Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back cover quotes -- do I need them?

This was to have been the weekend I formatted the text, but after looking over the draft back cover of the book next to a row of published books from well known publishers my husband pointed out what was missing from mine.....quotations from respected writers. I would like to have used some of the quotes from publishers who did not choose to publish it, but I have written to  two of them for permission and not heard back. I guess it is a no-win situation for them -- if they agree then they look a) stupid for not having published it or b) stupid for associating themselves with a book they praised but did not publish. Anyway, without losing momentum, I am going to try to find a couple of writers to read the book and provide some pithy comments for the back. Since there still seems to be a bit of a stigma attached to a self-published book, perhaps this will help obviate some of that discomfort among potential readers. My first choices are some of the writers who have been on grant juries who have recommended my writing.....and also writers whose work I like and respect. Next blog -- ISBN numbers and barcodes, latest technical hiccup. Any thoughts?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cover design!!!!!!

Changing the title to my novel has made a huge difference to the entire process, galvanizing the various energies needed to put the package together. One of those energies involved the cover design -- which seemed to fall into place once I felt comfortable with that all-important title. And the Seas Shall Turn to Lemonade conveyed the right tone and spirit, then I went on istockphotos and cast around for something. Presto, I found this wonderful image of a lemon slice being splashed into water. I gave it to my designer, who knew I was interested in a single arresting image, and a clean spare design, and here is what he came up with. He has not photoshopped anything yet, so eventually the water line will look more like the sea, more wavelike, and with a touch of blue. For the record, to purchase the image cost about $50, Canadian. I chose the largest size, so that it could be used in a poster or a launch invitation. Not all photos would cost this much, but I think an investment in the cover design is a good place to put my money. And although Lulu does have cover templates, I again think that invesing in a real designer is worth the minimal expense. And so, without further ado....


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hope for the comic novel!!!!

I was delighted to read about Howard Jacobson winning the Man Booker prize for his comic novel, because it was precisely the combination of humour with a literary approach that made potential publishers nervous about "And the seas shall turn to lemonade", according to my agent. No marketing niche for such a book, apparently. And actually, it was Kate Grenville's hilarious novel "The Idea of Perfection" which gave me the courage to let go and be funny, in a literary way, and then I remembered she won the Orange Prize for Fiction for that book in 2001. It is a shame that it is so difficult to publish books which cross genres, but with any luck Howard Jacobson's success will pave the way for more humorous literary books to see their way into the hands of readers. And if you like such books, do look up Kate Grenville's wonderful tale of two unlikely lovers set in Karakarook, New South Wales. And for an update on my progress: I have now completed the final read-through of the manuscript before committing it to the formatting stage...sometimes it is hard to let the baby go. I had not realized that there were a number of small yet significant changes I wished to make before unleasing it into print, and I would highly recommend taking the time you need at this stage: preferably with a book at your side, Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass, which I have found enormously helpful for defining where there may be problems and fixing them.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Net marketing, Tabitha Black, and courage!

Thanks to Richard and Dave for the comments on the last post. It is true that the sentences are a little long on the blurb, and I will see what I can abbreviate there. The title is a bit long too, but so far it seems memorable, and this is more important, I think. I spoke to a few people at Elisabeth Harvor's book launch who had totally forgotten the original title but spewed back the new one with enthusiastic and accurate aplomb! Gadzooks! Who knew! My husband pointed out that all five Giller award nominees had short titles so I had to stand my ground and defend the current choice. This is where courage comes into play -- it is hard to be one's own publisher, but incredibly important to know and feel confident about all the choices you make for your book. Tabitha Black deserves nothing less. And now, to net marketing. I am passing along a very helpful link about net marketing for writers from Sandra Gulland, who spoke recently at the Kingson Writer's Fesival. She is clear, incredibly generous, and tech-savvy without overcomplicating things. I am about to follow her advice and will blog about these developments as I go along.