Tag Archives: publication

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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Member Spotlight: Catching Up with Alys Arden

Posted by September 8th, 2015

Alys Arden 8.8.2015It’s always wonderful to have Book Country member Alys Arden visit the blog. Today she’s here to update us on all the exciting things that are in the pipeline for her and her bestselling self-published young adult novel THE CASQUETTE GIRLS (originally workshopped right here on Book Country!).

Lucy Silag: We know you’re re-releasing THE CASQUETTE GIRLS with Skyscape (an imprint of Amazon Publishing) but we need more details! Fill us in on how it got picked up, what’s new, and when we can buy the new version.

Alys Arden: THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, along with its unreleased sequel, were both acquired by Skyscape early this year. They are re-releasing a new edit of TCG with a new cover (see below), which was just revealed last week! When I re-drafted the manuscript for Skyscape, my objective was to polish it up without changing SO much as to confuse people who don’t want to read the new version and wanted to skip to book two, but I wanted to add some exciting new things for fans who do want to dive into the new edit. As for what’s different . . . there are a few brand new scenes; my beta readers said Nicco is more sinister in the version. Oh, and there is a new layer to the curse! I really had fun focusing on the magic and the witches in this draft. There are a few more hints about things that will happen in book two, a few more clues. *wink* One of the scenes that I ended up totally re-writing, and had so much fun with, was Adeline’s fight scene in 1728. I’ll just say . . . it’s a bit bloodier, now. The pre-order went up this week, and the book will be released on November 17th.

THE CASQUETTE GIRLS
Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Cozy Mystery Writer Janice Peacock

Posted by August 13th, 2014

Member Spotlight: Janice Peacock

Welcome Janice Peacock to the Member Spotlight! Janice recently published her first cozy mystery novel, HIGH STRUNG, A GLASS BEAD MYSTERY, Volume One of the Glass Bead Mystery Series. Janice is an award-winning glass artist, whose work has been exhibited internationally. HIGH STRUNG has earned stellar reviews on Amazon. Janice talks about how she got started writing cozy mysteries and the revision process. Connect with Janice on Book Country

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Janet Umenta: How did you get started writing cozy mysteries?

Janice Peacock: As a teen in the 1970s, I shopped the groovy bead stores in Laguna Beach, California, looking for treasures to make my own jewelry. I continued working with beads and making jewelry, and in 1992 learned a process called lampworking so that I could make my own glass beads. The first time I lit a torch and started melting glass to create beads, I knew that I was hooked.  I’ve been making beads ever since, and designing jewelry with the glass components that I create. Continue reading

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Submit Questions for our Ask an Editor Series!

Posted by July 28th, 2014


Book Country Ask an EditorThank you to all those who submitted questions for our Ask an Agent blog series! Your questions touched on a lot of topics including how to query agents and how agents actually go about choosing manuscripts. Thanks to the literary agents who helped make Ask an Agent possible! You can find links to their blog posts below.

This August, we are launching our Ask an Editor blog series! As you know, editors decide which manuscripts they would like to publish. Editors are involved in virtually every step of the publishing process, from the actual editing to marketing and promotion. Continue reading

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Finding an Agent: What No One Wants to Talk About by Arna Bontemps Hemenway

Posted by July 11th, 2014

As a writer and professor of Creative Writing, what I get asked about most is finding an agent. I struggle to answer for a couple of reasons: namely, that there are only two things of worth I have to say on the matter of finding an agent, and because both of them are pretty awkward to say out loud.

Arna Hemenway 2

Arna Bontemps Hemenway poses with his book ELEGY ON KINDERKLAVIER, which comes out from Sarabande Books on Tuesday, July 15th.

Before I get to those two pieces of wisdom, let me start by reiterating what you’ve probably already heard about finding an agent: You should take the time and effort to make your query effective and professional. You shouldn’t sign with an agent you’re afraid of (as the novelist Ethan Canin once memorably put it to me, “you shouldn’t need an agent to call your agent”) or one you can’t talk to or one who seems like they won’t answer your calls if you’re not successful. You want somebody who’s smart and effective enough to make good business decisions for you, but also somebody who seems like a basically good person. Pay attention to your gut. Be ready to get rejected over and over and over and over and over again.

Now we’ve got that good advice out of the way, here’s the first thing no one particularly wants to say or hear about finding an agent: agents are not important. Let me repeat that: the literary agent is not important. No offense. Continue reading

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Why I Love My Book Cover by Elizabeth Andrews

Posted by June 18th, 2014

HuntingMedusa cover.jpgThis is going to sound just terrible, but as a reader, I rarely shop for books by the cover art.  When I go shopping for books, I almost always have a list of books I’ve culled from favorite authors’ websites, or recommendations from readers I trust. I can appreciate all of the lovely covers on the shelves in the store–though I will profess a bit of a bias against all the copy-cat covers on erotic romances these days–fruit and flowers?  Those do not scream “hot romance” to me.  Give me a hot, shirtless hero on the cover, whether he’s alone or with his heroine. I am, after all, a romance fanatic.

That is one big reason why the cover for my book HUNTING MEDUSA makes me so happy when I look at it. (And, okay, I might have petted it a few thousand times.) But it isn’t just the mostly-naked hunk looking all broody and dangerous. No, the talented artist who worked on my cover art managed to work a bit of the setting into the background, and there’s the heroine, defiant and still vulnerable. Plus there’s a nifty little symbol tucked into the corner that will continue throughout the trilogy, and that makes me smile. The first time I saw it absolutely thrilled me, seeing all those little touches put together after all the work I’d put into the book. Plus, seeing the cover art made the book feel even more real than everything leading up to that point. 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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Book Dedications: Dedicated to the Ones We Love by Julia Fierro

Posted by February 14th, 2014

Julia Fierro bio photoWho knows the importance of community to a writer better than Julia Fierro? In 2002, she founded The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, one of New York’s most important literary institutions. Over 2000 writers have passed through Sackett Street’s writing classes to date. Julia’s debut novel, CUTTING TEETH, comes out May 13th, 2014 from St. Martin’s Press. Take a look at Julia’s social network channels (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest) and you’ll see that she’s at the center of a thriving group of some of the most gifted writers of our time, sharing news, advice, and pithy humor on everything from doing copyedits with a sleeping child in your lap to a rave review in a national magazine. With the same dedication to community that Sackett Street is known for, Julia came up with a lovely collection of enigmatic book dedications, and some thoughts on to whom writers bestow this high honor. Her post also functions as an excellent mid-winter “To-read” list, which is why we’ve linked to each book on Goodreads below.

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Love is sacrifice.

What is more sacred to a writer than that stretch of white space at the start of their published book, otherwise known as The Dedication?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I asked writers about the people, places and pets they chose to honor in that sacred spot. Their speedy and enthusiastic responses were surprising. Unlike the dreaded acknowledgments (dreaded by me, in any case—what if I leave someone out?), for most, the dedication is a no-brainer. They simply know who is most deserving. We won’t mention the handful of books dedicated to partners, lovers and friends, who may have proved unworthy of the dedication later. That is another story.

The type of love and gratitude that motivates most writers’ dedications falls into three major categories: partner, friendship, and familial.

Precious are the words worthy of a writer’s partner—wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, soulmate—who may be responsible for convincing us to take that dusty manuscript out of the drawer. They are our constant companions who put up with our ever-growing piles of books, our scraps of notes, as well as the stratospheric highs and lows of our writing process and publishing experience. Our partners tolerate being passed over for the company of imaginary people who exist solely in our minds; they put up with our doubt and anxiety, with us waking them in the wee hours of the night to ask—do you think character X is believable? Do you think the book has enough narrative momentum? Do you think anyone will want to represent it, publish it, read it, love it?

Gillian Flynn, in her darkly thrilling novel, DARK PLACES:

What can I say about a man who knows how I think and still sleeps next to me with the lights off?

F. Scott Fitzgerald in THE GREAT GATSBY (Therese Anne Fowler echoed this dedication in her 2013 book Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald):

ONCE AGAIN

TO

ZELDA

Emma Straub’s pitch perfect dedication in her Hollywood-themed novel, LAURA LAMONT’S LIFE IN PICTURES:

FOR MY HUSBAND,

A GOLDEN STATUE

IF EVER THERE WAS ONE

And love tongue-in-cheek style—David Rosen’s dedication to his wife in his novel, I JUST WANT MY PANTS BACK:

For Rachel, Damn It Continue reading

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An Epic Morning at Starbucks: Author Phillip Margulies’s Agent Story

Posted by January 14th, 2014

phillip Margulies 1Every traditionally published author has a story about how they found their literary agent. My favorites of these are always the more serendipitous ones, the ones that show not just a writer’s tenacity in their search, but also have a cinematic quality to them–a bit of a “meet-cute.” Below, Historical Fiction author Phillip Margulies, whose debut novel BELLE CORA came out from Doubleday last week, tells us how he met his agent, Dorian Karchmar of William Morris, at his local Starbucks. It wasn’t just good timing, however–read on to see how Phillip impressed Dorian even before she read his work, and how that fateful meeting helped him to realize one of his longest-held dreams.

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For unpublished writers the true tale I’m about to relate qualifies as a story of survival.  Whether it is an inspiration or a warning, I’m not sure.

I have been writing fiction since the age of 11;  that is, since 1963, half a century ago. Empires fell, presidential administrations went by in a blur, the quill in my hand became a typewriter and then a laptop, while I sat there in my Time Machine writing.  I had no other ambition, no other serious employment.  By 2005, when I began BELLE CORA, I had written eight previous novels and numerous short stories and poems, all unpublished; also some unproduced plays.  Editors praised my work.  They wished me luck “finding the right publisher.”

My wife, Maxine Rosaler, has a writer friend who is regularly published—they’re from the same town and have stayed friends despite their highly divergent destinies. The friend’s husband had recently asked my wife: “Why does Phil bother?” Like, Phil’s in his fifties, can’t he take a hint?  Earlier, when I was merely in my forties, another friend had told her: “At this stage of his life he’ll never get published.” My wife decided not to pass on either of these remarks, which is unusual for her, but sometimes in a fight when I accused her of saying everything she could say to hurt me, she’d say, “No, I don’t.  There are things I could say that I don’t say.”  Which was, wow, really infuriating. Continue reading

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