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Monthly Archives: September 2016

This has been an exciting week, and it’s only Tuesday!

Yesterday the interview I did with Unsettling Wonder went online.  I’ll be honest, I was a little bit nervous about it.  The reason I love the written word is that I have time to think about what I’m trying to say, go back and amend things, polish it exactly right and then release it into the world after I’m satisfied.  I’m so thankful that Rebecca not only gave me her questions in advance, but let me review the transcript and edit it.  The day I have to do a purely video/audio interview is the day I’ll be a gibbering mess hiding in a corner, most likely.

I’d been lately toying with the idea of releasing a short story I’d written in early 2013, The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When.  I have a very silly side, a part of me which seeks to be witty and hilarious, so sometimes my writing goes in that direction.  I couldn’t entirely keep that part of myself hidden while writing Bestial, and there are scenes in that novel which I honestly cracked myself up while writing them.  TATAoDW was a constant delight to compose, and I got to channel my inner ridiculousness throughout.

So as a way to encourage, and then celebrate, reaching over 100 likes on my Facebook author page, I published The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When for free on Smashwords.


I had intended to release via Kindle Direct publishing again, but they don’t give you an option to make your works permanently free when publishing with them.  Instead I found advice online which suggested to publish for free on another platform, then in a week contact KDP that the title is available for free and they would have to price match as a result!  Unfortunately this means that Kindle has my short story for $.99 at the moment, which I personally don’t believe its mere 6,000 word jaunt will give readers a feeling of value for money.  Oh well.

Some writers don’t believe in offering any of their work fo.r free, believing it will devalue their work in the eyes of readers, but I have a more positive opinion on the effect a short freebie offering may have on gaining readership, and encouraging readers to take a chance on a longer, paid title.

I do it.  All the time.  I look at a book cover with the same kind of instant appraisal as I do when choosing a bottle of wine based on its label art – which is to say, I already have formed an opinion of its quality while also being fully aware that what’s inside probably bears no relation.  But I still do it, and that snap judgement still colors my decision-making process despite my rational acknowledgement of its unfairness.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

So when I set myself to the task of deciding what my book cover would be I knew it would be an important decision.  In many ways the actual book makes little difference if the cover art or book summary or any other of a number of promotional materials don’t inspire readers to actually read it in the first place.

I thought about the books I love reading now and loved reading as a child.  Many of them were written in the heyday of paperback fiction, fantasy in particular, when unique hand-painted cover art was the norm.  The cover art was truly art on its own, a visual expression of the book, its message, characters and the general feeling of it all.  I wanted a cover that did all of this but I felt uncertain how to go about it, who to ask and how to commission one.

Then, by chance, I met Amelia Royce Leonards in her shop in Rockport.  Turns out the way to commission a book cover is as simple as not being a self-entitled douchebag when approaching the artist you want to work with – who knew??  Apparently not everyone knows this one weird trick, so I thought I’d share my gems of wisdom.

Through the course of roughly a thousand emails and text messages we hashed out the details of the cover design.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted to show my Beast in both her bestial and human forms as the focal point of the cover, so deciding how they would be portrayed was the hardest part.  Turns out my inconvenient imagination which provided two characters of such extreme differences in size meant that having them share a relatively small space was going to be … challenging.  I’ve promised Amelia that my next book will be the story of the unlikely friendship between a mountain and a fly, just to keep her from resting on her laurels.

After that was finally settled everything else kind of just came together easily.  The cover tells the story, moving from right to left – seasons change from spring/summer to autumn/winter, Yvaine transforms from Beast to Mortal, and Beau walks towards his fate.




Anyone wishing to get in touch with Amelia, or see more of her fantastic artwork (in both senses of the word “fantastic!”) can visit her Facebook page or Etsy page.