Monthly Archives: April 2015

Launching a Book Cover – Getting a Reader to Look Inside!

(Keep Reading – Tianna Holley’s latest book cover reveal is included in this post!!!)

Book cover young adult fictionWe’ve all heard the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover”. It’s a wonderful phrase that is true in its literal and its figurative meanings. Still, as is the case with all great advice (which also includes: “don’t pick at it,” “just ignore him/her and he/she will go away,” and “don’t eat a whole pan of brownies for breakfast”), we tend to know how valuable it is, and yet still go ahead and do exactly the opposite of what it recommends.

I do it and I know I’m not alone. In fact, I’m pretty sure that anyone who doesn’t judge a book by its cover, that is, make a first impression on someone or something based on its exterior, is in a pretty small (but very impressive) group.

This is what makes a book cover launch so important to writers.

The story inside may be fantastic, but if the cover isn’t appealing enough to make someone want to actually find out what is inside, then no one will ever know how great it is. It won’t even make it off the shelf.

Amanda and I are somewhat new to the publishing world – at least in the young-adult fiction category – but we’ve been fortunate enough to become a part of a community of very talented authors who have supported us as we have supported them in return. This has helped to not only spread the word about the publication of our book, Love at First Plight, but it has also allowed us to gain some unique insight into marketing while developing a great relationship with other writers and with our readers.

Enter young-adult romance fiction author, Tianna Holley…

Tianna Holley young adult fiction authorAmong the writers that we have met is the tremendously skilled Tianna Holley (@holley_tianna), author of the young-adult fiction “Alissia Roswell Series”. In her own words, she is a “writer of passionate, fantasy romance without the guilt”.

Today, she has launched the book cover for the third book in the series, “Unexpected Peril”, which will be released as an ebook on Amazon on Tuesday, May 26. Mark your calendars! If you enjoy clean romance with a great plot, then this is a series that you will genuinely enjoy!

“Unexpected Peril” follows the first two books in the series: “Unexpected Metamorphosis” and “Unexpected Entrapment”. You can even download the first novel for FREE on Amazon. You’ll see, right away, why this is such a big deal.

The big “Unexpected Peril” cover reveal…

Unexpected Peril coverHere it is! In my humble opinion, this is the best cover, yet. That’s saying something, since I found the first two covers to be exceptionally appealing. What is awesome about this one is that it carries the same themes and colour schemes as the first two, but tosses in a dark and eerie element that makes me want to find out exactly what’s going to happen.

When Amanda and I worked on the design of our own cover, that is exactly the type of impact we wanted to have. A cover for a young-adult book series novel needs to be eye catching, make sense to the story, and be designed in a way that the novels to follow will also have covers that fit into that same kind of template while still standing on their own.

Tianna Holley has certainly achieved that! I’m willing to bet that when you first laid eyes on this image, you gave it a good solid look, not just a bit of a blink. It makes you want to see more, and it makes you want to find out what it means in terms of the story. This is an achievement and I hope she’s genuinely proud of it. Applause to Tianna Holley!

If you want to learn more about Tianna Holley, her Alissia Roswell Series, or the upcoming release of her book “Unexpected Peril”, I encourage you to visit her website at http://www.tiannaholley.com.

This cover reveal is very exciting for me as a reader who is looking forward to getting her hands on the ebook, but it is also exciting to me as a writer, because it has added all the more motivation to keep going with the writing of the second novel in the Perspective book series, so that we can share our own cover launch (not to mention the title!). I don’t know if this is the same for all writers, but reader feedback/discussions and the progress made by other authors are two of the most positive drivers that encourage me to continue writing, even when I feel as though I’m too busy to type a single paragraph.

Congratulations, Tianna Holley! Keep up the great work.

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I’m a Second Author, not a Secondary One!

My authorship equality campaign begins today!

 

Love at first plight co-author authorsOh, the woes of being the co-author of an outstanding book (if I do say so, myself), and having my name listed second on the cover!

I can’t imagine that this is a situation that is unique to myself. After all, there are thousands, if not millions of books that have been written by more than one person. Someone’s name always has to come first. The problem is that bookstores, marketplaces, marketing programs, and even social media seem to think that the name listed first on a book cover implies that this author is somehow more important to the final product.

This is not necessarily true!

While Amanda and I both agree that if there were ever a project that was divided precisely down the middle, it was this one, the fact remained that one of our names had to come first on the cover. Neither one of us minded having our names listed as first or second. It didn’t matter. We knew that we were equal contributors.

The final decision was jointly made based on ease of search-ability. We wanted to make our book easier to find.

The name “Amanda Giasson” is, after all, far less common than “Julie B. Campbell”. Furthermore, there is already a very famous author named Julie Campbell (also listed as Julie Campbell Tatham in some of her works), who is best known for the books that she wrote in the “Trixie Beldon” series. While adding my middle initial to my name did help me to stand out a little bit from the thousands upon thousands of other Julie Campbells out there, it still wasn’t as unique as Amanda’s name.

That made the decision quite easy for us. We were quite pleased with the choice that we made, and still are.

However, at the same time, having my name listed second on the cover of the book seems to have dropped me into a kind of secondary status in the bookselling world. What is with that?

When Love at First Plight first appeared on the digital selves at Amazon, Amanda was automatically listed as “author”, while I was automatically listed as “contributor”. I contacted them immediately and their customer service was exceptional. I don’t think an hour had passed before the website was completely updated and I was granted “author” status. I couldn’t have been more impressed with the wonderful support they provided. Still, the fact remained that having my name listed second automatically implied that my contribution wasn’t equal to the author who was listed first and it needed to be manually changed.

Another example is at Barnes & Noble. When you perform a search for our book, the results are listed as though Amanda is the exclusive author. It isn’t until you click on the book from the search list and see the detailed product page that my own name appears. Again, I’d like to point out that Barnes & Noble has been very good to us and they’ve matched the lowest price in the U.S., to make sure that the paperback and the ebook stay affordable, there. This is not a complaint about the company. It is a statement about the shape of co-authorship credit as a whole.

At Goodreads (an experience that I am greatly enjoying and one that I would recommend to anyone who loves books), despite the fact that I was the one who added our novel to the site’s listings, when I wanted to make a change to the book description, I had to get Amanda’s permission to do so. The reason? She is considered to be the lead author and I am a secondary one.

Is there really no way for a co-author listed second on a book to be seen as an equal author? I find this baffling!

I don’t mind that my name comes second on the cover. After all, with two authors, one of the names must come first. However, at the same time, it seems strange to me that just because my name has been listed second, it is assumed that I am a lesser contributor, that my name isn’t as important in search results, or that I shouldn’t have the same author’s rights to the description of a work of which I am immensely proud.

Second co-author awareness ribbonI feel as though I should be leading some kind of march for the rights of co-authors who are listed second on their books. Should I be distributing ribbons (in red and orange, of course, the first and second colours of the spectrum) to help spread awareness of the plight of second authors?

Should I be standing on rooftops and shouting “My name is Julie B. Campbell and I am proud of my equal authorship of Love at First Plight!”?

Let co-authors everywhere unite!

 

….hmm…then again, maybe that’s a little dramatic.

Still, I feel that it’s a problem and I wonder if it is something that is ever going to change. Amanda and I have many more novels to add to the Perspective book series. Will I always be secondary, not just second?

Now that I’ve had my rant, I just want to thank Amanda Giasson for being a fantastic friend and co-author who has never let her supreme first-listed-name powers go to her head. 😉

Are there any other co-authors out there who feel the same way? If so, please feel welcome to share in the comments, below.

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I’m not Ashamed to Say I’ve Cosplayed

In honour of “Fun Fact Friday” I thought I’d share a fact about myself that, in the past, I was hesitant to admit (even to my best friend, Julie) because I was afraid that I would be judged for liking something that was once typically considered to be an interest that appealed to only kids and teens.

Here it is: I like comics.Panda Quinn  - A Puffin Original

I know, I know, discovering the fact that I like comics was more of a massive anti-climax than a big reveal, but it took me almost half a year to tell Julie that I was completely obsessed with Batman comics and that I was on a serious Harley Quinn-kick.

Why did it take me so long to tell her? The reason wasn’t only because I was afraid of what she might think. My real problem was that I had already judged myself as being inappropriate, or wrong, for liking it.

That said, I would like to take this moment to explain that Julie has always been an awesome, non-judgmental, and highly-supportive friend and that I was a complete weirdo for not telling her about my sudden and odd obsession. To be clear: She never judged me – I judged me.

In fact (because it’s all about facts today) do you know what happened after I told her about my newfound interest? She instantly wanted to know more about it. She watched my favourite episodes featuring Harley in “Batman the Animated Series,” and, for my birthday that year, she themed the entire birthday gift she gave me around Batman and Harley. Furthermore, in honour of my nickname “Manda Panda” (yes, I happen to be one of the many Amandas in the world with that nickname, too 😉 ), she created a “Panda Quinn” t-shirt for me because she’s just that awesome of a friend, who, I also found out, happens to be a big Superman fan! As far as friends go, they don’t come better than Julie.

Today, I’m happy to say that I no longer judge myself for liking comic books, graphic novels, or anything superhero/supervillain-related. In fact, I’m proud to say I have a Big B Comics VIP Rewards Card; my collection of comics and graphic novels is steadily growing; I was Harley Quinn for Halloween two years ago; I cosplayed last year for the first time at the FanExpo as Lara Croft (an amazing experience); and I can’t wait to see the new Avenger’s movie, read the next “Loki: Agent of Asgard” graphic novel and the next “Thor” comic; and play the upcoming “Batman Arkham Knight” video game.

The point to this eAmanda as Lara Croft  - Cosplayntire Fun Fact Friday blog of mine is this: don’t be afraid to pursue your interests, no matter how silly you or someone else may think them to be. Who cares if it’s silly! As long as it makes you happy and you’re having fun, it’s worth your attention and your participation.

The same is also true when I write. When I am a fearless writer I am a great writer. I can’t be ashamed to write what I love! As a writer, I need to embrace who I am and this includes all of my idiosyncrasies, interests, and ideas, whatever they may be. When I allow myself to freely create, that’s when I achieve my full unique potential.

In short, be yourself and don’t let your insecurities stop you from loving what you love and writing what you love. Life is too short not to have fun!

Happy Friday everyone and thanks for reading 🙂

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