Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cover Art

Cover art has always been important to me. A cover doesn't just sell a book, it also represents the author's care and attention (in my opinion). When I used to look at publishers I would look through their catalog and examine each cover they posted online. If the artwork was poor then I was very unlikely to approach them for publication. When we started writing "The Beginning of Whit" we had some thoughts on a cover. In a moment of boredom I actually worked on a rendition of "Night Hawks" that could work as the cover but when the flash drive that the image was on died, so did the image. 

(The original "Night Hawks" image by Edward Hopper.)
While I came up with a lot of images throughout the process, to get the right "feel" for the book we finally approached some actual artists. Even though we still were kicking around the idea of doing a play on "Night Hawks" we knew that if we started a series with that image then we'd have to maintain a series of covers based on famous art (if we wanted continuity between book covers). 

Ultimately, when I found an artist whose work was something I was interested in, I went with a design that fit her already established portfolio. The final image is something I think really represents the book and the care that my co-author and I took in selecting a cover. The color choices for the cover give it an urban fantasy feel and the youthful/fun feel of Whit. The scary chickenman in the shadows gives it some intrigue and the stake and donuts gives some hints about the character and the book.

Two parts of the cover are extra touches conceived by the authors. Andrew chose to have the broken egg at the bottom of the page. I chose to include the one-eyed cat beside Whit. When I told Chewie that she was featured on the cover, this is how she reacted:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Experiment of Sorts...

So this past weekend I took a box of books and went to a local event in the hopes of selling a few copies. Indie South Fair is a two-day, twice a year event that is held in Athens, GA. Unfortunately, it was held outside (gah!) and the second day was rainy and in the 40s temperature wise. But I did sell three copies of my book, one of which was to a complete stranger, so I guess it was a success. Here are some photos of the event:

Me next to my books and my display. Also note the beautiful banner in the background provided by AWA's founder Katherine.

The tent on the first day. Books galore and fellow AWA members (and my sister Amanda).

A prop provided by Rob (pictured here), this sword was a hit with several kids and a few adults.

About a month back, Athens Writers Association was at a similar event and afterwards we discussed the need for props to bring potential buyers to our table. Because I constantly over complicate things, I made a plethora of props. 

What's a demon hunter without a box full of supplies? And since it's Whit, the box obviously has to be shiny and pink.
Some of the internal contents of the box. A red diary, some Big City paraphernalia, quartz, gold stone, a tiny magnifying glass, a leather bracelet with a ward sewn into it and a bottle of sparkles.
Another shot of what the box contains. Some Big City stickers, a bottle of holy water, and a mysterious box containing some strange items...

A guide to Big City.

The guide is full of interesting tidbits about the wonderful world Whit lives in.
A good knife is always helpful on the hunt.

All hunters need stakes. I made these and the leather sheath.
On the first day of this event, my stuff was tucked deep into the tent and few people felt comfortable venturing that far into our book abyss, so no one actually looked at the paper products I created (like the Big City tourist booklet). I did have two different kids (probably around 8 years old) ask me about my stakes. The second day was too wet to put anything out really without risking it getting damaged. So yeah, I went overboard on my props and they didn't really bring in sales, but it was fun making them (if that counts for anything). It's all a learning experience, and with each new event I'll know better what works and what doesn't work. Now that I have two events under my belt I'll be that much more successful at the next one. :)