Friday, June 21, 2013

Cover Reveal: Norton Road

Self-publishing a book is a lot of work. Writing is the easy part, and by easy I mean spending virtually every free minute at the keyboard, or running through scenes in your head. Easy, perhaps, because it's the enjoyable part. Bringing your characters to life -- watching them grow, learning their quirks, discovering their strengths and weaknesses -- is the part of the process that quenches that inner thirst to accomplish something.

For me, coming up with a title is always hard. This time around I actually thought I might fail. I even joked at the idea of calling it "Untitled". Every time I tried to come up with something I drew a blank. I literally spent an untold number of hours struggling to name this second novel.

Norton Road. That's what I came up with. It hit me out of the blue one morning as I woke up. That's how most of my good ideas find me.

Envisioning a cover is hard for me. I loaded my son in the truck one afternoon and drove around looking at landscapes, taking pictures of roads and fields, and, yes, a tree with honeysuckle vines hanging from it.

"Why did you take a picture of that tree," my son asked as I slid back behind the wheel.
"I'm not sure, son."

When we got home I sorted through the pictures and threw on the title and my name. I NEVER had any intention of doing the cover myself, mind you, but I needed some kind of concept in my head so I could tell the graphic artist what I wanted.

I never sent that makeshift cover, or the photo, to Damon. After looking through cover samples on his website, I filled out the online questionnaire, paid my deposit, and waited for the two concept covers he promised to deliver within 10 to 12 days. I had butterflies when I checked my inbox (I think it was 9 days later) and saw an email from Damon with two attachments. Suppose I hated them? Despite his money-back guarantee, I wondered how he could come up with a cover to capture my novel based on the brief description I sent (I'm terrible at synopsis and blurbs).

The first cover sample was about as far from what I wanted as I could have imagined. My heart sank. The second sample, however, jumped off the screen and grabbed me. Over the next few days he patiently made the changes I requested until he came up with the cover you see above.

I'm thrilled. Over the next few days I will put the finishing touches on the e-book and paperback files (front matter, checking formats, etc.,) and submit them to the proper places. I can't wait to hold the paperback in my hands. I hope I learned enough the first time around to get the paperback version right with a single proof order.

I know the normal way of releasing a book involves schedules, hype, blog tours, and other things I'm very bad at, so I'll probably release it the way I wrote it -- by the seat of my pants.

Feel free to help me spread the word.

UPDATE: Now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

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