Tag Archives: Melody Simmons

A New Face for a New Year

PJ Sharon here wishing all you Scribe’s followers a Happy New Year! New_Years1

We are so thankful for your support over the past year and hope you’ll continue to join us for fun, informative, and entertaining posts about writing, publishing, and all things books. You’ll be treated to an occasional secret recipe, guest authors, interviews with industry professionals, reviews of our favorite books, and tips on everything from  craft to the everyday pitfalls of trying to manage this crazy writer’s life.

As the first Scribe to post in 2013, I’d like to talk about the most important selling point of a well-written book–aside from it being well-written, that is.

In this day of digital publishing, when as many as 350,000 new books a year are put in front of readers, the burning question is, what will help your book to stand out in the deluge? I can’t help but think the answer goes back to the basics. Most of us judge a book first by its cover, then by the blurb, and then by reading the first page or so. Most readers, many who are buying from their e-reading devices, only see a thumbnail version of a book cover and often decide to look closer only if something about that tiny image pulls them in. Having a breathtaking cover, a well-written and captivating blurb (back cover description), and a grabber of a first line can only up your chances at being noticed.

As you may know, I had moderate success with a FREE promotion last week and I think the results prove my point.  After having my cover redone by a professional cover artist, downloads for Heaven is for Heroes outnumbered my previous bestseller, On Thin Ice, 3 to 1. You can read about my results here.  Since the only thing I did differently to showcase Heaven is for Heroes was a $5 paid ad on Facebook, I’m betting that the new cover had something to do with the increased numbers. My results tell me two things. Facebook ads do work, and cover art matters. Either way, I took the hint and had a new cover made for Savage Cinderella. **Incidentally, I did see a small bump in sales this week after my FREE days, so IMO it’s still worth hopping on the KDP Select gravy train if you’re looking for a boost in sales and visibility.

Although I’d had lots of feedback from friends and fellow writers who liked the original cover, the black and white just didn’t stand out on the thumbnail version. The title and author name didn’t “pop,” and the image didn’t really give a clear impression of the genre or the story, at least not when competing against the cream of the crop with their photoshopped masterpieces.SC SW cover

One of the benefits of independent publishing is that we can easily adapt and change with the market. Young adult cover art has evolved over the past year or two, leaning toward “darker” images, bolder colors, haunted faces with intense expressions, and beautiful young men and women looking tormented but relatable on the covers. The tone of a book should be clearly expressed through the cover art, and there should be some hint as to what the story will entail via the title fonts, tone, and cover image. I’m hoping that my new cover does all of those things, perhaps even tapping into a new readership who previously may have overlooked the other cover simply because it didn’t stand out enough or they didn’t “get” a feel for the book.

There’s no doubt that I’ll run across those who would rather not see a face on the cover, preferring the character’s features be left to the imagination, but the idea is to make an impression–to grab a browsing reader and make them look twice. If you’ve read the book you’ll probably understand why this image is so powerful. If you haven’t read the book, you can find it on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords, or you can read a chapter a week for FREE on Wattpad.

As always, I’d love your feedback.

Savage Cinderella WEBSITE USEThis cover is the work of Melody Simmons, who also did my Heaven is for Heroes and Waning Moon covers. She is super easy to work with and reasonably priced, not to mention, fast. She had this cover and my HIFH cover back to me in a day or two, offering me several options from which to choose, and working with my suggestions to get to the look I wanted.

I hope you’re looking forward to 2013 as much as I am. I have a feeling it’s going to be a stellar year for the Scribes and we’d love for you all to share the journey with us.

Blessings of good health, peace, prosperity, balance, and harmony to all,

PJ

Do you have any exciting plans for the coming year? What do you think about trends in cover art? Too many faces on YA covers, or do you like to see those smoldering and deperate looks?

 

Cover reveal for WANING MOON

Oh happy day! PJ here, and I’m thrilled to share with you the cover for my upcoming release, WANING MOON, Book ONE in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. In the past, my husband and I have designed my covers. But this time, I enlisted the help of the wonderful and fabulous Melody Simmons, who has been very accommodating, I must say. Because WM is part of a trilogy, I wanted a cohesive look to the books and I was ready to take my covers to the next level.

We’re still tweaking fonts for the back cover,  but she came up with this front cover after I gave her my ideas for a concept and picked out the stock photo of the model. I think she did great! Let us know how you like it, and if there’s anything about it you don’t like. We’re thick skinned and there’s still time to make changes. Have I told you lately that I love Indie publishing?

Meet Lily Carmichael!

Here’s the back cover blurb to give you an idea of what the story is about:

In the year 2057, in a post-apocalyptic world where a global shift threatens the remainder of the population with extinction, sixteen-year-old genetically enhanced Lily Carmichael has more immediate problems. Her uncle is dying of cancer and her healing abilities are ineffective against the blood ties that bind them. In order to find a cure, Lily must leave the protection of her quiet town and journey into the trading city of Albany, all while avoiding the Industry, an agency that would like nothing better than to study and exploit her abilities.

Seventeen-year-old Will Callahan has been searching for his father since severe storms blasted through the Midwest, killing his mother and sister. When he learns that his father may be in the city, he catches a ride with Lily, a girl who has come to his rescue more than once. As the two embark on a dangerous journey, the tension between them grows. But the secrets Will’s keeping could put Lily in far more danger than traveling to the city with him, and if he was any kind of man, he would have told her to run the minute she found him.

Enjoy this short excerpt:

We both groaned as we lifted the heavy iron cover. I dropped down into the icy churning water, sucking in a breath while Will climbed down the ladder. He paused, grunting as he pulled the heavy cover in place behind him.

 
Just in time. We heard rushing footsteps overhead, voices loud and angry. Will and I exchanged a look and then turned toward the dark tunnel. Will’s hand slipped into mine as he took the lead. “Stay with me. Don’t let go, okay?”
 
I let him pull me forward. The water deepened as we dragged ourselves along. The sound of rushing water ahead had me backing up against the current. “This is not a good idea.”
 
Will tugged me by the hand, wincing in pain. “It’s the only way out. Trust me. It’ll be alright.”
 
“Trust you? That’s a joke, right?” 
 
 “Can we fight about this later?” 
 
Before I could argue, a wave of turbulent water rushed in from a connecting pipe, and swept us off our feet. Will’s hand tightened around mine and we dropped abruptly downward. As the slope steepened, the water picked up speed. Darkness and the stench of sewage overwhelmed my senses. I prayed a quick prayer that the end of the tunnel was near. What I worried for next was how far of a fall it would be to the murky waters of the Hudson below when we reached it.
 
Another rapid decent shot my stomach to my throat and Will’s hand pulled free. “Noooo!”
 

But the thunderous roar of the cascading waterfall swallowed the sound of my scream.  It launched us into the darkening horizon like a torpedo, and then dumped us thirty feet into the icy roiling waters of the Hudson River.

Well, that’s it for today, folks. Stay tuned for more exciting excerpts from WANING MOON, which is set to release September 28th. Let me know what you think of the cover, and if you want to get in touch with Melody Simmons or see some of her pre-made covers, check out her website @ http://ebookindiecovers.com/contact/.