Tag Archives: book blogging

Cover Reveal: LEAP!

Wahooo!

Did you have a good Christmas and New Year? We at the Bloomfield household did!

In fact my year has started off rather well. Not only did my invoice for my last month of 2014 look *fantastic* considering I had a whole 2 weeks off, plus time off for Christmassy-related stuff, but I also just ordered a new cover this weekend and it’s ALREADY HERE.

Yes! That’s right! Those ugly MS-Paint place-holder covers are almost totally gone. I wish I’d never bothered with them in the first place but I couldn’t resist. I  was too excited to get the books up on Goodreads.

So once again I found myself shopping at Goonwrite.com, by far the best value for money I’ve ever come across for covers, and amazing quality too. I ordered my cover on Friday night – paid for two, in fact, because you get a discount and the dude is happy to keep a “credit” on file for you so that you can browse his new range of covers as and when they come in – and found it in my inbox this morning.

Is that amazing service or is that amazing? Hot-dawg.

I don’t know why I’m talking like that. I’m British. Must be all that sparkly customer servicey stuff I’ve been blathering on about. 😉

Without further waffling, here’s the sexy cover for LEAP!

Leap - High Resolution

Leap was such a tough one to find a cover for. I wanted it to have a retro-feel without being too camp, and most of all it needed to feel like a modern novel about the past, as opposed to a novel stuck in the past. Kat is definitely a modern 17 year old, despite its settings in 1997 and 1979, and the cover needed to reflect that.

There’s also the love-story elements and the concept of a girl being caught between two places; both in terms of time-period and in her personal life. She’s at a crossroads physically, emotionally, mentally – the whole shabang. Remember being 17? Yeah, that!

So it took a LOT of thinking outside the box to try and figure out how to pull all those elements together. It took me forever to actually stumble upon this cover, which I think is just perfect. It’s moody, it’s reflective, it’s contemporary, and it’s even complete with retro-looking clothes – almost fancy-dress style, which is perfect – and the model looks really rock ‘n’ roll. I particularly love her hair-do; it gives the impression of belonging to two styles and two eras, right? Get it?!

Another thing I loved about the model is she’s such an individual. Kat definitely prides herself on being a smart cookie who lives her life a little on the edge. She’s an A-grade student from a council flat in Peckham, who befriends a pair of punks from 1979 and sits in the loos with them smoking and drinking tins of Party Four. *Believe* me when I tell you how tough that was to personify visually.

You’re beginning to understand why I chose a stupid picture of a record player for the place-holder cover, right? Riiiight.

So there we have it. I hope you love the cover as much as I do, and here’s hoping it inspires more readers to click the ol’ “to read” button on Goodreads! That is, when I add it, of course. Gosh. I wasn’t born for administrative jobs, I can tell you that for nothing, duckies.

Ciao,

Ava

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My decision to self-publish

This is a hard blog post to write.

Years ago, when I was about 17, I decided that I was going to follow my original dream of becoming an author – or at least a part-time author while I pursued the ever-elusive “career”. There weren’t many “careers” for girls like me, who hate long office hours, databases, spreadsheets and, worst of all, people. I didn’t want to play bullshit-bingo all my life with someone who took their middle-management job far too seriously.

And it wasn’t until about March of this year that I discovered I didn’t have to. It took months to build up trust with the company and get my invoices up to graduate wages, but all that hard work was worth it. So the career thing looks like it won’t be so bad after all.

The writing was always going to be a problem. I desperately wanted to  be traditionally published. My first published story – and a few after – was some wannabe-horror tripe that was picked up by a small press who have since gone right out of business. Later, I wrote “romance” (eerr…actually begins with an E) under a pen-name and sold my first story for £50. A while later, I sold another to Harper Collins for £75.

By that point, though, I’d spent three years getting my degree (an arts degree, of course) which I achieved highly in, but I still hadn’t got that publishing deal.

“Why not ME?” I thought. “There are women my age selling books. What’s up with that?”

Unfortunately, it took a long time to realise that the recession had put a LOT of companies in the red. Or is it in the black? Red? Black? Oh, I don’t know. I told you I was crap with spreadsheety stuff. They were firmly up shit creek, anyway, so the good old days of Stephen King getting hundreds of dollars for short stories, and the days when publishers built-up writers over the course of years, finally pooffed out all together. Today, you have to be an instant best-seller, and if you’re not, you’ll never get another book deal unless you’re very, very lucky.

To discover this was devastating. It took a lot of wishful thinking and a ton of rejections to realise that none of this was my fault. My novels are fine. They aren’t crap. The quality of a concept or the writing itself matters less and less in today’s world, and unless you’re already famous, you need to have SOMETHING to pull out the hat to make yourself a desirable writer for publishers.

I don’t know what some of these people do; I really don’t. I don’t know what gets them the golden ticket. But I do know that their rights are restricted more than they were in the good old days, the advances small if not non-existent, and that feeling of a freshly printed novel in their hands wiped away by “ebook-first”. Sales, too, aren’t always guaranteed. Many massive publishing companies – appearing successful – have been bought out.

So even for those brilliant Charlie Buckets, the golden ticket wasn’t a promise. It was just a chance, and if you don’t make it, then your golden ticket won’t even get you a Snickers at the vending machine.

Self-publishing, for a long time, was considered vanity-press – the last attempts of the failures and the terrible writers and the arrogant sods who think everyone should understand their genius. Some people today still think that, because even when ebooks became big, it took  a long time for authors to see it as a viable option.

But then they did. We saw people like Jackie Collins deciding to self-publish. We saw people making  great, steady sales of their work. We saw people become millionaires. We saw people getting picked up by great publishing houses for good deals like the old days.

We’re still seeing that. Even weirder, people are reading self-published work. They aren’t just assuming that the stories must be terrible. Why? Because things have changed.

I used to think very, very negatively about self-publishing. I vowed never to let myself make that “last attempt of the failure”, and I was always terrified that one day, I would. Except I’m not terrified any more.

If the only benefit of getting a publishing deal, today – assuming you’re publishing Joe Bloggs’ debut – is a thorough editing, a pretty cover and…that’s it, then what do self-publishers have to lose?

“You lose first publishing rights. It becomes a re-print that no agent or publisher will touch,’ says the Literary Agent.

Well, they would say that. Self-publishers cut out the middle man. But the fact remains that self-published authors who make great sales are probably around the same ratio as traditionally-published people who make great sales. JUST  because you get a “book deal” doesn’t mean you’re going to sell well.

And as we’ve seen with both smaller presses and the big 5, that BIG BREAK won’t stop them from kicking you to the curb when their funds run out, or your book sells poorly. Some of those authors will get better deals; some will use the platform to further themselves. Many will go traditional AND self-publish. Most will just go back to being “un-published”.

Un-published, after all that?
Back in the day, authors always sold badly. They were unknown. It took time to build them up. Today, it appears, there is no time. It’s make or break, as they say.

So it’s taken a lot of thought, and a lot of observation, to realise that nothing is crystal clear any more, and as much as people insist that you must “choose your path”, there still is no straight path. It doesn’t exist. However much the “experts” protests, we, the writers, are in the driving seat. We are allowed to go exploring. Why wait at the bus stop for a bus that went out of service yonks ago?

Many, many traditionally published authors are weighing up their options today. Many of them like to do both the traditional thing and the self-publishing thing. Why shouldn’t they? It’s their work. Writers needn’t be so f-ing grateful all the time. We’re not slaves.

What’s interesting, too, is that the writing industry is the only creative industry where it’s still frowned upon to go it alone. How much sense does that make?! Do musicians wait for the big break with their guitars locked in their bedrooms, or do they get out there, do some gigs, hand out flyers, and publish their own tapes?

What about artists? Do they only give their art to family and friends, or do they get on Facebook and Deviantart, hand out flyers, and show the world their art? Do they hide away or do they start selling? In fact, I think artists accepted indie writers way before most writers did. Self-publishing is a platform for artists too. “Indie” is no longer a dirty word for writers.

How else would anybody see what you can do?

Writers have always had to let their novels die on their hard drives, because if the BIG DEAL doesn’t come, then they’re worse than pond scum. Well, I think we all know that things are different now. Self-publishing is a viable option.

I think it was Amanda Hocking that changed my mind. NOT her sales – I’m aware that was a phenomenon, and I think she is too. But she did say something about the guy from Blink182 – she posted a video of it – and how their band started out. His advice was to never wait for the magic hand to come down, pluck you out, and make it all happen for you.

You have to show people what you can do. A handful of agents glancing over your cover letter just won’t cut it.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve thought over it long and hard, and I am no longer going to do the self-pitying thing. I won’t do it. I won’t spend my life pining over the magic hand.

That doesn’t mean I don’t still like traditional publishing. That doesn’t mean I don’t want an agent. I’m still waiting for my turn. But that turn will never come unless I get my work out there. At the end of the day, I’d rather people were reading my work – even if only a couple ever pick up my books – than let them die on the hard drive.

The negative-thinking-pitfall is not one I’ll go tumbling into again. It’s unproductive and it only damages me. Do I deserve to be damaged? No.

Getting my work out there will at least showcase what I can do. Maybe it’ll get me that agent on day, or that traditional deal. I sincerely hope so. I’m just not pining any more. I am awarding myself some respect. If people can do start-up magazines and artists can showcase their art, and musicians can busk and sell their CDs and do their gigs, then writers can show off their books. Simple as.

I am an artist like any other, and I’m going to make my  little corner of the world shine.

So, folks – watch this space. I have one ebook just about ready to go, and the other three to follow. My plan is to get them all up at once, because multiple books, I believe – from my research – makes people take a second glance.

I’ll be documenting my journey here and explaining my various reasons for doing this, or that, or the other.

I’ll be doing it my way after all. Yippee!

Book Haul

Just a quick post today to show off my new book haul!

 

I was wandering around town in the sweltering heat, when I stumbled upon a shop selling books with some really great offers. I actually go there a lot and have bought some pretty great books from there, and quite cheaply, too.

Anyway, after perusing a little while. I spotted Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and was instantly enamoured with the cover art. It’s truly beautiful. Another reason this book struck me is because I avidly watch Lindsay Mead’s book reviews on Youtube, and she mentioned this quite some time ago in one of her book hauls.

I like Lindsay’ channel because she chooses genres that I wouldn’t usually go for, and she always has a great range of tastes. She also reviews self-published works, too, so I think that gives the audience a great all-rounder view of what’s out there. Go give her a follow! 🙂 I’ve also subscribed to a few other book-bloggy channels through her, as well. They’re based in the USA, so it’s cool to see what’s popular over there.

So once I decided to go ahead and pick up that book, I discovered that not only did they have the sequel, but they had the whole TRILOGY! I got ALL THREE BOOKS for £5!

I know! Am I jammy, or what?

So naturally I stuffed them all in my arms, admiring all the gorgeous matching covers, and bought them.

neversky

 

I started reading the first book last night in bed. It was pretty late and I’d been working hard all day doing my transcribing, so the fact that I managed to get through the first three chapters with droopy eyes is a miracle. I suppose it shows that the story was intriguing enough to keep me awake. 😉

So far, the writing is pretty choppy, but I like that. It’s action-packed.

The dystopian setting with all the different sectors and the artificial fruit, etc, reminds me a whole lot of Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, which is an astonishingly great novel, by the way, and probably my favourite dystopia ever. I’ve only just met Pereguine, too, but the character looks a lot like a tribe member in Oryx and Crake. They’re called “Crakers”, and they’re basically a test-tube grown species who are allowed to live in their own little Eden. They were created by a young genius called Crake and socialised by Oryx, who are lovers in the novel. It’s an amazing story told from the point of view of a guy called Snowman who, in the fallout after an apocalypse, basically recounts how jealousy destroyed the universe.

I know. Amazing. There are spliced creatures called “Pigoons” and “Rakunks” running wild, too, so you NEED to read that. If you love the Fallout games, like I do, then you’ll love reading Oryx and Crake.

So yeah, there’s many clues so far that hint to me that perhaps Veronica Rossi was quite heavily inspired by Margaret Atwood. I’ve no idea if she actually was.

That’s my book haul and my current reading. I’ve also managed to plug a Youtuber and one of my favourite novels to boot. Not bad for one blog post!

I’m hoping to soon give you an update about my current WIP, which I picked up after a long break. It currently sits at about 50k, and it’s coming along nicely. I prefer novels to be in the 70k/80k range, but I usually let them run and see where it takes me. As a rule, my novels have never gone much over 90k.

The working title is “Prom Spirit”, but I’m warming to the title being “Beyond” once it’s done. I think that’s a beautiful title, and fitting, too.

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I am hoping to build up a network of writers/bloggers to give me emotional/practical support during the writng process. I’ve been going this alone (barring my lovely, very helpful fiance!) for a long time, and seeing as I’ve decided to re-brand myself with a pen name, I think it’s only fitting I start reaching out a bit more.

So, if you’re a writer/blogger, please subscribe to me and I will subscribe right back.
Than we can be pals. 🙂