A self-published author's diary, podcast, Self publishing, Self-pub corner, writing

A Self-Published Author’s Diary: Re-branding my Gavert City series with new covers…and doubts and making progress.

In addition to explaining some of the steps I’m taking to rebrand my Gavert City series, today on the podcast (Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more) I share my writing progress and the doubts about my next release and how planning it will help keep things into perspective and…I’m answering two questions from listeners!

A little catch-up

I have so many books waiting for me, both in paper version and on my Kindle. Now that I’ve pressed “done” on my audiobook project and that I’m waiting on possible feedback, I am carving some time to catch up on my reading. I am about to pick the book I had started reading right before deadlines loomed and I am very much looking forward to dive back into WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES by Denny S. Bryce . In a stirring and impeccably researched novel of Jazz-age Chicago in all its vibrant life, two stories intertwine nearly a hundred years apart, as a chorus girl and a film student deal with loss, forgiveness, and love…in all its joy, sadness, and imperfections.

The Chemical Engineer and I are still watching FOR ALL MANKIND on Apple TV and true story, ever since I started watching that show I have a renewed interest in everything space.

At the time I’m writing this, we’re in the third episode of the Challenger: The Final Flight documentary. There’s so much material and just so much information about this tragedy and the crew members. On a different and yet related topic, we also watched that Unsolved Mystery episode about UFOs…

What are you currently watching? What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments.

If you’re looking for another book to read or an audiobook to listen to…you could win a copy!

Giveaways

Would you like to win a copy of one of Katy Upperman’s books? Check out this giveaway.

Would you like to win a copy of one of my audiobooks narrated by Megan Carter? Check out this giveaway.

Ask me a question about self-publishing or my books…

Do you want to leave me a message or ask me a question that I will play on the podcast, click here or leave a comment on this blog post.

I’ve received two questions in the past couple of weeks and I will be answering them at the end of the podcast. 🙂

I’m making progress in my revision! And I’m doubting everything…but I’m also excited to plan the release…So. Many. Feelings.

Whoop, whoop! I think talking about writing with other writers on the podcast and having a Google Chat with my critique partners where we send some lines on and off and encouraging each other is oh so helpful. And having press “send” on my latest audiobook work, I re-opened my Word document and am making a plan to finish this revision. I think part of the reason why it’s taking me so long, in addition to finding the time in the past couple of weeks is that this is the first book I’m going to release since forever. And it is part of a new series. And I am so excited about this series. And I am not going to heavily invest in advertising in the US until I have more books out in the series. But…but…what if when I put up for pre-order in my usual lucractive market (bonjour si vous avez de France) I don’t get the same momentum as I did in the past? The doubts are real. What I need to do is sit down and make my release to-do list and what my goals are for each of them. And just typing this makes me relax and excited and looking forward to releasing it.

Oh that’s probably the moment I should remind you that #TheLeftoverBride is available for pre-order for only $0.99 on all e-retailers. (The price will be raised to $2.99 or $3.99 right after release).

Amazon, iTunesKobo, Add it on Goodreads

And here’s a little snippet I just added — well I was just looking for a snippet to add and I ended up revising for 25 minutes, just enjoying spending time with Ryan and Sorcha…Sorcha just had a pretty sexy dream and let’s just say she’s having trouble concentrating.

Here’s one line from that chapter:

My entire face could generate enough heat for the entire state of Maryland.

If you’d like to be part of my early review team and get an e-copy before it is even released, make sure you join my readers’ newsletter. 🙂

Possibly re-branding my Gavert City series…

When it comes to covers, I either design them myself or I hire someone to design them. I’ve designed all my contemporary romance covers. And the Gavert City book covers have all been designed by Najla Qamber. And I love them. I’m actually working with Nalja again for an illustration that I might use on #TheLeftoverBride cover. As you may recall, I’m going to ask my newsletter subscribers to help me choose #TheLeftoverBride cover. I already have one cover designed and was starting to work on the second when I realized I didn’t have the perfect couple illustration for it. And now, I will. If more readers prefer the one I have already designed, I’ll still be able to use the illustrated couple in teasers and so on…

But in the meantime, I have been looking at my Gavert City series…I love the covers. LOVE. THEM. But the cover is for the readers too, meaning that even if I think that it reflects the story and brings that romantic suspense to the forefront, is that really true? I’ve seen reviews mentioning that they expected a slightly different vibe based on the cover. And I compare this series to Lifetime Movies and Criminal Minds. Do the covers reflect that?

I mean…and here I’ll use Megan’s narration (Have you listened to the episode I did with Megan?) those are the first few sentences in the FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT book…

And those are the first ones in the SEE ME, SEE ME NOT book…

And then I was studying the covers for straight up romantic suspense novels and the heat level in my books does not warrant a naked chest on the cover. By the way, when I checked for romantic suspense books, I came across a book that is called Finding Elodie (SEAL Team Hawaii Book 1) and I may have gone down the “how many titles have my name” rabbit hole. And I found a few: Elodie: Behind the illusion of her perfect life hides the truth, Elodie of the Sea (The Eldentimber Series Book 5) by Shari L. Tapscott and books by author Elodie Colt and my own books appeared on page 4 of Amazon…Interesting. Not the topic of the day. But interesting.

Anyways.

The two first books in my Gavert City series are YA books and the third one is a NA book. When it comes to the heat level, they’re not considered sweet and they’re also not considered super steamy. Things happen but not entirely on the page. So, should I maybe re-brand them so the suspense aspect, the Criminal Minds and Lifetime movie vibe is clearer? I don’t think I can categorize them as domestic suspense and there’s a definite romantic element to them. But, when I look at other romantic suspense books, their heat levels is either much higher, in which case their cover is also usually going in that direction or they’re more focused on the suspense and then they have a different feel: the font is different, more atmospheric. And I think my covers have the atmosphere with the color scheme but…again, some of the feedback and reviews mention that they went in thinking they would get a slightly different story. The fonts of many of the covers I studied this weekend also look very different.

And I think I found the font and design that could work. I’ve reworked it using one of the fonts I found mention in this Creativindie article: 300+ Fool-Proof Fonts to use for your Book Cover Design (an epic list of best fonts per genre) and using a picture I have from Depositphoto and designed it with Canva.

So, what I am going to do is that I am going to ask my newsletter subscribers (and maybe in my Facebook author page) if they’ve read FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT, did they feel like the cover gave them the feel for the story? And if they haven’t read FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT and they see the cover what story comes to their mind?

And then I’ll also ask them about the new cover I designed for FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT…and will also try it with a new Facebook ad as well as for the German version of FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT since I’m also going to re-work the categories I use with PublisherRocket…

I’ll keep you updated. And as always if you want to chime in on the covers, don’t hesitate to join my readers’ newsletter.

Questions I’m answering in the podcast…

  • What is the first book I self-published?
  • Where do I write?

I have two newsletters!

(1) My self-publishing emails: A Self-published author’s diary…

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Ep. 19 – Getting your self-published books into the French-speaking market: a case study (mine) and finding a translator. And #TheLeftoverBride almost has a cover… A self-published author's diary

Today, I'm sharing some of what I've learned from my own data and experience when it comes to the French-speaking market for self-published books (in this case, mine): what vendors generate sells and revenue, what price point do I use, recouping investment. Before that, I also add a bit of info shared by the actress portraying Umma in Kim's Convenience in regards her crucial input for the food element to keep the authentacity (follow-up from last week's episode). I mention the following articles: Publishing Perspectives: As France is Fêted at Frankfurt, French Literary Agents Take Stock – https://publishingperspectives.com/2017/10/france-literary-agents-frankfurt-book-fair/ The Creative Penn: Tips For Translation, Self-Publishing, And Marketing In Foreign Languages With Nadine Mutas: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2021/05/03/translation-and-marketing-in-foreign-languages/ The Creative Penn: How to Find the Right International Markets for Your Book: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/01/23/international-markets/ I'm also explaining how I find translators to translate my books into French and share the job posting and questions that I I posted on Upwork for the translation of #TheLeftoverBride summary and title.  I'm also talking about making progress in my revision and the fact that I almost have a cover for #TheLeftoverBride. I've designed two different covers and I'm asking my readers in my readers' newsletter to help me choose. 🙂 Instagram for the podcast: http://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary YouTube channel for the podcast: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJih-rMFJv6IwlV4eeWUUIg  Join my readers' newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/elodienowodazkij/website Don't hesitate to ask me a question: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message  As always don't hesitate to check my website out: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 19 – Getting your self-published books into the French-speaking market: a case study (mine) and finding a translator. And #TheLeftoverBride almost has a cover…
  2. Ep. 18 – Selling my books directly to readers, my expectations and that happy "I got that one paragraph" feeling from revising #TheLeftoverBride.
  3. Ep. 17 – Feature Friday: Talking with Ines Johnson about her success in self-publishing, how writing screenplays has influenced her writing, pen names going "wide" and advertising.
  4. Ep. 16 – Re-branding my Gavert City series with new covers…and doubts and making progress (+ answering questions from listeners :-))
  5. Ep. 15 – Feature Friday: Talking with Megan Carter on how acting may influence her writing, the similarities between acting and publishing, and roller coasters ( + Giveaway)
  6. Ep. 14 – Feature Friday: Talking with Katy Upperman about being vulnerable in our writing, her love for the revision process and her dream projects (+ Giveaway)
  7. Ep. 13 – Feature Friday: Talking with Mona Shroff about writing romance, a baking contest and receiving "the" calls.
  8. Ep. 12 – Before the cover reveal (how to engage readers…maybe) and random thoughts about social media.
Self-pub corner

#Selfpub corner – My book cover design process and what I learned

#Selfpub corner button

It’s Friday on my side of the world…which means it’s time for #Selfpub Corner…

Topic of the week: cover

Covers are important, they really are. But just to show you how important the cover of One, Two, Three has been important in getting the word out, here are a few quotes from reviewers.

“I totally went off the cover,” A flurry of ponderings.

I surprised myself with this book I literally only requested this book based on the front cover.” Natalie

The minute I saw the cover, I had to read this” Tonja

As you can tell, I am super happy with my cover designer: Derek Murphy from Creativindie who created magic!

I mean, look at this beauty 🙂

Official cover

 

As a self-published author, you have many choices: you can buy a pre-made cover (which I will talk about with other selfpub authors in a future post), you can go with several types of cover designer–including ones that may even arrange their own photo shoot.

The prices will definitely differ depending on what you choose. Pre-made covers are usually cheaper (you can find some on sale for $15), the ones where a photo-shoot is organized will be more costly.

And then you need to decide, what type of adds-on do you want? Some cover designer will also do promotional items, others may offer discounts for future works.

How did my process work?

Once I contacted Derek to see if he would have some time. He sent me a few sites to look at pictures that would fit with my story, so he could get a sense of where I was going.

This is one of the image I sent him, do you recognize it? 🙂

http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-9859367/stock-photo-broken-and-bleeding-heart-on-the-wall

He then sent me 9 different proposals of covers…and I showed them to my street team, who also fell in love with the same one I did: a slightly different version than the cover I have today.

Based on that, he reworked it with different fonts and different placings. I chose this one because I felt the rhythm going through the cover.

He also sent me Facebook cover, quotes boxes and so on…

For example, that one:

ONE, TWO, THREE...banner

What did I learn?

1. The emotions. Oh, the emotions.

Working on the cover is VERY exciting, like everything else in the process. Do you see the dancer walking away on the cover? well, it has been used by other books, and I saw it only close to publication. Cue, freaking out.

 

Like, writing on my Facebook Team 123  secret group and the wonderful ladies there held my hand and reminded me how different the covers were, despite their one similar element.

Still. This is a reality that one needs to realize, some elements of your cover may not be entirely unique. However, with a strong designer, your cover itself will be unique.

🙂

And I am still in love with mine, like the very first time I saw it.

2. Choosing the cover designer.

Personally, I googled cover designers for selfpub authors and I asked my dear friends Juliana and Jen to see who they were using. I also looked at the copyrights information of the selfpub books I really liked the cover of.

Here are some names in case you’re looking. There are different price ranges and there are more in the resources article at the end of this super duper long post 🙂

3. Planning the cover – timeline and type of cover (ebook, print, both)

Before contacting the different cover designers, I first had to decide which format I wanted. And of course, I had to know approximately when I wanted to do the cover reveal and when publication date was going to be, giving a bit of buffer.

4. A tagline

Always helpful to intrigue people.

5. Author photo

Of course, you also need an author photo for the full cover. Here you have to decide what type of author photo you want, but more generally speaking, the advice I received was: a photo where people can really see your smiling face 😉 This will be the topic of another post.

6. Possible early reviews

If you have early raving reviews, you could add a line to your book. Look what L.G. has on her cover: a review from Cora

7. Will I do anything differently for my second book?

Yes. In the sense, that my second book will only be an e-book (it’s a novelette), so I am not going for the full range of ads-on that I did for my first book.

8. More resources

 Hope this was helpful! Let me know in the comments, and do not hesitate to ask me any questions 🙂

Next week’s topic: Netgalley, including the views of several self-published authors on the topic