Revealing the Magic: DIY Cover Route

Do it Yourself concept

In our last two blog posts on Self Publishing, we discussed designing your own cover as alternate route to getting the cover for your book done. This is mostly frowned upon. Why is that?

Some argue that even though writers have vast imagination when it comes to their story, the same imagination hinders their ability to look at the overall cover in a sales pitch point of view. An author can get attached to their story and characters and want to include as many aspects of it on the cover. This doesn’t always lead to a good cover.

Let’s look at some examples: (covers taken from Amazon listing and in no way a means to down rate the covers and or works of these authors)

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These three covers all contain an interesting image, but the font just doesn’t pop out enough and kind of gets lost. It is important to make sure the title and author name are visible in thumbnail size. A little tweaking of the title and author name would increase the appeal of these covers.

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Here you see the font start to pull you in. The array of subjects serve more than pretty images, they hint at the mystery and magic of the book.

ThreeBetter TwoBetter OneBetter

These last three covers really nail what a cover needs: an overall appeal, clear genre classification, and a wow factor.

What if an author doesn’t have the computer skills needed? Unless educated on editing programs it will be hard to create a flawless cover that works. This leaves you two choices, learn the software and enough techniques to give you a cover that will help promote your story or leave the DIY for when you do have the time to do so and hire someone to do it for you.

What if an author’s budget is small or nonexistent? Getting someone to design a cover can get pretty pricey very quickly.

Here is the cover I designed for my book: The Five Kingdoms of Severi. (Cost to make-Under $25.)

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The model shown here was selected about a month or so before the cover was completed from Dreamstime. Yet, I could not get the cover to work and ended up tossing the model aside as a possible subject. Only after finding the rest of the elements that comprise this cover over at Dollarphotoclub (free image from Fotolia) was I able to make the model work.

Below are the images used in the cover. See how the main background determined the overall feel and look of the cover. And the best thing is that all the images except for the model cost $1 each.

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I am both a cover designer and an author, with a little over a year of experience. I decided to create my own cover and the gray scale illustrations that accompany the inside of this book to see what I could do. It might not be the best cover, but with every cover I create there is room to grow.

As long as your cover doesn’t hinder your book I don’t see why you can’t DIY. The best thing about self publishing or indie publishing is that you can always replace your cover with a better one later on if the original one isn’t working. Taste changes.

Things to remember:

Keep the title and author name as big as you can.

Seek an overall look to your cover and ensure you keep the same feel throughout your series.

Don’t be afraid to try textures and mess around with the layer settings.

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Free Writing: The Dead Can Run (Chp 4 Prt1)

Please keep in mind this is a first draft and no revisions or editing should be done as part of the exercise, though I failed miserably and edited for hours on end on this one. Though in no way does that mean you are getting a clean and amazing chapter, most likely the opposite. 🙂

I will be properly revising and editing this story in the next few days. Here is hoping to have the first compilation of the first six chapters before the end of this month. Also, I am sorry for taking so long in continuing this story. This is intended to be a free writing project and I was brainstorming ahead. Needed to take time off to undo those chapters in my mind.

Warning: 1st draft, possible rambling

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The Dead Can Run

Chapter Four Part One

My teeth cut into my lower lip and my mouth filled with the taste of copper. I struggled to my feet to only be shoved back down. A hand pinned me to the floor by my hair followed by a knee to my back. The man was heavier than he looked.

“Let…let me…go,” I pleaded, blood seeped from my busted lip and coated the floor to then cling to the strands of my hair that had fallen loose from his grip. I tried to muffle a cry at the touch of the man’s hand trailing down my bare back. His rough fingertips lapping up the droplets of water that still clung to my flesh.

“What do you say we have a little fun before I turn you over to our Mr. Self-Made Leader huh?” the brute sneered, pressing me harder against the ground and digging his knee further into my back.

“You’re disgusting,” I shouted past his mocking laughter. I recognized his voice. He had been one of the men I had overheard while tied in the closet. His companion must be the other man he had been talking to.

“Just kill me already,” I cried, struggling against his hold as best as I could. My actions earned me another tug of my hair. Tears welt up in my eyes at the pain. I could feel my warm breath against my face and the blood draining from my fingers as I clung to the man’s wrist with both hands in an attempt to loosen his grip on my hair.

“Feisty, I like them feisty,” he laughed, yanking me to my feet, his grip on my hair threatening to scalp me where I stood.

“You know he won’t approve of this,” Cassy cut in, removing her gloves and tossing them aside. She stepped back into the bathroom to emerge with the handcuffs. Her calm and blank demeanor told me there was no salvation there and my fear grew. Just what kind of people were they?

“Come on Cassy, relax. I wasn’t really going to rape her,” the man who held me teased, pressing a blade against my skin. “At least not right now,” he whispered into my ear.

Were the zombies the real monsters here? I thought to myself as the knife nicked my skin.

“On second thought, why wait? I think you deserve a good reminder of how lucky it was that we found you. The zombies would have finished you off if it wasn’t for us. The least you can do is repay the gesture. What do you say?” my tormentor replied, his voice full of malice and of something else I wanted nothing of.

The blade disappeared and I was shoved towards the bed again. I cringed as my hands came in contact with the blood stained sheets. The smell of death engulfed my nostrils and my gag reflexes reminded me that they still worked. I dropped to my knees and threw up again, this time white foam mixed with the blood that had dripped to the floor from the carnage on the bed.

Before I could wipe the vomit clinging to my lips my head was jerked back and the man pressed himself against me, kneeling behind me.

“Should I take your silence as consent?” He ran his fingers across the side of my face. Every touch made my stomach twist with greater disgust, threatening to make me gag for a third time.

“Get off me,” I snapped, elbowing him in the face. I had just walked in on a bunch of lunatics, deadly lunatics, but I wasn’t ready to die yet. I still hadn’t found my son and I wasn’t about to let them have their way with me either.

I bolted to my feet and dashed for freedom. The other man blockading the door leading out of my room grasped my arms and twisted them behind me, turning me around to face my first attacker. My eyes swelled in tears and my throat tightened, I tried to scream but nothing came out. I didn’t want to think about what they had planned for me. Now that I was found not to be infected, would I die or worse would they really rape me?

“Where do you think you’re going?” the biggest of the brutes sneered, taking one broad step towards me. He grasped my neck with both his hands and squeezed. “You really want to die? Then who are we to keep…”

The man behind me yelped in surprise and I was shoved forward into the very man who tried to strangle me. We both tumbled towards the bloodied bed. I rolled off the bed and slammed into the hard floor, slamming my head against the edge of the night stand. I withered on the floor and clung to my head. Silence filled the room and I chanced a glance at the man still sprawled on the bed.

“What were my orders?” a familiar voice bellowed followed by the sound of a gunshot. Warm blood splattered on my face and I screamed.

Stirring It Up by Mary Leo

Book Review

7/10

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When a gypsy’s prediction begins to come true, Rose Cupido dismisses it as a coincidence, but when a past estranged boyfriend shows up reminding her of the love she once felt for him, Rose can’t help wondering if that gypsy had true magical powers.

Stirring It Up is the third in a series of short edgy and upbeat light romances with a touch of sexy. Though each part is written by a different author (or maybe alias?), Stirring It Up contained enough backstory of the other characters and their love interests connecting the story as a whole. The parts can be read as stand alone or in order. I recommend the latter for better reading enjoyment.

This book is another one that gave me mixed feelings. I almost put it down and gave in to leaving it unfinished, glad I didn’t. The reason for this was that the first chapter had me wondering what the heck was going on, partly because I read it out of order (see notes above), and the main character kept jumping from one thought to another and back again. After chapter one  I was able to catch on quickly and enjoy the story very much.

There were many appealing sides to this story even with the jagged start. The gypsy prediction was a sweet overall theme. Rose’s love interest, Max, was more than a sexy lover from the past kind of guy that made their sexual tension real. The ending was cute and satisfying, who doesn’t love happy endings?!

Though a light read, Stirring It Up is well worth the time. It also received a cover makeover clarifying that this story is more than just an erotic story, it is a story about second chances.

Steamy? Enough for the four chapters in length.

Long enough? Yes. It presented a very nice satisfying and adorable ending.

Rating: 7/10

Hope you enjoyed this book review and in case you want to see the old cover here it is:

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Tangled Beauty by K.L. Middleton is up next.

May Free eBook Spotlight (Take 2)

As promised here is our second free eBook title recommendation for the month of May: The Sorcery Code (Volume 1) by Dima Zales.

From USA Today bestselling authors comes a captivating tale of intrigue, love, and danger in a world where sorcery is entwined with science . . .

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Once a respected member of the Sorcerer Council and now an outcast, Blaise has spent the last year of his life working on a special magical object. The goal is to allow anyone to do magic, not just the sorcerer elite. The outcome of his quest is unlike anything he could’ve ever imagined – because, instead of an object, he creates Her.

She is Gala, and she is anything but inanimate. Born in the Spell Realm, she is beautiful and highly intelligent – and nobody knows what she’s capable of. She will do anything to experience the world . . . even leave the man she is beginning to fall for.

Augusta, a powerful sorceress and Blaise’s former fiancée, sees Blaise’s deed as the ultimate hubris and Gala as an abomination that must be destroyed. In her quest to save the human race, Augusta will forge new alliances, becoming tangled in a web of intrigue that stretches further than any of them suspect. She may even have to turn to her new lover Barson, a ruthless warrior who might have an agenda of his own . . .

 

Get your Free Copy

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Please keep in mind that though we post titles as free the time they remain as such differs per title. This one is listed as free for a period of time only. Thank you for stopping by and see you next month for another free eBook listing. 🙂 We also have to play catch to share all the amazing things we have planned so check back soon.

 

May Free eBook Spotlight

Argh, it seems life won’t stop being busy, busy, and more busy. So much has happened and I can’t wait to share it with you, but first let me take selfie…no not really but this is the closest I will get to a selfie, a selfie of other people’s books. 🙂 Since I missed last month’s free eBook spotlight I thought I post two for this month, here is our first.

Enjoy!

Snow White Blood Red ( A Grimm Diaries Prequel #1 ) by Cameron Jace 

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What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong?
I am the so-called Evil Snow White Queen. Did you ever bother to hear my side of the story? I have always wondered why you never asked about my name. Was I so superficial to you? So stereotypical and mundane? Why did you treat me as if I were just the monster of the week? You know what I think? You never had the time to really hate me. You wanted to hate me, long before you even met me. You wanted to scrape my existence and avenge your childhood princess by laying all blame on me. What if they didn’t call me the Evil Queen, what if I told you the real story from my point of view instead of hers, would you ever think of me as an angel? Could I ever make you care? I know that deep inside of you, you adore me,but you’re just scared, afraid to admit how much you love the Snow White Queen.

Download your free copy now!

I always enjoy reading other people’s rendition of old fairy tales and seeing all the new twists and surprises they come up with. Also, since my own debut novel, The Five Kingdoms of Severi, is available in various other buying sites I thought I post a title available in Kobo.

Cover Reveal for my debut Novel

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Release Date: April 7th

Publisher: Big World Network

Genre: YA Fantasy/Drama

Synopsis

In a time of peace and treaties, the five kingdoms of Severi lay unguarded and open to the dark hearts of man. Terdune, a neighboring land that had been at constant war with Severi, was defeated over twenty years ago. All threats were eradicated and its lands left without a ruler. Now a new evil reigns in Terdune and slowly makes its way to its adjacent sister.

When Edwin’s village is attacked, he is forced to travel halfway across the second kingdom to the King’s Hold. Along the way he must learn the true power of the gifts that were bestowed upon him and discover the meaning of the dreaded fate attached to them.

FiveKingdomsCover5x8_Preview

Excerpt

Black smoke rose up from the tall trees, like menacing claws slashing out at the sun before melting into the sky. Edwin noticed the change of attention and he too glanced back, catching the significance of the smoke. Where there was that much smoke there was fire, and where there was fire there was trouble. Edwin dashed towards his village, the interest in the white horse and mysterious rider replaced by the thought of his mother and father.

Hooves faded behind him and disappeared as screams started to branch out towards him from ahead. Edwin forced his legs to move faster, the sword on his side swaying and doing little to provide comfort. Tree branches lashed out at him, cutting his cheek and tugging at his clothes as he stumbled out of the woods. His legs almost gave way as his eyes fell on the flames blazing on the roofs of several cabins located at the edge of their village.

He rushed past several homes, towards the direction of his house and his parents. A scream to his left cut through the thumping in his ears, and Edwin unsheathed his sword. He swung it, blocking the sword about to slice a woman through. He braced himself against the impact and punched the attacker across the face. The man stumbled for a brief moment, and Edwin used it to snatch the attacker’s sword from his grasp. The man regained his footing and purpose, but not quickly enough, as Edwin ran him through with the newly acquired sword.

The man fell to the ground in a heap of blood and black. More screams had Edwin moving past slain villagers and a few dead men in black. He fought back the shock surging through his body at the realization of killing someone for the first time. He stumbled to his knees and hurled his breakfast, his mother’s eggs coming out as a yellow muck.

He wiped his lips with the back of his sleeve and ran towards home, hoping his parents were still alive. Unseen to Edwin, a swirl of blackness moved from under the dead man and followed him, dashing from one shadow to the next. It grew in size, a part of it splitting and heading towards the edge of the village in the direction where the attack had first started.

Get the Book

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5 Star Review

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Profile PictureAbout the Author

Dora Gonzalez is currently working on her third novel. She enjoys writing the occasional short story, dabbing in flash fiction, getting lost in a video game, and hunting down the next book to fall in love with. She also loves to paint, design book covers, and go sight-seeing. She lives in Texas with her son and three miniature poodles.

Visit her online at http://www.authordoragonzalez.com

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I hope you enjoyed my book cover reveal. With the release day of less than a day away I still can’t believe I am a published author. Thank you all for your wonderful support. Here is to more books to follow. Also, a neat detail is that I designed the cover myself, the lettering was done by BWN’s Creative Director. I will be showing you all how I created the cover in our next blog entry on Self Publishing. Till next time keep reading and writing. 🙂

I have an author website…Finally!

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I know the importance of having an author platform and being socially out there, but I tend to do things at a snail pace. 😦 With my book, The Five Kingdoms of Severi, so close to release I finally got to work.

I give you my author website or at least a screen shot of it, even bought a domain name though I still don’t know why the bloody thing won’t even pop up on search engines. *cries*

It is still under works. Will be having a blog there centered more on my works and future projects. Would love it if you all follow me there and sign up for my newsletter. I will be holding a giveaway real soon for my newsletter subscribers too, so don’t miss out.

I also have an author page on Facebook here. I also hold giveaways there from time to time.

And if you have any suggestions and comments about how to make my website better send them my way. Just don’t mention the mobile view, that thing is horrible. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by. Lots more exciting things to come.