Monday, February 06, 2012

Welcome to the Art Department

What I'm reading: Man Law, by Adrienne Giordano (Nook); Explosive Eighteen, by Janet Evanovich (Library) Contest book #6 of 8

First – check the sidebar and/or the Deals and Steals tab. Amazon has cut the price of WHERE DANGER HIDES in half. Don't know why, don't know for how long. But it's definitely a bargain price for a hard cover.

The manuscript for my third Pine Hills Police book is done. At least my part for round one. It's now in the hands of my editor. Because the book is the third in a previously published series, I knew there would be no chance that a traditional publisher would want to pick it up, so it's an Indie job from start to finish.

Now, if I did have a traditional publisher, at this point, they'd be working on a cover. They'd be deciding whether my working title actually worked. There might be some give and take, but ultimately, those decisions are theirs.

But I have to be my own marketing department, and my own art department. With a publisher, I'd have filled out a cover request form summarizing the plot, describing the characters, suggesting "looks" I liked or didn't like. Then, some time down the road, they'd send me the image and say, "This is your cover." And, for the record, it's unusual for them to make changes unless they've spelled your name wrong, or you can convince them that your book is set in Oregon, and cactus on the cover won't work.

However, even though I'm hiring an editor and a cover artist, I still bear most of the responsibility. I need to choose the final title, and point my cover artist in the right direction.

So, I'm begging groveling asking for some help. Here are the issues.

1. The book is part of a series. Both title and cover have to "fit" with the other 3.

2. The most workable images don't fit the character whose story it is…not by much, but it's still a "his" book. However, with the perfect "hers" title, I can see it going the other way very easily. (I've already written the final scene twice—once in his POV, once in hers!)

So, how about a little brainstorming? I laid out the basics of the book last week, but here they are again.

Against her parents' advice, Ashley has split with her unsupportive fiancé and moved to Pine Hills to start up her dream business: Confections by Ashley. The bakery is under construction, and there have been countless setbacks, which she's not sure can all be attributed to the work crew, which she thinks of as the Klutz Brigade. A dead body found on the premises doesn't help, especially when the cops think she has a motive for doing the killing.

Scott, a county sheriff homicide detective has quit his job after a traumatic case—one that screams "failure" to him, although others consider him a hero. He has to deal with his injuries, post-traumatic stress, and being able to accept that he's not a cop anymore. He's always been defined by his job. He accepts a civilian job with the Pine Hills Police Department, and is having trouble figuring out how he fits in.

Of course, since it's a romantic suspense (or, my preferred "Mystery With Relationships"), Scott and Ashley will hook up and have to deal with helping each other. He thinks Ashley, his new neighbor, is innocent, but when he's asked to help the detectives with the investigation, he has to decide if he wants to be a cop or a protective boyfriend.

Titles? My working title is "Scott Free" which plays on the theme that he has to accept who he is now in order to move forward with his life.

Cover images? Something with chocolate is the easier choice, but it doesn't really fit if it's Scott's book, especially if the title is "Scott Free." On the chocolate side, brownies, hot cocoa and doughnuts come into play. On the cop side, it's more abstract--a cop rediscovering life. Darkness and light could be themes.

Leave your suggestions in the comments, and there's a mention in the book's acknowledgements if I use either your title or cover suggestion. And, of course, you'll get a copy of the book.

Tomorrow, my guest is author Rebecca J. Clark. Please come back.

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Andrea L. Waters said...

Scotts Desire
CoverArt Chocolate cops badge

Michelle Houston said...


As a writer and a cover artist, I can fully understand the issues you are facing with taking a book indie, and trying to match covers to previous books.

Please, know that I only offer suggestions in a an effort to help. : ) Feel free to discard them as you wish. : )

Looking at things from the cover artist POV, my suggestions are:

1. The other three books have a "Scenery" background image. With trying to match fonts and styles to the other books, I would suggest sticking with a scenery image to provide as close of a match as possible to the style of the other covers.

2. The title - VISUALLY I think it could work, since the first word of your title is longer than the second, and your covers have the first work in smaller font over the second word, that is important. However, if there were a way to pick a title with 6+ letters in the first word, and keep the second word as 4, visually that would work better.

3. That said, on the title, I would almost suggest changing it. Here's why. You have Finding Sarah, Hidden Fire, and Finding Fire. Finding and Hidden are very much location and concept words, and Sarah and Fire are objects. Scott Free is an object with a concept behind it. Maybe for the first word something like ... Searching? Seeking? Discovering? Embracing? And then put his name as the second word. Metaphorically, it will fit, since he is in essence finding and accepting himself throughout the book. And it will fit with the flow of the previous titles.

Again, just my two cents. : )


Terry Odell said...

Andrea - thanks for your suggestion.

Michelle - great points. I agree a scenic would fit the series, but not really the book. Will have to see what I have. I'm not all that fond of play-on-words titles, although they seem to be prevalent. Good title ideas.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Oh gosh. This is tough. Being genre specific (and I know you're blending here), wouldn't most books with a strong romantic element have images of characters (like "Where Danger Hides?"). "Scott Free" is clever, I think. :)

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth, if it were easy, I wouldn't be posting this!

Shelley Munro said...

How about Fresh Start or New Beginnings.
I like the idea of a scene to fit with the other books, but instead of a landscape you could do a small townscape. Perhaps the main street with the bakery?

Karen C said...

Wish I could be helpful - I'm just glad it's your decision! Can't wait to read the story.

bev said...

Hi Terry
Can I suggest something totally different?

I like the idea of following with your other titles and wondered about

I know it is Scott's story but that is his objective of his story

And for cover art, a picture of 'Confections by Ashley' shop in the background to keep with the scenery aspect of your other books.
Just suggestions.
Kendra James/Bev Irwin

Terry Odell said...

Shelley - thanks for the suggestions. I'm leaning toward a street/storefront "scene"

Karen - you'll have to wait until March!

Bev - thanks. Definitely on the list.

Karen C said...

Thanks for the heads up on Where Danger Hides - I got my copy.