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Of Edits and Covers and other Minutiae

March 19, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , ,

Monica Stoner, Member at Large
I continue to be amazed to read “no one edits books anymore.” Mind you, I have read quite a few books that don’t seem to be edited at all. But it’s hard to say if the books were not edited or maybe they just were not edited well.  However that works, I do know some publishers do still edit submissions, and state so quite clearly in their websites.
I can only personally speak of my own publisher, Black Opal Books.  My books have received three edits: one for spelling and basic grammar, one for syntax and style, and a final review by the lead editor.  Each time the book comes back to me, I read it from beginning to end, considering the suggestions, made some of my own, and along the way found even more places where words could be replaced, eliminated, polished.  This after what I thought was an intensive rewrite.  There really is always room for improvement.
And how many times are we told: “The author has no control over the title, the cover, the blurb, or anything else to do with their book but the actual words?”  Lucky me, I have not experienced this situation.  The cover for My Killer My Love was collaboration between me and another Black Opal Books author.  I had the face I wanted to use (see image on the right) and I knew I wanted the face “haunting” an ancient forest.  

For my upcoming book, the edits made Teach Me To Forget more poignant than I had ever imagined it could be.  The blurb was a matter of a few messages between Lauri Wellington, editor extraordinaire, and me.  But I could NOT come up with any sort of cover.  Too many scenes crowded into my head: Bethany’s travesty of a wedding, her later success as a feature writer, her Irish setter, or Jonathan’s past life as a jet setter, his new life as a nature photographer.  Any of those would have been a decent cover, but none sang to me.  So I admitted defeat, and asked for help.  Within a day, I received this cover:
Okay, so Jonathan and Bethany never really got it on in the middle of the woods.  But for such a pretty cover, I think we can allow a little poetic license.
Teach Me To Forget will available in e-book format May, 2012 from Black Opal Books.  
Mona Karel’s blog talks about cooking and dieting and getting by.  
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Silly Me

January 19, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , ,
Okay, show of hands. How many of you thought once the book was through final edits and in the publisher’s fair hands, your job was done? You could rest on your laurels, take a few weeks off, visit with friends, then start the next NYT best seller.

Come on, be honest. At least in the beginning of your writing career? Yeah, me too. I understood the blood, sweat and tears expended in book production, but the rest of it–cover, production, advertising–that was the publisher’s job.

Pretty heavy duty fall when you found out otherwise, wasn’t it? I know I was thoroughly gob smacked (great expression, don’t you think) when I found out only a select few authors got the champagne and caviar treatment from their publishers. The rest were relegated to mid list unless or until they were noticed.

Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, along came the digital age of publishing. Seems like there were indie publishers everywhere, and it was a whole new world. Harder in a lot of ways but at the same time there was a very real feeling of being in control of your own destiny.


Along with sending in a spectacular book, you now have to plan and implement your sales campaign, and build your own buzz. So you set up a blog and/or website, you join writer’s groups if you weren’t already a member, and you push push push your book.

Double gulp.

You can also have serious input into your cover, your blurb, who does your reviews. Now that’s a bit more promising. Might even call it positive. Unless you go into brain freeze at the thought of writing a blurb, or your artistic abilities stop with a rousing game of Hangman. Even so, having read many times about the disappointment in poorly executed book covers (and having snickered at many of them when the author wasn’t looking) cover input is truly in the plus column for me.

Enough to off set the rest of the promotional requirements? Well, maybe not but it is a huge rush to get credit for the artwork on the cover as well as the writing inside. Or in the case of My Killer My Love, to share credit. I knew what I wanted the cover to look like, but I went into another brain freeze when it came time to put it together.

And (sigh) the same thing happened when I tried to put a trailer together. I took this great class, broke down the story into quick bits, started looking for images. Sadly, I am prone to the “ooooh shiny object” syndrome and can become easily sidetracked on any search, thereby losing many hours of what should be writing time. Once I found the images I wanted, yep you guessed it, chilled frontal lobes.

At this point it was time to move forward with this book since I signed a contract with Black Opal Books for the next story. So my Christmas present to myself was an inquiry to Lex Valentine, who put a trailer together for me with no muss, no fuss. I’ll be doing the same with Teach Me To Forget (if we keep that title). In the meantime I’m back to writing.

Really need to do something about the temperature of my gray matter and I don’t mean what’s on top of my head. Especially since that’s silver, as anyone with an artistic eye will tell you.
Oh, yeah, the book trailer: MY KILLER MY LOVE book trailer

Monica Stoner writes as Mona Karel.  Read more on her blog,  Discover the Enchantment in Romance  or buy her books from Black Opal Books.  

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