By the time I’d driven home, I knew what I had to do. You see, the only time I struggle with writers block is when I (okay, some part of me, let’s call her the adult manager in charge of my head) insists I write whatever Ms. Manager has decided I must.
No matter how hard Ms. Manager insists, it doesn’t happen.
The little kid in my head who makes up the stories simply stops making them up until she is once again allowed to tell her stories, in her way.
Read more about how I discovered my next novel while having a day at a spa.
I’d tried a mess of keywords for first book “One of One” and got one impression. That’s right, one. It was a very cheap ($0.22) and highly ineffective experiment. Forget keywords.
So for Shape of Secrets, I looked through Amazon’s suggested sub-genres. One was LGBT Fantasy Fiction. That was a category? Okay, the book is about a young gay man who can alter his appearance to look like anyone, so I guessed it fit. I tried it and got 87,684 impressions, 170 clicks, and sold three books. Hot damn. Yes, I’d spent $63.22 to do it, so I was losing money while Amazon was laughing all the way to the bank, but at least something was happening.
Read more at How about this ad?
You know what? It was a LOT of work to get this all the way done. Not fun creative stuff, but I-just-want-to-quit-this-shit-and-go-take-a-nap type work.
Why stick with it?
Read more at … is still a thousand miles.
Looking at it forced me to see other photos of this model, however, and I found several I liked so much better. Doesn’t she look so much more interesting in the other three photos?
I persuaded DDD to try an edgier look and I was happy with the result. So were most people in my informal focus group, although one person thought she now looked slutty. Sigh …. Not what I intended.
Read more at That’s her!
When it came time to create the last cover, we needed Teddie to make a second appearance, but not with an identical face. This particular model had dozens of photos to choose from, but unfortunately many of them had to do with selling beauty products.
Read more at So that’s what she really looks like?
Lucky for me, my sister disagreed. She didn’t know what Alex looked like either, but she was so positive it wasn’t this that she went to Shutterstock and emailed me photos of several other models.
Okay, it looked like we’d have to find another Alex. Option one she sent was clearly too young, but the other six could work. I went searching for any of them.
Read more at So that’s what he really looks like?
When it came time to create the last cover, we needed Zane to make a second appearance, but not with an identical face. This particular model did have many options to choose from, but unfortunately most of them weren’t so appropriate for the sort of book I was writing.
Read more at How does he really look?
When I first wrote One of One (called x0 at the time) I was obsessed with giving form to my mental picture of Lola, the main character. I wished I could draw well enough to show the world how she looked. I can’t, so I scoured Shutterstock for artists images that captured what I was seeing in my mind. These were some of my favorites.
Read more at How does she really look?
Then, someone pointed snag number two out to me. They thought Cillian, who is supposed to be in his forties, looked a little too old and could even be mistaken for Ariel’s father Alex, who is in his fifties. At first I didn’t think so, but upon reflection I saw the vague resemblance.
Read the end of the cover saga for the fifth book at The fifth one
Honestly, this is all too much to hold in my head at once. I keep checking my spreadsheet thinking I’m forgetting some essential component somewhere. There’s got to be something I’m forgetting.
Read more about being in various stages of revising five different books at once at Learning to Juggle.
Do you get what you want, or do you get what you need?
I had a spirited discussion about this once with a psychologist. I was praising the wisdom of the Rolling Stones; she was sharing her professional observations. We were at a party and it was lucky no nearby cynic entered the conversation arguing people don’t get either.
It is a conundrum, though, isn’t it. You ask for something you think you want, only to discover….
Read the latest update on the saga of the search for the perfect cover at Watch what you ask for.
Note the story ended well. I’m delighted with the final cover, shown here.
I’m also particularly pleased with the title of this one, and the way the fine people at Deranged Doctor Design added light to represent what Teddie insists on calling the world of mist.
Now, my job is to make sure the story itself is worthy of all this.
Read more at A New Look.
I struggled for weeks with the cover of Twists of Time, the third book I am re-releasing. It’s done now and slated to be out mid-March, but it wasn’t a pretty process. Below is the post I wrote when I was trying to decide if I should give up and accept a cover I didn’t particularly like.
In the end, I chose to pay the designers for a redo, and I’m already so glad.
I’m a perfectionist, at least about the things that matter to me, and my books matter to me a lot. I’m also a people pleaser. I hate to be a pest. The result is I tend to say I’m okay with something, when I’m really not.
You can see how these two impulses could combine to cause a problem.
Final version after the redo
Read the full story at All Done and I’m Still Not Sure
Last week I published the new Shape of Secrets in paperback and for kindle. Below is a post I wrote right beforehand.
Now, I’m ready to do it again. Shape of Secrets is as done, double checked, and triple checked as it is going to get. I’m into formatting and prepping mode, with the hope of submitting all formats on Sunday the 17th, getting approval Monday the 18th. Read more at 90001 words and ready
I’ve been holding my breath for months now (metaphorically) as I worked to release my first novel with a new title. I could hardly be blamed. The first title had an exponent in it. (Yes, as in the letter x raised to the power of zero.) If you’re not mathematically inclined, trust me it was clever, but no one could fault me for wanting a title that was easier to pronounce, market and search for.
Read the full story of how it went when I republished the old x0 under the new name One of One at It worked!