You Really Can Tell a Book by its Cover

book cover moressMy second book is coming out soon (squeal!) and I learned something about cover art this go around. When the publisher sent me the cover, I couldn’t get excited about it. It was a beautiful cover, so what was my problem? It finally hit me: it wasn’t funny. Imagine trying to sell someone a funny book when the cover isn’t funny. They’ll look at you like you’re crazy or a liar. “It’s not a cookbook, I swear! I mean, there are recipes in the back, but it’s not a cookbook, it’s a book book, a funny one, I promise…”

I asked the publisher if we could change the cover and explained my reasoning and he listened. And now I’m excited.

The cover tells the reader what to expect from your book. If you’re not sure what I mean, try this simple test. Go online and look at a list of “top sellers” or “recently published” or whatever. Try to guess, just by glancing at the cover, what kind of book it is. Is it serious or funny? Romance or adventure? Fiction or non-fiction? Adult or Middle Grade?

When choosing a cover for your book, try to look at your cover (or cover options) objectively. If you came across that book without knowing anything about it, what would you guess it’s about? What would you expect from that book when you read it? Make sure what your cover promises matches what your book delivers.


Author Doubts

jungleBefore I got published, I was convinced not only that the grass is greener on the other side, but that published writers are having an eternal backyard barbecue on that green grass. I’ve made it over the fence to the other side (Huzzah!) and have discovered that the fence does not protect a lush manicured lawn; it encloses a lush, exciting, productive, yet potentially perilous jungle. It is green, yes, but when you enter in, you discover how clueless you really are about publishing, marketing, machete wielding, and career growth.

2016 PERU 018My first book has been out for nine months and has not hit the best seller lists, so what is the logical course of action? Obviously it’s to start doubting myself as an author. (Logic is not part of jungle life.) Can I make a career of this? Am I fit enough to survive in the jungle?

At church last week we studied the Israelites in the wilderness. For those of you not familiar with their history, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt and begged God to set them free. God used ten spectacular plagues to do so, culminating in the destruction of Egypt’s army so no one would follow the ex-slaves. They were free, just like they’d always wanted.

2016 PERU 013However — begin self righteous eye roll — instead of being grateful, they grumbled, they doubted, they bemoaned their very freedom. I realized that here I am — quickly end self righteous eye roll — finally over the fence and in the published author jungle, and I am grumbling and doubting. When I look back, I see God lining up life and times like dominoes ready to fall and create a picture:

The night I cracked myself up in the car coming up with the title Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating. So I was encouraged to lose weight.

The writers conference where EVERY workshop I entered said I must blog, blog, BLOG to succeed as an author. So I started to blog.

2016 PERU 068The writers conference where no editors were looking for romance novels (and pigs flew) so I showed them my blog instead. So I was encouraged to turn the blog into a book.

The publisher my agent found (and can’t remember how) who publishes humorous healthy living books. And so I climbed over the fence to the greener side.

2016 PERU 031Publishing is a jungle: there is much to learn and work to do in order to survive and thrive. But I’m finished with grumbling and doubting. I don’t know if I’ll end up living in this jungle in a palace or in a hut, but I’m grateful to be here and I know God is with me. What better adventure could a new author ask for?



Images courtesy of: Crafthubs (green jungle), and my trip to Costa Rica