If you are a writer, you've probably battled a time or two with acquiring just the right inspiration for a story. But it was just that dilema that led me to start off OBSIDIAN with a bang.
Enter, the writer's husband, who decided one day that it was okay if his boss put his 24 foot Bayliner in their side yard with a For Sale sign on it without asking his wife.
"It will only be here a couple weeks," he said, not really thinking it was a big deal. The wife shook her head and consented (reluctantly).
A month later, the boat was still in her side yard and hubby was not answering questions as to the actual time the boat would remain.
"That boat is worth more than all three of our cars," the wife said with a shake of her head. The stress of having such an expensive play toy in her yard was wearing her nerves thin. It was gaining a lot of attention, some of it unwanted and mostly by strangers.
"It will be out of here soon," the husband responded.
Two more weeks went by and the boat was still there and the wife's nerves were now at the end of their mooring line.
"I want it gone," she demanded. But the husband didn't want to tell his boss to get it out of the yard. So, there it stayed.
The wife, being a storyteller by trade, decided to take out her aggressions on the computer generated page. She promptly blew up the boat (fictionally, of course) and felt MUCH better. But the boat was still there.
And then, Fate decided to have a hand in the situation. One day, while the couple was at work, theives stole the VERY expensive outboard motor off the boat. The wife refrained from say "I told you so", but was very happy when the owner came and finally removed the boat from her yard.
Ultimately, the writer (Me) channelled her frustrations into a great opening scene. This scene became the beginning of her very first published novel.
The boat... never came back (thankfully), but you can read all about it in OBSIDIAN....
Covers. They are the bane of my existence, but without a good one you truly can't do much with a book. It sounds trivial to say, but it's that two seconds of recognition that initially pull in a possible reader. Especially, since the invention of the ebook. There is no more of browsing the local bookstore to read back copy or check out the latest release rack. We lost our only big chain bookstore within a 20 or so mile radius. We still have small bookstores that are great, but more and more I see people carrying around their Kindles, Nooks, Sony, etc. We've become the instant society, and as such, that means those 2 seconds are crucial to grabbing a reader.
This was the original book cover for OBSIDIAN when it was released from Five Star.
Enter Gimp. Gimp is a free online graphics program that you can use to manipulate pictures. You can Google it. Once I figured out the size I wanted (Amazon suggests a cover that is 1275x1650). Size is important with cover because your image will come across as a thumbnail and you want to have something that will stand out, be readable and convey the right image.
I was lucky that I had an image that would work for the story. In this case, the picture was taken at Land's End, Bailey's Island, Maine. It was close to what I wanted, but I still had change it some to give it a title and a new look. I layer a filter over it that darkened the edges, making the sharpness of the rocks stand out. I also lightened the filter in the center until it drew the eye inward to the picture. I made the title as big as I could without making it look clumpy and the same with my name. I picked fonts that were classic and easy to read when they are shrunk down. I think one of the biggest problems that people have is that they get carried away with fonts and then it just becomes unrealistic.
Before you post it to Amazon it is important that the image is compressed into a single image (basically, this is sandwiching the layers together to make 1 image) and then I save it as a .jpg file.
If this sounds like a lot, then I'd suggest that you have someone do it for you. I've used programs like FrontPage and others when I worked for a publisher. But if this intimidates you I'd see if maybe you can swap jobs with someone. Editing for a cover or such. Or find a good cover designer like Sabrina Foreman. She did my cover for Three Truths and I was very happy with it.
This is where I've been for the last month, editing OBSIDIAN and getting it ready for publication as an ebook. It was originally published in 2007 as a hardcover from Five Star and later in large print edition. In case you aren't familiar with Five Star they are a Maine publisher that deals mostly in the library market. I was lucky to get in at toward the end of their romance line. They've since discontinued it. But I am glad that this book will gain a new life and hopefully new readers, and just in time for Christmas!
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