Monday, February 25, 2013

Time Marches On


Please excuse any typos since it's very late, and my brain is fuzzy. Life is a bit crazy right now, and I'm having trouble sleeping. Okay, so the insomnia - that's really nothing new. But, since I have a lengthy to-do list posted on my desk to take care of for Monday, I'm taking advantage of the insomnia and trying to get a jump start on everything.

So, what's been going on with me? Last week, on Tuesday, I hurt my back. Heaven knows how I managed it, but I could barely crawl out of bed the next day, and it was a chore just to walk through the house. I am still sore as can be, and at times when I make a misstep, I'm left hobbling off to the nearest chair. It's frustrating and ridiculous.

Despite the pain and inconvenience of said backache, on Thursday, hubby and I went ahead and took care of our taxes. Thankfully, it all went smooth as silk. The lady got through it very quickly, and we were in and out of there in a little over an hour. Hubby and I went out for lunch afterwards. We went to Sonic since my back was killing me at that point, and that way I didn't have to get out of the car. All things considered, we were in good spirits when we got home. Then the phone rang. One of hubby's long time friends had passed away, and they were sharing the funeral information.

Friday was the funeral. Hubby went, and I stayed home on a heating pad. When hubby made it back, it was almost time for Mini to get home from school. We were ready to unwind for the weekend. My parents dropped by toward the end of the day to visit us, which was fun, and it seemed like things were finally settling down. Later that night, I wrote a few pages on a short story and revised part of another. That was pretty much my goal for the weekend - to write and revise.

On Saturday, my mom called to let us know my Great Aunt Helen had passed away. She was the last of her generation, and my grandfather's oldest sister. She called me a few times over the past few years, but it was mostly to try to draw me into the generations old family gossip that, I hate to say, is rather unspectacular in this day and age. My grandmother had been married before, and divorced, before she married my grandfather. Grandpa's mom didn't approve. Scandalous in the 40s. Today, who gives a flying fig. Yet, it caused a lot bad blood with the older generations, and the gossip-mongers and their brats made it a point to make my dad and his brother and sister miserable. What gets me is the family refuses to let this shit die with the elders.

Aunt Helen's death opened up a great bit batch of family drama, as you can probably imagine. Basically, it peeled the band-aid off a shoddily tended wound. I have no idea why it's even relevant anymore, but it's safe to say Dad and the rest of us out here in lake country won't be going to the funeral. It would just act as fuel for the last remaining family gossips, and now that I'm old enough to know how that family gossip chain works, I know I would not hold my tongue. Yes, I imagine the funeral would be disastrous. We're better off taking flowers to the grave site after it's all said and done.

Moving along.

I know, I know...this is all so very suited to a Mercury Retrograde, isn't it? Drama from the past, taxes, news revolving old friends. And writing stuff, too. I'm having to pick up old projects and take them forward. Mercury Retrograde is a time to rework, reconnect, or release. I guess that means my life cycle is right on track.

On the writing front, I been writing in the evenings, and recently turned in contracts on a new short story. I've been so stressed out lately it's been very hard to write, but I'm trying to plow through it. I need to get Twilight's Edge up on Smashwords - I'm working on the last story for that book. I swear to Christ it's one step forward, two steps back with this project - but it's getting there. I'm stoked by the progress made on this thing.

There are a few other projects I have to wrap up before summer starts, and I'm going to try to squeeze those in before March 18th. I'm registered to take a writing class, and that's when it starts. I'm trying to clear my plate in preparation, but...well, life keeps happening. I guess things will slow down once summer gets here. One can only hope!

That's all for now. It's almost 1:30 and I gotta get to bed. I have to be up bright and early to walk the dogs and get Mini ready for school. Until next time...keep writing.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Marbles for Brains


It's been a quiet weekend with just me and the hubby. Mini has been out on winter break since the 14th, and he decided to spend the holiday with my parents. We went over to their house on Friday for a Valentine's Day BBQ, and I packed a bag for him to stay a few days. Mom and Dad had something to do in town this afternoon, so they dropped by briefly, and the whole time they were here, Mini kept insisting that he was "just visiting". He definitely didn't want to lose that last day of vacation with grandma and grandpa.

After they went back home, hubby and I drove to the store for cat food and sinus/allergy pills. I'm still on high powered antibiotics, trying to get rid of this sinus/bronchial crud that I can't seem to kick. I swear I can feel the junk rolling around in my head like a bag of marbles. When I lie down on one side, it all drains to that side and makes my ear hurt. If I turn over on the other side, it drains again and does the same thing. I'll be so glad when this stuff has cleared up. As it is, I can barely hear. But I digress... 

While at the store, hubby picked up a copy of Skyfall, so tonight we're all kicked back, watching movies, writing, chomping on potato chips, and reading. Just lounging around and being our lazy selves, which is kind of nice (okay, it's very nice) since everything has been so utterly craptastic and stressful lately.

Sometime this coming week, we have to do our taxes. That'll result in more great news, I'm sure, but it has to be done. Honestly, for better or worse, I'd rather it be done sooner than later. I don't want to think about it a day longer than I have to. 

There is one positive thing about tax time this year, though. I'll be able to take a few print books with me while having my taxes done. The ladies that work there know I write, and what I write, and they're always curious about my work. Every year they get on Amazon while I'm in the office, and they look up my latest books. Hilarious fun. They're so sweet, and they're always asking me if I have anything in paperback, so I'm going to take a few anthologies with me, stuff I have stories in. That way they can flip through the books in person. So yeah, I'm kinda bringing the bookstore to the tax ladies. Go me.

Speaking of books, I'm currently reading All Grown Up by Janice Maynard. It's a Harlequin Desire for January 2013. I've been so busy lately I haven't made it all the way through the January set yet. Anyway, I love her books. Her writing is crisp and tight - a total joy to read. She's one of my auto-buy authors, and an author worth aspiring to. I always learn something new about the craft when I read her books. 

That's enough jabber and fan girl crushing for now. I'm about to grab a cuppa tea and crack open my wip to work on it for a while. Wishing you a pleasant week ahead!  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Lit Pop #3

Inspiration for your Friday






"The problem with doing nothing is not knowing when you are finished." - Nelson DeMille

"Write every day. Don't ever stop. If you are unpublished, enjoy the act of writing - and if you are published, keep enjoying the act of writing. Don't become self-satisfied, don't stop moving ahead, growing, making it new. The stakes are high. Why else would we write?" - Rick Bass


“I feel as if my characters know who they are, and what happens to them, and where they have been and where they will go, and what they are capable of doing, but they need me to write it down for them because their handwriting is so bad.” - from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

"The first draft of anything is shit." - Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kisses and Candy


May your Valentine's Day be filled with kisses, snuggles, cozy nights, sweet smiles, and warm fuzzy feelings. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life Happens :: Writers Write



General update: I'm behind on everything

I wish that was a joke. Life is a train wreck right now. Since it's really out of my hands, I've popped a bag of popcorn and I'm sitting here watching the cars pile up. Let fate take it where it will.  I need to write to everyone this afternoon and let them know whatever I was supposed to send this week - it will be late. Guaranteed. 

Mini has been sick for the past few days, and of course, any crud he catches I end up with it, too. Thankfully, he has winter break starting tomorrow. I didn't want him to miss a bunch of days right before the holiday, because he'd be really out of the loop when school starts again. Too, it sucks when he has a ton of makeup work to do. That's always über stressful, and I tell you, I am done with stress. Consider that card torn to shreds and tossed to the wind. I'll have no more of that, thanks.

Mini missed Monday, but I made him go on in after that since he wasn't running a fever. I basically kept him under a vaporizer, filled him chock full of vitamins, kiddie cold meds, Sunny D and whatever food I can get him to eat. Then Tuesday morning, I put him on the bus. Poor beast. It had to be done. After today, he'll have time to lie around and be a slug - which is what I feel like doing, but I can't because there's too much to do. As it stands, I'm so congested I can barely hear

When he made it home from school yesterday he was feeling sluggish, so after a ton of make up work we lounged around until dinner time playing computer games over at the Math Playground. (His favorite game is called Sugar, Sugar - a weird logic game where you try to pour grains of sugar into cups. Sometimes you have to reverse gravity and such to make it work. We couldn't get past level 19, but I digress...) 

Today, I think he's finally starting to feel better. Or at least he was jazzed to be going back to class. He got a haircut last night he's happy with and wants to show to his friends, plus today is the class V-Day party. It's good he had something fun to look forward to. Confession: I didn't remember his valentines until 1 in the morning, so I sat in here at my desk filling out Angry Birds valentine cards until the crack of dawn when I should have been writing. 

Speaking of writing, I'm in the process of revising an erotica short. The story isn't at all complicated, but it's taking me for.ev.er to whittle through it. I just can't seem to tap into the character. I mean, it's all there, I just - I don't know. 

I think I'm not feeling it because I'm tired and...well, sick. It's pretty much the same reaction with a romance novel by one of my favorite authors. I've been trying to read it since Sunday, but I'm just out of it. I'm not feeling it at all. I've read the back half of chapter three several times, and I'm still not connecting with the story or characters. Blah. I really think it's me, and not the stories. All I want to do is crawl under a blanket and sleep for a few days.

Anyway, that's my task for the moment...to machete my way through the tangled thorns of this story. I have until the weekend, and won't be working on anything else until this one is done. Afterwards, lots of tea, Nyquil, and sleep.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adventures in Self-Publishing - Pt. 4

From my keeper shelf, Go Publish Yourself: Quick
and Dirty Tips for Successful Self Publishing

by Katie Salidas
I meant to post this last Friday, but life happened. Since the resource section is mainly going to be a list of links, there are just a couple of things about book covers I want to touch on before I close out this series of blog posts.

Book Covers

I recently saw a tweet (I can't remember who tweeted it, sorry!) that said, along these lines... Basically, a the cover is the first impression your audience will have of your book. If you can place your book beside a NY published book, and you can tell the difference based on the cover quality, you need a new cover. 

I've gone back through my twitter three or four times, and I can't find the source. I want to say it's a quote from an editorial service, but I'm not 100% sure. At any rate, I tend to agree with them.

I know, I know...Cora, don't judge a book by it's cover. The thing is, we all do it at some point. I do it every time I go into a bookstore. Or browse on Kindle. I'm drawn to a pretty cover, and I know I'm not the only person to impulse buy based on cover and blurb alone.

There are so many awesome places to buy book covers online. A very close friend of mine once paid $1200 for a custom, painted book cover "package". I nearly fainted when she told me that. It was a nice cover, but not $1200 nice. In my personal opinion, there is no need to pay that much for a book cover. You shouldn't have to pay even half that price for a basic cover.You can buy affordable book covers that are (and look) professionally made for roughly $20-$100 USD.

Sometimes covers cost a little more if you want a print, wrap-around cover with decorated spine and an ISBN space, but I've seen nice packages for those covers for around $75.00 USD.  Google is your friend. It's worth it to research prices. It could save you from getting ripped off.

Another thing to consider - if you know how to use Photoshop, Paint.net, The Gimp, or any other kind of photo/art program, you can potentially make your own covers for basically the cost of the stock photos.

Two of my favorite websites for beautiful, affordable custom and pre-made book covers are Razzle Dazzle Designs and Wicked Cover Designs. I do not get compensation of any kind for recommending them. I mention them because have bought covers from both sites. The covers were beautifully done and cost me less than $50 each.

My Favorite Self-Publishing Resources - Books, Podcasts, Web, etc.


Before I start making lists... Every self-publishing hub that I know of - Smashwords, Kindle Direct, CreateSpace, etc. gives away a free ebook how-to guide on how to use their publishing platform with tips for formatting, etc. For example: Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing. Smashwords has a similar guide that is suited to their site.

Self-Publishing Reference Books (Cora's Picks)


Reference and Self-Publishing Help Websites

  • Shelley Hitz also runs a website called Self-Publishing Coach. She is the author of Self Publishing Books 101. There's some really good information on her site, as well as videos, articles, and book templates.
  • Joanna Penn's The Creative Penn - my favorite Self-Publishing help website. She has text articles, audio articles and podcasts, and a free YouTube channel. Her website is a veritable gold mine for self-publishing information.
  • Dean Wesley Smith is a prolific writer and his website is chock full of brilliant writerly information. Not to be missed. 
Of course there are dozens of other websites, reference books, design sites, etc. out there. These are my favorites as far as content, layout, ease of use, and simply based on what I've learned from them. 

As I've said in past posts, I don't think there is one "right way" to self-publish. It depends on what your goals are and what you hope to get out of your personal self-publishing experience. Considering all the cost-effective options available to us writers, there has never been a better time to self-publish. I firmly believe that. So write boldly and publish yourself. I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Smoke Free Saturday

Happy No-Smoking Anniversary to me. On this day thirteen years ago, I quit smoking. Without a doubt, one of the best decisions I've ever made. I'm thankful every day I'm not wandering around in perpetual need of a cigarette. Or smoking myself to death at my desk while writing.

To everyone out there in the process of quitting, or thinking about quitting, I'm behind you 100 percent. Stay strong. Be determined. Hang in there!

Today's photo is by C. Teber. You can see more of his work by clicking this link to his stock.xchng profile. 

Friday, February 08, 2013

Friday Lit Pop #2 : The Illustrated Man

I once owned a copy of Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man - a story that has been very influential for me over the years. I bought a copy of the book at a library sale in the small town where I currently live. Even at the time, way back in 1992 or 1993, I thought that was an unusual book to find in a small town library toss-bin. 

I had watched the movie adaptation a few years before and knew what the book was about. I'm glad I read it. Not only did the writing seem impeccable,  based on what I remember, the adaptation didn't hold a candle to the real deal. 

At the same library sale, I also bought a copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes (and other tales). Both books were small, paperback-sized hardbound library editions. I wish I knew what happened to them. 

The Illustrated Man is a compelling book with fascinating characters that still haunt me to this day. I'd love to reread it now that I know a little more about writing than I did back then. I imagine I could glean plenty from the experience. 

Click here for a link to the movie edition on BN.com.

"You only fail if you stop writing." - Ray Bradbury

"In life and in fiction, when people act in ways that are unusual, unexpected, dramatic, decisive, full of consequence and are irreversible, we remember them and talk about them for years." - Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel

"If there is a book you want to read, but it has not been written yet, then you must be the one to write it." - Toni Morrison


"If I see an ending, I can work backward." - Arthur Miller


"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

Monday, February 04, 2013

Wishing and Hoping and Writing and Blogging

Writing, writing, writing. That's been my goal lately, upping my output. So far so good.

Last night I finished the re-draft of a story that has been giving me a headache for more than six months. This is the third incarnation of the beast, and it's finally...well, I was going to say finished, but no. Isn't there always more work to be done?

I don't hate this version. That would be the accurate thing to say - the truthful thing. I think that's why this version went down on the page so easily. I started from scratch, reworked my characters, my setting, the whole yarn, and almost as soon as I started writing it, the draft was done. That rarely ever happens for me. Magical story fairy, I thank you. Feel free to come sit on my shoulder again any time.

What a relief to have that bugbear out from under the writing desk. That poor story basically underwent life saving surgery while on the scrap heap. Every organ has been removed, rebuilt, and replaced. A tedious effort, but I'm happy with the results. I actually like the flow of the story now. The plot is linear and the protagonist's desire is direct, but the backdrop has a very soft, dreamy quality. The theme, the tone, and the characters all mesh together very well. The puzzle pieces fit.

Now that I have a crisp, fresh, non-suckity draft in my hands, I feel better about scrapping the other two versions. Of course I still need to clean up this new version and give it a few editorial passes, but the story is back from the dead. It's resting comfortably in recovery, stitched and bruised, but alive and breathing and healing nicely.

Tonight I'll be back in the writing cave, straightening sentences and adding a new layer to the story in recovery. Sort of post-op care before I begin revising. Then I need to pick up another project I've been working on and make a pass through it. I haven't met the minimum required word count on that one yet.

Nothing else to report at the moment. I'm sitting on a few pieces of good news. I'll share them when I can. Hopefully soon! Until next time...happy writing. ♥

Saturday, February 02, 2013

SassiePup Saturday

Snoozing on my lap while I write.

Romping outside at Grandma's house.
Beloved desk gremlin.
SassiePup, content editor.

Pretty girl. What big green eyes you have!
My adorable munchkin.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Friday Lit Pop

Writerly inspiration for Friday

Meme Image Source: Facebook, courtesy of Grammarly.com

Verbal fluency is the product of hours spent writing about nothing, just as musical fluency is the product of hours spent repeating scales. - Stanley Fish, How to Write a Sentence


"We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down." - Kurt Vonnegut


"Forgiveness is the fragrance a violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." - Mark Twain


"The beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken." - Plato

Adventures in Self-Publishing - Pt. 3

Happy Friday, everyone! Last weekend was my husband's 40th birthday, so I took a few days off to focus on my family. This week has been spent mostly playing catch up on things I put off last week. I've also been wrapping up a couple of small writing projects and sending out submissions. 

I try to steadily submit new material, but it's difficult when you want to create projects to publish yourself, as well as continue to write to spec for a particular publisher or editor. Naturally, when you have to turn in material while on a deadline, the deadline piece takes top priority over your other projects. That's common sense, right? 

Even as recently as a few months ago, I've had to put self-publishing projects I love on the back burner to finish deadline pieces, and if I've learned anything from that, it's that it's easy to lose the spark you felt for a set of characters or a particular story when you have to set it aside for weeks or months at a time. 


Building a Writing Plan


I've been working on ways to combat that kind of story hopping and writer's fatigue without sacrificing the quality of my work. But building a writing plan has to work within the scope of the way I write. I know there are things about myself as a writer, certain habits and processes I have, that keep my writing flow going. I don't want to radically change my good writing habits to the point that I no longer feel comfortable when I face a blank page. However, I do want to implement changes that boost my productivity.

I consider myself a slow writer. My target word count is roughly 1000 words per day, although it's not unusual for me to go over that count by anywhere from 500-1500 words. That's a comfortable range for me. I tend to stick with that, unless I'm on a very tight deadline. 

I write several drafts per story, and I don't see myself changing that. And another thing that I don't think I could change is the amount of prewriting I do per story. At the very least, I do a full week's worth of story research before I dive in and start writing any story. Otherwise, I'll sit and stare at a blank page. And since I know that's what it takes for me to get a story going, I'm usually writing on one project while doing research on a completely different project. That way, I can take a break between stories to rest, and my research is waiting for me when I pick up the pen again and I'm ready to focus on my "new project". 

Backtracking a bit to drafting... I normally write two full drafts for every project, but I have written as many as four drafts before deciding a story was ready to send out. And I tend to make more passes over a story I plan to publish on my own. I know that if I do less than two thorough drafts on any project, I'm going to have a mess on my hands. I'll find a ton of typos and problems that will eat me alive in revisions later. Anyway, these are some of my die-hard habits, and instead of trying to break them, I'm trying to work with what I know. 

As part of my 2013 New Year's resolution, I set a goal to be more productive. To write more and publish more. I want to increase my output as well as wrap up self-publishing projects that have been waiting in the wings for my undivided attention. And I'd like to have a comfortable amount of time to do this without it carving into the time I set aside for writing material I plan to send out to traditional and digital publishers. 

To accomplish this, I've known from the outset I'd have to build a solid writing plan.

Word Counting and Yearly Goals


Until this year, I have always looked at my writing goals as how many words do I need per day to finish a project. How many days will it take to meet my minimum word count goal? When I'm working on a tight time frame, that's what I do. But after I submit a project, I often end up with a time gap between submissions. I've noticed this same phenomenon with my self-published work. So, I've set out to close that time gap.

I'm a huge fan of Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. She is a popular self-published author and I highly recommend anyone interested in self-publishing to go to her site and read her blog posts and watch her videos. Speaking of videos, she posted a video on her Youtube Channel about building a production schedule for creating a daily writing habit. This is a brand new video she added just yesterday. I highly recommend it. 

A writing buddy gave me my first monthly planner in 2006. At first, I didn't know what to do with it, but I gradually made a habit of using one for writing. I primarily use a monthly planner to record important dates, meetings, classes and workshops, but in some cases, when I'm on a very tight deadline, I use it to map my writing goals. However, I admit, that I've never been very faithful in logging my word counts for every story. At least, until now. That's something I've changed this year. I'll tell you why in a minute.




I know, I know...I've posted this picture before, but the skinny book on the bottom of the stack is my 2013 monthly planner. I'm posting the picture again in case anyone wanted to see what kind of planner I use. It's just a cheap calendar style planner that I picked up at a discount store. It cost $1.00 plus tax, brand new. You can get similar planners at Target, Walmart, Family Dollar, Staples, Dollar Tree, Fred's, Office Depot, Dollar General... all those places carry planners for under $5.00. 

Again, I admit in the past I have never really been faithful in using a planner to map my daily output.  But, that has changed this year. I stumbled across a fabulous series of articles over at www.DeanWesleySmith.com  about How to Keep Your Production Going All Year. He is quite a prolific author, and he's different because talks about the merits of determining how many words you want to write in a year. 

That is a completely new concept for me, but if you read his articles (it's easy to go spend hours going through the articles on his blog!), he gives you his personal formula for creating a reasonable daily word count to actually meet your yearly writing goals. It's brilliant. If you're serious about self-publishing, or you simply want to increase your productivity, I highly recommend paying his website a visit.

The idea is to map out your yearly goal and spend 80% of your writing time putting new words on the page. I'm still working on this myself, but this has become my new writing plan. 

By changing my habits and thinking on a yearly scale instead of focusing solely on time spent project by project, I'm seeing a nice change in my writing output. It's very encouraging.

Targeting Your Readership


Self-publishing allows us to publish stories that push the boundaries of genre. That's a wonderful thing, but at the same time, it's a good idea to keep in mind who your target audience is going to be for your self-published book even while you're still writing it. Even though you have more freedom to write the book of your dreams, if you plan to upload your finished product onto a website like Smashwords or Amazon, you've going to have to select a genre for your book so they can categorize it on their website.

Who do you envision buying your book?


I have friends who write "slipstream", or cross-genre, fiction. I've also sold a few slipstream short stories myself, and I speak from experience that cross-genre stories are much harder to sell no matter how you publish them. Editors have a hard time placing them within the most common marketing categories, they are harder to promote, and I've noticed that some readers are reluctant to give cross-genre books a second glance. Most readers have a few select genres they like, or even one dedicated genre they tend to gravitate toward.

Be discerning about how you want your book categorized. Think about where you'd want your book shelved digitally, or in a bookstore. If people can't find your book, they can't buy it.

I think we've all been through that annoying incident at the bookstore, where you pick up a book based on the title on the spine, or the cover, and once you read the back blurb, you wonder how that book ended up being shelved in that particular area. For example, a zombie horror novel being shelved in the sci-fi section. Or a fantasy with the barest traces of romantic elements being shelved in the romance section. It's just my opinion, but it seems to me you're far more likely to lose a sale that way than to gain one. Categorize your books where your readers are going to be browsing.

When choosing a category, it's also helpful to take a good look at who you imagine picking up your book and actually buying it.

TIP: This is more or less for beginning writers who plan to self-publish. You may have elements in your story that would appeal to romance readers, or sci-fi fans, or people who like stories about mermaids, but if you're writing a fantasy battle epic, you want to shelve your book in the fantasy section. Realistically, fantasy readers are most likely to be the readership looking for your type of book. Not romance readers. Not sci-fi readers. If you're writing a cross-genre YA - categorize it as a YA. When in doubt, pick the dominant genre. Most readers are looking to buy a book that is a specific genre written to appeal to a specific readership. It's the writer's job to know what genre their book is, and who it's targeted to. That may sound obvious, but I've been to book fairs where people have attempted to sell me their self-published book, when they themselves have struggled to classify what kind of story they're selling.   

If you're uncertain where your book might be shelved in a bookstore, try to figure out who makes up your primary readership. If your book is likely to be read by erotica readers, resist the temptation to slip it into the romance section because romance sells well. Put it where people who read erotica will go to look for it - in the erotica section. You're more likely to make sales that way, and by marketing it in a way that is true to the dominant genre, that will also help you avoid getting bad reviews by people who picked up your book by mistake because it was inappropriately shelved.

The same thing goes for book covers. Be genre appropriate. Readers have expectations. Before paying someone to make your cover, or before you buy stock art to make your own, I highly recommend browsing the bookstore. You can even do that online. Look at the covers in your genre, particularly the best sellers, and take notes on what catches your eye. Whatever you decide on cover-art wise, be true to your genre. A bookcover is often a reader's first impression of your book. And you know what they say about first impressions.

That's all for now. If you're interested in hearing more about my personal take on self-publishing, look for Adventures in Self-Publishing - Pt. 4 next week. I'll be talking more about book covers and promotion, and I'll be linking to more of my favorite books, videos, and websites on self-publishing. 

Until next time, happy writing!