Today fantasy author N.R. (Nancy) Williams joins us in the doghouse to talk about her just-released novel, The Treasures of Carmelidrium. I’ve had the pleasure of watching her final process from a distance (and even being involved in a little part of it), since we were both involved in Dani Greer’s blog book tours class at the same time. The Treasures of Carmelidrium. is her first novel, and I can tell you, since I got to read a little bit of it, that it’s a good one. For more information about it check out Nancy’s website here. To buy the book, click here. Now I’ll scoot over and let Nancy drive for a while:
Thank you Bodie a.k.a. Sherry for letting me visit your blog on the last day of my blog book tour to promote The Treasures of Carmelidrium.
If you are a writer you’ve heard about the editor thing over and over until you wish people would stop talking about it. I know I was tired of that conversation. Money was so tight for me, and my book had been through so many critique eyes, that I thought it was ready. Every writer I knew began to tell me again and again that I needed an editor. Then Heidi Thomas offered to work with me on a sliding scale. I agreed. So for all you writers out there in book land, it is worth your time to explore different editors until you find the one who will work with you, especially if you plan to self-publish. My book is ten times better because I hired Heidi. Thanks so much girl friend.
(Heidi may not be able to offer you the same deal).
I also needed a book cover. Amazon has free book covers, but I didn’t want my book to look like several hundred other covers. I wanted something that gave a clue as to what the book was about. Originally, I thought I’d do my own cover, but I was overwhelmed with edits and decided to ask for help. Sherry offered, and I think the cover is awesome.
Now I’d like to ask Sherry to relate a little of the process that she goes through to match a book cover to a book and its author.
Take it away Sherry.
Thanks, Nancy. Since designing book covers is a big part of what I do, I’ve devoted a lot of thought to what constitutes a good design–and a bad one. I’ve even blogged about it in the past. If you’d like a detailed look at cover design click here, and here.
A good design can be summed up in five words: It. Helps. Sell. Your. Book. In the final analysis, that is your book cover’s job. There are other, secondary tasks–the cover should give a potential purchaser an idea of the book’s subject matter and general approach. It’s nice if it indicates visually what category your book falls into (romances, westerns, and biographies, for example, tend to have very different covers, stylistically). It’s nice if it’s pretty. It’s nice if it indicates that it’s part of a set. But all that is secondary. Your book cover’s main job is to sell your book.
When I design a book cover–and when I designed the cover of The Treasures of Carmelidrium–that was my primary focus. What would sell this book–and keep on selling Nancy as a writer? Before I started designing, I asked Nancy for an exerpt from the story, so I could judge tone and atmosphere. We talked about what she saw as the central images–and after reading her excerpt I could see she was spot on. I kept the title type simple, and large enough to be easily read from a distance (even though TTOC is being released digitally first) because selling in a bookstore requires both things. In other words, we developed this cover to meet all contingencies–it’ll work, no matter what the sales venue is.
Since The Treasures of Carmelidrium is a fantasy, it was important to convey something of that in the cover, while still keeping enough visual distinction to make the book stand out on the shelf. Many fantasy books use highly illustrated covers. To make Nancy’s book easier to spot, we went the “Twilight” route, and kept the cover simple. To convey the “fantasy” aspect of the book, I created a design that reflects the look and feel of illuminated book covers–there’s a tooled leather texture over most of the cover, and the front has simulated gold embossing (cheaper than the real thing, and still attractive). Since Nancy’s planning at least one sequel, it’s a good thing that this design can be easily adapted for subsequent volumes. Switch the background color and texture and the central image, and you’ve got a cover that’s unique to each book, and maintains a visual identity with the set as a whole. It makes it easy for browsers to see that the books belong together–ideally on their bookshelves.
I can go on and on like this, but I’ll stop now–thanks for stopping by, Nancy. Here’s hoping The Treasures of Carmelidrium enhance your own personal horde!
Thank you Sherry. I will be stopping by all day to review your comments and answer questions. Don’t forget to leave your email. I will post the winner on my blog tomorrow once I have a chance to let my grandson pull the names from a bowl.
N. R. Williams (Nancy)