A Facebook acquaintence suggested I try GetCovers in my quest to see how a new cover affects sales of my two earlier horse mysteries, King of the Roses and Blood Lies. The price was astonishing, to say the least: $35 for the ebook and paperback package. Certainly worth a try!
GetCovers is part of the “Miblgroup family of brands,” which, my author friend wrote on FB, has a somewhat pricier line of covers, but one that is still highly affordable (starting at $100). It would be interesting to know how the services differ: for example, whether the extra expense gives you access to a different group of designers, perhaps with more experience. Anyone know?
I can report that the experience was positive. A major plus: they were fast. I received my first drafts within a week, and subsequent revisions arrived within a few days. The final cover for King of the Roses (below) was okay, well worth a try to see if it earns more clicks in my ad campaigns. After an off-base first submission (the persona of the woman was too cruel and scheming), I supplied the image of the woman; this is the same image as the one on the prior King of the Roses cover, though that designer did some tweaking to soften the woman’s stare a little.
The only indication I had that the designer was just possibly inexperienced occurred in the back-cover text. In the first paperback submission, the first short paragraph contained multiple hyphenations. I indicated that I’d rather not have hyphenations in this short text and suggested centering the blurb to remove them. In the next submission, the text had been centered, removing hyphenation from the top paragraph—but introducing it into the second! I suggested using strategic returns as necessary to force the breaks to appear between words rather than inside them. I believe the final version used spacing to achieve the necessary result.
Because the process was so quick, these corrections took only a single weekend.
In any case, I will go back to GetCovers for an experimental revision to my Blood Lies cover. At such a reasonable price, I can afford to give it a try.
The Amazon sages have to deliver final judgment, but the proof looked fine, so I’m assuming I’ll pass muster.
I’ll post some pyrotechnics once the paperback is live.
In the meantime, if anyone reading this is thinking of paying a “packager” even a few hundred dollars to “publish” a book, whether an ebook or a paperback: THINK HARD before committing your cash. Yes, it takes a bit of time and some hassle to format your own books. But you don’t have to pay for this!
Of course, if you can write three new books in your best-selling series in the time you spend making formatting decisions and wrestling with templates, then the arithmetic comes out different. But like everything else, as you repeat a process it becomes easier and goes faster. In any case, don’t hire a packager because you think you can’t do it without one. You can.
When those “dreams come true” are publishing scams…
Because I have a lot of articles out there on publishing scams, I get frequent messages from writers who fear they’ve been ensnared by a scammer.
I hear even more often from their friends. These friends or relatives see something iffy going on, but don’t want to be the Debbie Downer who brings unnecessary negativity into a hopeful writer’s life.
The friend usually has a reason for being suspicious. Whether the “dream project” is a dodgy anthology, an overpriced no-name contest, a vanity press masquerading as a real publisher, or a junk marketing scheme, a lot of people will have a feeling the project isn’t passing the smell test.
But if they don’t know much about the publishing industry themselves, they hesitate to rain on a newbie writer’s publishing-fantasy parade.
Their writer friend is happy for the first time in forever, floating…
Here’s an entry in a useful series from The Passive Voice, in this case that “out-of-print” clause that can prevent authors from ever recovering their rights to their own work. The discussion is complicated, but worth storing somewhere when the day arrives that you have this problem. I was able to get my rights back easily, but then, my books had been out of print for a fairly long time. Search this blog for “reversion of rights,” and you’ll find links to several related discussions of the kind of language any contract should contain.
This column reminded me how I’m constantly surprised by some of the questions aspiring writers ask on self-help Facebook sites. Yesterday, is grammar important? Today, should an author get a web site? This column offers some advice I think everyone hoping to publish needs.
Me included. Realizing that writing is a business—never a comfortable home territory for me—but also that it really has to be something you just can’t help doing: These are the reminders I need.
There are a few folks I consider treasures for the #writingcommunity. If you’re not familiar with Jane Friedman, take the time to learn about her. (And make sure you subscribe to Chris the Story Reading Ape, a terrific curator of posts we all can use.)
Over the weekend, you might have seen a writing-and-money topic trending on Twitter, #PublishingPaidMe, where authors started publicly sharing their advances. Such transparency is long overdue and—in this particular case—is meant to reveal stark differences between what Black and non-Black authors get paid.
Amidst these tweets, I saw a repeated call to action for Black authors: Before you agree to a deal, ask your publisher about their marketing and promotion plans for your book. Ask how they plan to support you.
Ask, ask, ask. (Because their support falls short of where it needs to be, and publishers have to be pushed.)
To assist with that call to action, I’ve collected and expanded information from my past books and articles to help authors ask questions of their potential or existing publisher. I’ve tried to also include indicators that will help you notice and challenge unhelpful answers. If you have an…
If you haven’t been following this issue of interest to writers, you can catch up with posts on the Internet Archive and its practice of scanning and giving away copyrighted books for free, here and here. Claiming the cover of the pandemic, the IA actually expanded its practices by eliminating limits on the amount of time “borrowers” could keep books they download and other provisions. Last week, major publishers sued the Archive, and this headline on the Internet Archive’s response to the lawsuit popped up in my New York Times feed today.
Note that the decision to end the “Emergency Library” supposedly designed to increase access during lockdowns does not affect the IA’s usual practices of buying a book, then scanning it and distributing it for free.
I’ve written before about my travails trying to find and challenge every rogue site that claimed to be selling my books; I came to agree with Neil Gaiman that just maybe, free books equal free publicity. I’d successfully claimed my rights to King of the Roses from IA, but had not searched their site for Blood Lies. This time around, though, I did feel motivated by this rather audacious behavior on IA’s part to search for both books. Couldn’t find either. So for now, I’m safe on that front.
However, each author must make their own decision about whether to leave their books in IA’s hands for the duration. The Publishing Perspectives piece gives you the information you need for your own choice.