Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mid-Week Check-in and a Reveal . . .

One of the highlights this week has been seeing other ROW80 folks reveal their new covers, so just to share the excitement, here's my cover for Years of Stone, a tale of loss and redemption set in Van Diemen's Land, a prison colony 'beyond the seas'(present day Tasmania, just off the coast of Australia). I'm planning to self-pub this fall.

So, what do you think? The cover shown is front and back with book blurb, author info, and hopefully review info to be added to the back.

This color lithograph, Plate 6, "Hobart Town, from Kangaroo Point, Tasmania," now in the public domain, was created by Austrian Eugene von Guérard (1811-1901) and published in his Australian Landscapes, 1866-68. Guérard had traveled to Australia in search of gold.  

I wanted the cover to capture a sense of the times, 1840's, yet not so grim an image it would push readers away. I'm still not sure that the font is large enough to be read at thumbnail level, but after 6 hours of working with my graphic design friend who drove 440 miles to visit me, we were both happy. We're still dinking around with pica placement of the subtitle (moving that subtitle slightly to the left). but that's to be expected. What's really exciting is that we got this far, and this work sets the design template for all three books.

One strategy I used that may help you to test your cover: I searched for historical fiction in Amazon and 'read' covers for several hundred top selling books, copying the covers of those I liked into a temporary Word file so I could analyze the features that drew me. I analyzed images, colors, font size, readability at thumbnail size, and overall appeal. I didn't like covers with images that showed too much sex (wrong genre), cut people into sections (made them into objects, here, I'm talking about a man's body but not his head); or that were too busy.

For the other two covers, images have been selected, but I need to get copyright permission for one. Here's my progress on ROW80.

Progress on ROW80 goals so far this week:
1. Cherish each day.
2. Continue final read/edit for Standing Stones. Not this week . . . yet.
3. Work on marketing plan. Jotted a few ideas down. Requested 2 Beta reads/2 blurbs. Need more.
4. Write 5 sentences a day for Rivers of Stone. So far so good, 2 out of 2 days, 750 words + 30 pages of research.
5. Continue supporting ROW80 as sponsor to read 10x this week. Read 5x so far.
6. Continue the battle to reduce electronic clutter. Deleted 150 e-mails so far this week.
7. Exercise x3 this week. Yoga x3. 1x swimming. Lots of running around, but that doesn't count.
8. Catch up ALL of pending WSQ (quilting assn) public relations projects (program, psa, article, promo). Steady progress here with planning ad campaign and drafting articles.

May you reach ALL your goals this week!

Read a little more:
Eugene Von Guerards' Australian landscapes here and about his life here.


  1. The cover is gorgeous, and I love your advice about covers.

    Also, I mentioned you (and your wonderful advice) in my update post today. I really appreciated it--and needed to hear it. Hugs.

  2. I really like the painting you guys chose! Not quite as sure about the font -- you'll just have to test it as a thumbnail. I would also suggest checking what the cover would look like without the wraparound. That might make you want to change the placement of the title. It look to me like the title now runs into the spine.

    The advice of cover creation is good. I've done something like that before too, but probably not as much as I should. :)

  3. I really like the cover, too. Remember, there's going to be printing along the spine as well. But I agree with Ruth about the font; I think there are probably better ones, although none come to mind.

  4. Thank you all for your helpful feedback. You led me back to futzing with that font. Yes, the cover will be set up for thumbnail (Amazon) and full spread (CreateSpace). Last time I just used a free template from CreateSpace. This time, I'd love to use my own cover. My graphic designer, a friend for 30 years, may not be so happy about this. She LOVED the font.


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