Tag Archives: book release

Alex Rosa: How I Designed My Book Cover for FAHRENHEIT

Posted by September 22nd, 2015

Happy book birthday to Book Country member Alex Rosa–her latest book, FAHRENHEIT, pubs today!

When I found out that Alex designed this gorgeous, sexy cover for FAHRENHEIT herself, I had to find out more. Alex explains her DIY approach to cover design below.

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Everyone says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” which is true, but you can’t help but “oohh” and “aahh” over an enticing one. Although we aren’t supposed to take a book at face value, it should still exemplify what the book holds inside at least a little bit, which is what we are all trying to go for as authors in this ever evolving world of publishing. Here’s how I designed my book cover.

Fahrenheit cover lo res

FAHRENHEIT (out today!) is my first leap into the erotica genre, and since it has some risqué subject matter I knew it was important for the cover to feel edgy, sexy, and forbidden. I have a plethora of tools to work with in Photoshop (an Adobe design program), but I knew I wanted an illustrated look to the cover rather than people or places. I wanted something more conceptual rather than realistic.

If you’re choosing to design the cover yourself there are many stock image websites where you can find illustrations and photographs to license.

Recommended stock image websites:

If you can’t find a stock image you like, you can also consider seeking out a favorite photographer that might have a photo in their portfolio for you to license for a fee. Continue reading

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Four Ways to Promote Your Book Before Release by Michael R. Underwood

Posted by April 9th, 2014

Attack the Geek Full (2)Book Country Member Michael R. Underwood‘s latest book in the Ree Reyes series, ATTACK THE GEEK, came out this week from Pocket Books. His next book, SHIELD & CROCUS, is due out in June.

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Figuring out how to promote your book before it comes out is a weird process. When you’re traditionally published, you have a team of professionals working with you, building buzz and anticipation for the book before it hits.

But what does that actually involve?

Every author, every book, and every publisher does things a bit differently, but here are some things I’ve done to try to get my name out into the world and to build awareness of/interest in my books:

  1. Podcasts. I love podcasts. When I was a traveling rep, podcasts and audiobooks were my lifeline, my connection to the SF/F world. As a result, I had a list of podcasts to reach out to and make appearances as a guest. I made appearances on the Functional Nerds, Speculate!, Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, and the Roundtable Podcast, among others. And last year, I became a co-host on The Skiffy & Fanty Show, while continuing to appear as a guest on others (most recently including the SF Squeecast). Podcasts are great for verbal thinkers and people who enjoy discussion in community (I am one of those people).
  2. Blogging. I used to blog a lot more, when I was a pop culture scholar trying to get into PhD programs for cultural studies/media studies. As a writer, it’s great to share your interests and connect with people who are both readers and members of the same interests/hobbies as you. I don’t blog quite as much anymore, since I spend more of my writing time on prose, but keeping your blog at least somewhat fresh is a good way to slowly build a readership, which then sometimes transfers over to buying your books Continue reading
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Publishing a Memoir: “I Wanted It So Much It Hurt” by Ingrid Ricks, author of HIPPIE BOY

Posted by March 21st, 2014

HIPPIE BOYI’d dreamed of writing and publishing a memoir for years. I wanted it so much it hurt. But though I dabbled on the manuscript, titled HIPPIE BOY, from time to time, I was full of excuses for why I couldn’t devote the necessary time to it. I told myself it wasn’t the responsible thing to do—not when my marketing business was so much more certain and lucrative, and when I had two young daughters to care for.

Then, in early 2004, I walked into an eye doctor’s office for the first time in my life expecting to walk out with a cute pair of red cat-eye frames—only to learn I suffered from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare degenerative eye disease that had already stole my night vision, was eating away at my peripheral vision, and would likely leave me completely blind.

In the terrifying, soul-searching weeks that followed, I suddenly began to understand the importance of embracing the present. As I pondered a future without eyesight, it occurred me to that no one is immune to death or disease, that all any of us has for certain is now, and that I’d better make NOW count.

It was the jolt I needed to start enrolling in creative writing classes and get involved with critique groups. But I still struggled to step back from the marketing business that was consuming my time. It took my daughters, the ones I was trying to be responsible for, to give me the final push I needed.

One evening in late November 2009, the two of them were goofing around and decided to do a parody of me as an old woman. They hunched over and pretended to be walking with a cane. Then, in the most decrepit, ancient voices they could muster, they both yelled in unison, “My book, my book, I have to finish my book.” Continue reading

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“Do Try This At Home: Reflecting on My First Year as a Self-Published Writer” by Evette Davis

Posted by February 4th, 2014

Evette Davis author photoNot long after I self-published my first novel, WOMAN KING, I sent out a tweet promising that I would “try never to make the same mistake twice.” If you count the fact that I frequently fall short of my goal to tweet daily (oh the irony) to keep up my social-media presence, then I have made many of the same mistakes more than twice.

Welcome to the world of self-publishing!

It’s a place of vast opportunity, but also great potential disappointment. The roadmaps for self-published authors are newly inked, and all of us are the cartographers of a future that is still taking shape. On some days I feel like an intrepid genius, on other days, not so much.  As I embark on the new year – and Book Two of my trilogy – I thought I’d share some food for thought about the lessons I’ve learned and some fun tools I’ve discovered:

WOMAN KING coverDon’t be in a hurry. In traditional publishing, books can wait years for publication; self-publishing has the opposite problem. The ability to click the “upload” button without any gatekeepers whatsoever to stop you means that many stories reach the public before they’re ready. I did take time to have my first novel WOMAN KING edited, but I should’ve given myself more time. Now as I work on a second edition of WOMAN KING with an editor, I’m contemplating a longer timeline for editing and review of the second book in my planned trilogy.

Free, or nearly free, is often the norm. I used to think that being rejected by an agent was the most humbling experience I could have as an author. I’ve actually encountered something vastly more discomfiting: the frugalness of consumers on the Internet- especially for untested writers. It wasn’t until I made WOMAN KING free as an eBook that I began to see any interest.  My advice? Don’t be afraid to give a certain amount of your work away to build a readership. Continue reading

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Book Release & Sweepstakes: Kerry Schafer’s WAKEWORLD

Posted by January 28th, 2014

Wakeworld Sweepstakes

Today we’re celebrating the release of WAKEWORLD by site member Kerry Schafer. Her path to publication never ceases to inspire us: Kerry joined the site as a beta member and was workshopping her urban fantasy BETWEEN when the manuscript captured the attention of one of our staff members. She forwarded it to Berkley Editorial Director Susan Allison, and the rest is history!

BETWEEN came out a year ago–almost to the day–and climbed the Bookscan Fantasy bestseller list to the #22 spot within a week of its release! WAKEWORLD, the second in the Books of the Between, picks up the story of Dreamshifter & medical doctor Vivian, who joins forces with another Dreamshifter to defeat a looming threat to the dreamworld. This month’s Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine gave the book a glowing review: “Rising star Schafer continues to advance an elaborate mythology that places her heroine at the intersection of worlds. Schafer proves that densely plotted and emotionally charged storytelling is definitely her forte!

Intrigued? Enter our WAKEWORLD Sweepstakes for a chance to snag a copy!

Kerry’s giving back to the Book Country community, and thanks to her and her team at Ace Books, we’re giving away three copies of WAKEWORLD. To enter for a chance to win, you need to tweet your Book Country user name along with hashtag #winbookcountry. (Hint: Your username is how you log into your Book Country account.) Read the full rules here.

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Connect with Kerry on Book Country and follow her on Twitter. To learn more about Kerry and her books, visit her website, www.kerryschafer.com. Read our interview with Kerry’s agent Deidre Knight

More From the Book Country BlogYou might also like: Shannon LC Cate’s Release of JACK: It Took a Community.

 

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Avoiding Cliches + Using Specific Details: Natalie Baszile and QUEEN SUGAR

Posted by January 16th, 2014

QUEEN SUGAR coverI’m such a nut for Women’s Fiction featuring characters who overcome emotional struggles and find quiet but satisfying resolution. That, to me, is epic fiction. When I found out about Natalie Baszile’s forthcoming novel, QUEEN SUGAR–which would fit beautifully unto a bookshelf next to THE HELP or THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES–I knew I wanted to know more about this author, who’s already winning fans with her ambitious, assured debut. QUEEN SUGAR is a smart and inspiring read, not to mention a perfect tutorial in avoiding cliches when writing about family and the American South.

LS: QUEEN SUGAR’s main character, Charley, is a single mom recovering from two devastating losses, trying for a fresh start. As a writer, that’s a lot of heavy stuff to take on. Yet your take was fresh, and nuanced. How did you make Charley’s heartbreak seem so realistic?

NB: First, thank you very much for the kind words. I always love when I read a book that makes me feel something bigger is possible, so I’m glad you found the story inspiring.

I was terribly concerned about clichés in the early drafts. I wanted Charley to face a lot of real-life challenges and I wanted her experience to reflect what so many people, particularly women, face as they raise children, loose spouses, take care of sick and aging parents, even battle depression. The best way to avoid clichés is to be particular, so I tried to imagine how Charley’s struggles felt to her specifically. So, for example, when I wrote about her father’s cancer, I tried to include details that would reveal that disease as Charley experienced it. When I wrote about her depression, I tried to show how that dark period felt to her.  But I also wanted to show Charley coming through those challenges to create a new life for herself, so it was enough that some of those problems were behind her; in her rearview mirror. A few brushstrokes were sufficient.

Thinking a little more about clichés, I was also very conscious of creating an African American character who couldn’t be pigeonholed. I wanted Charley’s life story to reflect what I knew to be true:  that the range of African-American experience is vast and broad and nuanced. Yes, some people have had more urban experiences growing up, but others, like Charley, were raised in the suburbs, and had childhoods that were more integrated. I think we are seeing more examples in so many aspects of our culture now, more than ever before, and I wanted Queen Sugar to reflect that reality.

Natalie Baszile author photoLS: Homecoming is a big theme in the book—several characters are coming back home to Southern Louisiana so that they can have a new beginning. Do you have a personal connection to this part of the US?

NB: My dad was born in Southern Louisiana and lived there until he moved to Port Arthur, Texas, for high school.  Most of his siblings and their families– my aunts, uncles and cousins–still live in Lake Charles, Opelousas, or Baton Rouge, and my great aunt, who must be in her late eighties, still lives in the little town where my dad was born. So even though I’m a California native, I feel that I can claim Southern Louisiana as part of my personal history. Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Larry Winfield

Posted by January 6th, 2014

Larry Winfield author photoIt’s such a pleasure to have member Larry Winfield as our first Member Spotlight of 2014. A longtime Book Country member, Larry recently published his novel BANJO STRINGS on Book Country. He stopped by to talk to us about his writing and his wide range of other creative endeavors.

LS: Tell us about your path as a writer: how did you get started, and what’s brought you to where you are now?

LW: Uh, it’s a very twisted path. I wrote a few poems in high school that got published in the campus literary magazine, and in senior year (1974) I was an Associate Editor. And then I didn’t write another thing for 8 years. I moved to Chicago, got into theater, tried to start a band, worked as an illustrator, then in the early 80’s I let the acting, the band and the artwork go and started keeping a journal, and by ’88 I had a small chapbook of poems in a few stores in Hyde Park, Chicago.

In 1990 I discovered the Chicago poetry scene and spent a dozen years as a venue host and sometimes a featured reader, listening to great poets and writing almost every day. In 2002 I moved to the west coast, in part because of 9/11 (a long story), and tried to get into the Los Angeles poetry scene, but it was just too scattered. I hung out in the Santa Monica/Venice scene for a while, but it wasn’t happening with me living downtown. Anyway, by 2005 I’d discovered podcasting and created Sundown Lounge an updated version of my pirate radio show The Rent Party (part of that long story). Around the same time I was thinking of a couple story ideas, and Scott Sigler had recently broken huge with his first podcast novel. So I started putting up audio chapters at Mevio as I went, my own performance piece of a live novel, even though it was a few months between episodes in the middle. By the end, though, I had over 60,000 individual hits and some chapters in the hundreds of downloads. Nice. I ended up revising the novel into a “2013 edition” that I’m working to release as a podiobook, eBook and a printed (or POD) paperback.

LS: Along that route you found Book Country. How did that happen?

While writing and recording the first podcast version, I looked for writers groups to submit chapters and some of my poems to for feedback and review. I stuck with Author Nation and Authonomy mostly, then the Nation went down last year, and I found you guys on a Google search. The first manuscript was done by then so I uploaded the eBook to the Horror section, and it made the spotlight list, so thank you for that.

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WILD CARD Author Jamie Wyman Gives Writer Thanks

Posted by November 26th, 2013

Wild_Card-500

Today we’re celebrating Book Country writer Jamie Wyman, whose debut book, WILD CARD, was released from Entangled Publishing yesterday. We are *so* excited that yet another manuscript workshopped on Book Country has found a home. 

We’ve given Jamie the spotlight and a chance to give thanks to the people who’ve helped her through her journey to publication. Take it away, Jamie! ~NG

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It’s that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about. We’re all toting our Pumpkin Spice everythings over rivers and through the woods. The balloons are getting inflated for the Macy’s parade, and people are griping that it’s still too early for Christmas carols. And as the weather turns chilly, we take a moment or two to turn our thoughts inward and count our blessings. It’s a time to give thanks.

This year I have much to be thankful for. You see, the Book Country project formerly known as “Technical Difficulties” is a real book called WILD CARD. Yesterday I officially released my debut novel into the wild.

While the book itself is two years in the making, this release has been a longer time coming. And now that this day is here, I feel a bit like Pinocchio. This must be what it’s like to live without strings, to be a “real author”. It’s surreal, to be sure. And there’s no small amount of terror that people will hate the book, or that I won’t be able to live up to deadlines, expectations and such as I move forward into a full on writing career. But above all else, there is gratitude.

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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Mimi Speike

Posted by November 25th, 2013

mimi_speikeToday we have one of our most seasoned Book Country members, Mimi Speike, as our guest. We caught her at an opportune time–as she’s making final revisions to her historical fantasy series and is preparing to launch them into the world. 

NG: When did you fall in love with writing?

MS: I wrote in school, of course. I didn’t start writing for my own pleasure until around 1984. An idea got hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I’d always read. I began to examine style, particularly that thing called flow. I started writing Sly! and fell so in love with the somersaults that you can turn with well-chosen words that I’m still at it. This is the greatest game there is.

NG: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about yourself as a writer? What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome?

MS: I’ve learned to follow my gut. Screw rules. My Intrusive Author style is universally despised, apparently. But, that’s my voice. I’m sticking with it.

Biggest challenge? The one we all face: self-doubt. Once in a while, I manage to subdue debilitating insecurity, only to be seized by its equally evil twin, unabashed arrogance, no improvement in terms of objectivity. I don’t think in terms of overcoming. I try to balance the Jekyll and Hyde of my authorial personality, and let it go at that.

NG: How did you go about cultivating your writing style, and what role humor plays in the SLY series?

MS: I admire nineteenth/early twentieth-century lush description. I try to emulate it. That whole out-of-fashion scene-setting really turns me on. I also adore exceptional grace of phrasing; I think of it as a musicality. I scour the classics for vocabulary, sea terms in particular. I have a pirate episode in Sly! What do I know of the sea? Nada! Two Years Before The Mast, set two hundred years after my period, furnished information on shipboard routine. That has to do, until I lay hands on more timely material.

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Member Spotlight: Meet Horror Writer Nikki Hopeman

Posted by November 18th, 2013

Today we’re joined by Book Country member Nikki Hopeman, who has wonderful news to share with the community: her debut horror novel HABEAS CORPSE was just released from Blood Bound Books.

Nikki has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hall University, and has worked as a “mad scientist” at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products laboratory–two talents that have undoubtedly helped her with her first zombie novel!

Here we’re talking about her the publication process and her fascination with dark fiction and zombies. ~NG

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Your debut novel HABEAS CORPSE just came out–congratulations! Will you tell us more about your book’s journey: from the muse descending upon you to the book capturing the attention of Blood Bound Books?

The roots of HABEAS CORPSE formed during a graduate school class when I read Richard Matheson’s short story, “The Funeral.” In Matheson’s story, we meet a vampire who is disappointed he’ll never have a funeral, so he throws his own and invites an interesting mix of supernatural friends. Chaos quickly ensues. I’d just finished reading Jeff Lindsay’s DEXTER series, and the two worlds collided. I initially wrote a short story about an entirely supernatural forensics squad, but a friend told me I had the makings of a novel. After a few false starts, I realized the best character from the story was the evidence-eating zombie, so I kept him and made everyone else human. I finished the first full draft and approached RJ Cavender and the editorial department to help me polish the manuscript. When we finished, he acquired the novel for Blood Bound Books. It was really fast, and my head might still be spinning. Continue reading

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