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BLOGWORDS – Monday 17 June 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – SARAH SUNDIN

 

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – SARAH SUNDIN

 

Making Historical Fiction Come to Life

 

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? Historical fiction allows us to do that in our minds, both when we read it and when we write it.

 

However, writing historical fiction comes with a solemn responsibility—to accurately portray the past to honor the real men and women who lived during that era. Remember, our novels might be the only history our readers get.

 

That’s why solid research is vital for the historical novelist. We need a broad foundation of general knowledge about the era for perspective, plus deep knowledge about elements specific to our stories. Accurate research provides a sense of authenticity that draws readers into the story—but errors can yank knowledgeable readers right out of the story.

 

Historical fiction comes with benefits—built-in conflict, danger, and interest in everyday activities and settings. This is rich material for novelists! We can use these to make our historical novels come to life.

 

Research can yield a bounty of plot and story ideas.

  • Historical events: these can serve as crucial turning points or as the backbone of your story. For example, I’m in the middle of writing a three-book series centered on D-day.
  • Weather and natural disasters: your research may turn up information about storms, floods, fires, and more. Great conflict! I was even “blessed” with the actual eruption of Mount Vesuvius in March 1944 that I was able to use in a novel.
  • Social events: was there a big festival or parade or concert in your novel’s location? These can be fun to use in your plot.
  • Cultural mores: what were the attitudes about race, class, and gender? These can create conflict that can drive an entire novel, spark clashes at vital moments, or provide an underlying sense of tension.

 

Also, systems were different, creating possibilities for drama in your story.

  • Health care: illness and injuries are standard plot devices in any genre, but in historical settings, the danger increases. Did your era have ambulances? Antibiotics? Knowledge of germ theory?
  • Justice system: laws, law enforcement, prisons, and the criminal justice system have changed over time. How do they affect your character—whether a victim of crime, a perpetrator, or wrongly accused?
  • Transportation and communication: in an age of cheap flights and Skype, we forget how long it took and how difficult it used to be to travel or send messages. Delays and other hassles can create tension and misunderstandings.

 

Research can also enliven the most mundane scene. Your characters will be doing their routine tasks, but your reader will be fascinated because of how things have changed.

  • Occupations: show your character on the job. Some occupations aren’t seen much nowadays, like blacksmiths. And other occupations still exist, but practices have changed. Not only are the routine activities interesting to a modern reader, but crises on the job can create plot points.
  • Family life: what were the courtship rituals, marriage roles, and child care practices in your era? These can spark story and scene ideas.
  • Food: a scene with characters making dinner can be bland in a modern setting, but fascinating in a historical setting. My 1940s characters have to deal with ration coupons, shortages, and meatless meals. They make Jell-O salads and Spam-birds. Don’t ask.

 

Research can also help you dress up your setting.

  • Your location in historical context: London in 1944 was very different from London today—my characters encounter bomb damage, barrage balloons overhead, and uniforms from many Allied nations. Bringing out these differences creates interest for your reader.
  • Housing: heating, lighting, furniture, floor plans, standards and practices of housekeeping—these have all changed. Adding historical bits to your character’s home can bring your story to life.
  • Clothing: details of clothing can immediately transport readers to a bygone era. My World War II readers want to see the leather flight jackets and service caps worn at a jaunty angle. They want to see cherry red lipstick and gloves and handkerchiefs. Clothing can even cause obstacles—long skirts, corsets, girdles, and high heels are not practical in chase scenes. Use that.

 

Done well, historical fiction gives readers a window to the past and inspiration for the present. Happy writing!

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of historical novels, including The Sky Above Us and The Sea Before Us. Her novel The Sea Before Us is a finalist for the 2019 Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope, and Love, When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award and won the INSPY Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California and enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.

 

http://www.sarahsundin.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Sundin/e/B002T94CLS?

https://www.facebook.com/SarahSundinAuthor

https://twitter.com/sarahsundin

https://www.pinterest.com/sarahsundin/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sarah-sundin/

 

GIVEAWAY

Sarah is offering a copy of her novel, The Sky Above Us, winner’s choice of paperback or CD audiobook. U.S. mailing addresses only for print copy.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 17 June and end at 12:00 A.M. on 24 June. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

RAFFLECOPTER

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b485f64b27/?

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, Sarah Sundin

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 10 June 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST AND GIVEAWAY – LORI BENTON

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST AND GIVEAWAY – LORI BENTON

 

Historical or Historical Romance: Somewhere On the Spectrum

 

If you’ve read one of my novels then you know I’m a writer with a passion for 18th century history, be it Colonial American, Early Federal American, Native American, even Jacobite Scotland. Most particularly, I’m irresistibly drawn to settings where cultural intermingling occurred, complete with all its conflicts and, at rarer times, surprising harmony. Settings like the Appalachian mountain frontier or—as in my newest release, The King’s Mercy—the backyard, fields, and forests of a rural southern plantation.

 

The stories of the fictional characters in each of my novels are woven with care around and through real life events that can be found in the pages of history books (some more obscure than others). In many cases those historical events are front and center to the novel’s plot, such as war and battle (The Pathfinders series; Many Sparrows; The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn). Sometimes the history is more subtle, such as war’s aftermath on a frontier population (Burning Sky). I write historical fiction—stories featuring real events that happened in the past—so readers can expect to encounter plenty of detailed and accurate history in the pages of my books, seen through the eyes and experienced through the hopes and hearts of my fictional characters.

 

But wait, I like a good romance, too! There’s nothing more powerful to draw me into a story, whether I’m reading it or writing it, than the ages-old “boy meets girl” scenario in all its variations, with the exciting complications that inevitably follow that collision. You’ll find at least one such romance thread in each of my books, occasionally more than one. So does that mean what I really write is Historical Romance?

 

If a spectrum existed for the historical fiction genre, with Historical Romance at one end and Historical novels lacking any romantic element at the other, then every writer of historical fiction falls somewhere uniquely on that spectrum, as do each of their books. How does a reader tell where on the spectrum the book in their hands falls? How does a writer know what she’s writing? Let’s start by defining those two extremes.

 

On the left of this imaginary spectrum I’ll place Historical Romance. As defined by Romance Writers of America, a romance novel contains a central love story in which two characters meet and struggle to make a relationship work, despite whatever odds are set against them. That love story is the main focus of the novel, though subplots may exist.

On the right of the spectrum is Historical Fiction. Without getting into the complicated minutia and contradictions one encounters if they Google “Historical Fiction genre guidelines,” for the sake of simplicity I’ll define the genre as a story set at least fifty years in the past, with or without a romantic “boy meets girl” scenario as a minor subplot woven into the story.

 

My basic guideline for judging a book set in the past on whether it falls into Historical or Historical Romance category is to answer one question: assuming that one exists, if the romance thread was removed would there still be a recognizable story arc for each of the main characters? In other words, is there still a story to tell without the romance? If so, the novel in question falls closer to the Historical end of the spectrum. If the romance thread is removed and there’s no other goal or motivation to carry the characters forward, with a recognizable story arc or plot to trace, then what I have in my hands is Historical Romance.

 

As an avid reader of novels set in the past, I read books at both extremes, but my favorites tend to be those that fall somewhere in the middle ground of that imaginary spectrum. Which comes as no surprise, really, since the Middle Ground of intermingled cultures and world views is one of the primary things that motivates me to write. I’m intrigued by those gray areas where the answers come hard-won, whether of the heart or the mind. The romantic element is part of that, but not the whole.

 

Tips for writers: unless you’re writing for a specific imprint or line of books with a narrowly defined brand, might I suggest not adhering to a strict set of guidelines in your writing of historical fiction when it comes to the romance element. Especially not with your first book. There’s something to be said about the unfolding of discovery, and not forcing yourself into a mold—or brand—prematurely. As long as you are writing fully fleshed out characters with clear motivations and goals to pursue, focus on what fascinates you and draws you to write, whether it’s historical events or romance that sparks your passion—or both. Once you’ve finished that first novel, then it’s time to analyze what you’ve written and decide where your sweet spot on that spectrum lies.

 

The best thing? You aren’t bound to remain in that one spot forever. Readers and reviewers have made it clear that each of my books occupies a slightly different position on that spectrum, some closer to the Historical Romance side, some to the Historical. There are readers who clearly prefer one over the other, some romance, others the history, but there’s a readership for each and everywhere in between. There’s no wrong place on that spectrum to be, no wrong way to go about crafting a novel set in whatever historical period has captured your imagination.

 

A question for readers: when it comes to stories set in the past, do you prefer more romance or more history, or an equal portion of both?

 

Lori Benton’s novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she expertly brings to life the colonial and early federal periods of American history. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards; The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn; Christy finalist The Wood’s Edge; A Flight of Arrows; Christy finalist Many Sparrows; and The King’s Mercy. She lives in Oregon where she enjoys hiking and landscape photography.

 

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLoriBenton/

https://www.instagram.com/lorilbenton/

http://loribenton.blogspot.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Lori-Benton/e/B00BBP9FR2/

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY

Lori is offering a signed copy of The King’s Mercy. (Sorry, U. S. addresses only.)

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 10 June and end at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 11 June. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

RAFFLECOPTER

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b485f64b18/?

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, Lori Benton

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 3 June 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – DANA PRATOLA

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – DANA PRATOLA

 

Why I Write What I Write

 

My first experience with the world of Romance novels came in the 1970’s, via word-of-mouth promo of a new book. I was in seventh or eighth grade (Catholic school) and all the girls were hyping this book as “must read,” “you won’t believe it,” “I hope my mother doesn’t find it in my room.” So, of course I had to check it out. I’d heard it was racy, and there was no way I was going to walk into a book store and buy it myself, so I waited patiently to borrow it from a friend. The book was Forever by Judy Blume, and it explored the first love of a high school senior girl. It was the first “romance” I ever read, and I was hooked from that day on. (*Let me say here that you don’t have to go buy the book, lol. I’m not endorsing it. In fact, I can’t even remember if it was a “good” book, only the impressions it left with me. *)

 

I suppose it was fortunate that my initiation into the world of romance was a book about a teenage couple’s initiation into the world of love (including sex). I mean, we were Catholic school girls and we had questions, but for me, even the enticement of reading something we perceived as scandalous, wasn’t the real draw. It wasn’t about the sex, for me, but the emotions. The fact that they were kids, but experiencing “grown-up” love. Finding that there could be joy, yes, but also heartbreak that didn’t have to be anyone’s fault. Just what was. Real life as told by fictional characters. Wow!

 

For a girl who grew up reading fairy tales, and the classic dichotomy of Good vs. Evil, that was amazing to me. In children’s books there was a hero and a villain. The villain did villainous things, and the hero, heroic things. Sometimes the villain wasn’t even a person, but a situation—a company about to shut down and put hundreds out of work, or a volcano threatening to erupt. But the main thrust of the story came down to choices people made, and the consequences of those choices.

 

In children’s books, the characters act according to their roles. Good kid always acts good. Bad kid always acts bad. And if a good kid does act badly, there is enough guilt to soon have him apologizing and falling back in line with some great lesson learned. Adult fiction isn’t like that. Adults have the capacity to make the same mistakes over and over and never learn from them!

 

Also, quite often, there is no clear Good or Evil. Most people can have elements of both, and that seems to me to present itself in romantic fiction more than any other genre, where the whole point of the story is uncovering the complexities of human behavior. Once hooked on romance, there was nothing else for me to do but put my own imaginings on paper, populating my stories with real people making choices. Sometimes right choices. Sometimes bad, destructive ones, and not always being held accountable or learning anything. Sometimes an ass is just an ass and there’s nothing you can do about it.

 

But I guess what appeals to me most is Hope. Though my male lead characters tend to be the quintessential Romance Heroes as far as looks, I try to illuminate the qualities every woman wants to find in the real-life male: someone who understands us. Really gets us. Fights for us. Is willing to die for us, but above all, live for us. What is the point of a romance novel if not to perpetuate that Hope?

 

To me, a romance novel is a tactile Hope that we can hold up and shake in the face of a topsy-turvy world and say, “Yes, people can suck. They can be cruel and selfish, but that’s not all there is. They can be caring and selfless, too. Even in the real-world love can still thrive, and I can prove it. Just turn the page.” 😀

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

I’m passionate about Romance. I write about real people with real struggles, temptations, and desires. My characters often have difficult choices to make – and don’t always make the right ones. My stories are not what you expect, and everything you want.
God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and three dynamic children, all of whom are destined to make wide, colorful splashes in this world. We share our New Jersey home with three dogs. I have no hobbies to speak of unless you include writing. I don’t 🙂

 

https://www.facebook.com/DanaPratolaAuthor/

https://www.facebook.com/DanaPratola

https://twitter.com/DanaPratola

https://www.instagram.com/danapratola/

https://www.pinterest.com/danapratola/

https://www.danapratolaromance.com/

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Dana Pratola

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 27 May 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW NO FACE – NO GUEST POST

 

NEW WEEK NEW NO FACE – NO GUEST POST

 “There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” —Erin Hanson

 

With two cancellations this month, and only one last minute replacement, there is no post today.

So Happy Memorial Day! Enjoy your day, and remember our soldiers, past and present.

 

 

“Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.”—Madeline L’Engle

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New No Face, #NWNF, No Guest Feature Post

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 20 May 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – CLAYTON NOBLIT

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – CLAYTON NOBLIT

Today’s post originally appeared on Written Word Media on 7 February 2019. Excerpts and highlights used with permission.

https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/the-5-most-common-mistakes-in-book-cover-design-and-how-to-avoid-them/

The 5 Most Common Mistakes in Book Cover Design and How to Avoid Them

 

Book cover design has long been an important part of getting readers to pick up a text. Today readers are shopping for both physical and eBooks online. Book Cover Design is more important than ever.

 

  1. Too many elements on the cover

This is an all too common mistake, particularly with inexperienced designers…

 

  1. Not a genre fit

This is a big one. Different genres have developed distinct differences in how book covers are designed. If your book cover does not share these stylistic similarities, readers interested in that genre will pass because it doesn’t look like other books they have enjoyed…

 

  1. Poor or wrong font choices

Once again, it’s all about signaling to readers what your book offers. Your font should be similar to other covers in your genre…

 

  1. Poor image quality

This is an easy mistake to make if you are new to book cover design, and it’s important to be able to spot it in case you work with an inexperienced designer…

  1. Poor readability

Today, book covers are displayed by vendors in a number of sizes and formats. Almost always, readers will see your cover at a size much smaller than a physical book cover…

 

Takeaways

Book cover design is critical to a book’s success, and there is a lot more to consider than you might expect…

 

Do you have any cover design tips or stories? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clayton is a digital marketing manager at Written Word Media. When he isn’t finding ways to sell books, he enjoys reading, running in the woods and carving wooden spoons.

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Clayton Noblit, Written Word Media

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 13 May 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – SUZANNE WILLIAMS

 

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – SUZANNE WILLIAMS

 

Book Cover Design

Part 1 – Should I Design?

 

The book cover is the first visual impact your book will make on potential readers, so its importance must not be understated. However, before you decide to do it yourself, I offer a word of caution. You are an author. Chances are, you are NOT a graphic designer.

 

Therefore, know what you’re getting into, and if you have no background in graphic design, have never worked with Photoshop, and have no idea what layers and vector graphics are, then perhaps, it is better to hire a professional. Trust me when I say it is worth your peace of mind to spare a few dollars and use an experienced designer.

 

With that said, if you choose to create your cover, please view yourself at the level of your abilities. If you have only begun to work with graphic designs, then know it takes time and experience to develop a creative eye. If you want the best for your book, then set your goals high, and strive for perfection. Excellence in anything only comes through the amount of determination you pour into it.

 

If you still choose to self-design, then below are three key features.

 

  • Composition
  • Layering and Graphics
  • Color and Fonts

 

If I haven’t frightened you off, then the rest of this article is for you. But if you feel swamped, then no one will think less of you for hiring someone.

 

Still decided on it? Then keep reading.

 

Part 2 – The Basics of Design: Composition

 

Book cover design is all about composition. Composition is the arrangement, or the placement, of all the elements on the page. These elements, when viewed together, should answer one important question. What do you want to draw the viewer’s eye?

 

There are a few basic rules of composition that answer this – shapes, lines, and “the rule of thirds.” Shapes and lines draw the eye in a particular direction, whether that’s a strong vertical element, elongating the page or a more curving one, softening the scene. The strongest lines are often diagonals. The strongest shapes are “S” curves. In either of these, the viewer’s eye is drawn from one corner of the scene to the focus point, which could be your title or a particular graphic.

 

“The rule of thirds” divides the scene into three parts horizontally and vertically. In the rule of thirds, nothing is cut in half. Instead, you divide all your elements into three’s, placing them in a “third” location and NOT down the middle. This is always more visually stimulating to a viewer. Think of a vase of flowers. If you place two flowers in the vase, then one will lean to the right and one will lean to the left, and you will have a hole down the middle. Odd numbers – 3,5,7,9 – are always preferable, so three flowers present a much better composition.

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

 

In our case, the number of “elements” I refer to are the number of objects on your cover. One photo of a lovely woman spanning the entire front is good. Two side-by-side is bad. Yet take those two and set them atop a rolling landscape scene and you have three elements. However, take your two women and the rolling landscape, and throw in a vase of flowers, and now you have four elements. Three was better, or if you have the space on your cover, then increase to five. You must also count any text as an element, so one graphic, your title text, and the author’s name counts as three elements.

 

Watch your amount of negative space, though. Negative space is the area where there is nothing. Too little negative space and your cover will become crowded. Also, pay attention to where your elements cross each other. If the telephone pole in the landscape is now coming out from the woman’s head that is bad. You want each element to accent the other without the scene being busy. Simple is always better in graphic design.

 

Part 3 – The Basics of Design: Layering and Graphics

Graphics

THE MOST important rule of book cover design is using GOOD graphics. If you aren’t a photographer, then buy your images. If you haven’t created vector graphics, if you have no idea what a vector graphic is, then buy them. There are always people who are better than you at some particular form of design. There is nothing wrong with using their talent.

 

Think of your book as an investment. You want to reap a reward from it, so you must put money into it. Look for quality, and don’t settle for second best.

 

Another important rule:  Your graphics should fit your story and fit with each other. In other words, do NOT use a collection of random objects. So what if your story has a cat, a jar, a girl, and a train in it. Don’t use them all on the cover. Pick a scene from the book that most illustrates your story and choose an image that fits. Look at other professional designs in your genre for what readers expect on a book cover. You are trying to make sales, after all.

 

The technicality:  All graphics should be 300 dpi (dots per inch) for printing. This is an industry standard. The correct pixel size to purchase is generally Large or X -Large on any stock photography site, especially if you will eventually use it for printing. If you buy a vector graphic, make sure it is a format you can use. Even Photoshop has format limitations.

 

Layering

All book cover designs are the result of layering and masking. Layering is exactly what it sounds like. If you have five elements on your front cover – three graphics, the title text, and the author’s name text – each of these are a layer. Your background color is also a layer. Obviously, your title text and author’s name text should be as the top two layers, so your decision then becomes in what order to layer the rest.

 

Masking is hiding parts of images from view. Most often, this is the edges of photographs, but it can also be lettering and an infinite number of other objects. In my example below, I “masked” the girl’s actual hair and substituted someone else’s.

Always keep in mind the rules of composition when layering your elements and consider opacity and blending. Opacity is the transparency of an object. Perhaps you want the landscape scene to fade into the woman’s face. Then the edges of the scene should be less opaque than the center.

 

Think of it as applying makeup. Foundation should be smoothed over the chin and cheekbones, so that it looks natural. This same idea applies to layered graphics. Look at the edges of the objects; pay attention to which one is on top of the other and notice how they blend together. Sometimes, one item will layer better over or under another.

 

Be sure to anchor your objects with your text. You do NOT want floating heads that seem to hover in midair. Give them an object to hang onto visually.

Part 4 – The Basics of Design: Color and Fonts

Color

Color imparts a mood to your cover. Look at books of horror stories. What colors do you typically see? Similarly, what colors are used for westerns? Different colors affect viewers in different ways. Think about your story in deciding on your final scheme.

 

And stick with that color theme. Too much contrast might blind your viewer. Too little might make it boring. Sometimes, if you are unsure, mocking-up several choices will help you decide.

 

Fonts

Fonts are the style of your text. Your choice of font should reflect the subject of the book. One word of caution – when selecting fonts, don’t overdo it. The general rule is to use two or at the most, three types of fonts. A simple print font is often better for smaller text. You want the letters to be readable at a thumbnail size.

 

Layers are important when working with fonts. I prefer to place each word in the title on its own layer and sometimes I also place capital letters on their own layer. This enables me to adjust letter and word spacing. Don’t be afraid to overlap for the most consistent look.

 

Choose your font color wisely. The color should work well with the graphics to make it readable. Avoid outlining. Most of the time this looks amateurish. A better way to make difficult text stand out is to use a layer beneath it and fade in a gradual color, sampled from the image. Then adjust the opacity so that it looks natural to the design.

 

Finally

I hate to see books with subpar covers get praised by people who have no idea of graphic design. Know this – your friends are not always the best opinions. Constructive criticism from a professional is a must. As a beginning designer, know that you must be mature enough to accept you could have done something better and be willing to change it.

 

There is a reason good designers charge big bucks, so before you leap in with both feet, stop and think if perhaps it is better to hire someone until your skills reach the level where you feel comfortable enough to go it alone. Graphic design is great fun, but when you are working with your own book, ultimately you want the best result.

 

 

Suzanne Williams writes stories to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. She enjoys finding the lesser known pockets of history and bringing them to life through the joys and struggles of her characters.

Sunny southern California, a favorite setting in her stories, is also her home. She lives there with her loving husband, four young children, two cats, and too many fish to count. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories.

http://www.feelgoodromance.com/

https://twitter.com/SDWAuthor

https://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-D-Williams/e/B004U5OIOA

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Suzanne Williams, Book Cover Design

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 6 May 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – SANDRA ARDOIN

 

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – SANDRA ARDOIN

 

 

COVER CREATION TIPS

 

I love book covers! I love to look at them. I love to study them. I love how some make me want to read the book in the future and how some make me want to read the book NOW.

 

But I never knew how hard it would be to decide on a cover until I was responsible for choosing one for my latest novella, A Love Most Worthy.

 

I’d hoped to find a premade and save a little money. This was my first indie-published book and, honestly, the budget was a little tight. I scoured the internet for cover designers, then scoured their sites for a premade that would be appropriate. No go.

 

I played around with doing something myself. Clearly, I am no graphic designer.

 

I considered hiring someone on Fiverr, but changed my mind. A book cover, like the story inside, is too important to take shortcuts.

 

Then, I found a designer who created book covers reminiscent of some of my favorites from Bethany House and Revell books. She also had premades! Unfortunately, none of them fit my book either. Knowing I wouldn’t be happy with anything else, I decided to splurge and hire her for a custom design, then gave her all the pertinent information I thought she needed.

 

Boy, I was on pins and needles, waiting to see what she would create from the descriptions I gave her. And then it came, the email that brought goosebumps. Was the design perfect? No. Was it what I had envisioned? Actually, I had no vision of what would be good. But she got it. She got Hallie and the setting. She got that I wanted well-blended images that looked like they were one. We went back and forth with the changes: colors, fonts, lighten it, enlarge this, full face or partial.

 

Those were tough decisions for someone who takes forever to make a decision! Turns out, the easiest choice I made was in the designer and to go with the custom order. Variations came to me, then went straight to my advisers (my crit partner, husband, and daughter).

 

But I learned some things:

 

Don’t scimp. Those in the know will always tell you to avoid the DIY approach and hire someone worthy of your book. Listen to them!

 

Take your time. Find that person whose work best suits what you have in mind for your book.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for revisions. The designer wants you to be as happy with the work as you want your readers to be. Reputations are on the line.

 

Get input from others. Don’t be shy about asking someone else what they think. They might point out something you hadn’t noticed or even considered. I’m pretty sure not everyone will like your decisions, but in the end, it’s your book and your need to be satisfied.

Have you been responsible for making the decision about a book cover? What did you learn from it? What do you look for in a genre cover?

 

*This post originally appeared on the Seriously Write blog.

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

 

Visit her at http://www.sandraardoin.com. Connect with her on BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

 

As a gift for her newsletter subscribers, Sandra wrote a short story to accompany A Love Most Worthy—a “prelude.” It provides some insight into Hallie’s story, something those who read only the novella won’t receive. So, join the Love and Faith in Fiction community and keep up with what’s new, discover what’s upcoming, and learn of specials and giveaways.

 

 

A LOVE MOST WORTHY

She didn’t know which was colder, an Arctic winter or her new husband’s heart.

 

Hallie Russell believes life should be lived to the fullest. For that reason, she sails to the gold rush town of Nome, Alaska to take her cousin’s place as the mail-order bride of a respected shopkeeper. But when her aloof husband’s wedding-night announcement rocks her plans for their marriage, Hallie sees her desire for a family to call her own vanish as quickly as the dreams of hopeful miners.

 

Tragedy led Rance Preston to repent of his rowdy ways and open a general store for the miners in Nome. He’s content in his bachelorhood, but his two orphaned nephews deserve a proper and serious-minded mother. Duped once by a vivacious female, he’s determined to never again let his heart overrule his head…until the high spirits of his new bride threaten his resolve.

 

When a misunderstanding comes to light, will they allow the gale force winds of insecurity to destroy what they each need most?

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Sandra Ardoin

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