Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cover Art For The Freedom Thief

A week ago, a new element of the publishing business came into my life: the cover art that will go on my book, The Freedom Thief. I have really been looking forward to this, because I had no idea what the illustrator might have in mind. As an artist, I could envision different ways to paint a cover, but an artist and an illustrator are two totally different animals, at least in the way they look at something and decide how to represent it on canvas or paper.

My first cover was sent to me, and I didn't know what to think. It was brilliantly done...but it was way too esoteric for children. The CA (cover artist) had started with a large tunnel, with a shadowy figure at the far end. At the near right side of the cover, was a depiction of a carriage with four horses. From the end of the tunnel back to the carriage was a brilliant sprawl of light, so that the carriage and horses appeared very faintly in the drawing.

So this was my thought: the tunnel represented the underground tunnel that Ben had led the three slaves through to begin their escape to freedom. The carriage represented the "death coach", which was the final mode of transportation for Ben and the slaves to the point where they had to accomplish the final part of their journey to the Ohio River on foot. The bright light represented the concept of "There's a light at the end of the tunnel"...light in this case meaning freedom.

But I felt it was way over the heads of kids who are 10, 11, 12 years old. I'm not sure even 13 and 14 year olds would actually "get" the concept the cover represented. And then my husband said the light was so bright that it looked "almost God-like, while the figure could represent God or Jesus." Obviously, I didn't want anyone else...any parent...to get that impression, as this is not a book about religion.

So I sent it back, found out the CA didn't know the book was for 10-14 year olds, and then she told me she would completely redo the cover. She did, and I really like it much better. It's done in sepia tones which makes it appear mysterious and tantalizing. She inserted the tag line for the book between the lines of the title, and I think when kids read that, and look at the cover, they will be intrigued enough to buy it. I hope so!

Tell me what you think!

Until next time,
That's a wrap.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Some Thoughts For An Early Wednesday Morning

Friday I received my galley sheets for The Freedom Thief. I didn't know what to expect, and realized that it is a lot of work. I have to go sentence by sentence through the whole manuscript to make sure every word, every bit of punctuation, spelling, and grammar is correct. That means printing out the manuscript, and for me, using a 5 x 8 note card to cover sentences below the one I'm reading, to make sure I don't miss anything. There are no page numbers any more, as the ms has to be formatted to fit the ebook format for printing.

When I find an error, such as a word being left out of a sentence ( and I've found one of those already, but the word was in the original ms), I then have to write the sentence in the galley worksheet, highlight where the word is supposed to be, then in the space below, rewrite the sentence ( the entire sentence) and highlight the word I'm putting in. I have to do this for every sentence in which there is some kind of error. It is slow work, tiring and tedious. But it is to make sure the book is "word and SPAG perfect" when it goes to print. This is the final step before the book is printed and released.

I received my cover art, the second one as I didn't approve of the first one. It was very well done, but too "esoteric" for kids. I found out that cover artists don't read the manuscripts when they are assigned one to work on. They are told what the book is about and what the genre is, and that's about it. They have to come up with a cover that represents both the story and the genre, but in my case, my CA didn't know that the book was for kids, so her first cover wasn't appropriate. The second one is rather mysterious and hopefully, that will appeal to the kids. I'm going to post the cover here on my blog as soon as I figure out how to do it!

My publisher, MuseItUp, is in Canada, and while I was working with my Line Editor, she changed some of my spelling to reflect the British way of spelling. I find that a little difficult to accept, since I'm American, but I guess that's the way it has to be. I just hope the kids and parents who buy the book, and who are in America, will overlook that part, or at least, not think I don't know how to spell!

The promotional part of this whole process is very time consuming, expensive, and frustrating. I sincerely hope that by the time I get through this first book and its promotion, I will have learned enough to not panic...again...when the second one comes out next spring. As of now, I'm in the midst of a nervous breakdown, and praying that I'm doing the right things at the right time...and am not at all sure I am!

There are so many things to coordinate, and the timeline is iffy. The book is due out in November, but I don't have a definite date. That makes it hard to schedule the launch event, but I've done so and just hope it isn't too early. Living in a small town means open community rooms are few and far between, which in turn means they are booked up far in advance. Since I wanted to have this event in the library...hoping to snag a few stray kids LOL...I booked the only free date in November, which is the 9th. I'm doing both the invitations and the flyers myself, and have waited to print them out until I hear something more definitive about the release date, but that hasn't come yet. This week I need to get them both out, so the date will continue to be Nov.9th, and with any luck, the book will be released close to that date.

Now I need to stop writing, and try to figure out how to get my cover art posted to this blog. Wish me luck!

Until next time,
That's a wrap.