Cover Art

 

Of all of the e-mails and comments that come back to me, Cover Art is a favorite topic.

The old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words is germane when it comes to cover art.

In The Saga of the Starduster, I wanted to draw the reader into the book without them turning the cover page.  You will no doubt notice that most cover art tries to capture your attention.

Three nude people headed into a seemingly innocuous body of water with a very interesting sky tells the reader several things.

  • There is nudity involved
  • This is probably not on Earth
  • It looks like a serene place
  • Their views on nudity are not what some might consider normal
  • It is probably a science fiction.

The title “The Saga of the Starduster” of course reaffirms the Science fiction aspect of the novel.

Some fun facts of this particular cover are that I made a trip to the Tetons with the express purpose of taking some pictures that I could use for artistic purposes.  Yes, I could find what I need on line, but that is someone else’s art or photography.  For my covers, it needs to be 100% TWScott.

After I found the photo I wanted from within the thousands of my pictures, it was then sucked into a program for digital editing where I changed the sky, drew the girls and of course made it look science fiction like.

When writing or creating art you want to sell the sizzle and not the steak.  I want to emotionally move you in some small way to want to know more about these nude people skinny dipping in some lake on some other planet.

One must take care regarding the cover art regarding what is on it.  If it is too busy, people will look at it and become exasperated quickly, and move on. Simplicity is key, much like magazine ads.  One should be able to look at the ad or cover and within a few seconds know what they might expect to find within the pages.

The Title is bold and easy to read.

Your brand, in this case, TWScott is easy to see and read.

A small blurb would help, and I am thinking about adding it.

“Skinny dipping on an alien planet was probably not their best idea.”

That blurb tells the reader that yes they are all nude, and swimming in a lake on an alien world and it also alludes that something unexpected is about to transpire.

Conversely, I see covers that are way too busy that confuse me.

I have said this on many different blogs, but it bears repeating.

“Know why you either like or don’t like something, and why.”

As an author, or possibly a cover art creator, or illustrator, this is terribly important.

Please follow me, retweet me and by all means share my blog with the buttons below.  If you are an author, blogger or just a “want to be writer,” I welcome you to visit with me via the comment section below.  Of course, if you as a reader of my work have comments or questions there are multiple ways to connect with me.

  • Here on WordPress.
  • Twitter @authortwscott
  • On the contact page of my website WWW.Authortwscott.com

 

As time permits I will endeavor to respond to you.  With 25 Novels out there selling worldwide, I have learned a thing or two and would be happy to assist if I can.  You might end up with a recipe for Chicken soup.  J

Much Love -TW

New Release of Book 2 of the Ailani Trilogy! and….Why?….

Know why …

As promised, I released the second in the Ailani trilogy today. Both on Smashwords and Amazon!

Passions overflow in this second book of the Ailani Series.  When magic and love mix with revenge, their morality is tested.  Discovering that Tina is pregnant, the story takes on several twists as Tina had a hysterectomy early in life.  Waking up ill, Tina soon finds out that the scar from the surgery has vanished.

Changing history from eons ago, also modify the others from her past who now seek to find her in this life.  While previous souls seem to find one another, Ailani’s mother, daughter of Pele, has other ideas.

If you like romances of a different kind, with reversed roles with the women are the heroes, this novel might be for you!  Each story can stand on its own, but one does build on the other, much like many books or movies you read or see today.

The first book in the series was a success and has been downloaded too many times to count, all over the world.  I was in hopes that an agent would stumble across it and want to represent the last two.  I guess that they have plenty of work as nobody is beating down my door to handle the last two in the trilogy or for that matter any of the other twenty some odd novels!

One day TWScott will pop up on their radar, and some agent will ask, “Why didn’t they contact us?”

Let me answer that question in advance… Query letters suck!

I have begged for attention in the form of query letters for far too long, and I am done!

“If you never hear from us consider it a pass…”  That one did it!

If you do this Query letter process correctly, it takes no less than four hours and very possibly a lot longer.  For those of you who wish to try your luck with the gods of the publishing industry, allow me to lay out the process for you.

  1. Know your audience.

In this case, you must know what the agency typically publishes.  That means read what they published or be familiar with their authors that they represent.  If your work is not in that niche, don’t waste your time.  Notice I did not say their time as most probably it is an intern reading your material.  When I say read, that is most likely an overstatement.  They “read” it much like you and I read junk mail, about 3 seconds at most and it better grab them by the balls, or something else equally as sensitive in that 3-second window, or deleted it is!  Maybe you might get a form rejection letter, perhaps….

  1. Read their specifications and follow them to the letter.

If your work does not fit the mold they are looking for from the get go; it will never make it past the intern or their 12-year-old daughter.  If they ask for 2.5 chapters, that is what you give them.

  1. Research the individual that is actively searching for your style, genre or subject matter. What have they accomplished?  Are they writers too?  How long have they been with the agency?  This could go in the audience section too, but if you get past the intern, you are now begging some agent, possibly someone recently promoted from intern to agent to read your material.  What are they looking for?  Is it another Jane Austin or JK Rowling?  Maybe they are looking to discover another ELJames.  Is that you?
  1. It is about money! Make the case why they should represent you.  Publishing or taking on your project is not cheap.  They must know within a few minutes if your material will sell.  If they have someone with some vision, they will be able to tell if your work can be manipulated to fit some mold that has a track record of succeeding.  Have you ever watched This Old House or House Hunters?  It is kind of like that.  If I take on this project what will it cost me and what kind of profit can I turn and how quickly can I turn it?     Once the agent you queried likes your work, it must then pass muster with his or her partners or the people who roll the dice.  What will it cost to make your work publishable?  Are you amiable to doing exactly what they want you to do, even if it is re-write the whole damned book!
  1. Don’t write to get rich! I was an artist long before I decided to pontificate in writing on the injustices of life, or in this case fantasies.  By all accounts, I am a pretty fair artist.  My works have sold all over the world and are mostly commission pieces. I still have a day job.  I have written over 25 novels, and they are selling all over the world.  I still have a day job.  Keep your damned day job!  Write because you enjoy it.

“TW, why do you do this if you still have a day job?”  The answer is simple; I love what I do.  When you or one of the many of my readers send me a note and tell me that they liked my book that is the reward.  That is my affirmation.  With my art, it is the same, although commission pieces, I do get paid nicely for. The odds of getting rich from writing a novel are slim and none. One of the problems is that too many think that they can write and they, like you or me, feel like their stuff is the best stuff around.  Cough, “Join a writers guild!

  1. Get connected. Joining a writers guild or even a local club will give you an idea if your writing is up to snuff.  Folks, you have to have thick skin to put anything creative out there and then ask people to buy it.  I give a percentage of my novels away for free so they can take a peek at my writing style before they plunk down money.  While none of my material is expensive, even the free stuff can be suspect if you don’t know the author.  Allowing others that you trust to read your stories is one way to get feedback.  Insist that if they tell you they don’t like it, make damned certain that they say why!  Know yourself.
  1. Know why. When you look at art or you read something or watch a movie, and you had a high opinion, know why you had it.  What is it in particular about that which you read or watched created this emotional response?  If your critics can adequately tell you why they felt the way they did, then listen.  When I wrote Under Roswell, one of my friends read it and said that she did not like it. “Why?  What was it that you did not like?”  “I don’t like Sci-fi!”  FFS!  Many have read it, too many to count and people that love Sci-Fi, like it just fine.  Don’t force something on your friends if it is not their cup of tea.
  1. Develop your brand. From years of working in an ad agency, I probably have a leg up on many as I know a thing or two about marketing.  Your Author name is your brand.  I knew of an author who wrote all kinds of work much as I do.  She wrote certain kinds of work under one pen name and others under another.  TWScott is my brand, and everything goes under that name.  With twenty-five novels out there, I don’t have much time to diversify.  The naughty stuff, the science fiction, and the young adult stuff are all under TWScott.  Currently, I am playing with a Christian book, it too will be under TWScott. Social media is critical for getting your brand out there.  Without spending money, take advantage of all of the free stuff that you can.  Don’t make others rich at your expense.
  1. If you understand capitalism, you know that one business feeds others. That is the way of the world and the way that it works.  There are services out there who will do so much for the independent author.  Folks, those are the people that make money most of the time.  Let me edit this for you. Allow me to format your text for you, so the meat grinder on Smashwords will like it.  Wait, let me create the cover art for you because good cover art sells your book.  You could spend tens of hundreds of dollars to get your creation sitting in front of you in several boxes of paperback books ready for the world to buy.  Don’t do it!

    Part of the process of being an independent writer is to learn the entire process of publishing your work.

If you decide to spend money on all of these services you could spend more than a few hundred dollars and still have a book that might sell $10 worth the first year.  Harsh?  I am sorry, but that is the hard truth of it.  Listen, not everyone is Hemmingway!  Practice writing here on blogs.  It is free, it won’t make you any money, but you will make some new friends.  I know an author who wrote a book about a passion he had, in this case flying.  I support authors such as this, and I bought a copy of his book.  I visited with him enough to know that his book would flop but, I still got his signature on the cover and wished him well.

Reading the book, I found typo after typo, and the grammar was terrible.  Amazon and others make it very easy to get your book into print.  How many times have you re-read your masterpiece and found a typo?  I still do to this day, and it pisses me off!  I can read the same sentence 100’s of times and miss the “you instead of your, or you’re.”

One trick that I use that I will share is I keep a list of my common typos and guess what I do with that list?  Ctrl F every you in the document. Is it correct or not?  You can use that with your typos and eliminate much.  I use Grammarly at the end of the process. If you leave it running from the get go, it disables auto save.  That to me is an incredibly stupid design.   It also uses so much horsepower that it often bogs down word to where word will crash.

This blog is about sharing, and if you read my blog, you know that I freely share with you.  Please share your tips with me, and by proxy others who read this.  I believe that we authors are not competitors but belong to a particular breed of people which unite us in a special way.

I hope that something I wrote you can use, but if nothing else, buy one of my books and tell me what you think.  They are all inexpensive reads, and some are free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited!  Feedback is invaluable but remember, if you offer it, I will want to know why.  Not why you offer it but why you did or did not like it.  Get into the habit of learning more about yourself by asking yourself always, why did I not like this or why did I like that.  It is critical in marketing to know why you liked an ad or not.  This process you can use in your entire life, everywhere with everyone.  The more that you know about yourself will assist you in learning more about others.

“WHY?”

Much Love  -TW

Dragon Master and the Witch

Yeah!  It is finished!

This story took longer than anticipated.  Six weeks give or take with several edits to get it right.

A week of that time I was traveling so, I guess 5 weeks to write a book.  I like to wrap one up in a month.

During the late 1200’s Blaise, the Dragon master is banished to the top of Mount Sherman by the Queen for a disagreement that the Queen and his father got into.

Blaise took the time to train his dragons and learn from his father.  After his father dies, Blaise becomes the Dragon Master.

Sarah and Blaise were set to be married until the falling out.  She would often sneak out of the castle to meet up with Blaise until one day she was captured by another who sought to control the dragons.

Removing her from the dark ages of England to 2017 in the United States, Sarah hardly fit in.  Unaware of where she was or what the place was famous for, the portal through which they traveled had its own plan, taking them near Salem Massachusetts.

Blake, the Son of the evil sorcerer, was in love with the Queen ’s other daughter; Katherine. When Blakes mother died suddenly, Zolof placed the blame on the villagers.  The anger that ensued was all that Zolof needed to turn the heart of his son dark; thus controlling him to do his bidding with a spell.

While Sarah attempts to put together a Coven of 13 in 2017, Zolof needs to lure Blaise through the portal where his powers would be useless allowing Zolof the opportunity to kill him.  Once Blaise dies, Zolof would inherit the loyalty of the dragons giving him all the power he would need to bring the world to its knees.

What we have here is a love story in the classic sense.  We have a fairy tale where my sense of humor and wit come through in my characters.

The artwork is a combination of a painting I did years ago and some digital art to make a rather impressive cover.

This is my 25th Novel, and I believe a milestone.

Currently, my work is selling around the globe on more servers than I can count.  I have to trust that I am being paid for my work but truthfully, I have seen my works pirated on sites that I do not even have a clue of what the language is.  If it is good enough to pirate, I guess I should take it as a compliment.

Amazon should release this book in a day or so.  I published it on Smashwords too.  Smashwords, while a pain to publish on, does send it to many different sites including B&N, Apple, and too many others to mention.

Once a month I get royalties from them via PayPal, so there are good things about them as well.

The link for Smashwords I will put here, so you can get your copy and tell me what you think!

We, independent Authors, appreciate you the readers of our work.

We don’t have multi-million dollar publishing companies hyping our Books.  We, the independent must write it, edit it, create the art work and market it! To get it in your hands, Amazon and other companies like them provide a website to sell it on and take as much, if not more than an agent would charge.

Agents provide the technical services as well as the marketing! Agents hire editors who not only look for typos but know how to guide the author in ways that would make the story more palatable.

Dangling participles aside, a good editor is hard to find.  Many on Twitter will offer their services, but I must tell you the truth of this.  An independent writer cannot afford $10 a page.

The hard truth is that most “independent writers” will think their work is great and be willing to spend the money betting on the ROI. The facts are that few will make over $10 in royalties in their first year.  If that hurts, I am truly sorry but it is the bitter truth.  Don’t write for pecuniary interests. Don’t play the lottery for a retirement strategy. Keep your day job!

Another service people offer is cover art design.

And still another is marketing, and the list goes on.

The only folks who make money in this business are those who provide some sort of service, with no guarantees.

That is why readers like yourself are so important for the independent author.

Folks, we need you!  I support independent authors, and I know most of you do as well.

With 25 novels selling around the globe, one day you will be able to say, “you knew me when!”

“Yes, I have made much more than $10…”  The truth of it is that I would do it all over again if I were to only make $10.  I love what I write so at the very least, there are 25 novels out there with the Brand TWScott that people are enjoying. That means something.

You can contact me here, or on my website at www.authortwscott.com.

Follow me on Twitter @authortwscott or @twscott823

Buy my books.  Not one of them cost more than a cup of fancy coffee!

Many are on Amazon Kindle Unlimited so you can read them for free!

Those that have read my novels to date; tell me that they like them; so I am on to something. Some of the feedback on Cyber Subs had me go back and change much of it.

I am always looking for an idea for the next novel.

I wrote a story about a couple of young ladies who do web cam shows for money.  Tonight on the news I learned about a young mother who poses nude on Instagram making about $5K a month.  If you like a little titillation, read that book called Cyber Subs!

The interesting thing about this woman is she is no model.  She is a mother and married to someone in the military who takes the photos of her.  One of my themes in many of my books is about loving who you are.  I would not mind interviewing her as I think that might make a story too.

Thanks for the purchases of my books!

Thanks for the follows and retweets!

If you are an agent or know of one that is not too proud to support an independent author such as myself; I could use the help!

I am a writer; that is what I do.

Marketing, I would rather leave to the professionals.

I spent years working in an advertising agency, and I would still rather write, than market.

Much Love -TW

Divided America

If you ever took a journalism class, one of the things you learned is, just the facts. The public needs and unbiased media. If you control the narrative, you are in fact disseminating propaganda and are not a journalist.

When the news media, pick one, prints a story that is either based on opinion, innuendo or just made up in its entirety, half the country will not check the sources and swear by the lie. The other half knows that if the story is that far-fetched, something is wrong.

If it is something positive about “our guy” we are more likely to believe it and be happy about it. We may even laud that news in our friend’s faces.
If it is something negative about our guy, we will scorn the purveyors of the fake news, be upset when our friends rub our noses in it; and possibly say things that we should not say.

Today we learned that Trumps Lawyers would hold off on charging Comey with the improper leaking of documents. It is a crime, and he violated the ethics not only of the FBI but his security clearance.

Bloomberg tells the story that Trump’s lawyers are holding off to pacify Special Counsel Robert Mueller, implying that it is some sort of deal made in the dark of night.
Yahoo spins it “Trump’s lawyers FAIL to follow through on threats to file complaints on James Comey. Thus implying that Trump’s lawyers are impotent or that they don’t have a case.
Fox reports that the Trump team had indefinitely postponed filing ethics complaints against Comey.
No spin, just the facts….Why no spin? FOX News doesn’t know why; nobody but Trump and his team knows why.
Yellow Journalism is a term we do not hear much today, but it is alive and well. An example of it might be stated this way.

There was a horrible accident at a train yard. The train failed to stop killing hundreds as it collided with another train on the same track.
When asking the person responsible for warning off the train they asked him. “Did you swing your lamp to warn the engineer?”
“Yes, sir I did.”
The engineer of the train must be at fault.
As the person responsible for the accident walks away from the hearing, he says under his breath, “I am sure glad they did not ask me if my lamp was lit!”

Yellow journalism is a lie. Written to control the narrative with half truths.
Why?
Why is the media so complicit in these fabrications?

If you look at social media, your “friends” may very well be posting things that make their person look beautiful, or your person appear to be corrupt.
Are you at odds with some of your friends?
Do you get on Facebook or social media less, because of this?

If your friends re-post a story with the caption WOW! to grab attention, the story is probably fake or “trumped up.”

The newest WOW story is, “Trump is really Boris Badinoff, and Melania is secretly the infamous Russian spy Natasha!. They have an anonymous source who knows a guy who told him that he had a friend who learned from a man in Russia that, Trump finally admitted to eating Rocky and Bullwinkle with Moose gravy!

Yes, I made it up. I am a writer after all. If it is truly a WOW story, it would be on more things than just Facebook as click bait!

Have you ever read a news story and then read the comments?

Those posting under some pseudonym quickly call someone a name who they disagree with. It is not even mildly ugly; it is usually their entire vocabulary of four letter words, thus proving beyond a shadow of a doubt how intolerant and ignorant that they are. When one cannot defend a position, one resorts to “slang” or the race card, or some other card that is just nonsense.

If they are spewing hate, do not let that poison into your soul. The hate today is so prolific on some of these “news” programs or “talk shows,” I have all but stopped watching tv.
We in this country are not alone. Other countries with overly progressive agendas are feeling the pains of pushing an agenda that cannot be sustained. Progressivism is ideal for those at the top of the heap making all the rules. When the middle class can no longer maintain the burden of supporting everyone else, the country collapses. Greece and Venezuela are two of them that have collapsed recently.
This is nothing new. If we knew history, we would understand that Socialism never works, ever!

It is evident to me that those of us paying for expensive educations are getting screwed. If we were getting our money’s worth, Bernie would never have made the primary’s. Don’t get me wrong; I like him just fine. He is a populist like Trump, but he is so far left, he makes Lenin appear as a moderate.

The problem seems to be that few know history or care to learn it. Those in that camp if in sufficient number will force the country to re-live it, again and again.

Communism does not work. It never has, and it never will. The left push that agenda because it is great for them! Those at the top win!

“Ask Not what your country can do for you but, what you can do for your country!” (Kennedy)

“What happened to those Democrats?”

Hillary Clinton lost to a non-politician, a populist. She lost because she did not speak to the middle class. She referenced them as deplorable’ s which I believe cost her the election. How stupid is that to call all those in the middle class deplorable? If they do not agree with her lock step, they are deplorable, racist, woman haters and the BS list goes on.

The middle class is currently supporting this country! It is not the super-rich! They know how to hide money and not pay taxes. It is not the poor; they don’t have it! It is the middle class and guess what, the middle class is shrinking!
Trump should not have won. I am not arguing the popular vote, I am arguing statistically it should not have happened. That election was hers to lose, and she did it quite nicely.

Russia had nothing to do with it.
All of these conspiracy theories had nothing to do with it.

Until the Democrats re-brand themselves as the party who cares for all Americans, and not just a select few, the ones with deep pockets, the GOP will rule.

Pelosi and Schumer should retire, and the Dems should get some new faces out there that don’t speak easily provable lies. Notice I did not say lies at all because I think to lie and to be a politician go hand in hand, that however is my “opinion.”

When someone will spend millions of their own dollars for a job that pays $150K a year, anyone with a brain should wonder why? I do not believe for a second that their reasons are altruistic. I think it is more than likely a power thing, and power is one hell of an addictive aphrodisiac. They are the ultimate power brokers who write laws that only you and I have to follow. If a politician becomes rich as a politician, the odds are good he or she is a crook. Period end of story. You do not get rich as a public servant unless you are crooked.

Dems currently have a president who they could deal with. Trump is closer to a Democrat than a Republican. Instead of fighting him, and being the party of resist, obstruct and hate…they should change course now!

As for you, my friends, I have some simple advice.

Don’t read the comments on the news pieces. Idiots are everywhere and their vernacular shows it. Opinions are not something you debate; they are opinions.

Emotional topics are not something you debate; you cannot debate a “feeling.” Feelings are real; they are valid, they are just not open for discussion.

You can talk about the three examples of that news article, as those are printed everywhere. They are not open for how you feel, they just are. You might debate the way that they were spun but it is pretty damned clear that the rhetoric was not accidental.

You might have noticed that I did not even reference CNN or MSNBC.

They have lost all credibility as journalists and I “feel” they do you and I a disservice in their hate filled agenda of spreading vitriol and animus through “Yellow Journalism” if not straight out lies!

Der Spiegel and Russia Today are more believable than CNN and MSNBC.

If you are a strong left wing person you may love it because it makes you feel good, but just know, it is fake news created just for you.

The idea is the keep the hate alive for the mid-terms and then 2020! It is a form of “community organizing. They must keep their base energized and then add in the right amount of revenge, to get them out to the polls!

When the time is right they will spin MS13 and ISIS as victims of Trump. Yes if I can make them a victim, I can get the sympathy vote.

If I make an intellectual argument, we can talk about it. If I make an emotional one, I can manipulate the masses into action. Revenge is a powerful motivator. There is an entire art form of manipulating the masses or “useful idiots.” Tell them what is wrong with the world and then place the blame for it on your opponents shoulders. Control the narrative and keep it emotional. Keep your opponent on the defensive, so you control the narrative. That is how you win elections.

Sadly few will see through it and will buy the lies and propagate them on social media.
As long as the lies go unchecked, the country will be divided. Politics as a polite dinnertime conversation will be verboten!

That is a shame really because not only do you and I need to be talking and sharing ideas but, those on the extreme right and left need to get together as well.

I would start by looking for things that we share in common and go from there. You and I must be open to honest, and fact base discussions on issues that we face as a country, and not some made up agenda propagated by the lap dogs of the gods of DC.

The gods are being threatened, and they are fighting back and I “feel” that the media is a complicit tool in their arsenal. The proof is all over the place, but it is still my humble opinion.

We cannot see the forest for the trees, and the marionettes are making sure that the truth stays buried under fake news with a huge helping of hostility thrown in to keep it stirred up.

If this blog interests you, my Book Fractured, might be something that interests you.
-Best