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Monday, August 6, 2012

Bookmark These Books

My book, Mistress of the Stone isn't out until August 28th, but if you pre-order, you can get it for cheap! Only $3.85. I don't know how long Samhain will leave it at this price, but if you buy from Samhain regularly, you know this is a great price for a novel this length.

If you do buy it, I hope you'll leave a review somewhere. Thanks!

Pre-order here.

I've only seen one review so far, but it sounds like I did pretty good. Keeping my fingers crossed.

My friends have books too. Check out these new releases.

RESCUED LOVE, by Angelina Rain

Can the doctor, who made a life out of helping animals, heal a human?

One by one, household dogs disappear only to come back after senseless abuse. Veterinarian Jordan Powell will stop at nothing to ensure her patients' safety. Even if that means seeking help from ex-boyfriend, police officer Nate Thrillson, the man whose heart she once broke. 

(Novella) Buy it now at Breathless Press.

DEATH IS A BITCH, by Cate Masters

Eternity can suck when it’s all work, work, work. Death harvests souls even when they stack up faster than pancakes in an all-you-can-eat-buffet.

(Novella) From Decadent Press. Buy it here.


When Lyndsay hears the terrible news about her soldier boyfriend, Ben, she knows she must be strong; but just how strong, she is yet to discover…

DANCE ON FIRE,  by James Garcia Jr.
Nathaniel is a vampire. He wandered into town, bothering no one; feeding upon stray cats and other vermin, wanting nothing more than to have a place to rest his head. Vincent is a second vampire, and the one responsible for making Nathaniel. He has been searching for his long lost “son” for well over two centuries. Vincent’s goal is to take Nathaniel home or kill him. 

Buy it at Amazon now. 


This book isn't out until September 18, but you can still pre-order at WiDo Publishing.

Newly divorced Karoline London needs to heal and find her normal again, as older sister Suzie keeps reminding her. But what does Suzie know about divorce? She has the perfect husband and seven gorgeous children, while Karoline had six years married to a man tormented by addictions.

If I missed you, forgive me. I only jotted down whatever books came up on my radar last week. If you have something that released recently, let me know in the comments and don't forget to leave your "buy links".

Interesting observation about covers
It's no secret that none of us have dibs on cover art (unless we hire a photographer and model ourselves) so occasionally I will see the same cover model used on other books.

Recently, I spied two covers using the models I used for Chain of Souls and The Devil to Pay. I could tell by looking at the other covers that the artists didn't do anything more than slap the art on the page--which is kind of sad because it's an opportunity to make it unique.

For The Devil to Pay, I did a lot of photo retouching, including giving the model more hair (she had mousy hair) and giving her an ethereal glow.

For the Chain of Souls cover, the original model was bone-china white. In the story, this particular character's skin color was supposed to be caramel brown. So I gave her a tan and added the ruby chain (also integral to the story).

If you use stock art, consider modifying it when possible. That way it'll always carry a little bit of you.

Authors: Do you customize your art for your indie books?


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My niece does original art for mine. I've seen covers that I could tell came from the same stock. Congrats on your presales.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: Good photos are hard to find, but there's so much you can do to make them unique.

Angela Brown said...

There is one other person who blogs that has shown some of the effects she uses for cover art. Indie Drummond, I believe, is her name. She showed taking a plain Jane photo and turning it into a more alienesque look. Or adding all kinds of things that my graphically-designing-impaired self couldn't begin to think of. But I can say that reading your blogs on design and her blogs have given me a deeper appreciation for what is done. The respect was already there, thankfully, so I never thought of producing beautiful cover are as an easy and simplistic task.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Dean Wesley Smith has been talking about covers and on a previous post.

Cover design is like watching someone parachute. I know I never could, but I'm fascinated. So I read your posts with interest, Maria.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: I know India! She does really cute work.


Jenny: I saw those posts. He was spot-on with many of his points.

I especially like that an indie cover has to be just as good or better than a traditional cover. If you want to compete with the big boys, you have to pull out all the stops.

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hi, Maria. Thank you so much for including me in this post, That was very sweet of you. I also thank you for your blog visit today and appreciate your comments.
I'm late replying because I spent all day working on edits for that second book that you mentioned. :)
Thanks again.


Shelley Munro said...

I think that cover art is even more important these days since there is so much competition and some readers really do judge a book by its cover.

I see EC has used my cover models on another cover coming out in almost the same week. It will be interesting to see if people notice.

Angelina Rain said...

Thanks for the shout out on my book, and congrats on your own upcoming release. I bet it will be an instant bestseller!

I noticed that a lot of covers use the same pictures. I found this great stock image site with really cheap pictures but half of them have already graced the covers of epublished books.

I agree about playing around with the photo to make it look unique. I recently had to make a cover for a friend and her request was that I use a dark haired woman, dressed in black, wearing a black mask. I found the perfect picture, except the dress and mask were purple, so I played around with the layering until the woman herself had a much darker skin tone, and she wore all black. The author loved the cover, and that picture looked unique, even if there are other covers with this same model.

A big trend I noticed recently is that many self-publishing authors are now doing their own edits and covers to save themselves some money. And, often times they miss their own mistakes and their covers are crappy. Only a few authors, those who actually know what they are doing (like you) can get away with it. You know how to use photoshop and play with the pics to make them work. It seems that many authors don't. They just take the picture and add the title to it and call it a day.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

The care you show makes your covers look awesome, Maria. I am not an all an artist, so I'm in awe of those who are.

Completely off topic, I have a blogger who wants me to send her my cover art no larger than 72 dpi. Currently, it's 300 dpi. When I want to make it smaller on my blog, I just set the parameters to "smaller". How do I change the actual size before I give it to her?

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: Glad to do it. Hurry up with that sequel!

Shelley: I tend to notice. I kind of wish the artists' names were more available. It's a good way to know who does good work--and who doesn't.

Angelina: It's not as easy as people think which is why they probably attempt it themselves. The trick is knowing your limitations and asking for help.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: Bring your photo into a photo editing program. Gimp is freeware you can download off the net.

Or send it to me and I'll resize it for you. :)

Giacomo Giammatteo said...

I learned my lesson on the cover for my second book, coming out soon. I found someone else using the same stock photo. Not nearly as good, as we had modified it, but it was obviously the same pic. So I scratched it and did another. For my other series I've been taking all the pics myself and using them. I think that's what I'll try in the future for all covers.

Mike Keyton said...

You can't judge a book by its cover...but people do. Authors who who are not as conscientious with covers as they are with their prose are missing a trick.

Maria Zannini said...

Jim: Unless you take your own pictures, you're bound to run into the same stock art here and there. I don't mind it so much--as long as mine is better. Cheeky, I know. :)


Mike: We're such a visual society that it would be shooting yourself in the foot if you put out cheesy covers. It's hard enough now to get attention.

Cate Masters said...

Oo, love a good preorder sale. :)

Thanks so much for the mention for Death!

LD Masterson said...

Doing a cover is something I haven't had to deal with yet but when the time comes I know who to look to for tips.

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: You're welcome. :)


Linda: Yeah. People need to be nicer to me. I might be useful someday. LOL.

Melissa McClone said...

Thanks for the heads up on your book!

Maria Zannini said...

Melissa: I hope it does well. I really like that story.

Madeleine Maddocks said...

OMGosh Maria! What an impressive line up. Good luck to all those authors out there.
Thanks so much for the Ultimate Sacrifice shout out.

I love your post about book covers, Your The Devil To Pay has a great ethereal atmosphere

Maria Zannini said...

Madeleine: Thanks and you're welcome. :)

Nadja Notariani said...

Thanks for sharing these titles!

I happened upon a novel that used the same Jimmy Thomas image that I have for Her Dark Baron. The great thing is, the covers look entirely different! It was funny to see it, though. Ha.

Chain of Souls is my favorite cover of yours...I really liked the image. It was different.

I do use a cover designer. I have no knowledge of cover design - and I feel it best left in the hand of a professional in my I admire anyone who can create such beautiful designs.

Maria Zannini said...

Nadja: Thanks! I don't mind seeing the same cover model, but my artist side is constantly trying to analyze what they did to it if anything.