Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cover Art

This past week I had a thrilling experience--I received my Cover Art Form from my publisher.

I knew it would come and yet it was a sort of out-of-body experience. Suddenly it was all real all over again. My book is truly going to be published. It was no joke, dream, or mistake.

The Cover Art Form is a guideline from me, the author, to the artist who creates book covers. Somehow I am supposed to convey my story to a artist who hasn't read the book. This artist then captures the essence of the story on the cover in an effort to entice readers. Amazing! Um, impossible. I'm no artist. You should see my stick figures. Thank goodness I don't have to create the cover all by myself.

On the Cover Art Form, I answered many questions about my story. The first was asked to describe the hero. And so I did, in as much detail as I could. What he wears and his attitude, how he looks and how he acts.

Next, I described the heroine in the same way.

The artist wanted to know about the setting and any other things that could be in the picture. I described what sort of mood I wanted depicted.

Anything that the author specifically doesn't want on the cover should be listed. Ahem, I had some opinions about that too.

I also added examples of covers from Samhain that I really love so they could see what I had in mind.

This was really fun. I am grateful Samhain cares about my opinion because I know of other publishers who do not allow the author's input. The covers do, after all, belong to the publisher.

Oh man, oh man, I can't wait to see my cover. I'll post it here when I get it.

What are your favorite covers?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Editors don't wear tights and capes.

Well, maybe some do, but that's a preference thing.

It's easy to forget that editors are not superhuman when they hold the power to make or break careers in the palm of their hands. But editors have tough jobs. The truth is, many of them are overworked.

Imagine going to work every day and having that stack on your desk grow by hundreds of submittals. Daily! And truth be told, many of the submittals are really not very good. But wading through and replying to the masses is not the only thing editors do.

After finding a manuscript they like, they sometimes have to fight for it. There are acquisition meetings where an editor has to say why they want to buy a manuscript. If there are others like it in the house, or in the works, the editor might be told "no". Imagine how heartbreaking that is, finally finding a story she wants, but still can't buy it.

Let's say the editor gets the green light. Then the negotiating with the author begins. That part can be stressful and exciting. If all works out and a contract is signed, the editor may provide suggestions on how the author can improve the manuscript and work with the author to get the story "just right".Schedules and deadlines are set.

Then the marketing stuff commences. The editor works with the author to create wonderful blurbs and cover information. Quotes are requested. Dedication and reader pages are made. The editor may consult with the author about creating websites. Blog interviews may be scheduled.

The editor then works with the author to fill out art form pages, the information the art department needs to create a beautiful cover for the book. The editor may attend cover art meetings on the author's behalf. The editor does her best to make sure the author's story is accurately conveyed in an eye-catching cover.

The editor sends the manuscript to a line editor for such things as grammar and word choice fixes. Once the manuscript has been edited and signed off, the book is well on it's way.

It's amazing that editors do this work day-in-day-out for many, many books. It's a seemingly impossible feat.

So, maybe they do wear capes and tights.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Can this woman be saved?

It's September already. Yikes! How did THAT happen? Time goes so quickly sometimes, except, well, when it doesn't.

I'm experiencing one of those SLOWWW periods right now. Time is dripping at molasses speed. The reason? I just pressed send and my next novel, tentatively entitled CATCH ME IN CASTILE, jettisoned off to my editor for review. Pretty cool, right?

Absolutely cool. It's also gut-wrenching and torturous. My mind is riddled with anxiety. Will she like it? Will readers? Is it as good as I think it is? Should I have tried to edit it again for the 50th time? Will I survive the suspense? Can I break the compulsive disorder to check emails and phone messages every five minutes and remember to breathe?

It's interesting to me that the process doesn't get much easier now that I am published. The crazy self-flogging thoughts are still there.

So my question to other published authors is this: Does it EVER get any easier?

But then I have to think that maybe it shouldn't. My characters deserve to have me stress and fret over every word, color, shade, pacing, and emotional depth. I draw them to live, after all, not just sit on a page. If my stories did not pop with twists, turns and paths not yet taken, why read them? Why write them?

So maybe stressing is a good thing. What do you think?

Oh, gotta go check my emails. It's been at least five minutes.

Best to you,
Kimberley, one crazy woman