So This Happened

Me at the Nubian Bookstore in South Atlanta where Renaissance has just been stocked on the shelves.

Those of you already following me on social media are already aware of this….but…

I hate to be so dramatic but I have news…

Yesterday it became official.

I’ve been doing some underground work and….

…on Saturday, December 30, 2017, one of my books made it to the shelves of a brick and mortar bookstore for the first time. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is now available at The Nubian Bookstore in South Atlanta and I am organizing a book signing for Black History Month to help to promote the milestone.

Obviously, this is where the real work begins.

And, obviously, I am excited about this new endeavor.

I am looking forward to learning more about book publishing and networking more offline.

What a great way to end the year!

I’ll be away awhile but I wanted to give you the news for sure 🙂

See you around!

Ya’ll be great.

 

Peace and Hair Grease.

 

-EC

 


“Yecheilyah Ysrayl has crafted an outstanding novel that takes the reader on the migration that black elders have described all our lives. Nora has graduated from high school and run away from her Mississippi town to a northern city, Jacobsville, NY, just 45 minutes outside of Harlem. It’s Nora’s intent to pursue a career as a writer during the 1920’s and the height of the Harlem Renaissance. In Harlem, she rubs elbows with the talented elite or, as some would say, literary royalty.”

– Linda Mims

CLICK HERE TO EXPERIENCE THE NORA WHITE STORY

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New Author Tip: Warning – Do Not Publish that First Draft

You’ve finished your book. This is admirable (because so many people never finish) and worthy of celebration. Congratulations!

But, while this is an accomplishment worth celebrating, you are not done. Do not pass go and do not collect $200.

A rule of thumb is that you do not publish a book you just finished writing. After you’ve finished writing your book, your manuscript is now considered the First Draft. It’s called the First Draft because it is the first copy of the book ever in existence where no changes have been made. It is a rough draft of the story straight from your mind to the page. According to Innovative Editing:

“In any piece of writing, whether a novel manuscript or a blog post, the first draft is also known as a rough draft. From start to finish, it’s technically a complete piece. It has a beginning that moves to a middle that concludes with an ending. But it’s a messy complete piece. There are still thoughts to ground, sentences to be revised for maximum reader engagement, and spelling errors to fix. Which is why a rough draft should never, ever, ever be your final draft.”

Once you’ve finished the actual writing part, it’s a good idea to let the manuscript sit for awhile. Take a few weeks off from the writing and go do something else. In a few weeks time, return to it with fresh eyes to begin your self-edits. A strange but helpful thing for me when self-editing on the computer is to turn my document into a PDF. For some reason, I catch mistakes easier this way. It’s the electronic way of printing the book out (which at some point you’ll want to do with your highlighter and pen ready.)

It may also help to take out a notebook and go chapter by chapter (maybe this week is Chapter One and maybe next week is Chapter Two.) This is what I did when self-editing Renaissance. I looked at each Chapter one at a time and wrote about it in my notebooks (things that didn’t make sense, add up, were inconsistent, contradictory etc. I am preparing to do the same with Book Two, which I’ve let sit a long while so it’s time to get back to it.)

The idea is to take the manuscript through enough revisions so that it starts to make sense and then you can send it in to be big edited but please, do not publish that first draft. It will need to be revised first. It is a rough draft.


I AM SOUL, my short collection of poetry, is now available.

CLICK HERE

Premade Book Covers: 2 Things to Keep in Mind

There’s a quote floating around somewhere that says:

“Don’t go broke trying to prove to broke people that you ain’t broke.”

Exactly. The reality that many authors are on budgets has created an entirely new source of income for graphic designers, many of whom offer premade book covers as well as custom made. These artists have made our life a little easier by offering professional covers at lower rates than custom covers. While custom covers are preferred, not everyone can afford a new custom cover for every book (the exception are those who make their own covers) so consider this post for those of us “balling on a budget.” I believe in investing in your best and if you can afford to pay for a custom cover and high-priced editing, go for it. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, just know you don’t have to go broke to publish your book. The same way we can find reasonable editing prices is the same way we can find reasonable book cover prices for covers that won’t look generic.

But Premades have a unique struggle.

All of the factors that go into articulating your story to a designer in a way that will help them to design a good cover is internal. By internal I mean that if you are choosing the premade, you have to make these decisions for yourself. You have to understand your target audience, your genre, and identify the key features enough mentally to know if the cover is a right fit for you.

Many people have asked me about the cover for Renaissance. The truth is that it was premade and I am blessed to have stumbled on this gem. All the artist did was edit the text. Here’s what a reader said when leaving a review for the book on Amazon:

“The first thing that drew me to this novel was its beautiful cover. A deep blue sky fading into a sunset which bakes an old country road golden brown.”

Guys, I didn’t spend a lot of money on this.

As soon as I saw the cover I knew it was the right fit for Renaissance. Though it’s a premade, there are some things that made it unique:

  • The photo is a real photo taken by Brittany Cox and then sold to designer Najla Qambers to be used for a premade book cover.
  • The elements fit the context of my story.
  • The book matches other books in it’s genre.

I looked at other covers and thought about purchasing a complete custom cover but my money wasn’t agreeing with that so I just went back to that same image, praying no one had taken it. It’s not out-of-this-world beautiful but it was perfect for me. The use of a real country road photo really set it apart. It was also the only of its kind being sold so I was anxious to get it as it was literally just one available. When I was ready, I contacted Najla Qambers of Brick-a-Brack Photography, and secured my cover.

So, two things to keep in mind:

  1. Watch Out for Overly Used Stock Photos

One of the things that made the Renaissance cover unique is the use of a real photograph. There are some great premade design covers out there but many designers use the same stock photos. All designers will have a message that says the book cover is not sold after you buy it, which is true. The same cover cannot be sold again but this doesn’t mean other designers won’t use the same stock photo in a different design. That particular cover may not be sold again but the same stock images can be used again. Keep this in mind when looking for your premade. 

Joshua Jadon sums it up pretty well:

“You also may get less attention from a generic cover because it may be a little easier to ignore. Readers are looking for something interesting and exciting that grabs their attention, and a book that might have the same cover—or at least the same images—as several others often won’t get that kind of attention. A unique style or look can influence readers’ selection process. If your cover doesn’t reflect that … well, it may not get noticed.”

But, your premade does not have to look generic.

It is possible to find a stunning premade that looks custom made. I got tons of compliments on this cover and requests for who designed it. People thought it was custom made.

When choosing your premade (which is great for those of us on budgets and timelines as they are usually both cheaper and delivered quickly), choose premades that are as set-apart as possible and preferably, premades that look custom made. (And speaking of timelines, once you are sure you want to publish a book, it helps to start saving for editing and book cover design months ahead of time. )

2. Watch out for Bulk Premade Deals

Book cover design is a skill. Period. Even though there are designers offering bulk book covers at discounted prices you can edit in Photoshop, it won’t do you any good without skill. I made the mistake of falling for this and while some are nice (and I am competent in editing covers in Photoshop), it is not something I will do again.  A clever move by designers but not too good for authors. Unless you are Photoshop Savvy or have someone on your team who is Photoshop Savvy, it will do little to benefit you. Unless you’re a Graphic Designer or you have a Graphic Designer on your team, you don’t want to put yourself in the position to edit the cover yourself IF YOU ARE NOT COMPETENT IN USING THE SOFTWARE NECESSARY TO DO SO.

While it may start off looking professional, your lack of skill can make it look generic  because graphic designers are skilled in typography, colors, blending colors, and anything else that may require a keen eye. You can mess up a nice cover not knowing what you’re doing which will lead you back to square one. If you go this route, choose covers that do not require much change.

So, two things to be aware of:

  1. Overly used stock photos

  2. Bulk Premade Deals

Here are some websites with some unique premade book covers. There are more, I am sure, but these are ones I’ve investigated myself. I rarely see the stock photos from their covers used by other designers.

For more posts on Indie Publishing, be sure to visit the new Writer Tips page.


Be sure to pick up your copy of Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) HERE.

New Author Tip

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Blogging has greatly impacted my writing life. The knowledge and wisdom from my fellow bloggers is amazing. I love that we build each other up and alert one another to things that may seem fishy in the publishing industry. I love that we promote each other and help advance the other’s writing life. That said, my tip for new authors is this:

This is just a suggestion, but if you are about to publish for the first time and you’ve never published a book before (and people don’t know you as a writer, maybe as other things but not as a writer) consider starting a blog at least 6 months to a year of publishing your first book. Spend that time talking about your passions, networking with other writers, readers and getting a feel for the online community. Don’t just talk about your work, talk about yourself. Post funny pictures, inspiring quotes, short story excerpts, articles and anything that appeals to your target audience and that (most of all) showcases your personality. Let people get to know you better while also getting to know the writer you. Then, when you’re ready to publish your book, you have a platform and people who are interested outside of your immediate circle.

This tip is only for those who are close to publishing. If you are still writing your book, I would say to focus on that for now. If you are publishing soon however, you may want to try blogging to test the waters. It’s a better platform for networking (in my opinion) than Facebook and Twitter.

Writers: Are You Ready To Sign With An Independent Publisher? Read This First #AmWriting

Yes Yes and Yes! I was just working on a guest article covering this same subject. Please, authors, do your research. Don’t let the perceived prestige of “being signed” get you scammed! Times have changed and there’s a lot you can do yourself.

Rosie Amber

Please welcome review team member Terry Tyler, with some important thoughts on Independent Publishers

Please note: I am aware that there are plenty of good independent publishers around, who work hard for their authors and maintain good standards. The purpose of this article is to warn writers to do their research, and find them. It’s a warning not to fall prey to either the blatant conmen, or the inept.

Ten years ago, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing was launched.  Since then, thousands of scammers and cowboys have emerged from the murky corners of the internet to make a quick quid out of the millions of writers who’ve been tapping away at the keys for years, and are delighted that they can finally get their work in front of the reading public without a contract from a traditional publisher. These scammers include: proofreaders who don’t know how to punctuate, editors…

View original post 1,314 more words

MASTER LIST of Facial Expressions for Writers! – Bryn Donovan

Awesome. Authors, check it out. Very helpful list.

I created this list to address that challenge. The expressions are broken down by the part of the face. Note that some of them work for more than one emotion—a person might narrow their eyes out of vindictiveness or skepticism, for instance, and their face might turn red out of anger or out of embarrassment.

Some of them require a little more explanation on your part. You’ll have to say what she’s glaring at, or if his face is contorting in rage, or grief, or what. And not all of these will work for every character—it depends on what they look like and how they generally react to things.

Some of these aren’t exactly facial expressions, but useful for dialogue tags. In many cases I’ve given several ways to describe the same thing. While I have included some longer phrases, they are not proprietary and it’s fine to use them.

Click through to the ORIGINAL POST HERE to read the facial expressions. I am sure you’ll find a few to put to good use.