Thursday, December 18, 2014

Grammar Schmammar

Grammar Errors

"Nooo! They didn't use the correct verb tense!"
Many hate them and won't even read a book if it has them in it, and if they do go ahead and read it, they make sure to point out the errors in their review, which usually has a star or two, maybe more, knocked off the rating to reflect their utter dislike for them, even if the story-line was great. They may also throw in a snide comment to belittle the author, implying that the author is an idiot, since they obviously don't know the proper pronoun and verb tenses to use. However, what if grammar errors are needed to make the story real

A book that takes place in California is going to read differently than one that takes place in Tennessee. You're rarely going to hear a southerner (and I mean backwoods, Tennessee hills southerner) say something like, "How dare he." Instead, you will usually hear the incorrect pronoun, him. (Trust me... I know.) I've actually been in other states and talked with total strangers who knew I was from Tennessee just from the way I spoke—my accent, as they call it. So, if someone writes a book that takes place in Tennessee, or any other state where their dialect or accent is prevalent, why should they change that just to conform to what society says is correct? In my opinion, they shouldn't, which is why I don't.

I make no apologies for my writing style, and neither should any other writer. If a reader picks up a book that takes place in the south, they should expect the voice in their head to also sound southern as they read, which will include some intentional grammar misuses. Why make a country girl sound like she's from the mid-west just to please the grammar patrol? Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about spelling errors or punctuation errors, such as they're, their, and there being used incorrectly. I'm also not talking about something that is cluttered with so many mistakes it's hard to follow. I'm talking about a character's voice, as imperfect as it may be. 

What prompted me to write this blog post was an actual comment on an article (not even a book review) that was in no way related to grammar or me. As I read the article, I saw no mistakes and thought it was rather informative. THEN I go to the comments at the end and... oh, my word! I don't see how the woman who left this comment was even able to reach her computer to write it from the high horse she was perched on! She was nothing but rude and condescending, and her comment was a complete waste of her time, especially when this writer hadn't actually submitted it to her for her approval or grammar and editing expertise. Here is her comment:
"I am appalled at the writing and lack of editing in this article! It is replete with grammar and punctuation errors. I had our homeschooling children look it over, and they got a kick out of the fact that their knowledge of grammar seems to eclipse that of an actual writer. For starters, please learn how properly to conjugate the verb “to be”. (Notice there how I didn’t split the infinitive, which you do once in your article.) You managed to conjugate the verb “to be” incorrectly a stunning three times in the article: (“There was once several thousand bookstores…”, “The internet list of 150 titles are available….”, “point of sale measurements…..is elusive”. Also, understand that when using “either/or”, only two choices should be given, not three or more. You spelled “Walmart” incorrectly throughout the article, and even then, not consistently! An author doesn’t sell 4,000 copies of a book “on” the week, but rather “during” the week. I think you also need a refresher on comma placement; a comma is required before words like “and”, “but”, “yet”, and “since” if there is a simple sentence ( a sentence containing a subject and a verb) following this linking word. I could go on to list more errors, (note the comma there) but I’m busy teaching our children so they may grow up to write and speak properly." 


(FYI—In the article, Walmart was spelled with a hyphen (Wal-mart), which is an alternate spelling. Even Forbes spells it that way! Get over yourself, woman.)

Anyway...

When a 'Grammar Nazi', as many call them, goes on a rant like this, especially when it's in a review of an actual book that took a lot of time to write, not a short article, it's hurtful, not only to the author, but possibly to their sales. If someone liked the story and read the entire book, why do that? Or if a book takes place in the south and intended 'incorrect' grammar and/or improper use of verb tenses are used, and you can't tolerate them, just don't read it. Don't read it, knowing you don't like that writing style, and then berate it up and down.   

In the grand scheme of things, how important is grammar? For some, extremely, which we witnessed in the above comment. For me, not so much. I read the story, not the words. If you're more worried about words and whether or not they are used correctly together in a sentence, then you're going to miss the story. When I'm reading a great story and come across not only grammar issues, but typos, punctuation errors, etc., unless they slow down my reading and aren't excessive, I don't care. Do I notice them? Sometimes, but like speed bumps, I either go airborne or smoothly roll right over them and move on. Even the best editor is still human. 

Like I said, for me, books are all about the story, not the words used to make it. You can write day in and day out, using perfect grammar, but unless those well executed words are actually telling a story, that's all they'll ever be—just words.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Signed Copy Giveaway

Just in time for Christmas!

To Enter:

Go to any of my social media sites & share, RT, or repost this photo. That's it!

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I will announce a winner on December 15th!







Monday, November 3, 2014

FOR ETERNITY Release Celebration

After what seems like forever, the final installment in
the FOR ALWAYS series is finally here!



In a world of Darkness, one must hold fast to the Light...

When Malyn Reed, seer of ghosts, fell in love with one, she knew it wouldn't end well, but when love pleaded with her heart, she was unable to deny it. Falling hard for the sexy, southern gentleman, Beau Brogan, who died in 1910, her already strange life quickly turned into a life she'd never imagined, filled with love and heartache that would change her... for always
When Beau Brogan died, left to haunt his homestead for over a century, he thought it was his hell on earth, until Malyn Reed moved in. Stealing the heart that hadn't beat in over one-hundred years, she gave him a new life that he'd never known, even while he was alive. But like his life, their time together came to an untimely end and they were forced to say goodbye... for now.
In this third and final installment of the For Always series, love will be tested in ways that Beau and Malyn aren't prepared for. During the battle of good and evil—Darkness and Light—choices will have to be made and sides taken. Unbeknownst to Beau, one final decision will change everything... for eternity

Their love survived beyond Beau's death, 
but can it survive beyond his absence 
and the Darkness that threatens them all?

►►DOWNLOAD FOR ETERNITY HERE!◄◄


~~~~~~ Not started this series yet? ~~~~~~ 


For Always is currently FREE & can be downloaded HERE


For Now can be downloaded HERE





To help me celebrate,
several other Limitless Publishing authors
are joining me for a fun-filled day of
take-overs, giveaways, and more! 

Make sure you join the
►►►FOR ETERNITY RELEASE PARTY◄◄◄
so you don't miss out!


Participating authors include:
Jonathan Yanez
The Beast Within | The Trials | The Judge |  Zero |  Alan Price and the Colossus of Rhodes
Olivia Snow
Coming Soon!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Here's a GIVEAWAY to kick things off!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

FOR ALWAYS Author/Character Interview & Giveaway


Hello... my name is Beverly and today I'm not only going to be interviewing the author of the FOR ALWAYS series, Janae Mitchell, but I'm also going to interview all of the main characters who star in this hauntingly romantic story. We all decided to meet here at Janae's house, which is located near where this story takes place, right in the heart of east Tennessee. (As everyone settles down and gets comfy on her wrap-around couch, I get started with some warm-up questions.) 

First off, I'd like to thank you, Janae, for having us and allowing this exclusive full cast interview to take place here in your home.

Janae:  You're welcome! They all practically live here, anyway, so... (She smiles and shrugs.)

Janae, would you care to introduce your characters to those who may not be familiar with them, maybe sharing an insider's secret about them that no one else knows?

Beau:  Secrets? (He winks at Malyn, who is snuggled close to him, holding his hand in her lap.) Ya might wanna close your ears, Nellie. (Malyn smacks his arm while Nellie just smiles and shakes her head.)
Janae:  Well, of course we've got Beau Brogan, the sexy dead one. (He smiles, showing off his dimples.) From what I gather, he seems to be a favorite among the ladies.

Of course he is. (Yes, I'm swooning just a bit.) 

Janae: And cuddled next to him is Malyn Reed, who has always been able to see spirits. She's never been glad that she had that ability, however, until she moved into the house Beau was haunting. (Beau rubs his thumb back and forth across the back of Malyn's hand as her cheeks become a bright pink.) Next to her is Miss Nellie Reed, who is not only Malyn's country-singing, hippie-loving, and a tab-bit eccentric grandmother—
Nellie: Eccentric? (She looks at Max.) Am I eccentric?
Max: (He suddenly has that deer-in-the-headlights look.) Um....
Janae:  —but she's also a grandmother to all of the readers, as well, or so they say. Everyone loves Nellie.

Yes, we do. (Nellie smiles, not caring anymore that she may or may not be considered eccentric.)

Janae: And then there's Mr. Maxwell Goins—Max—a Savannah, Georgia native who's our go-to guy when all the freaky, paranormal stuff goes down. (She starts singing the 'Ghostbusters' theme song. When she stops singing, she leans towards me like she's going to tell me a big secret, even though I'm sitting on her fireplace across the room.) Him and Nellie are a bit of an item. (She over-exaggerates a wink.) Next to Max is Beth Stone, Malyn's best friend, who we all adore. (She leans towards me again and lowers her voice.) She's a big One Direction fan.
Beth: (Laughs and throws a little pillow at her.) No, I'm not!
Jace: Then why is that all I ever hear when you're home? (Beth rolls her eyes.)
Janae: And this is the lovely Jace Stone, Beth's older brother. (And lovely he is. Janae leans forward and shakes his shoulders, since he is sitting on the foot of the chaise at the end of the couch next to her.) I don't think people liked him that much at first, but once that second book came out, Jace made them fall in love with him. (Jace just smiles, letting me know how shy he really is.)
Beau: (Laughs) Sap. (Jace laughs and throws a water bottle at him... rather hard, might I add.)
Malyn: (Playfully smacks Beau's arm and lowers her voice.) Be nice.
Beau: He knows I'm just playin'.
Janae: And Jace used to date Malyn, which, as you can tell, doesn't make it awkward at all when the whole gang gets together.

Yes, I can see that. (It's totally awkward.) Okay, so now that we've met everyone, which one is your favorite?

Janae: (Looks surprised by my question.) That's like asking which child you love the best. (She raises an eyebrow at me, obviously not going to answer, as all eyes zoom in on her.)

Moving right along, then. Jace, let's start with you. Since Beau and Malyn are obviously together at the moment, how do you feel about that?

Jace:  I'm... I'm happy that she's happy. (He glances back at Malyn and smiles before looking back at me.) That's all I ever want her to be. Does it suck? Yeah, but it is what it is.

And do you still talk to her?

Jace: (His smile widens and becomes a bit mischievous.) All the time. Sometimes in the middle of the night, even... for hours. (Malyn smiles and shakes her head as Beau mumbles something I can't hear.) 

Interesting. Nellie, my next question is for you. What did you think when you moved into your house and realized Beau was there, knowing he was close to Malyn's age and that she would be able to see him?

Nellie: Well, I couldn't actually see Beau, I could only sense that he was there, so I had no clue as to how handsome he is. (She smiles at him, which cause his dimples to sink in a bit.) Even though I could tell how special he was, I never thought Malyn would fall as hard as she did for him.

With everything that you know now, if you could do it all over again, would you still move to Dandridge?

Nellie: (She looks back over at Malyn and Beau.) Absolutely.

Are you and Max ever going to get married?

Nellie:  (She laughs at my question.) Ain't your question limit up for me? You ain't asked the girls anything yet.

Okay, moving on to the girls. Beth... what did you think when you first found out Malyn could see ghosts?

Beth:  Once the shock wore off, I actually thought it was pretty cool. I had a friend who claimed she could see fairies when I was little, but this was totally different.

And Malyn, if there was one thing in the For Always story that you could change, what would it be?

Malyn:  (She looks around the room before she answers.) Not a single thing.

This question is for all of you. If you could ask Janae one thing, what would you ask her? Let's start with Jace and just go down the line.

Jace:  Why did you try to kill me? (Everyone laughs.) It was really unpleasant.
Janae:  It's all about the plots twists; nothing personal. (She leans forward and hugs his back.) I love you, man.

Beau, you're next.

Beau:  Dang, that's a tough one. I guess I'd wanna know why she made me a hero and didn't just have me die in some farmin' accident or somethin'.
Janae:  I wanted to establish right off the bat that you were special and what better way to do that than make you the hero that you are.
Malyn:  Why did you take my parents away from me when I was so young?
Nellie:  Malyn!
Janae:  No, it's okay. (She laughs awkwardly.) I guess it was me who did that, huh? Well, first off, I'm sorry about that. I wanted Nellie to be the main authority in your life and the only way I knew how to do that was to remove the others. I'm sorry.
Malyn: That's okay. You brought several other amazing people into my life, so I forgive you.

Well, that's good. Having one of your own book characters pissed off at you may have been a first.

Janae: Well, if it's gonna happen to somebody, it'll happen to me; that's how I roll. (We all laugh.)

Nellie and Max?

Nellie: Why do ya think I'm eccentric?
Janae: (Laughs) Well, you just are. That's not a bad thing, though. I mean... how many people can wear what you do and pull it off?
Nellie: What's wrong with how I dress? (Everyone laughs.)
Janae: Nothing. (Still laughing) I love it. If I ever need glasses, I'm getting some violet ones like yours.
Nellie: I'll make sure to leave these to ya in my will when I die. No, I guess you need to do that... whenever ya kill me off.
Max: Well, when you kill me off, can ya kill me first? That's my question. I wanna go before she does. (He points at Nellie.)
Beth: Oh, my gosh, don't start talkin' about that stuff and get us all depressed. Nobody's dying anytime soon, right Janae? (Looks at Janae, who averts her eyes and doesn't answer her.) They better not. Well, anyway... my question is, why wasn't there more Hunter in the story?
Janae: Sorry, Beth, but he's just a minor character.
Beth: Minor? But he's my boyfriend and I miss him.
Malyn: Then pick up the phone and call him, silly.
Jace: Yeah. It's the same way with Ty. If I need to talk to him, I call him while another scene's going on that I'm not in. We have lives outside of our scenes, you know.

As we near the end of this interview, I'd like to ask you all what you think about the proposed characters for The Imagine Film List. Beau, you seem to have the most picks so far, what do you think about them?

Beau:  (Looks confused.) I have no idea what you're talkin' about.
Janae:  (Jumps up and down in her seat, almost jarring Jace into the floor.) Oh, oh, oh! I forgot to tell y'all... There is this website where readers can pick the actor they think should play you if "For Always" should ever become a movie.
Malyn: And people have chosen actors to play us?
Janae: Yes!
Malyn: Oh, mylanta! Really?

Actually, I've got all of the pictures here if you'd like to see. (Unanimous yeses prompt me to get the proposed actors' pictures out.) Beau, since you have the most, let's start with you.
The two actors tied with the most votes to play Beau Brogan are Chace Crawford and Matt Lanter.



Malyn:  Oh, yeah!
Janae:  Woo hoo! They chose pretty well.
Malyn:  Mmm, hmm.
Beth:  I agree.

And for Malyn—

Malyn:  Oh, gosh....
Beau:  They couldn't find anybody that could possibly compare to you. (He leans over and kisses her forehead, causing her to blush again.)

—the readers chose Maia Mitchell.



Malyn:  Aww... she's pretty.
Janae:  Of course she is. I think she'd be perfect. (They both look at Beau.)
Beau:  Not bad... but still not you.
Nellie:  But pretty darn close.




Beth and Jace both have three proposed actors, but the one who is in the lead to play Jace Stone is Jesse Roberts.




Beth:  He's too cute to play you, Jace.
Malyn:  I think he'd work.







And Beth has a three-way tie; it's between Hayden Panettiere, Olivia Holt, and Maddie Hasson.



Beth:  They're cute.
Malyn:  Just like you.

Nellie, they think Diane Keaton should play your part and that Jeff Bridges should portray Max.




Max:  Jeff Bridges? I can handle that.
Nellie:  I don't look like Diane Keaton.
Malyn:  If they made her up to look like you, I bet she could.
Janae:  I think they're all pretty great. I love seeing who people pick for each character. There's even one on there for Amber.
Malyn:  Really? (Janae nods.) Aww, I'll have to tell her.

Readers can actually download the first book, "For Always", for free, is that correct?

Janae: Yes, when last I checked. Book three, "For Eternity", is available for pre-order and is coming out November 4th, so the first book is free for those who haven't started this series yet.

And book two, "For Now", is the one you're giving away at the end of the interview?

Janae:  Yes. There's also another monster giveaway going on during the entire month of October that has not only more giveaways of mine, but several other authors, as well.

Readers will have to make sure they check that out. Well, that about wraps it up for this interview. I'd like to thank you all for being so candid while answering my questions.

Beth:  Wait a minute. I've got a question for you.

Um... okay.

Beth:  You look really familiar. Aren't you... Janae's mom?

Oh. Why yes... yes I am. I'm also her Event Assistant, Books Swag Designer, one of her Beta Readers, and now, her Interviewer. I'm also her Number One Biggest Fan by default.

Janae:  Thanks, Mom!

You're welcome. 

Janae: And thanks to you, Beau, Malyn, Nellie, Max, Beth, and Jace, for becoming the awesome characters you are—characters that I've grown to love. The last book is coming out soon and I'm going to miss you all so, so much.
Malyn:  But we're always with you, really.
Janae:  Yeah, I guess you're right, but it's not the same. Who knows, maybe I don't have to completely let go just yet.
Malyn: What do you mean?
Beau:  Knowin' her, there's no tellin'.


FOR ALWAYS (Currently Free!)
FOR ETERNITY (Available for pre-order) 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THE BODY Cover Reveal & Giveaway


THE BODY by D. Nichole King
Spirit Trilogy #2 

They vowed to never return. Their lives depend on it. With last summer behind them, Lucas and Carrie think they’re safe. Only the Moore House isn’t through with them. 
When Lucas receives bad news, the search for the elusive half-demon who holds the key to Lucas’s death becomes first priority. The creature might be Lucas’s only shot at finding his soul. Problem is he doesn’t want to be found. Dead ends and blocked attempts leave them wary. Lucas seems to be fading away. His eyes no longer glow, his skin pales. Exhaustion consumes him, leaving him distant when he’s with Carrie. Not knowing what’s happening to him kills her. From all around, shadows creep in, and there’s nowhere to hide. Then, a mysterious stranger suddenly appears in town and unlocks a deadly secret from Lucas’s past. 
When the Moore House becomes their only escape— No one is safe. 

Find THE BODY on GOODREADS

Pre-Order THE BODY on AMAZON

Not started this series yet?

Get THE SPIRIT (book 1) on AMAZON



ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

D. Nichole King Iowa is my home. I was born and raised here, and even though I spent most of my younger years dying to get out, I can't imagine a better place to work, play, and raise my kids. Yes, I like the familiarity (but not the cold after December!) I've always been a book nerd. I read ... a lot! The reason why can be summed up in one of my favorite quotes: "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." --George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons 

 I graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa with a liberal arts degree in Psychology and Chemistry. Along with my amazing husband, I live in small-town Iowa as a full-time mom to my four adorable children. Oh, and our dog, Peaches. When not writing, reading, or taking care of the everyday chores, I love to scrapbook, play board and card games, and watch movies.  

~~ Follow D. Nichole King ~~


 ►►► GIVEAWAY ◄◄◄


Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Oath Cover Reveal (by Apryl Baker)


 

The Oath (Book 2 of The Coven Series) By Apryl Baker

Release Date: 10/07/2014 


Summary from Goodreads: 
She killed herself. Everyone asked why, but when I got my hands on my sister's diary, I understood exactly why. I stared at the girl in the mirror as I removed my nose ring. Gone was the black hair, replaced by golden blonde locks that made my sapphire blue eyes shine and my California sun-kissed skin glow. The Goth chic clothes had been put away and I wore a pink tank top and a pair of khaki colored Capri’s. Stylish sandals completed the outfit. I wanted to barf. The snotty little would-be witches would pay for what they'd done. By the end of the week, they’d all be praying to whatever god they worshiped to hide them from the hell coming for them. May the Fates have mercy upon them, because they would pay the same price they’d demanded of her. Their lives.

Add to your Goodreads to be read list now!

Available for pre-order now!


 Read book 1of The Coven Series, The Promise!

Summary from Goodreads:
Armed with kick-ass shoes, can CJ stop a maniacal coven leader, save the town, and still get Mr. Melt In Your Mouth Gorgeous while surviving the darkness coming for her? The smoke from the fire burned her eyes, its heat caressed her skin and the taste of fear choked her. She was going to burn just as her ancestor did all those centuries ago in New Salem Village. How could she have been so wrong about everything? Cassie Jayne Bishop grew up the only non-believer in town of Coven. When a stranger comes to the sleepy town of New Salem, everything she thought was true unraveled around her. Ethan made her question everything, even her sister’s death. Clues start to pile up and Cassie is determined to find out if the Coven was the real reason her sister died. What she uncovers terrifies her to the very depths of her soul....
 Buy Links: 
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Apple | Kobo | B&N


About the Author 

So who am I? Well, I'm the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies. My friends laugh at me when I scare myself watching them and tell me to stop watching them, but who doesn't love to get scared? I grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees, and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to sleep. Growing up in a small town, I learned a lot of values and morals, I also learned parents have spies everywhere and there's always someone to tell your mama on you. So when you get grounded, what is there left to do? Read! My Aunt Jo gave me my first real romance novel. It was a romance titled "Lord Margrave's Deception." I remember it fondly. But I also learned I had a deep and abiding love of mysteries and anything paranormal. As I grew up, I started to write just that and would entertain my friends with stories featuring them as main characters. Now, I live Huntersville, NC where I entertain my family and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats start yelling something fierce...lol. I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.
You can reach me at any of these places:


PS: DO NOT GET IN MY WAY IF THERE IS A SALE ON AT TARGET - my home away from home!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

FOR ETERNITY Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Coming November 4th!

Click here to pre-order "For Eternity"
In a world of Darkness, one must hold fast to the Light...

When Malyn Reed, seer of ghosts, fell in love with one, she knew it wouldn't end well, but when love pleaded with her heart, she was unable to deny it. Falling hard for the sexy, southern gentleman, Beau Brogan, who died in 1910, her already strange life quickly turned into a life she'd never imagined, filled with love and heartache that would change her... for always

When Beau Brogan died, left to haunt his homestead for over a century, he thought it was his hell on earth, until Malyn Reed moved in. Stealing the heart that hadn't beat in over one-hundred years, she gave him a new life that he'd never known, even while he was alive. But like his life, their time together came to an untimely end and they were forced to say goodbye... for now.

In this third and final installment of the For Always series, love will be tested in ways that Beau and Malyn aren't prepared for. During the battle of good and evil—Darkness and Light—choices will have to be made and sides taken. Unbeknownst to Beau, one final decision will change everything... for eternity

Their love survived beyond Beau's death, 
but can it survive beyond his absence 
and the Darkness that threatens them all?



If you've not started this series yet,
you can find the first two books here:


Currently FREE!


About The Author

Janae has been a writer since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Her genre of choice was poetry and short stories—until now. After falling in love with so many books over the past decade, she decided that she wanted to write a novel of her own and bring life to the characters that haunt her mind. It wasn't until 2012 that she pursued that passion and started on her first YA novel. 115,000 words later, For Always was born.
Having grown up in an historical Dandridge home that was used as slave quarters during the Civil War, she experienced several things that couldn't be explained. Due to these events, she sought out and joined an investigative team called Eyewitness Paranormal. Her interest in ghosts and the unexplained, combined with her love for telling a story, made writing the For Always series inevitable.
Janae was born and raised in East Tennessee, where she currently resides with her husband, two children, and their hairless dog, Slick. In her spare time, she likes to read, play tennis, and spend time with her family on the lake.





Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Author Stole My Cover!



No, they really didn't.


When I first saw Jasinda Wilder's cover, I was like No... flippin'... way! Not only did her cover include the same picture, but her title was also very similar. I immediately notified my publisher. How can they do this? Isn't this some kind of copyright infringement or something? Oh, my word... it's just like mine! My publisher quickly calmed me, of course, saying that she doubted a NY Times Bestselling Author would copy us. I could have been offended, but I wasn't; she was right. But I was oh-so glad that my book came out first so people wouldn't think I copied her. Of course, I've learned a lot since then and realize that this happens... quite often, actually.
I can't tell you how many covers I've seen and have been like Oh, that's so-and-so's book, only to realize it's not—just their cover. For those who don't know, this happens because cover designers and authors use stock photos which can be used over and over again. Just because an author or cover designer found the perfect photo in the mounds of stock photos out there and uses it on a certain book doesn't mean I can't use it, too. Of course, just like my "For Always" cover above, these photos can incorporate different design techniques, making them look slightly different in some cases, but for the most part, they're the same photo, which will most likely be detected by readers, especially if it's from a popular series.
The Lux series covers, in my opinion, are one element that played a huge roll in its popularity, catching your eye and making you want to find out who this guy is, thus making them very well known covers. These same photos are stock photos that can, and have been, used again. However, guess what happens when someone sees them on another book? They think of these books. It could be the cover of some kind of country-western novel about a roping gang; and yes, maybe they changed his clothes a bit, added a rope, but no matter what they do, it's still Daemon Black. (Hmm... the thought of Daemon in chaps slinging a rope just came to mind. You're welcome.)
As we all know, covers sell and can make or break a book sometimes. Do you have a possible best-selling book with a butt-ugly cover? Guess what? That book will most likely never live up to the potential that's inside it because readers won't give it the chance to. When people say not to judge a book by its cover, it's like saying not to judge a day by its weather. If I look out the window and it's ugly and rainy, I'm not going outside. Same with books. A bad cover can ruin the whole thing and cause readers to move on to something else.


So, what to do? 

Make Yours Stand Out 

If you have no other option but to use stock photos, make whatever photo you use your own. Photo shop the crap out of it so it's unique to your story, this way, even if someone else uses the same photo, yours will stand out. If you use a cover designer, make sure you let them know what kind of feeling you want the cover to express. The worst kind of covers are the ones that are just photos and a title, with no design elements or anything that make you feel the cover and not just see it. 
While at a recent book signing (with over 100 other authors), I promised myself not to go crazy—I'd only buy a few books... that's it. After walking through the entire venue (which included some very well-known authors) before the doors opened, I passed by them all. It wasn't until I came to Bailey Ardisone's table that I stopped. What stopped me? Her beautiful covers. They weren't elaborate or highly designed, but they made you want to read whatever story was inside. That, my friends, is what covers should do. Needless to say, the few books that I'd allowed myself to buy at this event ended up being hers.

How To Stand Out

Take your own cover photos. That's what I recently did for an upcoming project. This will ensure that no one else will have the same cover as you. The hardest part will most likely be finding models to match your main character(s), if they are needed, but it's not impossible. I used a family member and a friend's daughter for my last photo shoot, who were both eager and excited about being on the cover of a book. Some friends of mine, who are photographers, took the photos, but with a decent camera, you can take them yourself; you just may have more photo-shop work to do.
Believe it or not, it is possible to do a complete photo shoot and design your own cover for free, using your own photos in conjunction with sites like Pic Monkey and Fotor, as well as Amazon's cover creator.


Catch Readers' Eyes

But how does one catch readers' eyes you ask? Well, look through your own books. Which ones catch your eye? Which book covers are your favorites? What makes them your favorites? Is it the feeling they emit or a certain theme that they carry throughout the series? Whatever it is, go with it for your own covers. Own books that have less than desirable covers? Figure out what elements of the design you don't like and make sure you avoid that in your cover.

Don't overpay!

I've seen some cover designers charge upward of $500, sometimes more, to design a cover. I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. I'm not saying that their work isn't worth that... well, maybe I am. Unless they are doing a unique illustration for you, like the Harry Potter series beautiful array of covers, or incorporating a photo shoot with design, no one should charge that much, in my opinion, especially if they are using reusable stock photos. The cover designer of the books that attracted my attention at the book event charges $50 per cover... $50! That's pretty cheap for a cover design, but her covers work. They got my attention that day, which is what covers should do. (You can contact her at Cover Design by Bailey.) 


Traditionally published authors have less control

My first series, For Always, was traditionally published, so I didn't have the final say on covers. However, my publisher is great when it comes to working with their authors on what type of covers they want and try to help them get it. I'm sure most publishers do this, knowing that if they dress an author's baby badly that it might make for a bumpy ride to publication. One of my favorite designers that they use is Wicked By Design. Robin is great to work with and I would highly recommend her.
I know Jennifer Armentrout had some of her readers get upset when her publisher changed her covers (the ones above) before the release of "Opposition", the last book in the Lux series. Some said it was just to get more money, knowing readers (book nerds, like myself) like to have all of their covers match nicely on their shelf and would go back and buy the first books again. I mean, why change covers mid-series? I don't know, but there was a reason her publisher did it, and as most publishers do, they have the final say, not Jennifer. Instead of readers getting upset, they should've thought about how they had copies of the discontinued covers, which won't be made anymore, since they were replaced by the new ones. The back cover of my second book was messed up, which quickly got fixed, but readers who accidentally got it before the correction actually liked the fact that their book was one out of just a few sold like that.


Indie authors

If you're an indie author, make sure your cover doesn't reflect that. What I mean by that is don't let your cover look unpolished; make readers wonder who published it. Some indie authors do it all—editing, cover, formatting, everything—themselves and unless they do it to perfection, it looks sloppy and it makes it obvious that it was self-published, appearing unprofessional.
I did my own cover for "Haunted", which I'm rather proud of, especially since it was my first time doing something like that. Luckily, it was too thin to be able to add writing to the spine or I might have choked and left it to the professionals. The last thing I'd want would be for my spine to be all crooked. I'm going to try to do my next project's cover, as well, but it's going to be a full novel, so if I can't get it perfect, I'll hire a designer. Never settle on a cover if you're not 100% happy with it; money can buy happiness... at least when it comes to book covers.
The main thing NOT to do is to take a stock photo and just slap your name and title on it. When I see books like these, I don't even bother to read the synopsis. I assume if the author didn't care enough to take the time to package their work nicely that what's inside probably isn't that good, either. Just like
items in the grocery store. Would you buy a generic looking box of cereal with some unappealing bowl of flakes on the front of it? I wouldn't. I want the ones that make me want to lick the box and books are no different. I've never actually licked either, but have been tempted.




Okay... where was I?

No matter what people say, books are judged by their covers and often times can help sell books, so make sure yours stands out from the rest. Make people feel it, not just see it. If you're at a book event, what about your cover will set you apart from the other authors? There better be something or people will pass your table right on by. No matter what kind of swag you have, it's about the books—the cover is what makes the swag. 
If you're not proud of your cover, wanting to show it to everyone—have it as your screen saver... your facebook banner... on a magnet on your vehicle... on huge sign in your front yard—then it's not the best it can be. (Okay, I exaggerated a little there, but you get the picture.) 
I hope my rambling was tolerable and that some of the helpful links I included made up for it.

May you enjoy, but refrain from licking, many beautiful covers in your future!






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