Tag Archives: publishing

I Sold My Baby

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)My father always told me, “Be nice to the people you meet on your way up the ladder because you’ll probably be meeting them again on the way back down.”

I don’t think of myself as having very many enemies, but there are certainly people in this world I haven’t gotten along with all that well. But one of them appeared out of my past and offered me a job. A writing job for which I could potentially get paid a nice chunk of actual money. So whatever our past relationship she’d either decided to ignore it or had forgotten it. And I decided I couldn’t look a writing income gift horse in the mouth.

The job was something I’ve never done. Ghostwriting a Christmas novella for a well-known author. Make that two things I’ve never done. No wait. Three. Not only have I never done any ghostwriting, I’ve never written a novella or a Christmas-themed story either.ghost-1124534_640

There’s a tight deadline but there’s money dangling at the end of it. If I’m a writer I should be able to write an assigned piece. Worst case scenario? I don’t finish the project or it’s rejected by the publisher. And I don’t get any money for my efforts.

I have nothing to lose except the time I spend writing. I start the story before I sign the contract after  lifting an idea from a book I’d been working on and tweaking it. And then tweaking it some more.

I keep my eye on the word count and tell my husband when he asks how it’s coming, “I just keep making shit up.”

adorable-71031_640Meanwhile I grapple with the idea that I’m selling a little piece of my soul by selling my baby. Giving it up for adoption as it were and no would ever know I created it. If I told, I’d be violating the confidentiality clause in the contract. Then I remembered that everyone I ever came into contact with in the writing world said, “Publishing is a business.” I created a product and sold it to a buyer. Nothing more than that.

I’d been told the hardest thing would be copying the author’s voice. I read a few of the author’s (I assume also ghostwritten) previously published novellas. I couldn’t detect any specific voice and (of course) I thought my story was so much better.

I told myself not to get attached to my story no matter how cute it was. Or to the characters no matter how adorable they were together. Because I was going to sell my little baby and no one was ever going to know this baby was mine.hang-tags-234566_1280I’m told I picked up on the style and simplicity but nothing was said about voice. If my baby is rejected, I’ll happily take it back, put my name on it and let you read it.

But that didn’t happen. My baby was a keeper and the check’s in the bank. You might read the Christmas novella I wrote. But some other author adopted it and gave it her name.

#ghostwriting #baby #sale


Loss of Enthusiasm

Why haven’t I posted anything here since August 31st? Because I haven’t felt like it. Luckily, that last post was all prepped and ready to go because I was in no mood to write anything new. Why, you may ask?

img_5369First of all, after my lovely birthday trip to New Hampshire, I arrived home and promptly got sick. I spent one entire Sunday afternoon doing nothing but sneezing and blowing my nose. Seriously. My husband gave up with the “Bless yous” after about the first hundred sneezes. How much snot can your sinuses hold anyway? Or does it just keep regenerating?

I showed up for work and slogged through my shifts and did little else except sleep and be miserable. I literally never–ok, very rarely–get sick and I am a terrible patient.

mattbirthdayMaybe I was a little down after my trip, too, where I got the lovely surprise of my son and daughter-in-law being there to surprise me. I needed a vacation and having my family around for days was the best present I could have. But then it’s over and it’s back to my regular life. Sigh.

Writing? What can I say? I’ve sort of lost my enthusiasm. That began when earlier this year Samhain Publishing announced it was winding down its business. Just as (I thought) I was starting to build some momentum. Bangs head against wall. Months later Samhain announced it was staying in business. Bangs head even harder against wall. Then the person who’d been helping me with my web site and marketing simply disappeared. Doesn’t return calls. Ignores emails and texts. I have no idea why. Meanwhile I have a complete, edited manuscript with no cover and no blurb and no marketing plan and no interest in creating any of it.

Sometimes it’s just a lot of things happening in sequence that can throw you off your game. Envision me sitting here pouting, arms across my chest, lower lip thrust out with the caption, “I don’t want to play any more” above my head.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill.

“Failure consists of going to failure to failure with loss of enthusiasm.” –Barbara Meyers

I may have temporarily lost my enthusiasm but as I write this I’m waiting to see what my cover artist comes up with, finalizing my blurb, and finishing some minor editing on– heres’ the ironic twist–my romantic comedy, CLEO’S WEB. I’m sure my enthusiasm is lurking around here somewhere. Eventually I’ll find it.

#enthusiasm #success #failure

Sunday Morning Musings: What Makes You Feel Good?

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)Sometimes bad thoughts and memories roll around in my head and get stuck there. I tell myself, “Stop thinking about that!” But it’s hard.

I’m going to start a “Feel Good” file so I can counteract the bad stuff. This will be like my “Success File” which is work-related where I keep every review, mug award card, note or anything else I receive that is positive reinforcement.

Good things do happen. We just tend to easily forget them for some reason.

I scanned back through years of my blog posts the other day and I found this entry from November 2011:

I also got probably the best rejection letter I’ve ever received from an editor which I’m sharing in part, although I won’t mention the name of the editor or the publishing house: 

I finished Scattered Moments and very much enjoyed the story. It’s compelling, very well written, as all your stories are, but…There is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing or the characters or the storyline,  Barb, especially since I was engrossed enough to finish it in one sitting…it seems…not the right publisher for this story. 

I sincerely hope you can find a home for Scattered Moments. This story just reinforces for me what an amazing writing talent you have.

scatteredmoments_thumbBasically, this particular house doesn’t publish this kind of book, but I found a home for the story.  Barbara Meyers, LLC. 

This is good because Scattered Moments is a book I constantly question myself about. It wasn’t professionally edited which I (now) consider a mistake. I ask myself if I should have waited to publish it myself. Should I have proofread it one more time?

But at booksignings, it’s the book that gets picked up and purchased most often. Readers have positive things to say about it. Maybe a nice fat “Feel Good” file will make me stop second-guessing myself.

#writing #success



Baring The Soul

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)My husband asks what’s wrong when I fall on my face on my bed. Yesterday we had a brief discussion when I pointed out this irony to him: As quoted in Sunday’s newspaper article about me in the Lakeland (Florida) Ledger, I used to look at all my unpublished manuscripts and ask myself, “Why are you doing this if you aren’t going to get any of them published?” Which pushed me to pursue finding a publisher. But now I ask myself, “Why do you pursue publishing when your books don’t sell?”

Bill’s reply was, “Because you enjoy it? Because it gives you something to do? Plus,” (said jokingly) “we need the tax deductions?”

Today, however, sadness and disappointment reign. Every time I feel like I’m getting somewhere I fall further and further behind. That newspaper article was GREAT! I am so thrilled with it. The pictures I worried about because I’m not very photogenic were good. Maybe I can get some mileage, some followers, some fans, some buyers of my books out of this! Or…maybe not.

Already, because my publisher is struggling, and may go out of business, my print books are disappearing from book buying sites. Realistically, how many people who even read that article are going to turn around and go look for my books and buy one? Tell their friends? Write a glowing review?

My friend has designed some beautiful bookmarks for me. I have a booksigning event coming up May 1st. Now I’m wondering, should we take my publisher’s name off of them? Good thing we haven’t printed them yet.

I always get discouraged when books I’ve read that I didn’t think were that great (I know, I know, mine is just one subjective opinion) get glowing reviews and are nominated for prizes. My inner child cries, “But what about me? How come no one likes my books?”

My books still haven’t found an audience. Bill says, “Who’s your audience?” I know it’s not people my daughter’s age or younger. It’s people my age. If only I could get a good write-up in AARP magazine, I’d be set.

Bill’s right in that I enjoy writing, but I only enjoy the creative part of it. I hate all the administrative detail part of it. He says then just do the creative part. Yeah, well, if that’s all I do, I’ll once again be surrounded by unpublished manuscripts.

He says, “Barbara, people who lack any real talent are applauded by today’s society. They turn into celebrities but have never really done anything. Then they “write” books that are garbage. And you know they had ghost-writers. So you just have to keep writing the best books you can write. And let all this other stuff go.”

Yes. I know that. I’d like to do that. I should do that. Because all that other stuff gets into my head and I forget that writing the best books I can write is what I set out to do in the first place. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else is doing. I’m only competing with myself.

#amwriting #publishing #books


Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit that I started this book over twenty years ago. But I’m not. I didn’t date anything when I first started writing it, so I’m not exactly certain of the date, but it was the mid-nineties. I have a copy of a Parade magazine dated February 25, 1996 in my file. I kept it because John Gotti was on the cover and the connected article asked, “Who Is The Mob Today?”20150920_124726

Rule Number One: Date everything and keep everything.

Sub-Rule Number One: Back up everything and when technology changes, back it up again.

A lot of the original manuscript is handwritten on legal pads. The original title was Mike’s Love. Because the heroine’s name was Michelle, but she was a tomboy called Mike by her older brother Tony. Tony’s best friend, the hero of the book, was named Shane. (Gag me.) Tony got to keep his name. He turned into Tony Fontana, a name I lifted from one of my son’s friends.

I have more handwritten notes dating from 2003, 2004 and 2009. An excellent but undated critique from my writer friend Sandy which I kept because she outlined the problems she saw with the manuscript and made suggestions. Some of her encouraging comments: “I love your set-up…It may be my subjective opinion, but I have never read any romance author who writes better sex scenes than you.” And the problems as she saw them: “You have two separate stories going on here…Your romantic conflict is resolved before it gets started.” Sandy is the one who also sent me Debra Dixon’s book, GOAL, MOTIVATION AND CONFLICT. Because for a long time, even though I was writing steadily, I truly did not understand these essentials of a good story.20150920_124939

I never give up on a manuscript. You can take that to the bank. I have proven to myself and to my publisher, that my early ideas worked. The execution, however, took time. A MONTH FROM MIAMI and NOBODY’S FOOL were both “manuscripts under the bed.” They both sold ten or so years after I started them.

Rule Number Two: Never give up on a story idea you believe in.

20150920_125028FANTASY MAN went through several metamorphoses along the way, but the original idea stayed the same as does the opening scene. One of the big things I did was change the names of the protaganists. My friend Nick has a sister named Quinn, although she spells it differently. I wanted something different for the hero. He was never a “Shane.” I Googled baby names and played around with them and can’t quite recall the process, but the name Reif fit him.

Rule Number Three: If something’s not working in your story, it might be the names of your characters.

I kept working on FANTASY MAN and I submitted it to the same editor at the same time I sent him NOBODY’S FOOL. He turned FANTASY MAN down but he kindly explained what didn’t work for him. He didn’t ask me to revise and resubmit, but I revised anyway based on his suggestions (because he was right) and asked him if he wanted to see it again. If he said no, I planned to send it elsewhere. Because I was confident I could sell it.

He looked at the revised synopsis and offered a contract.

Rule Number Four: If an editor is generous enough to tell you why a submission didn’t work for him, use that information to improve your manuscript.

Rule Number Five: Give that editor an opportunity to look at the revised manuscript (realizing he may not want to). Also realize that same editor may regret offering you a contract!

My editor at Samhain Publishing is Noah Chinn. I think he was surprised at how much work was left to be done on FANTASY MAN, since he offered a contract based on the revised synopsis. But since he hadn’t offered a revise and resubmit to begin with, he put his head down and went to work. I ended up with nine pages of notes about what needed to be done on the first round of edits.

This was discouraging. I’d lost count of how many times I had pulled this one out from under the bed and worked on it at this point. Now I realized I’d have to rewrite about a third of the book. But a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. So I put my head down and went to work. For a solid week, my every waking available moment was spent on revisions. Until I just couldn’t look at it any more. To make matters worse, some of the track changes did not come through for me, so I was looking at sections where Noah had made suggested changes with no idea how they got there or what had been changed.

Second round edits went more smoothly, but there was still a lot that needed work, including the ending.

During the editing process I repeated my mantra which I lifted from a Writer’s Digest article years ago: “Want-to-be writers admit defeat easily. Successful writers never give up.”

Rule Number Six: When you find a good editor who is willing to work to make your book the best it can be LISTEN TO HIM and thank your lucky stars he found you.

How did FANTASY MAN get published? I had a story idea. I wrote it down. Then I rewrote it and rewrote it and rewrote it. It got rejected by an editor but I took his advice and revised it yet again. He offered me a contract and then WE revised two more times. You be the judge of the end result.

Fantasy Man releases February 2016 from Samhain Publishing

And The Universe Conspires

universe-backgrounds-51Oprah Winfrey has famously said, “I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.

Well, what I think about constantly is getting my books published so that I can get them in front of a reading audience who will appreciate them. Those readers will then post rave reviews so even more appreciative readers will buy them, read them, love them, post more reviews and that will lead to more sales. And pretty soon I’ll have what I wanted since I started writing about a hundred years ago: an income from book sales that will pay for more than my monthly phone bill. Ideally, I’d also be on bestseller lists around the world, my books will be made into movies, and everyone will think I’m wonderfully talented. (Although to that small number who always has, THANK YOU!)

For the past six months or so, I have been a little discouraged with the path my writing career has taken. (You have no idea what it took for me to not put “career” in quotes just then.) I’m published, yes, and not just on my own. There is an actual real life publishing house out there and an editor who sees something worthwhile and keeps offering me contracts. For that I am deeply grateful. But it’s taken me so long, not only to learn how to write saleable books, but to get them sold, to finally, thank you Jesus, to see them in print!

thSXGLZBZ7Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. It’s the journey not the destination, but my inner child is constantly whining, “Are we there yet?” and my inner mother is sighing in resignation and saying, “Not yet, dear.” Meanwhile, my inner writer just keeps on writing and signing contracts and waiting for the next book to come out.

I just had this argument with myself a few months ago as I listen to all the indie pubbed authors discuss marketing and the big bucks they are making. Of course it helps that a lot of them already had a following and the rights to their backlists to re-release while writing and selling their new stuff on their own.thCS477IGC

If you’ve followed this blog at all, then you know the motto of my life: “A day late and a dollar short.” I have always felt that I am lagging behind everyone else. Especially now. I didn’t grow up with technology. I don’t understand most of it. I could teach myself but it would take hours and hours and then I’d forget most of what I learned the next time I need it. To me, indie pubbing means I’d need to pay an editor, a cover designer, a tech person, a marketing expert. If I want to make any money from it, that is. I’m in the hole before I start. And then it’s really up to the universe what happens after my book is out there. Isn’t it? Because all the editing, the cover, the IT aspect and marketing isn’t going to mean a thing to me unless the book is good. Making money off a lousy book would cause me to lose every ounce of respect I have for myself as an author.

My editor has had a submission of mine for four months which he hadn’t read until probably last week. In spite of the digital age, publishing can still be a slowwww business. Maybe he’ll like it. Maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll offer me a contract. It’s a game of wait and see. He thanks me for my patience, but I’m not patient at all. I’m annoyed that it takes so long. Even though I know I’m not his only author and that he’s in the process of acquiring and editing and answering probably a hundred emails a day for his stable of authors. Still, my inner child is whining, “Come on, already.”

Meanwhile, of course, I have been writing. In fact, at the end of June I became obsessed with a book whose working title is ANIMAL. I may have mentioned it a time or two here or elsewhere. It’s a modern-day twist on Beauty and the Beast. It practically wrote itself in about two months. I’ve been going back to it and reading it and refining it and sending it to beta readers for feedback, because what’s the rush? I haven’t even heard on the book I submitted FOUR MONTHS AGO. And it could be another four months before I hear on this one if I send it to my editor. You see my frustration? For the first time in my writing career, I’m writing faster, apparently, than my editor can keep up. And it’s driving me crazy.

Inside I’m tingling because I think ANIMAL could be “the one.” The book that gets me noticed. The book those readers and movie makers will love and rave about and option. A year or eighteen months from now.

Then I angst some more over what if it isn’t handled just right? What if the cover is bad? What if no one gets it? What if, what if, what if? And where will I find another editor who gets my writing the way Noah Chinn at Samhain Publishing does? Okay, I’m now resigned. I’ll have to wait. It’s okay if we’re a long way from “there” yet.

Except today, in my email inbox is a notice from Noah on his authors’ loop which basically says, “Hey, I’m reading and acquiring and slotting for 2016 and early 2017 so if you’ve got anything ready, send it.”

intercessory_prayerOH. MY. GOD. He heard me! The universe responded. I am in awe because sometimes God lets you know He’s listening and then he lets you see His hand at work in your life. What you think about is not just what you become. It is active prayer.

November 2012 Newsletter from Author Barbara Meyers

This is the first of many newsletters, I hope, although I can’t promise one every month.  I’m not sure I’d have enough “news” to bother with every month!

My web site has been redesigned.  Check it out at www.barbarameyers.com

I think everything works, including the buy links for my books.  We are still tweaking it, however, so if you have problems, contact me at barb@barbmeyers.com.

I also re-did my Facebook author page.  Another work in progress.  I hope you “like” it. Have I mentioned how inept I am at all things techie and internet related?  Please bear with me.

The last couple of months have been super busy because I moved.  After thirty years in Southwest Florida I relocated to Central Florida.  I lived in this area of Florida when my family moved here from Idaho when I was nineteen.  (I swore when I left Idaho if I ever saw snow again it would be too soon.  I haven’t seen it since and I do not miss it.) 

Many have asked why we moved.  The simplest answer is “the economy.”

Not only did we move, we downsized.  For months I’d lie awake at night wondering how I’d manage this.  It seemed overwhelming to me, but like most things we worry about it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I anticipated.  I gave away things I didn’t need, didn’t have room for or no longer had a use for.  I did a “first wave” garage sale and then a “final wave” sale a few months later.  Even after the move I had more to donate.  After what seemed like a lifetime of acquiring “stuff” I discovered how little most of it meant to me.  I cherish my family and my dear friends.  I am blessed to have them.  The stuff?  It won’t hug you or listen when you need to vent.

For the past nine years I’ve worked for a worldwide coffee chain.  I wear a green apron and “supervise” a group of mostly 20-somethings.  I tell myself I stay with this company because of the great benefits (i.e. health insurance) but I realized the other day this job also supports my writing career.  I’m not rich from writing romance novels.  Yet. 

Then again, I was inspired to write my GRINDING REALITY series because of my observances in this environment.  Book One: The Forbidden Bean is available in both digital and print versions.  I am currently working on Book Two: Cool Beans.  This series is mixed genre, sort of a screwball fantasy concept that would be rated PG-13 or maybe even G if it was a movie.  No profanity, no sex, no graphic violence.  Some adult situations.  It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written or read and probably unlike anything you’ve ever read.  This series is written under the pen name AJ Tillock, so as not to confuse readers with my romance-writing Barbara Meyers persona.

My third book in The Braddock Brotherhood series entitled THE FIRST TIME AGAIN, is scheduled for digital release in May 2013.  The first two, A MONTH FROM MIAMI and A FOREVER KIND OF GUY are both available in digital and print.

Independently published NOT QUITE HEAVEN and SCATTERED MOMENTS are both available as eBooks.  The print versions are coming soon.

You can follow my periodic comments on Twitter @barbmeyers or @ajtillock (or both).  I do try, but I can rarely think of anything to say that seems like it’d be worth posting.  Almost all of my AJ Tillock Twitter posts are quotes from The Forbidden Bean.

Visit me at www.barbarameyers.com

Drinking Alone

You’d think I’d be used to it by now.  If you follow me anywhere, Twitter, Facebook, etc., you are already aware of my white zin addiction.  It’s sad but true.  The cheaper the better and I drink it over ice.  Anyone shuddering out there, yet?  Sutter Home is okay, but I prefer Beringer or…Barefoot is pretty good, too.  Beringer is $4.97 a bottle at Wal-Mart.  Used to be more expensive, but for some reason the price came down.  Might be because I’m the only customer who buys it.

I have no one to drink with because my husband doesn’t really drink and he shouldn’t.  Even when he used to have the occasional cocktail, he just became more like himself.  My kids are out on their own.  I have not one friend locally I would feel comfortable inviting over for a glass of wine on the spur of the moment or one I think would come.  My schedule never seems to mesh with any of my friends anyway and many of them live far away from me.  Is anyone feeling sorry for me yet?  Don’t.  I’m sharing the cocktail hour with you.

I tried to call my mother, because frankly it doesn’t hurt for me to have a glass of wine in my hand when I have a conversation with her.  But she doesn’t answer her phone.  She doesn’t have an answering machine, either.

I asked on the Samhain Cafe loop if anyone still believed in the concept of forever in relation to marriage, considering all the rampant divorce, especially among Hollywood celebrities.  But do twenty-somethings everywhere even believe in the idea that marriage is supposed to last a lifetime?  I wondered.  Most of the responses to my inquiry were positive.  Readers on that loop, at least, still think forever is possible.

As I said, that’s a good thing.  Who wants to read a romance entitled “A Sometimes Kind of Guy” or “Until the Going Gets Tough Kind of Guy”?  Romance is part fantasy, it’s an escape from reality.  We all want to believe the guy we’re with won’t bail on us at the first bump in the road, right?  Nor should women duck out of a relationship just because it isn’t ideal at the moment.

My next subject is soulmates.  I’m close to offering a book I’ve been working on (on and off) for fifteen years for sale.  First as an eBook and soon in print.  It’s about a married woman who meets a man who is her soulmate.  But she meets him thirteen years too late, after all her decisions and commitments are made.  Can she walk away from what she has when she discovers something she didn’t even know was possible exists?  It’s called Scattered Moments because even though she never crosses that line, time spent in her soulmate’s company comes back to

haunt them both when her husband is murdered.  (Why does WordPress space funny after you insert images?)  I’m having a hard time getting the blurb just right.  That’s what I worked on today and also finalizing the manuscript format before I send it to someone else to format for the electronic version.  Here’s my latest blurb effort:

A picture is worth a thousand words… 

One touch of a carpenter’s hand forces the wife of a wealthy man to confront a truth she can’t deny:  She found her soulmate much too late. 

Chance meetings feed their longing for each other, but they spell doom for Hart Michaelson and Amanda Heinrich after her husband is murdered.  

When disturbing photographs surface, the unknown photographer forces Amanda to acknowledge that not only was her husband not the man she thought he was neither is she the woman she wanted to be.  

Unless they can expose the killer’s hidden agenda, images of their scattered moments together will keep Amanda and Hart apart forever.

I also got probably the best rejection letter I’ve ever received from an editor which I’m sharing in part, although I won’t mention the name of the editor or the publishing house: 

I finished Scattered Moments and very much enjoyed the story. It’s compelling, very well written, as all your stories are, but…There is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing or the characters or the storyline,  Barb, especially since I was engrossed enough to finish it in one sitting…it seems…not the right publisher for this story. 

I sincerely hope you can find a home for Scattered Moments. This story just reinforces for me what an amazing writing talent you have.

Basically, this particular house doesn’t publish this kind of book, but I found a home for the story.  Barbara Meyers, LLC.  Can’t wait to get it out there within the next couple of weeks.  Thanks for sharing the cocktail hour with me.  In case you were wondering, I’m generally  incapable of drinking more than two glasses of wine (or I fall asleep) and I’ve barely consumed half a glass while writing this post.  Remember to drink responsibly.

Visit me at www.barbmeyers.com


#aforeverkindof guy


Avid Reader Interview – Danielle

Today I am starting a new blog interview series featuring avid fiction readers.  Danielle agreed to be my guinea pig and aid my research in finding an answer to the question “What do readers want?”

Tell me what immediately comes to mind when I ask what is your favorite book of all time?

The Hunger Games Trilogy

What are you currently reading and who is the author?

I just finished reading He’s So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott 

Are you loving it?  Hating it?  Feeling ambivalent about it?  Want to give a shout-out to the author?

I loved it. 

Why did you choose this particular book?

It’s the second book in a series and it just came out.

Do you have a favorite genre?  (i.e., romance, suspense, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.)

Probably YA (young adult)

Do you have a favorite author?

Probably YA author Kieran Scott/Kate Brian 

Do you primarily read Ebooks? Paperbacks? Hardcovers?


 Where do you obtain books? i.e., library, bookstore, online, share with friends, buy used, etc.?

Online.  I have a Kindle. 

How many books do you read in a month on average?

Ten to fifteen a month, but some are favorites I’m re-reading

Does price play a part in your book-buying decisions?  How much is too much to pay for a book?

Yes, it does play a part.  For a Kindle edition, I usually won’t pay more than $13, but if it’s a new release I really want I’ll pay a higher price even if it’s more.

What is something authors do that you like?

Write series. 

What is something authors do that bugs you?

When they make the series go on too long and the quality suffers.  I also don’t like if they write characters that are too perfect and/or unrealistic.

 How important are covers in your book-buying decisions?

Not very important.  Usually it’s the title that grabs my attention first.

In what ways do you discover new authors?

I often find them through Amazon.  They send me e-mails of top books in the genres I read.

Do you belong to a book club?  No.

Have you ever attended an author booksigning?  Yes

Danielle is female, between the ages of 20 and 30.  She has a college degree and lives inCentral Florida.  I would like to thank her for taking the time to be interviewed.

If you are an avid fiction reader and would like to be featured in an upcoming blog interview, contact me at barb@barbmeyers.com.  I will send you a questionnaire via e-mail which you can complete and return to me via e-mail.  I won’t add you to a mailing list, sell your information or anything else like that.  I only use a first name. 



Cover Artist Interview

Cover artist Katerina Vamvasaki designed the cover for my book, Not Quite Heaven.  I found the process fascinating.  Maybe you will, too.   

Barb:  Tell us a little about your background and education.  What qualifies you to design book covers?

KV:  I’ve been working professionally as a graphic designer and illustrator for years. More importantly, I’ve been an enthusiastic reader ever since I can remember. And I plead guilty to often judging books by their cover.

Barb:  How did you get started in book cover design? 

KV:  Interestingly, it was completely by chance. While as a child I often experimented redesigning the covers of my favorite books or records, I somehow never thought of doing it professionally later on. But the Internet is a great place to meet authors – I became friendly with some of them, helped out with a cover or two, and somehow word got around.

Barb:  How many covers have you done?  (Approximate if you don’t know exact number.)

KV:  About a dozen at this moment, but the number is steadily increasing.

Barb:  Is cover design all you do or do you have a “day job?’

KV:  Not all I do, no, but it is part of my day job, as you call it (often it’s more of an “all-day job”), as I work as a graphic designer and illustrator.

Barb:  What do you enjoy about doing cover design?

KV:  I love working with authors, and being a part of the book making process. It brings together my love for books and my love for design. What’s not to enjoy?

Barb:  What’s your least favorite aspect of doing cover design?

KV:  Sometimes I have to set aside my personal preferences for the sake of those of the author. The author has the final say and that’s as it should be, but it makes it so much more enjoyable when we agree on what looks best.

Barb:  What do you like to see from an author before you start designing a cover?

Do you want to hear the author’s ideas for the cover?   Do you find them helpful or a hindrance?

KV:  I like to know as much about the book as possible. Ideally I would like to read the whole book before I even start, but that’s just not practical. So I need a summary, the genre if applicable, an idea of the style of writing (sample chapters work best), and of course the author’s ideas on how it should look. We often deviate from these in the end, but it is important to know what the author likes and expects.

Barb:  Can you tell us a little about the actual process you go through when designing a cover?

KV:  After I get as many details about the book as possible, and know what the author has in mind, I sit down to work. Depending on the book, I may produce original art or browse the image banks for relevant pictures. I also spend a lot of time looking for suitable fonts. I usually end up with several mock-ups, which I send to the author for feedback. Based on their comments I refine one or more of these mock-ups until we end up with a cover we’re both happy with. Sometimes this process can be long, and sometimes the first mock-up I send just works perfectly.

Barb:  Are there certain authors or genres you won’t work with?

KV:  I had never thought about that. I suppose too graphic violence or pornography would be out of the question.

I’ve been lucky with all the authors I’ve worked with so far, never had any problems with any of them. I suppose that there might be authors that I would not want to work with again after a first bad experiment, but so far I haven’t met one.

Barb:  Do you have any advice for independently publishing authors when it comes to cover art?

KV:  Never underestimate the importance of a professional, visually pleasing cover. It shows respect for your own work and attention to detail. Speaking as a reader, a good cover implies to me that equal care has been taken with the content of the book as well.

The cover is the first thing a potential reader sees. If that doesn’t grab their attention, they may move on before they even read the title or author name, not to mention the blurb. It probably shouldn’t be like that, but packaging is important. Look at the repackaging of classics, and how new, fresh covers manage to rekindle interest in them.

Barb:  Is the process different if you know a book will only be offered online?

KV:  When a book is offered online, what the potential reader sees first is a small thumbnail of the cover. Based on that, they may decide to click for more information or move on. So it is important for a cover to look good in small size. Many authors require that the title and author name are legible in small size too. As a reader I don’t find it very important, I am often attracted by a nice picture without knowing what it is about or who the author is. But I do find that generally, simple designs work best both in small and normal sizes, whereas complicated ones may not be as eye-catching in thumbnail as they are in print.

 A more practical difference between e-book covers and print book covers is of course that e-books only need a front cover, whereas printed books also require a back cover and spine. Color calibration for printing is a bit trickier too and stock images may be more expensive as they need to be in a higher resolution than for an e-book cover.

Barb:  I would like to thank Katerina for taking the time to answer my questions and also for creating Not Quite Heaven’s cover which I absolutely love.  She is absolutely right.  I took a lot of care with the content of Not Quite Heaven.  I believe the cover she created reflects that.