Justine: (Is It?) All About the Book Cover, part II

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My original book cover.

Two weeks ago, I announced that I was redoing the book cover for the first book in my series because it did not “spark joy.” (Thank you, Marie Kondo!)

Well, my new designer, who will still remain nameless (until we have the final cover completed), has given me a first draft, if you will, and I’m already in love.

Before she began any work, she asked me a bunch of questions about what I’m looking for, including:

  • Genre
  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Author name/co-author (if any)
  • Blurb/summary/back cover copy
  • Release date
  • Links to covers I like
  • Things I know I don’t like
  • Is the book part of a series?

Because we were changing up an existing cover, my designer wanted more information about what I didn’t like. So I sent her this: Continue reading

Justine: A Text Lesson in Hooking Your Readers

My critique partner, Jenn Windrow, now teaches a class called “How to Be a Hooker,” which shows writers how to write an exciting hook for your book…basically the first 50-150 words. Catch your reader in those first few words, and they will hopefully keep reading. The idea is to lead with a hook. Something that gets the reader thinking, asks a question, or presents a challenge that the reader wants to figure out.

Back in the fall, I entered a contest for the first 50 words put on by the Ruby Slipper Sisterhood and Jenn helped me polish my entry. Below is our text conversation where I gave her intros and she gave me feedback, and I think it’s very insightful. At the end of this post, you can read the final version. Continue reading

Justine: Cold-Starting the Writing Process

A few weeks ago, fellow Eight Lady Jeanne shared with us a video of Diana Gabaldon’s cold start process…in other words, how she turns on her writing mojo when she’s stuck. Turns out, in this example, she used a Sotheby’s catalog to simulate her creativity.

Diana’s cold start process is vastly different from Jeanne’s, which gave her to think it would be interesting (and perhaps helpful) if all the Eight Ladies shared how we get going when the words just won’t come. So, starting today, for the next week, we’ll share the processes we use when we need to get writing. (No writer’s block for us!) Continue reading

Kat: You be the Judge: Contests

Enter to WIN!I mentioned last week that I’ve started to gear up for conference season and one of the things that seems to go hand in glove with conferences is writing contests. I’ve never been much of a fan, frankly, for two reasons. One, writing is not (or shouldn’t be) a competitive sport. Yes, we’ll all face the idea of “winning or losing” at some point if we decide to go for the brass ring of publishing, but one assumes at that point our work will be judged on it’s own merit, rather than held up to another writer’s work to determine who is “best” (although maybe I’m naïve).  Secondly, I think contest judging is subjective at best and murky at worse, and since many contests are aimed at beginners, contest feedback has the potential to dismember writers at the most vulnerable stage of their writing life.

So why do writers plop down $$ to enter them? Well, for one thing entering a contest is one way to potentially skirt the slush pile and get your work in front of someone who could help you get published. It’s also a way to get feedback, get motivated, and possibly get an ego boast (if you win).  Continue reading