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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Author Insight: Outside Author Control (and giveaway)

What behind-the-scenes process that authors don't usually have a hand in but affects how your novel is represented, such as audiobook narration, cover design or marketing, scares you most?

"Cover design. I’ve had a great cover, a couple of mediocre covers and a flat-out abomination and I can tell you that only one of them has driven any buzz for a book, and it isn’t the abomination." - Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen.

"The whole publishing process is scary because it is out of your control. You can only write the best book you have in you and hope everything else falls into place." - Lenore Appelhans, author of Level 2.

"Just this question is scaring me! I actually refuse to think about any of this stuff. You have to trust your editor and your marketing team otherwise you’ll just go nuts. I try to do my job, let them do theirs." - Lili Peloquin, author of The Innocents

"The cover of a book is considered part of its marketing, but it's also clearly part of the book's content, and can influence who reads you, and how they read you. When I was a kid, if I bought a book by an author I loved, I would tear off the cover and throw it away if I didn't like it. Seeing a bad cover deeply affected my reading experience." - Steven Arntson, author of The Wrap-Up List.

"Definitely cover design. I'm not very artistic, and so I find it hard to give suggestions, but I know what I like and don't like, and it's just hard when you have a different vision for your book than others. Like, if it'd been up to me, I would have chosen something different for Falling For You. I'm a little worried the sexy cover will scare readers away who don't want to read a romance, because there is a lot more going on than just romance. But a lot of people love it, so what do I know? I decided I had to let it go and hope that what's inside is what people will talk about." - Lisa Schroeder, author of Falling for You

"Promotion is the thing that concerns me the most. You can write a book, but if nobody reads it, what’s the point? There’s a lot about the promotion process—how much effort a publisher is putting into your particular book, the budget they’ve committed, how far they’re willing to go to make it a success, the creativity they apply in sharing the book with readers—that you have no power over as an author.  While I absolutely believe that readers can discover and champion a book, the book has to get in front of them. That's why book bloggers are so important. They have a direct connection to readers and they're (mostly) independent, so I think readers trust them. Their passion inspires me." - Allen Zadoff, author of Since You Left Me.

"The scariest aspect for me was the fact checking. With a book set primarily in the Elizabethan era, getting the facts right was essential. My editors for Kissing Shakespeare raised all sorts of questions, which forced me to recheck sources. In one instance, the original detail I was checking turned out to be correct, but in reviewing that section of the book, I discovered other things that were wrong. These were minor…but a major mistake could have a domino effect." - Pamela Mingle, author of Kissing Shakespeare.

"Probably cover design because it really is your first chance to connect with a reader in the store. I think some authors get attached to the idea of what they envision as their dream cover, but covers really aren't about the author. They are a marketing tool to connect the right reader with the right book." - Kathleen Peacock, author of Hemlock.

"Cover design. My day job is in a bookstore, so I have a firsthand view of what works and what doesn't. When I'm writing, I have a very clear idea of what I think best suits the story and I worry that my publisher won't share my vision." - Trish Doller, author of Something Like Normal

"Marketing by a long way. Cover design and back-cover copy are important for catching the casual eye, but I honestly don't think many people go into bookstores without _some_ pre-existing idea of what they want to buy that day. Word-of-mouth recommendations are the breath of life for authors, and marketing plays a big role in generating that initial interest." - Helen Keeble, autor of Fang Girl

) "Cover design always scares me the most, but my editor is a strong advocate and my publisher has always done a beautiful job with my covers--so I don't know why I worry about it so much. Titles also drive me up a wall. I have to have the right title to write a story. I absolutely cannot begin a book without a title I love, which is usually my theme to write to, but when I submit the book, the title always gets changed. Always. Seriously. I think Exposed is the only title I ever got to keep outside my first book, Fat Tuesday. It always takes me years to warm up to the new title, and sometimes, in an act of utter rebellion, I never change the file name on my computer.

I haven't worried much about audiobook narration, but I am worrying about it some with Freaks Like Us, because getting Jason's voices right (and realistically so) will make or break the piece when it's read aloud. I think Audible will do a good job with that, though." - Susan Vaught, author of Freaks Like Us

Stop by Tuesday to learn what behind-the-scenes publishing process is most frightening for the rest of the authors. 
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  1. I think I would be most worried about the cover design. I think I would fight for mid series cover changes and not allow it to happen.

  2. Covers are the first thing I notice but the blurb is what will hook me in. This is important especially when it comes to authors who are new to me. If I am familiar with the author, an okay cover or blurb may still be enough for me to read it.

  3. This is a great post!
    Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway too!

    When I'm shopping for a book, the cover and back blurb is definitely important! Although, I can see why marketing would be a bit nerve racking.

  4. Haha I love Steven Arntson's answer! I can't imagine actually ripping off the cover of a book because I didn't like it.