I got you covered!

I was reading the comments under an article on how hard it is to self publish when I learned something about marketing. I have read a few short stories and none of them had a cover! I remember one story that was in the 'steam punk' genre that would have greatly benefited from a cover so that the reader would have an idea what to expect.

Steam punk cosplay

In traditional publishing the book cover would have been the most fundamental marketing device. Digital books don't have covers, but we can still use the principle.

I decided to practice making digital covers with some fictional books and stories. First I looked at what was out there.

 I noticed how the name of the author is always in capitals.

This has a solid feel to it.

Then I made a few of my own using Google Draw. I ran into some things. The font that only works well in black, and black doesn't work with a lot of images. A lot of images are the wrong shape to resemble a traditional book cover. There are probably legal issues. 

But all and all I found it fun and useful.

I noticed how important book cover and title are to marketing your work. If in first example the title would't have matched the image well enough, I would have stayed away from the book.

If you feel like getting a little finger practice, be sure to visit this cover contest on Reddit!

As a last thing I wanted you to know an artist I found. I stumbled upon him by searching for book covers for 'The Hobbit' (JRR TOLKIEN).


If I ever write a book that would match the quality of his work I will contact him!


Being a good parrot

Study by night,
study by day on what the Greek masters do.
Horratio, 1980 (Translated from Dutch).

I'm a good reader and I have a talent for writing. 
But at the moment my writing is horrible. 

Why? I have to start learning the rules of the game, just like a talented musician has to still learn how to read musical notes. 

Today I found a writing contest (there are many on Reddit) and wrote down the requested genre at the top of my page. I gave myself five minutes to come up with a general idea for a story. Then I wrote the idea down I promised myself not to change it.

Next I started thinking about what form would be most suitable: third person or first person, past tense or present tense. I tried writing a random line in each combination.

I was writing a gory horror story and decided it would be in first person, present tense. The present tense would allow for the main character to die in the end*. I then chose the best book I could think of to learn from.

*I was shot straight trough the head. I died seconds later.
-If you use the past tense it is impossible for the main character to die.

'Bonjour tristesse' (Françoise Sagan) is in first person. I started copying passages, replacing substance and keeping their form. I learned how to write the main character's thoughts, how to format dialog, how the main character narrated, how the main character described the scene.

Here my main character meets the love of his life (who is hiding a chainsaw behind her back):

I open the door. She stands in front of me, holding something behind her back.
'Hi', she says, a passing car lights up her face, 'do you live here all by yourself?'
She looks at me from head to toe and I look at her, we both smile: this is going better than expected. I open the door a little further:
'Yeah, I do...You want to come in?'
I say it so softly that she can't hear it, or at least she can easily pretend she doesn't hear it. 

I understood if I just copied a world class writer and changed the substance, the result was pretty much world class as well!

Later I practiced writing in third person. I wanted to know how to write internal monologue.
'Lady Chatterley's Lover' (D.H. Lawrence) is in third person so I started copying it. I learned how to write the main character's thoughts and how to use a narrator. Lawrence sometimes does the following:

The interior of the ship was dark. It wasn't a regular ship, certainly not. Regular V.O.C. ships were different, they felt different.
There was something about the ship that he liked. The sound of his feet on the ship's hull was soft and the ship lay stable in the wind.

The first sentence is the narrator talking. The second is the main character thinking. You can see how similar both parts are.
Notice the new paragraph for the second sentence.