June 13, 2012

Beauty Inside and Out: Editing and Cover Design

My family and I are spending a couple more days at the beach, so it seemed the perfect time to catch up on some of the Author Blog Challenge prompts.

Day 10 Prompt: Have you participated in a critique groups? If so, how did it work out for you? If not, why have you avoided them to this point?

No, I’ve never participated in a formal critique group. I just recently joined one, but I haven’t submitted anything yet. I am my own harshest critic, so I can certainly handle opinions. Since I’ve moved so much, I’ve never tried to connect with an in-person writing/critique group. I’d love to do so, but I also want to build a relationship of trust before embarking on sharing thoughts on others’ writing. That’s why I haven’t shared anything with my current group.

Day 11 Prompt: Describe your editing process. Who edited your book? What was your relationship with your editor like? What could each of you have done to improve it? What might you do differently in the future?

My first book, co-authored with my mom, went through rounds and rounds of editing. First, Mom and I gave it several edits. I do freelance editing and have always had a knack for it, but it’s so hard to edit your own work. We then went to trusted friends, including two former English professors and a journalist, for another round. Finally, we hired a professional editor recommended by the small publishing house that originally picked us up. Still, we ended up finding 32 errors (some the mistake of the publisher, and some so small a lot of people would miss it) once our book was published.

So that we could sleep at night, those darned errors bothered us both so much, we reissued the book sans those errors. I would never say error-free, because I’ve come to believe it’s impossible. I do always feel better when I read traditionally published books and find errors. And it’s very rare that I don’t find some.

Do differently? I’d hire separate editors for story and grammar/punctuation. Both are so needed. And now that I’ve built my writing community, I’d want several beta readers.

Day 12 Prompt: Describe your process for choosing and designing your book cover. Who created your cover? How did you find him/her? What do you love about your cover? What might you do differently next time?

I am fortunate to have a creative family. My sister, Dana Silverthorne Newbrough, designed our cover. She did an amazing job, and I still love it. That being said, I would hire a professional cover designer next time (and take the burden off my dear sister who had to try to please both her older sister and mother).

My favorite part of the cover for Depression Cookies… the faded picture from way back when of my sisters and me. Since I’m the oldest of three girls and now have three girls of my own, it holds special meaning about the circle of life.

Although I must admit, I'm also pretty darn proud of the Silver medal on our book cover. Our novel was a Silver award winner in the 2011 Readers Favorite Book Awards for Realistic Fiction.

Still, I'd love to know... just how important is a cover in what you decide to read? Has this importance changed since e-books have become so popular (less bookstore book browsing)?


Callie Leuck said...

Oddly, a cover is even MORE important to me when picking out ebooks. Most ebooks I buy tend to be indie, and when you can't exactly flip the book open and read excerpts at will as you can in a bookstore, the cover becomes a bigger deal to me. What else am I going to judge the book on before buying it?

Well, recommendations possibly, and reviews. But when you're scanning through hundreds of ebooks you're not going to click through to read every review. You're looking at a list of names and authors and COVERS.

So yes, a pretty cover that looks professionally done tells me that the writer is serious about this whole selling-the-book thing, and that might mean s/he put more work into the story as well.

Jo Michaels said...

A cover decides for me if I will pick the book up and peek inside. Yassa is geared toward women so a soft pink and light blue grace the cover. I am also a fan of simple design, like Apple products have. WRITE ON!

Tia Bach said...

Callie, Good point. I love covers, but I found myself more drawn to them in a bookstore than in online images, but a bad cover will turn me off either way.

Jo, I love Yassa's cover!