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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An Alternative to ACX for Audiobook Production and Distribution – Jane Friedman

Has anyone tried ListenUp for audiobook production? It sounds interesting, though the upfront cost is pretty STEEP. lol. Aside from the service itself, I like what they said about Audiobook sales being dependent on the success of the book in print and digital format. Gave me a new perspective on how to approach audiobooks. My favorite quote:

“Audiobook sales are still dependent on the success of a book in its print or digital format. It’s helpful for authors to think of the audiobook as another edition of their book, extending its presence and reach. So when a reader goes to buy it, every option is available to them. At the same time, when an author promotes a book, there will likely be a spike in sales of all editions. Running an advertisement for a discount on an ebook through a service like BookBub has been shown to increase audio as well as ebook sales.

Much like promoting an ebook or print book, authors should offer review copies to bloggers, reviewers, and social media influencers who have significant reach. For the audiobook, authors should focus on reviewers who regularly review audiobooks and can touch on both the story and the narration.

Check out the interview and entire post HERE. Browse LisenUp’s website HERE.

If any of you have tried it, how is it? Do you like it better than ACX? Does the cost measure up to the service?

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

Easy Blogging for Authors: 10 Tips for a Successful Author Blog, Anne R Allen

Anne is at it again with a most excellent article on Blogging for Authors. If you’re an author and you’re looking to learn more about how your blog differs from a business blog, check out this post. She talks being true to your brand, not defining your blog success by numbers, networking and not sacrificing your WIP (work in progress).

My biggest mistake was that I didn’t see that an author blog has a different purpose and goal from a business blog. Author blogs aren’t about making money directly with ads or sales.

Instead, they provide a platform for your writing and a way to communicate with readers and fellow writers. An excellent one. In fact, a blog is still the best platform-building tool for authors, according to agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, (Laurie will be visiting us in January.)

Good writers don’t need gimmicks. We only need to entertain and inform: content really is king. Be accessible and be yourself. Nothing else matters. (Well, correct spelling and grammar help too. 🙂 )

Click through to the ORIGINAL POST HERE to read the entire article.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Southern Horror Stories by Lisa W. Tetting

Title: Southern Horror Stories

Author: Lisa W. Tetting

Print Length: 68 pages

Publication Date: October 26, 2017

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ASIN: B076WW49KN

*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author*

Almost 400 years ago, the first enslaved Blacks, arrived in the Virginia colony at Point Comfort on the James River. Spanish records suggest that the enslaved were captured in the Portuguese colony of Angola. At first, the number of enslaved taken was small. In about 1650, however, with the development of plantations on the newly colonized Caribbean Islands and American mainland, the trade grew.

But what if things had turned out differently? What if the enslaved could exact immediate vengeance on their oppressors and gain their freedom with help from the ancestors? That is essentially the theme connecting six short stories in Lisa W. Tetting’s short story collection, Southern Horror Stories.

Each story begins with a tragedy familiar to that of Chattel Slavery. In Barren Plantation, Pansy witnesses the death of her baby girl immediately after giving birth. Afterward, the woman bathes in the child’s blood, soaking up the energy and begins to hear chanting in a foreign language. She essentially becomes possessed and starts chanting along with the voices until an entity arrives to give her word on her next move. She is to save the other children on the plantation in a most chilling way.

In Caleb’s Stitches, children of the enslaved go missing, in Mind of Hope a girl witnesses the beating death of her mother and shooting of her father and is instructed by the ancestors on how to get revenge for her parents. And in Underground Hell Road the slaves have overtaken the plantation in an intelligent plan to create a portal to freedom. All of the stories involve the enslaved receiving guidance from the ancestors on how to strike back at those who hurt them.

I loved most the connection between the stories. Linking Barren Plantation and Caleb’s Stitches was brilliant and so was the connection between Slave Island and Pirates of Slavery. I would also love to see Underground Hell Road fleshed out into a full-length novel with elements of the other stories possibly weaved in. I love the idea of the plantation being a way for the slaves to transition their way to freedom and would love to read a full novel on the concept.

I loved least some of the familiarity between the names. In Caleb’s Stitches, it seems the Master and Mistress has the same name. I got confused between Masa Henry and Mistress Henry. I also found Caleb’s knowledge of the science she needed to do what she did a bit hard to believe. Caleb became an expert from reading Dr. Vulcavick’s research but I would think she would have needed a lot more training to successfully remove body parts and would have needed to know more than most of the words to comprehend the complexity of scientific research (which is different than recreational reading.) What she did with these body parts was hilarious though if I must say. You’ll have to read the book to find out more.

Southern Horror Stories is an easy and entertaining read that is not recommended for children (though with the author’s talent, I can easily see a PG version of the stories to help youth understand about the horrors of slavery). Lisa’s writing style is lovely and easy to understand.

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 4/5

Authenticity / Believable: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 4/5

Southern Horror Stories is Available Now on Amazon

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