, and Cordone up a bit, because the characters would have their faces and hair partially removed. So, here I went again! I had to start again. But, this time, I got it right!
Front of the book – Corrected
FINAL CONCEPT DESIGN
So, FINALLY, I slapped the Title of my Book and my name on the book, and then realized I didn’t know what font I wanted to use. I experimented for a couple of days with different fonts, finally deciding upon one, and I was finally finished. Saving it to 600 dpi, and 8.50 x 11.50 inches, I was finally finished, and off it went to the publisher. But, it didn’t end there. There were a couple more redos, because of the placement of the Title that was too big, and my name wasn’t big enough. But, these didn’t take too long, and I was finally done, and the publisher was totally impressed by the final product!
And, here is the finished product:
What Did I Learn by
Designing My Book Cover?
Pay attention to the placement of photo on the book
Save #photos to 600 DPI @ 11.50 x 8.50
Pay attention to the spine of the book cover
Have really great #photoshoots, or at least excellent photos already taken, and save each one of them to 600 DPI
When I had a good design, I saved the basics of that design so I could use it, and alter it if needed saving each of those as a separate file as well.
I also learned to save photos with no backgrounds especially if I changed anything at all.
I know that not everyone is able to design their own cover. Perhaps they just don’t want to take the time hiring it done, the expense, or would just pick a stock book cover. But, I wanted my book cover to be different than everyone else’s out there. I believe I succeeded.
Just like my book, it’s unique. My characters are a completely new concept to the supernatural world, and are just as unique. I wanted the same for my cover. If you look just above Cordone’s right shoulder and into Kaitlan’s hair, you will see a “ghost” of a White Wolf.
This was actually a lot of fun – designing a book cover! Fun, exciting, and not only am I proud of the story within the cover, but my cover is totally unique, and I did it!
The next book is being edited as I write this, and I am also about to design my cover for the second book in The White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy!
Using what I learned above, I assembled the cover for book 2. I wanted my books to be uniform with slight changes so that anyone buying the books would be able to recognize them immediately. This time it took me 1/4 of the time it took me the first time around, I invite you to judge the results.
And, now, the cover of the last book of the Trilogy: