Wednesday, August 28, 2013

08/28/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone. I am hoping that my post today is at least somewhat coherent. I was up for a good portion of the night due to worry, nervousness, and stress over what to do about one of my cats. Also, because my brain is a jerk, it started going into the bad direction of what could possibly be wrong with him, which made sleeping all the less pleasant. So here's to hoping today is better overall.

Something we've only briefly talked about previously is cover images. Honestly they are likely the last thing on an authors' mind while they are trying to throw all the words on paper in a manner that makes sense. The thing is that when the time comes, cover images are going to be just as important as the title; something else that at times is close to the most difficult thing ever.

So let's talk about those things today. Since logically it will come first, let's look at the title. Some people refuse to give any of their works titles until they're finished, while others have titles picked out long before they even start working on the book. I am guilty of both of those things. For me, figuring out the title later is really good for short-stories or 'flash-fiction' since there's a chance you don't know 100% of what's going to happen in the story until it's finished. At that point you can decide on a title that fits appropriately for what happened that will also draw in the attention of a potential reader.

Now for longer things, like full-length novels or book series, picking out the titles beforehand might actually help the author stay focused on the task at hand. Sure place-holders can be used for things that might change slightly. For example, I am still going between calling the last book in my series either 'War of the Pantheons' or 'The Pantheon War', they're basically the same thing with words flipped around, but I can't decide, and luckily I have lots of time before I need to do that. The important thing though is that I know what's happening in that book, and tend to have a fairly good memory, it's nice to have that final lynch-pin to remind me later.

As for the cover image, again this is extremely important. I know there's that saying that you can't judge a book by its cover, and it's true because you super can't. However, a cover image is going to be the first deciding factor as to whether or not a potential reader even looks at your book. Let's say you write a book about meeting a long-lost love on a train (people do that, right?) and decide the call the story 'Lowering of the Crossbucks' because it's symbolic or something. Now you have that all picked out and you go to get your cover done, but rather than jump into the bowels of Photoshop or offer to pay a friend with food, you take a 6 x 8 picture of a railroad crossing you took with your old-school 8mm camera, scan that into your computer, and stretch it to fit the requirements for a book cover and throw that into the ether. If you haven't guessed what that will look like, I'll tell you; pixelated and awful. Now let's say you're looking for a book to read about love being lost, or destined, or set to only go in one direction forever, and you see that book. The title looks interesting, but the difficulty caused by looking at the image will immediately set your opinion of the quality of story lower. Don't feel bad, it's just what happens.

That situation above happening doesn't mean you're a bad person or anything, it's like when you go to a restaurant and they have pictures of what they serve, and while you may super want the salmon teriyaki (because it's delicious) if the picture has a yellow-hue to it and you can't quite tell that's fish in the picture, it's going to make you a little nervous about eating it. Now a lot of people would say to try it anyway and you might be surprised, but to them I say shut up I needed an example and I'm sleepy. The logic though is the same reason fast-food places use bright colors or movie posters use blue/orange mixtures with lens flare and awesomeness; we are a society are hard-wired to like things more if they are aesthetically pleasing. So even if you're trying to make a point to show the world that yes, when it comes to the cover of your book you don't care that you have no idea what you're doing, but the story is good, please consider making your case in your description or title or something, or just make the cover a blank slate with words on it. It'll work out better in the end.

I appreciate everyone stopping by today. I will be back on Friday, barring any sort of disasters. Also keep in mind that Monday is a holiday here in the States so I will be doing my patriotic part and sleeping in as much as the cats will let me. I hope the rest of the week treats you all well though, have a great couple days!

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