Monday, September 16, 2013

The Evolution of Book Covers-by Linda Kozar

My latest release, Alligator Pear, is an inspirational gothic romance set in 1942, Post WWII New Orleans. After writing, revising and editing my 100,000 word book over and over, I came to the point where I had to decide on a cover. Instead of hiring a graphic designer to do the job however, I decided to design my own cover.

A few months earlier I had designed my own Facebook app using Pic Monkey and Short Stack. Pic Monkey is a website where you can add to or alter photographs, make collages, etc. In that relatively brief period of time, I'd played around with a few ideas on the site and learned how to use it. I made a Facebook badge and tried out a few creative collages.

But I realized that I would need high definition photographs for my next project: book covers. So I began my search for the perfect photos on various stock photo sites. Shutterstock proved to be the perfect place. I found two photographs (see above) that I thought would work for the cover. The first  photo depicted what appears to be a swamp, which I found appropriate since there is a pivotal scene in the novel that takes place in one. The second photograph is a wrought iron fence, which I also found appropriate since New Orleans is known for its wrought iron balustrades, fences and balconies.

Next, I imported each photo (one at a time) and used the label features on Pic Monkey to create interesting borders for the title. I saved each in best quality. For both ebook and print books, the dpi for photos has to be high quality. And I would be publishing in both ebook and print formats.

Both covers looked great. But now I was faced with a new challenge--which one should I use?

I polled my friends and fellow authors. Most people chose the wrought iron fence. The reason? They found the picture intriguing and mysterious. So I went with that one.

But then--I was faced with another difficulty. Ebook cover size on Smashwords is 1600 x 2400--the size I formated each cover. Whew! But Amazon EBook dimensions are slightly different 1500 (at least) x 2400. So I had to change the size in Pic Monkey. CreateSpace (the POD--publish on demand) option on Amazon has a whole different set of instructions. I would need a front cover and a back cover. Oy!

So I went back to Pic Monkey and transformed the swamp picture into a black and white to use for the back cover. That way I would be able to use both pictures, which pleased me since I love both. But the front cover I created for the ebook version would not work for the print cover. The label was too wide. I had to go back to the drawing board on Pic Monkey. I chose an oval label that would more easily fit within the more stringent dimensions. I designed the new cover, uploaded it and voila--done!

Alligator Pear is available for Pre-Order NOW on Smashwords and is being offered at a reduced price for those who order now. To preorder, add it to your Smashwords Library and on the release date, enter this coupon code when you purchase the book in order to receive the discount.

Coupon Code: YP83W (not case-sensitive) Enter this code to pre-order Alligator Pear for $5.99 before September 25th when the ebook releases at $6.99.

The official release date is September 25th, 2013. Alligator Pear will also be released on Kindle on this date.

Alligator  Pear will be available to purchase in print format on Amazon any day now. It passed the approval process and generally takes 5-7 days to appear on Amazon.

Here's an excerpt:

Alligator Pear, by Linda P. Kozar
an excerpt from Chapter Fourteen...Blue Ribbons

"Without warning, the canoe slammed into the soft earth of the embankment. He caught her in his arms as she bounded forward, the bulky camera between them. She pushed away at once, or almost at once. But the few seconds it took to part from his muscular frame, lingered longer than it should have.
They pushed off the embankment with their paddles and continued on, but a silence followed. Her heart thumped against her chest so hard, she wondered if he could hear it. She decided to concentrate on the scenery to take her mind off of him.
Cypress tree limbs clothed with honeysuckle dripped perfume on their heads as they glided past. Saw Palmettos winnowed insects, both common and exotic. Animals trilled, rattling through leaves large as elephant ears. Bubbles and pops resurrected from the murk of the water. A still, stealthy feeling, like a shadow followed them.
Was it the story? How laughable. More the breath of imagination than methane; conjecture more than conjure. She found herself shivering nonetheless. All of a sudden, she wanted to leave this tomb of plants and animals long dead, as if lingering too long would absorb her as well. Even as they paddled out of the darkness, she shuddered away an inward urge to escape, as if casting off…what?"

Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/eBook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/eBook, Creative Woman Mysteries), and her nonfiction title Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation, released in 2013 (Indie-Published). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild.

In addition to writing Linda is Lead Host of the Gate Beautiful Radio Show, part of the Red River Network on Blog Talk Radio—interviewing Christian authors from Debut to Bestselling, airing the 3rd Thursday of every month. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency

Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.

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