Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Part One

To self publish or not to self publish.

That´s something I never had to ask myself because I´m not a writer, but many others have undoubtedly asked themselves if they should dive into self publishing or not.

Writers from all literature corners have, at some point, thought of the idea of publishing their own work, whether through traditional publishing or through self-publishing.

Both routes are fully acceptable these days, but before any writer choses a path to take they should definitely have a closer look at the pro´s and con´s of both traditional publishing and self publishing. Let´s do a quick breakdown to show the differences between the two and include pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self publishing:

Pros for Traditional Publishing

  • Marketing
  • Reach a wide audience, more exposure
  • Publishing houses often offer a financial advance
  • Publishing houses take care of edits, covers, etc.

Cons for Traditional Publishing

  • A writer hardly ( if at all, depending on the publisher) has a say ( in all areas)
  • Marketing runs at a snail’s pace
  • Royalty rates suck
  • It´s hard to get out of a contract

So basically, a writer´s hands are bound.

 

Pros for Self Publishing

  • You call the shots. You´re your own boss.
  • Publication is almost instantly
  • Royalty rates are higher
  • No rejections ( other than maybe from readers)

Cons for Self Publishing

  • No professional book polish ( no editing, no suitable cover image)
  • You have to do major self marketing
  • Potential for publishing a shitty book
  • Literally, anyone can self publish

It all comes down to having all the freedom in the world but also investing an outrageous amount of time doing self promotion because.. since you´re your own boss you have to do every stinking thing yourself.

If I was in a writer´s position I would definitely go with the traditional route. But that´s just me. Since I´m not a writer it´s not important what I would do, right?

A simple fact is: It´s hard getting a deal with a publishing house and it´s easy as hell to self publish.

Doing business with hundreds of self published writers did reveal an awful lot, but what the years of observation have shown was that many self published authors struggle.

And the struggle is real.

Some authors don´t know how to market themselves or they find it extremely difficult.

Why is that?

Well, for one… most writers who go into self publishing and want to make a name for themselves know that they´re going to have to deal with marketing but they don´t know how hard it is.

Imagine you wrote a book and you set your mind of self publishing. Great. But what steps need to be done?

Is your book edited? If not, it should be. You don´t want to sell crap and no one wants to spend money on crap. A harsh truth alot of self published author´s don´t want to hear.

Is the book cover image eye-catchy and is the quality of the image good? If not, you might want to invest some money and get something that´ll make a reader want to buy your book. Many readers judge a book by it´s cover. ( read my article on book covers )

Once your book is properly looked over and the cover ( incl. the quality) is ready you still need readers.

Do you have fans? Without fans you have little to no sales. And without fans you have no one but yourself and maybe your mother to spread the word about your book.

Your book can be a genius piece of written art or a possible world-wide bestseller but that´s worth crap if you don´t have any readers.

You need a plan. A large one.

From what I´ve been able to learn was that self published authors NEED to interact with people. There´s no way around it. Writers must use the tools they´re given and start interacting with all sorts of people in order to get the marketing ball rolling.

Social media is the best place for that. Millions of book lovers hang around Facebook, Twitter & Co. and are dying to get their hands on a new book. Befriending authors is also a step in the right direction because other, more accomplished self published authors have the know-how and can help with fulfilling a dream of becoming a known writer. Contacting book blogs is another way. Us foot folk know how to spread the word in an effective way.

It sounds so easy. But then again- everything seems easy in theory. Contacting strangers is not always easy. It´s acutally awkward.

„Hey, we don´t know each other but I have a book and ( after a full-blown social media investigation) I know you like to read… So, do you wanna read my book?“

Yes. That´s awkward but with a little more tact there is a high chance of gaining potential readers that way.

When a writer has to do their own marketing that means nothing other than having to sell their own product. In this case, it´s their book. Selling a product involves having to interact with people.

A nightmare for introverts or moody artists.

Another thing most self published authors forget is that self marketing never stops. It´s a constant, never-ending cycle. Once the self marketing slows down or stops then that´s it. Everything else stops too.

It also doesn´t stop at the interacting, either. There´s a whole lot more to self marketing than a writer´s eye can meet. Writers need to become creative and find ways to keep the ball rolling. This can be done with simple posts of teasers from their book or maybe a graphic quote or possibly through another author promoting a new writer. Something that engages other people. There are ways to make self marketing fun and slightly easier but the key is: interaction.

It also can´t hurt to mention how much time self published writers need to invest on self marketing. Yes. Many writers would appreciate a day with more than 24 hours.

The reality of self publishing is completely different from what people might think. It´s not just going on some self publishing platform and uploading a story with over 60.000 words and calling it a day.

Of course, writers who chose the traditional path and get taken under the wings of a publishing house have it bit easier. They don´t have to worry about self marketing because that´s included in their package. All the fun( insert sarcasm) with having to deal with emotional stress, interacting with strangers and working on spreading the word falls in the hands of competent people who know how to work the book mill. It might not always be what the writer had planned but it´s one less thing to worry about.

Self publishing is hard work and we´ve only just scratched the surface of how hard and frustrating self publishing can really be. The only advice I can give to writers who are unsure of which publishing path to take is: Collect as much info as possible and weigh your options. See what works best.

Because if we´re honest- not everyone is capable of marketing themselves or their work. Not everyone is a social bunny. But if a writer wants to self publish then there´s no way around having to do some self marketing. But when someone is good at marketing themselves then self publishing can be a joy and fun all around.

Coming next: Self Published Authors, Part Two: Book Pricing

Ridiculous Book Sex

Alas, a subject I have been dying to write about. A topic that needs further discussion.

Sex in books.

Romance readers want to have a good time while reading. They want the heartache, the sappy moments, etc. If a romance has the whole package, including good sex scenes, then it´s a total win for us readers.

Reality has taught us that sex can be loads of fun ( If done right, of course. ) and reading about it in a book that has a drop-dead-gorgeous male protagonist in it makes the head theater much more fun.

When I´m reading an erotic romance I´m literally waiting for a good sex scene with great sex. You know- the mind-blowing kind. The kind of sex in books that take a reader to a complete new level of horniness. I´m not talking about reading a porn….I´m referring to a romance / erotica novel that has sex in it. ( okay….maybe erotica novels come pretty close to porn, or not. What do I know?!)

In my opinion – reading about sex cannot be compared to pornography because… Well, characters in books have background stories and go through emotional highs and lows. Porn doesn´t. Although, my husband disagrees with me on that one. Just the other day he tried to convince me that porn movies have an actual plot. * Hangs head * Romance novels keep it real to a certain extent.

ANYWAYS…. Back to book sex:
I bow before any author who writes about sex. Period. I cannot imagine how hard it is to write about 2 people screwing and gushing their feelings for each other. Some authors have so much talent in that department. I often ask myself if those scenes came from personal experience or if it´s just a thought up scene. Imagined. Either way…..I love extremely well written, fully described, sensual, intimate sex scenes in novels. Nothing makes me more happy to know someone put a lot of thought into a scene like that. It´s actually pretty cool if you think about it.

But then there are authors who just write about sex. You know…..the questionable kind. The kind that puts huge question marks on my panties instead of making them change their color.

Now- this is a subject we all can discuss to no end because everyone has a different opinion on what good sex is. Which is fine by me. We all have different tastes, right? I´m not judging anyone if they like to read about any type of bed sports. To each is their own. But in some cases ( no matter what kind of sex I´m talking about) the sex is too much to take in. It´s also almost tacky. Tasteless. 

Authors often over-do it with their sex scenes. I´m not talking about all authors. I´m only referring to 75% of self published writers who include sex in their romances.

I consider myself still young, with being 35. I´m practically living in the best years of my life. But not even I find it sexy to read about characters who screw at every given opportunity. I can´t, by all that´s holy, visualize a sex marathon that goes on and on and on without feeling some sort of mental exhaustion after a while.

You have to keep in mind that I´m 35, not 20. I have a hard time keeping up with fictional characters these days because all they want to do is have sex. Even if I wanted to, I couldn´t have as much sex as book characters have. It´s as if these fictional characters are trying to compete with rabbits.

I know that the stories I read ( especially in the romance/erotica world) aren´t meant to be realistic. Still…..cut me some slack here- At some point, a Heroine has to start walking like John Wayne after she´s been well screwed / shagged / fucked by the sex-God from down the road. I´d definitely need a weeks worth of bed rest if were a female protagonist from any sex loaded novel.

I live in Europe…which means people over here are confronted with sex on a daily basis in a healthy way. Sex is apart of life. No need to shut up about it.   Either people like it kinky, or they don´t. No one is utterly fazed or shocked over here. So, before anyone gives me the ” Prude” stamp- keep in mind that I´m as open-minded as anyone can be. You cannot shock me with sexual acts or dirty talk, or what-not. I just do not appreciate bad / too much sex in a book. That just distracts from the actual plot. Or a terrible dialogue, for that matter.

An author can make their characters as kinky as they want them to be…I still don´t think anyone or anything should have sex 20 times a day, as some authors LOVE to make their characters do. That just…..hurts to think about.

 

And, please, * slamming hands on table, leaning forward, giving the stern look*, what is it with the Dialogue during sex scenes? Has anyone noticed how the majority of romance / erotica heros do the ultimate „ You´re so wet for me“ line?

Or, wait! I got a better one!

“Come for me, baby“  *shaking head* Am I the only one who noticed those two sentences in almost EVERY romance / erotica novel lately?

It´s not the sentences alone that are terrible. It´s the fact that those sentences come up in every damn sex scene. Let´s say characters X and Y are having sex for the first time. And all of a sudden X says: „ Oh, you´re so wet for me.“ Okay. It´s a line that isn´t original, but it´s still okay. If an author believes those words must be included, fine.

When X and Y have sex the second and third time ( in the same night, day, week ), X says the same words to Y. Uuhm… * scratching head * Does Y need a bucket because she´s so wet? Should X fetch the Tupperware just in case?

Obviously, X can´t get over the fact that Y gets wet! Y get´s utterly wet as soon as X touches her! Y is leaking.

And when X commands Y to orgasm ( or better…to come – to cum ) Y magically orgasms. Every single time! Some ladies might find that ” to orgasm ” on command is a hard task to do. But who am I kidding * wave off * I´m thinking way to realistic. What do I know, right?

Let´s rehash-

X is fascinated by the fact that Y gets so wet for him all the time that he needs to announce it.

Y can orgasm on command effortlessly because X is DA SHIT!

Let´s do a real life version of a novel sex scene ( of course, a woman has a few options on how to respond to the magic words)-

Guy: „ oh, Baby….you´re so wet for me.“

Woman: ( option nr. 1 ) „ U-huh.“

Woman: ( option nr .2 ) „ Really? How bad is it down there?“

Woman: ( option nr. 3 ) „ Yeah, I´m so wet for you.“

Or the woman might not give any answer and enjoy what´s bound to happen.

Guy: „ You want to come? Then come, NOW!“

Woman: „ Hold on…I´m almost there…“

Guy: „ No. I want you to come, NOW“

Woman: „ I can´t now. Just keep doing what you´re doing…almost there…“

Guy: ” NOW! Damn it ! N.O.W! Why can´t you orgasm on command?!“

Woman: „ Because I´m NOT  Y from those non-unique sex scenes!!!!“

Do you see my point? A dialogue like that can make whatever feelings I developed disappear into thin air. Poof! Just like that. Gone.

It´s also just as cringe-worthy when the words „moist“ and „cream pie“ are over used. There must be a way to replace those words with something more… fitting? Moist are my kitchen towels after I dry the dishes. And cream pie…. it´s a pie or cake, for heaven’s sake.

And now- while we´re at it… Let us comb through the phrases used in sex scenes. Let´s call it the sex lingo.

Ready?

  • …she tasted like honey…..“ ( I guarantee you, no one tastes like honey down south. Male and female do NOT taste like honey. It´s just a fact. If it were true then you´d be seeing a lot more people going down and having a 3 course meal with „honey“)
  • .. until I finally found her secret center…“ ( A vagina isn´t Narnja. It´s not the rabbit hole that leads to Wonderland. It´s not Barbie´s secret garden, either)
  • …his maleness, passing the petal soft folds of her womanhood…“ ( No vagina lips can be compared to petals. Touch a rose petal then touch vagina lips. It ain´t possible. But touch a turkey´s overlapping skin on his neck and then try touching a vagina. And vagina lips don´t fold. They´re bunched in your underwear. )
  • … I was drowning in her juices…“ ( How many characters are leaking? )
  • …I was blinded as I soared over the edge…“ ( I never went blind before/during/after an orgasm. Maybe I´m doing something wrong? And I never soared anywhere except for the one time when I woke up in the middle of the night and wanted to turn on the bedroom light but missed the wall and switch and went „soaring“ towards the floor. That shit hurt.)

Why compare food and drinks to body fluids? Why not stick to the truth instead of misleading the innocent and giving them weird ideas? Am I thinking too realistic here?

Sometimes people don´t smell like Christmas spices when they pull down their underwear. I can already hear you say „ Eeeeew“ after reading that but it´s true. Any person who´s sexually active KNOWS the dark secrets of sex. And no author has interest in coloring out the harsh reality of event.

Most writers would rather have you believe it´s fabulous to give your partner a blowjob after being on the road for 12 hours with 3 bathroom breaks in between ( without the possibility to wash up..like, at all). There are no rose scents involved there, trust me. Yet, authors will have you believing that the sexual drive between their characters is greater than anything else. They let their characters focus on their lust and ignore the wet fox smell.

As you can probably tell by now, I´ve read some crazy stuff over the last few years and I have a strong feeling that nothing is going to change.

Can we just try to call „his sword“ a penis? Use cock, for all I care….but sword? And how about vagina instead of „where she was moist and desperate“? It´s a vagina. It´s a penis. Either you have one or the other. And maybe it´s a good time to mention that sex is fantastic but sex doesn´t always sell. 

I´m just afraid if young women ( who haven´t had sex yet) read those scenes….they´ll think it´s supposed to be like that in real life. * head against table*

Authors should try to come up with better lines. These people aren´t called artists for no reason. Authors have so many ideas and words to work with…. it should be a piece of cake to come up with something better than „You´re so wet for me.“. It´s really not funny anymore to read the same lines in 80% of all books I read.

This is not meant to discourage writers to include sex in their stories. This is meant to help spark their passion for finding better, more authentic words for their scenes.

Review- RARE ´17 Berlin Book Signing Event

There are different types of book signing events. There are the ones we all know from back in the days, where authors had a table at a bookstore and signed tons of books for their fans.(Good thing  is – those signings still exist. They´re rare…but every now and again published authors pop into a bookstore and do a signing. * YAY *)

In this Era, book signing events have become more interesting, to say the least. Due to the massive amount of self-publishers ( and their wildly growing fan-bases ) alot of author events have turned into something bizarre ( and that´s putting it mildly ).

Book signings are said to be a great way to meet your favorite author ( maybe even hold a chitchat with them for 2 minutes ) and get your books, kindle covers, boobs and scrapbooks signed. Some signing events also offer full weekends of drinks, parties, meet & greets, and other fun stuff for readers and bloggers. Which is like- the ultimate thing for any book nerd!

Of course, those events aren´t for free. The prices for tickets can be from $10 – $400 , depending on which signing event a visitor decides to go to. In my opinion… I´d rather buy books worth 400 smackers than go to an event that costs that much, plus paying for a hotel room and traveling has to be taken under consideration, too- Unless you´re up for snoozing in your car. BUT…I was told that those highly expensive events were totally worth the money ( I shall never find out ).

I´ve been to quite a few book signings in my life but none have left such impressions as the last 2 I´ve visited. That is why I´ll focus on the last 2 bigger book signing events, here, and I´ll compare them.

I´m generally a happy person. I love to laugh and all that. And I´m also ALWAYS under alot of stress ( work, family, household, bla bla bla). When I´m at a signing I like to think I´m treating myself. Taking a break from being a highly responsible adult and having some Morgana-time without my babies actually helps me recharge enegery. I don´t need a 2 week vacation away from the family. A day or even a few hours can also work wonders.

But when I´m surrounded by madness it´s hard to think I´m treating myself in any way. It´s also impossible to enjoy my Morgana-time away from the family when I´m in a room surrounded by nearly 500 women who run around like headless chicks ( who also sporadically scream from the top of their lungs from excitement) That´s not book heaven. It´s definitely not my idea of having a good time.

And that´s exactly what happened at my first romance book event a few years back in London. Crazed women rushing from author table to author table in hopes of spending endless minutes with their favorite authors. It felt like I was in the Mean Girls movie with 100 Regina George clones.

After that unholy event I swore to never attend a romance book signing event ever again. I valued my sanity far too much to deal with another day of chaotic book women.

Years have passed and the nightmare from the past event eventually faded until I spotted an ad for another romance author event. RARE ´17 Berlin.Rare

Berlin? My heart melted. There was a romance book signing in the country I live in! I didn´t have to leave the country to visit a book signing and I could get a hotel room and I could….. Then it hit me. No. I swore I´d never put myself through another round of disappointment. But the author lineup for the RARE ´17 Berlin event was AWESOME! There was no way I could stay away.

After a week of back and forth I decided to give romance book signings another try. Why not, right? It´s been a few years since the last one. Readers / fans change. ( or, I hoped they did ). I wasn´t 100% convinced but I kept thinking happy thoughts. Everything was going to be alright.

After all- who would want to miss out on meeting Jodi Ellen Malpas, Monica James, Lesley Jones, Kandi Steiner, etc, etc? No me.

After a gruesome 5 hour drive from Frankfurt a.M. To Berlin I finally arrived. My hair looked like squirrels tried to braid it ( driving with an open window cannot be recommended) but I didn´t care. I was on a book mission, not trying to win a beauty contest. As long as no one noticed the chocolate stains in the crotch area I was good to go and halfway presentable. ( I do not recommend eating a chocolate croissant while driving on the Autobahn, either )

Needless to say- I arrived looking like a crazed forest witch, ready to spend time and money.

3 hours, 10 signed books and 6000 spoken words later I reached my limit and decided it was time to go home ( because I totally forgot to book a hotel room ). I wanted to spend some quality time with my newest reads!

And guess what? My fear was…gone. I was confronted with peaceful, nice people. The authors were wonderful. Everyone was smiling, chatting and just having a good time. I was shocked beyond belief! Hof was this possible? The last book signing event was a nightmare. Rare ´17 wasn´t. RARE ´17 Berlin was civilized, organized and just a great place to be.

Was I happy? Definitely. The event was a total success for me. Would I visit another RARE book signing?

Yes. I would.

Ticket price 36.87 Euros

Location – Hotel Estrel in Berlin

Author count – Roughly around 60 ( give or take)

Atmosphere-  Friendly

The authors- The ones I was able to meet were such sweethearts.

My biggest regret- Forgetting my hair brush at home. Forgetting to take pics with all the authors I talked to.

My mood from beginning to end-  Excited to happily exhausted.

All in all a wonderful event filled with awesomeness! Until next time, RARE!

And now – let´s take a look at what the forest witch looked like with the awesome authors! Have fun!

Event Monica

Left: Monica James. Author of the `I Surrender` , `Something Like Normal` & the `Hard Love Romance` books. Make sure to stalk her on Social Media!

Event Ashley

 

Right: Katie Ashley. Author of the `Proposition` & `Runaway Train` books.

 

Event Halle

Right: Karina Halle. Author of `The Pact` and `Dirty Angels`books.

 

Event steiner

Left: Kandi Steiner. Author of `Weightless` & `A Love Letter To Whiskey`.

 

Event Malpas

Right: Jodi Ellen Malpas. Author of the `This Man`& `One Night`books.

 

Review- Unveiling Ghosts ( Unveiling #3) by Jeannine Allison

Book Description

Four years ago, Sherry lost everything. Her house. Her parents. And Hunter, the love of her life. She left the small town she’d called home and tried not to look back. He’s gone. Move on. Don’t think of him. But when she learns Hunter is alive, she’s forced to question that awful night when everything was ripped away from her. 

Four years ago, Hunter lost Sherry. She was his home, his family, and the love of his life. He abandoned the town that held so many painful memories, but he couldn’t stop himself from looking back. Where was she? How was she? Did she think of him, too? But when his father’s death brings both of them back home, he must deal with the fallout from his choice all those years ago.

Hunter and Sherry were childhood friends, high school sweethearts, and everything in between. Hunter always told her…

Ours is a love people write stories about.

But will it be a fairy tale or a tragedy?

My Thoughts

I could say so many good things about `Unveiling Ghosts` by Jeannine Allison, but one thing stands out the most. Something I value over almost anything else regarding books- The writing style.

This was my first time around with author Jeannine Allison and I´m overwhelmed with joy that I can say that I have another favorite author I can add to my list.Unveiling Ghosts

The writing style is, what I would refer to as: simple and meaningful. Easy for the mind yet every written sentence holds emotion, wisdom, truth and love. Also- I find it pretty impressive that the author managed to include childhood flashbacks AND dual POVs without disrupting the flow of the story. Chapeau!

When I read the tagline on the cover I remember giving the book suspicious glares.

Ours is a love people will write stories about.“

You´d have to cut me some slack here…. because that´s a line I have heard a million times before. But- never have those words felt more true when it comes to this story.

The story starts off perfect with Sherry explaining her life in wonderful detail until she receives the 2 words she´s been waiting for for 4 years. Those words brought back the hope that disappeared, the life that left her. Before we know it she´s on her way back to the town where everything started and ended. And what she finds will rattle her emotional world.

Enter Hunter and the world feels whole again, or does it? I know it does because the love I have for that boy / man ( childhood flashbacks! Looks like I loved him as a child too * insert awkward silence *) is beyond anything. Let´s just say that I fell in love and can´t seem to stop falling for him.

`Unveiling Ghosts` is an emotional second-chance-romance that also tackles difficult real life topics, such as: death, cancer, abuse and neglect. Those subjects, in my opinion, are always hard to write or even read about and this author has done a wonderful job in weaving all into this heartwarming romance and showing her readers that if her characters are able to overcome their fears then everyone else can.

Will Sherry and Hunter have their happily ever after? Will both drown in the sea of fear and let their ghosts from the past take over their futures?

I guess you´ll have to read the book and find that out for yourselves.

I fully recommend `Unveiling Ghosts` ( Unveiling #3) to anyone who loves good writing, great characters and for anyone who appreciates an emotional rollercoaster ride.

The Cover- 5 stars ( I love the cover. The image doesn´t reveal anything about the story. The colors are beautiful)

The Story- 5 stars ( Everything I could ever ask for all bundled up in 317 pages.)

The Characters- 5 stars ( Sherry and Hunter. Crushed souls without each other, an unbreakable unit as a couple….

My emotional state after finishing this read- * insert major dreamy sigh *

I´m giving `Unveiling Ghosts` (Unveiling #3), by Jeannine Allison, 5 out of 5 stars.

To purchase `Unveiling Ghosts` ( Unveiling #3) click here and enjoy!

Instagram Book Box feature for`Unveiling Ghosts`

This ☆BOOK BOX FEATURE☆ is my new favorite.💙 'Unveiling Ghosts' (Unveiling #3) by the super lovely @jeannina517 . What a gorgeous cover to work with and a beautiful story to read. Review will follow shorty but in the meantime… take my word for it. You're gonna want this read. CAN BE READ AS A STANDALONE. Share the 📚💜 and enjoy your weekend😘 Also: a huge THANK YOU to the author for being so generous and gifting a signed copy 💜💜💜💜 . . . #books #bookworm #unveilingghosts #jeannineallison #readersofinstagram #paperback #series #standalone #secondchances #instaread #bloggersofinstagram #bookblog #bookphotography #bookpic #romance #📚 #addictedtoreading #bookjunkie #bibliophile #libraryofinstagram #bookstagram #igreads #booksbooksbooks #ihavelivedathousandlives #bookish #bookfeature

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Book Covers- What Happened?

Book Covers

Book covers / cover images are the first thing we see when we look for books. Whether it´s while we´re scrolling through an online shop or simply combing the bookshelves in a bookstore- It´s always the cover that grabs our attention before anything else does. 

Let´s get one thing out of the way before I begin:

Book covers / images are a matter of taste. Everyone has a different idea on what is great or what´s eye catching.

Personally, I like book covers that hardly give away anything from the story. I believe a cover image should grab someones attention, not give the story away. A book cover has to make me stop dead in my tracks. I mean- it’s the first thing a reader sees, right? And if a reader doesn’t like the cover, how fat are chances the reader will buy the book unless they´ve been forced by a friend/family member to read the book? ( The power of recommendations. “It has a hideous cover but awesome story!” )

All this means- I judge a book by it´s cover. I know I shouldn´t. No one should, yet we all do it.

I love to see covers with lots of color / color clashes, unique symbols or anything that stands out ( eye catching, remember? ) Contrasts are also brilliant.

 I’m Amazon’s Costumer Of The Year. Alot of my hard earned money goes for books. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this devastating condition. But if you asked me about book covers then I’d have to say that maybe half of the books I own have decent covers and half from that half have AWESOME images.In other words- I find alot of book covers / images boring and sometimes questionable. 

While reading books from the Romance, New Adult, Young Adult, Erotica and even Horror genre, I’ve come to learn that each genre has their preferred book covers or colors.

Young Adult usually has some teenagers holding hands in a meadow ( colors are usually light ), New Adult covers are a bit more mature ( colors are more bold ), mostly showing some skin or a headless figure… you get the picture, right? We don´t really need to mention Horror covers because many of those covers are just down right brilliant. Creepy but cool.

Also, one has to see the difference between traditional published and self-published book covers. It most cases, self-published book covers / images aren´t done well. But then again- alot of traditional published books have horrible, tacky covers. I can’t really speak for trad-published authors because most of them don’t have a say in the matter. The publisher calls the shots and authors have no power over what cover will be used for their story. That all depends on the publisher and how tight the contract is. Some published authors are lucky and get to chose a cover image themselves. Very few have covers that are able to knock me out of my socks.

There are 2 types of book covers that do not grab my attention at all.  

  1. shaded, oiled torsos with tribal tattoos
  2. covers that look like every other cover

I can’t begin to tell you how many books I have that have black covers with some tiny animal, a key, a keyhole, pearls, diamonds or has some shadowed body parts on it. It’s a nightmare that will not end. 

It´s a trend, I get it. Still… It´s annoying. And when I see certain covers I immediately say to myself ” Uugh. Not again.”.

20161128_010727

( Those are only a few taken from my private bookshelf from only God knows how many )

Many would argue with me on the fact that black book covers aren´t an issue. They´re practical because they look good on a bookshelf, etc.  It truly isn´t an issue. It´s just nothing spectacular.

Then there are those covers with half naked, totally muscular, tribal tattooed, well oiled and well tanned, headless guys. In short- eye candy in it’s tackiest form. I stopped counting those covers because they’re endless. I know I know…sex sells and all that stuff…..but can’t someone stop this nonsense? Tribal tattoos went out of style a while back. Plus, I like guys who have a head. Hands can be sexy, too. Also-  I’m also not a huge fan of character covers, which is when the cover has a face on it. That ruins alot for me and I will ignore the book, risking the chance to read a fantabulous story. Why? Because a character image ruins my own personal image I like to create myself of a character. 

Another thing that brings my blood to boil is when there’s too much going on on a book cover. 

I once saw a cover that was in full color and had an oiled naked, tattooed bod, except- the lucky headless guy had arms and hands ( yay!) and those hands were holding a suit which hung from a coathanger ( I have never in my life seen a suit hanging from a hanger on a book cover before…NEVER) in the background stood the Eiffel Tower. The title- Caged. Can you imagine how confused I was? After taking all the images in I knew what the story was about. But the real question was- Was I interested in the story although I knew there was some godly guy in it, who was probably going to wear a suit at some point, paying the Eiffel Tower a visit? No, I wasn´t. Not even the coathanger was able to convice me.

My point- There´s no need to overload a book cover with dozens of images. That´s only confusing. 

Copying. It´s not a secret that many self-published authors like to copy. Which is fine. I´m the last person to point a finger at anyone in particular. Whatever works best for an author, right? Right. No wait- that´s wrong. Copying is wrong and often doesn´t work out well for an author who wants to make money. What worked for author A doesn´t necessarily have to work for author B. Many writers seem to forget that. 

What happened to self-published authors wanting to be original, standing out and making their book cover better than others? Any, if not all, want to make a living ( eventually ) off of writing, right?

I understand that cover designers are costy. And, yes. I´m aware of how prices are sky high. But they´re worth it. If an author finds a good, professional designer, and both communicate then nothing can go wrong. No one in the history of writing said it would be easy, or cheap. Unless writers don´t value quality and focus their attention more on their story. Then I´d say ” Whatever floats their boat.”.

Still, many don´t or are financially unable to take that path and invest in a cover designer. And if an author doesn´t have a clue what they´re doing when creating their own cover I´m 100% positive it will affect sales. Because, let´s face it- If I notice bad quality / a copied image then other readers will too.  There could be a chance people will ignore a not so great cover and read the story OR they´ll skip the book because of the cover. Who knows. I´m not an expert. But I´ve been watching this business for the last 10 years and can say that covers mean alot. 

I´m not out to ruin self-published authors. I´m not even out to diss traditional publishing houses for their often lack of taste in cover images. Just remember this before the next book hits the market:

1. Sex doesn´t always sell. ( Keep them well oiled studs in the late 90´s where they belong.)

2. Less is ALWAYS more. ( Be tasteful. Be creative. Be original. )

It may not be up to me to decide what cover image is acceptable for a book cover or not. After all- Cover images are a matter of taste.  But since I spend the majority of my money on books I can skip a cover that´s not original or won´t grab my attention.

My wish for the future? For writers to be more creative when deciding on a cover image. Or, invest in a designer. Although, I have seen a small inprovement in the past year ( see Colleen Hoover´s cover image for `Too Late`, for example. What a color explosion! ) so my hopes haven´t died completely.

( NOTE: A cover image alone won´t influence sales. Titles and excerpts play an important role as well. The cover is just what we see first.)

 

 

Review- Roomies by Lindy Zart

Book Description

Graham Malone is my roommate, my personal eye candy, the reason I get up in the morning smiling (that could be from the illicit dreams I have about him too, I suppose. Let’s move on.). He’s also beautiful to look at, but his heart is where his true beauty lies. Take away the exterior and the interior still shines. 

I love him. I mean, I’m pretty sure I do, having never been in love before. Anyway, it seems legit. 

And now his brother Blake is here, and, well, he’s the complete opposite of Graham. Sarcastic, brooding, and totally available. But he’s leaving soon, and Graham’s the one I want. I shouldn’t have to remind myself of this, right? I wouldn’t have to if Blake would quit looking at me like I’m something yummy and he’s starving.

Here’s a toast to roomies; the ones you should never fall in love with. Or something.

My Thoughts

If there ever was a book character who could be my twin, it would definitely be Kennedy, the Heroine from `Roomies` written by Lindy Zart.

I swear on all that´s pink and fluffy…. that girl… her thoughts, her actions… It was as if the author spied on me my whole life. I was fascinated and terrified at the same time because I kept telling myself „ Yeah, that could have been me. I say that all the time. I would have done the exact same thing!“ and that´s when I realized the Heroine and I had more in common. Scary shit, I tell you.

Besides the above I totally enjoyed `Roomies`. It´s funny, it´s charming, it´s cute. You actually feel like you´re reliving the time you had a serious crush on your best friend ( That´s how it was for me, at least. Don´t know about you, though. Lol ). It´s a catchy romance with a touch of angst.

The writing style is genius. Simple with a nice flow and totally entertaining. It felt like the book was having a nice convo with me ( or my pathetic self and I * hangs head * ). I enjoy that kind of style because it´s not so demanding.

As for the romance- I felt it. I suffered, laughed and loved with Kennedy. She was such a lovable, quirky figure. Not at all your typical Mary Sue.

Graham and Blake- let´s say I was team Graham from the start. Graham was / is the perfect roomie. Good looks, polite, clean…. a guy any woman could easily fall in love with. Blake, on the other hand ( Graham´s brother ), was okay but he just didn´t have much of a purpose other than making Graham jealous. In my humble opinion, the story would have been just as good without him. But that´s just me being weird.

Anyways- There´s no real threat in `Roomies` other than Blake and Graham fighting over Kennedy in their own special ways. Blake fights dirty, Graham more carefully until shit gets real and he fights dirty too * clapping hands* So exciting!

The only complaint I have is that this was a super short read. It felt rushed. But other than that…I loved every bit of it.

A recommendable read for any romance lover with a quirky side.

The Cover – 5 stars ( Lovely! It´s colorful. It´s cute. It grabs my attention.)

The Story – 4 stars ( The story isn´t really original but still well told. Great writing. A tad too short )

The Characters – 4 stars ( I have so much love for the Heroine. Graham was another favorite because he´s the exact opposite from Kennedy. I could have done without Blake, though )

My emotional state after finishing this read– Utterly happy!

I´m giving `Roomies`, by the awesome Lindy Zart, 4 out of 5 stars

This book can be purchased on Amazon.com. Just click here and have fun reading.

`Roomies`has been featured on Morgana´s Book Box on Instagram

roomies

Review- Gilded Cage by Vic James

Book Description

Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. 

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? 

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. 

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

My Thoughts

It was through a dear friend of mine ( who also happens to be a writer ) when I first met author Vic James, writer of `Gilded Cage`. Our encounter was brief but Vic James left a positive impression and before she left for the evening she kindly handed out a promotional poster from her newest release. Mind you- I´ve never heard nor seen anything from Vic James before so the author and her work were completely new to me. All I was told was that I had to read her work. She´s a brilliant writer. Well, okay. If my friend says she´s brilliant then she probably is. ( I so hoped she was right.)

Even if I´m not huge on dystopian stories I really enjoyed this one.

In a nutshell, `Gilded Cage` is about inequality. A world devided into two parts- the aristocrats and the commoners. The aristocrats have magical powers and the commoners, who are just normal humans, have nothing magical but have to devote 10 years of their lives as slaves to the aristocrats. Those ten years were due anytime during a commoners lifespan. ( Totally interesting, right? I sure thought so.)

Outside a nutshell ´Gilded Cage´ is so much more. It´s exhilarating, gripping, powerful and magical. A total page turner. This is a read where you gladly do an over-nighter because you just HAVE to know how the story continues. ( Sleep is overrated anyways * wave off *)

A huge surprise for me was how I easily accepted the multiple POVs. I´m usually annoyed when a story has more than two POVs. Because, let´s face it- most multi-POVs in one story are unnecessary and / or just repetitive. That´s not the case in `Gilded Cage`. Each POV was mandatory and each contributed to the story. Just like it´s supposed to be.

I can´t really say if I have any complaints now because `Gilded Cage` is the first in a series and definitely the build-up story for what´s to come. By the feel of it- there´s going to be something huge happening in the next installment ( at least I hope there will be ).

Vic James is an icredible worldbuilder and storyteller. That alone is rare combination and I fully appreciate the authors talent because without her abilities… I would have died of boredom ( that´s not really true, I would have slept. Lol )

I fully recommend `Gilded Cage´ to anyone who loves themselves a great dystopian story with lots of everything any YA reader craves.

The Cover – 5 stars ( I am so in LOVE with the cover. It´s an eye catcher )

The Story – 4 stars ( I´m not a big fan of dystopian stories but this is definitely worth it. There´s romance, corruption, Good vs. Evil, suspense and a whole lot of nail bite worthy scenes.)

The Characters – 4 stars ( I see book #1 as a build-up and because of that I thought the characters were pretty good. Very interesting, very clever and strong. Definitely interested in getting to know them more. )

My emotional state after finishing this read – I´m anxious to continue the story. Roll on book #2… I´m not getting any younger!!

I´m giving `Gilded Cage` ( Dark Gifts #1 ), by Vic James, 4 out of 5 stars.

To purchase this book all you need to do is click here and begin to read.

Enjoy! xx

gilded-cage

 Also featured with Morgana´s Book Box on Instagramgilded-cage-2