So, I wrote, edited, and revised my first novel. What next?
Well, any good book needs a good cover pitch. And a good cover pitch requires the writer to condense their 70,000 word novel into a couple hundred.
It’s easier than it sounds.
I admit, this was another time I cheated and didn’t research as thoroughly as I should have. By this point, I was obsessed with the idea of holding a physical copy of my book – I didn’t care about the fine details required to sell said book. Big mistake.
The cover pitch is one of the major factors that draw in readers. It’s how the majority of readers decide whether or not they want open to that first page. As such, it needs to tell the reader what sort of story to expect while still leaving enough for them to want to read more.
My first cover pitch failed pretty miserably. I simply read the backs of a few of my favorite books, and pieced together elements of each to get this:
Sometimes, being different can be a good thing.
Other times it may be embarrassing or uncomfortable.
Then again, being different can be dangerous.
The world of Myrillia is an untamed, magical world inhabited by two dominant races. The Melior are elementalists, capable of commanding the power of the Elements. The Transeatur are shifters, capable of taking the form of their Guardian Spirit. The two races have been at war for centuries and the now dormant conflict is about to reawaken.
A young Melior female, Kisara Tenebris, goes about her everyday life, unaware that her world will soon shatter apart. Faced with an impossible choice, Kisara learns just what it means to be different.
Bear in mind, this little gem took me a day to come up with – that includes research. Compare that to the three weeks I spent researching and formatting and you’ll see that I started to get impatient.
Now, I’m not saying this pitch is horrible: it does have mystery and information that might tempt someone into opening the book. The problem is it has too much information. There are at least five proper nouns and unfamiliar terms that could overwhelm the average reader. Plus, the reader doesn’t even learn who the main character is until the end of the pitch – generally, you want to have that information front and center. Of course, this is all stuff I’ve learned recently.
Armed with a cover pitch, I dived into building my book with Createspace.
Why Createspace? Well, in addition to the incredibly helpful forums that offered tons of advice for self-publishing, they had a superior cover creator system – complete with a huge amount of custom options. I also liked that they were affiliated with Amazon: it almost felt like I was publishing with a big company. Almost.
Here’s where I made major mistake number two – for those who haven’t followed along, major mistake number one was not investing in an experienced content and copy editor. Major mistake number two: skimping on the cover. While the cover creator with Createspace had plenty of customization, it still had a few drawbacks. The font was tied into the template selections along with layout features. In addition to the template shortcomings, I rushed the cover photo process – again, working with a coworker to get something fast and relatively free. The end result? This:
Nothing horrible, but it doesn’t really have the look or feel of a fantasy novel.
Not that I cared. I had a book cover – which meant I had a book! Well, almost. At that point, it was almost the first of March – and I ran into a bunch of problems. I had to tweak my margins, reconsider my trim size (6×9 is the size of the average hardcover – much larger than I’d wanted!) and deal with Createspace running into technical difficulties. While I waited for the website to come back up, I quickly created a map for Myrillia – my fantasy world – and not only figured out how to add it to my manuscript: I posted it as a teaser on my blog.
THAT was one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far. Not the creation of the map: sharing it in a blog post.
That one post resulted in numerous invaluable networking contacts: including my current editor and graphic artist.
To be continued …