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Mommy Approves

So my mom finished reading my manuscript yesterday.  I’m floating on cloud 9 right now because it seems she couldn’t put it down.  When I gave it to her on Tuesday, she told me to give her a while to finish it (which I assumed to mean a few weeks).  She finished it in two days!!!

I’m sure some of you authors out there can relate to this: Having an unpublished novel is like having read an amazing book and having no one to discuss it with.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t talk about it anyways, but this one-sided conversations usually ended in someone changing the subject with good reason, I suppose. A huge thanks to my mom for giving my book  a general thumbs up, giving me some well-needed feedback, and giving me someone to talk to about my baby.

My Cover Art Inspirations

We’ve all heard that old adage. You know which one I’m talking about: Don’t judge a book by its cover. But the truth is readers DO judge books by their covers. So I know that if I want my Fairytale Keeper series to sell, my cover needs to compel readers to pick it up.

In order to come up with the concept for my cover, I went straight to Amazon.com to do a little research.  I looked for titles that I felt were similar to my book and have sold well.

1. Phillipa Gregory and I both write about female protagonists fighting against the restraints of their rigid historical settings, so I looked at several of her book covers.  Overall, I love her use of close-ups.  The model’s gaze on this cover hints at the self-righteous, ruthlessness that was the essence of Margaret Beaufort, while the use of historical garb lets the reader know the time period.  It piques interest while informing the reader of what to expect.

2.  The cover art for the Fallen series by Lauren Kate has helped make her a huge hit.  The stormy skies and eery trees make the reader aware of the dark tone and drama.  Personally, I am a sucker for misty forests, black and white, and a beautiful protagonist.  Apparently I’m not alone since Torment was listed number 25 of the top 100 Best Book Cover Art list by Good Reads.

3.  Since my novel weaves in Grimm’s fairytale retellings and my main character is  Snow White, I had to check out other fairytale adaptations.  First Bite by Laura Briggs and Sarah Steinbrenner really appealed to me. The apple hints at a Snow White element, but the text and colors illustrate that this is a dark retelling.

So I guess if you take different elements from each of these book covers you end up with mine!  Now that I see these covers so close to mine, I can tell that I need to brighten the reds on my cover a little bit.  Below I’ve put some links to great posts on cover design, including Good Read Best Book Cover Art list.  Feel free to leave a comment about your favorite book cover!

Marketing Yourself on WordPress: It works if you work it!!

I spent a full eight hours yesterday trying to make this website easy for people to find. I knew it was going to be an uphill battle because I share my name with a blues singer who has a lot of YouTube videos, go figure.

When I googled myself yesterday at 8 am NOTHING came up. This morning, I googled myself and I was the number one suggestion! How do you like them apples? I like them apples. I like them apples a lot! So what exactly did I do?

I did a little research. I am reading The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier which has many marketing tips.  I also read WordPress tutorials on how to increase traffic to my site.  Then, because I am not very technologically savvy, I read more tutorials on how to actually do the things suggested in the WordPress tutorials.  –But by reading and  following the instructions in this post, eight hours of work can easily be condensed into one.

In The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, Ross and Collier suggest some free websites that will register new blogs with dozens of search engines for (drum roll, please) FREE.  http://www.addme.com is one example.  It took me less than five minutes to fill out their online form. Ross and Collier also suggest that I go to the search engines themselves and register with them.  This will get a blog recognized more quickly. WordPress suggests this too, so I’ll discuss exactly how to go about doing this in a minute.

WordPress wants its bloggers to succeed.  They give many great suggestions for how to increase traffic to new websites. Here are the ones that I found most useful.

1.  Check out blogs similar to your new site.  Leave comments, like their posts, and follow some of them. This is a great way to let people know your here.  I did get some traffic from this and a few followers to my blog.

2.  Create tags and categories for your posts. It is incredibly quick and easy to do.  Just follow these instructions:  http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/tags/

3.  Register your website with Google, Bing, and, Yahoo. Here are some links that will help you with this process.  It took me two hours to do this, but using these links, it should only take a few minutes.

http://en.support.wordpress.com/webmaster-tools/

http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster/

4.  Create a Gravatar.  I don’t know why this is important, but it is.  Here’s the link on how to do it: http://en.support.wordpress.com/avatars/gravatars/

5.  Link your Facebook account and Twitter accounts to your blog.  This is also very easy.  Just follow the steps suggested in this link provided by WordPress:  http://en.support.wordpress.com/facebook-integration/

I hope these suggestions help you like they’ve helped me.  I literally went from off the radar to number one on the search list over night.  If any of my readers have any other tips, please post comments so I can share them!!

Finalized Cover

The cover art is finally here!  Covers of books by Phillipa Gregory (The Other Bolyn Girl), Ken Follet (Pillars of the Earth), Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Sagas) , Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games Trilogy), Laura Briggs, and Sarah Steinbrenner (First Bite) inspired this design.  A huge thanks goes out to Ken Morrill, lead designer at Hepster Designs Ink., for the cover art.

The Official Website

Thank you for visiting my official website.  This is the only place where you can get up-to-date information on The Fairytale Keeper series.  I hope you enjoy seeing this as much as I’ve enjoyed making it.