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Friday, December 30, 2016

Blogging Themes for 2017


I’ve been working on my blogs for next year. This year it got a little derailed because of life stuff.
I’ve decided to try themes for next year. I’m alternating the themes between writing themes, and marketing, publishing themes. I’m planning to post on themes on Tuesday and then have guest authors sharing their thoughts on the theme of the month, info on their own writing and some fun stuff you might not know, plus they’re latest book on Thursday.
Here are the monthly themes for the year:
January – Theme - Genres
February – Self–pubbed/traditional/ other writing formats
March – Heroes
April – Covers
May – Heroines
June – Marketing
July – Settings
August – Reviews
September – Secondary characters
October – Pets – Yes/No/Why
November – Weather
December – Seasonal stories – Christmas/ Valentines/ Halloween

Hopefully you’ll check back to see what’s being said each month.
Or if you’d like to guest one of the months, let me know.
Hopefully 2017 will be a fun year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What Are You Reading?

Do read during the holidays? Do you have a list to be read (TBR) in January? How do you chose the books on your list?
I have to admit I haven’t been reading this last week. Holidays, cooking, eating, visiting and socializing got in the way. I am looking for good books to read during the next few weeks. I prefer mystery and romantic suspense. Sometimes women’s fiction. I have a few favorite authors I usually chose, but for the new year I thought I’d check out a few new authors.

Helena Fairfax recommended one her blog that sounded good – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarity. This is also a Goodreads recommendation, so that’s going on my list.
Goodreads recommends It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover, End of Watch by Stephen King, and The Last Mile by David Baldacci.

The best sellers from Amazon included The Princess Diaries by Carrie Fisher, and Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star.

Also, The Power of Love and Murder by Benda Whitehall, Stone of Heaven by L. A Sartor, Rachel by Caroline Clemmons, and The Beast Within by Jacquie Biggar.

And I’ll be looking for other recommendations from authors I haven’t read. I’d love to hear who you’re reading.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Traditions


Christmas traditions vary in each country. For many nations it means Christmas trees, real or artificial and lots of lights, exchanging Christmas cards, Christmas stockings or shoes, singing Christmas carols and the creation of the Nativity scene. Advent calendars are opened and Advent wreaths hung. Candy canes are in abundance and there’s Christmas dinner with the turkey and/or ham and all the trimmings. In Canada, we have pork sausage which we stuff in the turkey neck. The dressing goes in the cavity. We serve Christmas pudding and mincemeat pie.  And garlic sausage rings are great for appetizers. I know in the United States sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie is popular.
Then there’s the exchange of presents. Some expensive ones, but many homemade with love and others from local craft markets. There’s the burning of the Yule log in some countries.

Books and TV programs tell stories about Baby Jesus, Santa Claus, St. Nick, reindeer, and snow men. For many it may include a midnight Mass or Christmas Eve church service.

Christmas is three days away. We went to the Winterhaven Festival of Lights this year and I’ve never seen so many lights and displays in such a small area.

I'm writing this, playing Christmas carols, and singing along. One of my traditions. We put up Christmas lights and I’m ready to cook a turkey dinner. A few more traditions. I’ve made some glass fusion gifts and donated to several groups to help others at this time of year.  
What about you? What are your traditions?

Whatever they may be. Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Orleans or Wikipedia

When you pick a setting for your story do you place it somewhere you've been or that's familiar?
In this day we can research everything on the net, but is it as good as being there?
In my book, A Cruise to Remember, we had taken several cruises. I decided to set a novel on a cruise. I knew about cruises and the ports where we stopped.  I included them in the book.

The novel I'm writing is set in New Orleans. I have visited there several times so I know Bourbon street and that area. I don't know the residential areas around the French Quarter so I did have to use the internet to get a better feel for that area.

For my series set in Montana, on a ranch in fictional Duster, I had no experience with ranch life. I've driven through Montana a few times, but that's it. I hit the internet and got some information. Then I posted to a few groups I'm on and asked a questions about running a ranch. People were wonderful and I got lots of information. Hopefully it helped to make the setting more realistic.

So I use both for my settings. I'm more comfortable if I've been to the area, but Wikipedia, the internet and some loops can be very helpful.

What about you? How do you chose a setting? What's important in writing your setting?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Prologue and Epilogue


Victoria Chatham suggested this topic: Prologue and Epilogue. Do they have a use? Should they be used? Can you have one without the other? This topic was suggested by one of our group, Victoria Chatham. Be sure to check out her blog.
It’s an interesting topic. I’ve used both in drafts, and I’ve been called on it from a critique partner or editor. And I end up taking the prologue out and starting the story in a different place. They didn’t have a use in the stories when I really analyzed it. I think the first thing you need to decide is where should the story start. What’s the inciting moment? Does it change the direction of the story?

Now, does the reader need a prologue to give the background or can it be filtered into the story? I think if it’s a prologue it needs to be from a different time or setting.  If it’s back story it should be added in small doses throughout the story.
Epilogue can have a use, in my opinion. I have used them.  You write the story and tie up all the loose ends. The goal has been met.  The h/h have resolved their issues. The reader is satisfied. Right? Maybe, but sometimes you want to add a few little details that didn’t fit the quick paced ending.

For instance, it’s a series and after you wrote ‘The End’ and before the start of the next book, there was a marriage and maybe an adoption. It could be done in back story, but it’s more relative to the previous book. The reader may want to know what happened after ‘The End’.
If you do write an Epilogue and I think can be used, it should be short and include only the items you think the reader might be interested in.

Can you use one without the other? Absolutely. But make sure it’s necessary and there’s no other way to include information the reader will want. And it should be info the readers want – not what the writer wants to share.
I’m looking forward to hearing what other writers say, because this is a controversial topic.  Check out theses authors.
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Dr. Bob Rich http://wp.me/p3Xihq-QS
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com


Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Holidays and Writing


We’re into the biggest holiday season of the year. Christmas is in 10 days.
You have family, friends, baking, parties, maybe a job and you’re a writer. How do you balance it all? Do you quit writing? You can start again in January. 
Do you shop online? Do you skip baking or buy it at a local bakery? Do you skip parties to write?

I have a slight advantage. We snowbird, so I do Christmas cards the first week in November and mail them. I do my Christmas shopping a few weeks before we leave and hide them in the back of a funky closet in my home office.  A few days before Christmas I tell my daughter where they are and she can distribute them. And I don’t bake.
I did say ‘slight’ advantage. Because I’m in an RV park with all sorts of activities, so right now I’m doing glass fusion, genealogy and learning the ukulele. And all our neighbors get together several times a week to socialize.

So, when do I write. I spend early morning before I get up, thinking about my characters and the story. I might make a few notes. Then I set aside an hour and a half to write five days a week. If something interferes, I make sure I write fifteen minutes (even if it’s gibberish) before I go to bed. If for some reason I can’t, I try to add it to the time the next day.

It’s not perfect, but is it working for me? Mostly, yes, I’m hoping to finish Death Southern Style in the next few days.
What about you? How do you handle the holiday season?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas or Seasonal Stories

So, you’re going to write a Christmas story. Is it a novel, a novella, or a short story?

When do you write it? When do you publish it?

I am not writing this from experience but from considering what and when to write. Usually around October I think, yikes, I should be writing a Christmas novella. But I’m not in the mood for Christmas. No way could I write a novel at this time, probably not even novella.

For other occasions, Easter, Valentines Day, or Breast Cancer month I write a piece and it’s rejected because I should have sent it in 2 months earlier. So, I need to write it five or six months before I send it in.

It’s almost a new year and I’m looking at my goals for the next year. So, for Valentines day – I’m too late.
Easter, should be by early January.

I have to admit I have a problem getting in the mood four or five months in advance. It’s Christmas and New Year’s and I should be writing Easter stories.

My goal is to fit these novellas into a schedule five to six months before the event.

How do you fit the seasons into your writing plans? Do you need to be in the mood? What are you writing now?
 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Genre- How do You Decide?


I’ve got a book almost ready to publish. I’m almost ready to send it to my proof reader and get a cover.

I started to think about marketing. What genre do I put the book in?
I write romantic suspense. Some are western and other’s PI and detective. This one is a medical about cloning. It’s setting is a hospital. The cloning is designer children, and cloning for body part’s. There’s suspense, but I’m wondering if this fits into a sci-fi category. I don’t write sci-fi but this seems a little in that direction.

So when I market it – what do I say? I checked out Wikipedia and here’s some of the genres they define.
          Classic – fiction that has become part of an accepted literary canon, widely taught in schools
  • Crime/detective – fiction about a crime, how the criminal gets caught, and the repercussions of the crime
  • Fantasy – fiction with strange or otherworldly settings or characters; fiction which invites suspension of reality
  • Historical fiction – story with fictional characters and events in a historical setting
  • Horror – fiction in which events evoke a feeling of dread and sometimes fear in both the characters and the reader
  • Mystery – this is fiction dealing with the solution of a crime or the unraveling of secrets
  • Science fiction – story based on impact of actual, imagined, or potential science, usually set in the future or on other planets
  • Short story – fiction of such brevity that it supports no subplots
  • Suspense/thriller – fiction about harm about to befall a person or group and the attempts made to evade the harm
  • Western  – set in the American Old West frontier and typically set in the late eighteenth to late nineteenth century
If you write a straight romance, or western it’s easy, but what if you cross genres, how do you decide where your book works?
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Eleanor Webster's Latest Harlequin Historical


About Eleanor Webster

Eleanor Webster has a passion for many things, the most ardent likely being shoes.

But she’s also passionate about a story well told.  With the help of some debutantes and viscounts and a twist of the unknown, Eleanor’s stories weave a tale of enchantment, hope, and most importantly, love.

When not writing, you’ll find Eleanor dreaming of being a world traveler, reading, running, reading, hiking in the wilds of British Columbia, where she makes her home with her husband and two daughters, and – did we mention reading?

Connect with Eleanor

Website: https://eleanorwebsterauthor.com/

 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eleanor-Webster/1457032624594046?fref=ts/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/eleanorwebs0086/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/eleanorwebsterauthor

Married for His Convenience

Tainted by illegitimacy, plain Sarah Martin has no illusions of a grand marriage. So when the Earl of Langford makes her a proposal that will take her one step closer to finding her half sister, she can't refuse!

Sebastian's dreams of romance died with his late wife's affair, so now he needs a convenient wife to act as governess for his silent daughter. Yet Sarah continues to surprise and challenge him, and soon Sebastian can't deny the joy his new bride could bring to his life—and into his bed!

Available November 22, 2016

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2cEzUzW

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2cm9jJB

Nook: http://bit.ly/2cm8oZN

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2cNcokR

Excerpt

Dramatic events never happened to her. Ever.

‘If I remove my hand, do you promise not to scream?’ The voice was male. Warm breath touched her ear.

Sarah nodded. The man loosened his hold. She turned.

Her eyes widened as she took in his size, the breadth of his shoulders and the midnight-black of his clothes.

‘Good God, you’re a woman,’ he said.

‘You’re...you’re a gentleman.’ For the cloth he wore was fine and not the roughened garb of a common thief.

She grabbed on to these details as though, through their analysis, she would make sense of the situation.

‘What was your purpose for spying on me?’ His gaze narrowed, his voice calm and without emotion.

‘Spying? I don’t even know you.’ The rabbit squirmed and she clutched it more tightly.

‘Then why are you hiding?’

‘I’m not. Even if I were, you have no reason to accost me.’ Her cheeks flushed with indignation as her fear lessened.

He dropped his hand, stepping back. ‘I apologise. I thought you were a burglar.’

‘We tend not to get many burglars in these parts. Who are you anyway?’

‘Sebastian Hastings, Earl of Langford, at your service.’

He made his bow. ‘And a guest at Eavensham.’

‘A guest? Then why are you in the kitchen garden?’

‘Taking the air,’ he said.

‘That usually doesn’t involve accosting one’s fellow man.

You are lucky I am not of a hysterical disposition.’

‘Indeed.’

Briefly, she wondered if wry humour laced his voice,

but his lips were straight and no twinkle softened his expression. In the fading light, the strong chin and cheekbones looked more akin to a statue than anything having the softness of flesh.

At this moment, the rabbit thrust its head free of the shawl.

‘Dinner is running late, I presume.’ Lord Langford’s eyes widened, but he spoke with an unnerving lack of any natural surprise.

‘The creature is hurt and I need to bandage him, except Mr. Hudson, the butler, is not fond of animals and I wanted to ensure his absence.’

‘The butler has my sympathies.’

Sarah opened her mouth to respond but the rabbit, suddenly spooked, kicked at her stomach as it clawed against the shawl. Sarah gasped, doubling over, instinctively whispering the reassurances offered by her mother after childhood nightmares.

‘You speak French?’

‘What?’

‘French? You are fluent?’

‘What? Yes, my mother spoke it—could we discuss my linguistic skills later?’ she gasped, so intent on holding the rabbit that she lost her footing and stumbled against the man. His hand shot out. She felt his touch and the strangely tingling pressure of his strong fingers splayed against her back.

 ‘Are you all right?’

 ‘Yes—um—I was momentarily thrown off balance.’

She straightened. They stood so close she heard the intake of his breath and felt its whisper.

‘Perhaps,’ she added, ‘you could see if the butler is in the kitchen? I do not know how long I can keep hold of this fellow.’

‘Of course.’ Lord Langford stepped towards the window as though spying on the servants were an everyday occurrence. ‘I can see the cook and several girls, scullery maids, I assume. I believe the butler is absent.’

‘Thank you. I am obliged.’

Tightening her hold on the rabbit, Sarah paused, briefly reluctant to curtail the surreal interlude. Then, with a nod of thanks, she stooped to pick up the valise.

‘Allow me,’ Lord Langford said, opening the door. ‘You seem to have your hands full.’

‘Er—thank you.’ She glanced up. The hallway’s flickering oil lamp cast interesting shadows across his face, emphasising the harsh line of his cheek and chin and the blackness of his hair.

She stepped inside and exhaled as the door swung shut, conscious of relief, regret and an unpleasant wobbliness in both her stomach and knees.
 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Writing Habits


Do you have a writing schedule? Do you write everyday?
One of the things I’ve always been told is you need to write everyday.

It’s a habit that many good writers follow. I run a BIAW four times a year for my writing group, Kiss of Death. The message I try to get across to the participants is that the purpose of BIAW is to develop a habit of writing every day. The actual word count is secondary. If it’s 100 words every day for the week, you’re on track for making your writing a habit. Then you need to keep it up after BIAW finishes.
Maybe find a writing partner and post totals every day. It’s the accountability factor. If you’re being honest and have to check in with someone everyday it should encourage you to write a few words w everyday.

People tell me they didn’t have time to write – family interfered, it was a long day at work.
My reply is, you can find a few minutes. What about ten minutes before you go to bed? Or maybe 15 minutes during a lunch hour if you work? Or get up ten minutes earlier and write?

Other things such as NaNo, to me, it’s not so much finishing, it’s writing a few words every day.

How badly do you want it? Can you find a few minutes every day?
Do you write every day? How do you manage it?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Blogging on Writing Excercises


I read an article that said an author should try their hand at writing other formats as a writing exercise.
Any format would work. The ones they suggested were a six-word story. You need a beginning, middle, end, and ideally a lot of tension. You need to set up and resolve conflict in six specific words.

The next is poetry, which is painstaking to write. The next is Flash Fiction, defined as “short short stories” or stories between 50 and 2,000 words. Try to pack a complete story into so few words.
The fourth one is a short story. The fifth is a news article. The value ere is the comparison of styles – fiction vs non-fiction. It also it forces you to fill in the “five Ws and one H.” This is of course the “Who, What, What, When, Where, and How”.

The last one is an opinion piece. It should be novel, or at least presented in a novel fashion, that is personal to you and not derivative of anyone else’s thinking. It must exhibit original thinking. It forces you to find and use your voice.
I have written one short story, which does force you to tighten your writing. I have never tried any of the others, but I am considering the opinion piece and a news article. It might be interesting. Anything to improve my writing skills.

What about you? Does this sound valuable? Have you written in any of them? Does it help tighten your writing?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving and a Little History


Happy Thanksgiving to every one celebrating today.
My husband couldn’t understand why it’s such a big holiday in the US. We’re Canadian and celebrate in October, but it’s not that big of a family holiday. Christmas is much bigger for us.

I said it was because the first Thanksgiving would have been a pilgrim celebration after the first harvesting of the crops. It would have been a big family and friend’s celebration, but thought I should check it out. Off to good old Wikipedia and here’s what I found.
The event commonly called the “First thanksgiving” was celebrated by the pilgrims after the first harvest in the New World in October, 1621. It laste3d three days and was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. I was surprised because I thought it would have been closer to the date celebrated today.

Today Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. It has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.
Now it’s a huge family getting together around turkey, stuffing, and football. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jane or Mary? Choosing Your Characters Name


How do you choose names for your characters?
I know some people use books of baby’s names. I’m not sure how other people do it. I find I have to develop my character first before they get a name. I come up with an idea for a story and then I start to think about it. The idea of the story begins to grow. The one in the back of my head right now, as I try to finish Death Southern Style, is set in Canada. People kept saying why don’t you write locally?

Well, I was raised in Calgary, Alberta and we just moved back to Alberta – Medicine Hat, not Calgary. So, I’m thinking I should write locally. Also, my series on the Hawkins’ family is set in Montana and I researched the Blackfoot tribe, which is also in Alberta so I’m going to use that. I’m thinking about a woman in her mid to late forties, First Nations (Blackfoot) reported replaced by a younger man. She buys an RV and decides to travel. No title for the book and write now my heroine is Jane Wolf. Wolf because it could be a First Nations name. Jane – no real reason. It sort of goes with Wolf. Not sure the name will stay but t will be my starting name. As I develop her character, family and friends the name may change, even several times.
This is how I usually choose names and they usually get changed as the story progresses and often I have to change them because several names can sound similar and confuse readers.

How do you choose names and do they change as the story progress or remain the same throughout the writing process?

Friday, November 18, 2016

How does wording choice develop a story's character? How do you use and select your words?

How does wording choice develop a story's character? How do you use and select your words?

Big topic but an interesting one. The topic was suggested and this was the theme. Sometimes find myself writing down turns of phrase like:

She had to be the sexiest-looking 42-year-old on the planet, the best that money could buy.

Is this a positive or a negative when you read a book? How can such statements be used to describe character?

Honestly, when I read something like that, if it’s from 1940, maybe 1950, it fits within the era.   I smile and enjoy the description. It’s usually from a PI about a client or a woman in a bar.

If it’s contemporary, I read it but it pulls me out of the book.  Wording choice has to be relevant to the genre, the era, and the time frame. It’s important to use words to grab he readers and hook theme to the character but it has to relate to the reader.

For me, building a character is my challenge. I love to develop a plot, but the character something that will resonate with a reader, drives the plot. So, I have to use words to develop a character. I try to use words that will grab a reader and my editor won’t cut. They need to be descriptive, evocative, and something a reader can imagine in their mind.  

Your thoughts?  

I’m looking forward to seeing what the other authors have to say.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Dr. Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-OB
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Writing, Genre Changes and a Poll


Has writing changed in the last five years? A few posts ago I wrote about the age of the average romance reader. The comments seemed to indicate that people wrote what they read and didn’t focus on a specific age or group of people.
It got me thinking about whether writers have changed much over the last few years. I’m still writing romantic suspense. I don’t think I’ve changed my style much. That may be good or bad.


We have more Indie authors writing on topics that otherwise might not be published. If well-written that’s a good thing.
What about genres? Have they changed. Chic Lit is gone. Sweet romances seem to have disappeared – but are they now found in westerns or other genres? We have YA. Gothic showed up for a little while but I think it’s faded. Steampunk was the rage. I don’t know how it’s doing. Paranormal, mystery, suspense, and thrillers are still popular. (I think) Erotica is doing well.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on where writing is changing – or is it?

I’m also going to do a poll. I have to learn how to do it. I’m doing one on twitter and see what people think are the top genres. It only allows 4 choices so I’ll run one for a day and then do another group. If I can learn how to do one on Facebook I’ll add the link. And here it is https://poll.fbapp.io/most-popular-romace-genres
You can just comment on this blog and vote for your favorite or top favorites. Please vote and I’ll let you know the results.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Poppy Day - In Flanders Fields


I’m a Canadian and November 11th is officially called Remembrance Day, but it is also known as Armistice Day and Poppy Day. Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the official end of the World War I hostilities on November 11, 1918. The artificial red poppy symbolizes those who died.
Veterans and Legion members volunteer to sell the poppies in malls and in front of grocery stores and liquor stores. They begin right after Halloween. And it’s by donation – any amount. Banks, insurance companies and smaller stores have poppies available with a donation box for those standing inn line to pay a cashier.

Most Canadians wear the artificial poppy in their lapels to honor those who died in WW1 and WW2 until November 11th 
The poem, “In Flanders Fields”, written by John McCrae, in May 1915 is read, printed and shared at tis time. Apparently during the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. An exploding German artillery shell landed near him. He was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as a friend of his, the Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.
As the brigade doctor, John McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis because the chaplain had been called away somewhere else on duty that evening. It is believed that later that evening, after the burial, John began the draft for his now famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.
I learned this poem in school (many, many years ago) and still remember it.

In Flanders Fields”, by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Friday, November 4, 2016

How Do You Design a Cover?


Even if you’re published by a publisher they usually ask about how you visualize your cover.  You feel out the form but it doesn’t always look like you hoped.

And if you self publish you find a cover artist and fill out a form and they design a cover. At least now you have a little more control.

When you think about a cover what do you include?

Here are tips from Writer Digest http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/general/10-tips-for-effective-book-covers

 1.The title should be big and easy to read. This is more important than ever. (Many people will first encounter your cover on a screen, not on a shelf.) This is such a well-worn cliche of cover design that I have a designer friend with a Facebook photo album called “Make the Title Bigger.”

2.   Don’t forget to review a thumbnail image of the cover. Is the cover compelling at a small size? More people are buying books on a Kindle or mobile device, so you want the cover to read clearly no matter where it appears. You should also anticipate what the cover looks like in grayscale.

3.   Do not use any of the following fonts (anywhere!): Comic Sans or Papyrus. These fonts are only acceptable if you are writing a humor book, or intentionally attempting to create a design that publishing professionals will laugh at.
 
4.   No font explosions! (And avoid special styling.) Usually a cover should not use more than 2 fonts. Avoid the temptation to put words in caps, italics caps, outlined caps, etc. Do not “shape” the type either.

5.   Do not use your own artwork, or your children’s artwork, on the cover. There are a few rare exceptions to this, but let’s assume you are NOT one of them. It’s almost always a terrible idea.

6.   Do not use cheap clip art on your cover. I’m talking about the stuff that comes free with Microsoft Word or other cheap layout programs. Quality stock photography is OK. (iStockPhoto is one reliable source for quality images.) 

7.   Do not stick an image inside a box on the cover. I call this the “T-shirt” design. It looks extremely amateurish.

8.   Avoid gradients. It’s especially game-over if you have a cover with a rainbow gradient.

9.   Avoid garish color combinations. Sometimes such covers are meant to catch people’s attention. Usually, it just makes your book look freakish.

 
Bonus tip: No sunrise photos, no sunset photos, no ocean photos, no fluffy clouds.
And if you’re designing a series make the covers have a similar style, recognizable to your reader. See mine below.

Also, make the cover appropriate for the country where you’re selling your book.