Today’s post is going to be a bit of a hodge-podge because several things caught my eye. So grab your morning cuppa, buckle up and prepare for a ride that will take you from upheavals in traditional publishing to cover art to the latest in my going-wide adventure. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Let’s start with the upheaval in publishing. Well, upheaval might be a bit of an oversell, but it is going to be controversial and something to keep an eye on. In June, Scholastic appointed Iole Lucchese to take over as chair for Dick Robinson after Robinson’s death. Lucchese is a long-term Scholastic employee. On paper, she looks more than capable to take over running the company, a company that has basically been controlled by the Robinson family for years.
And here’s the rub. It seems Lucchese is more than a long-term employee, one well-qualified for her new role. According to reports, she was also Robinson’s long-time lover. In a will executed by Robinson in 2018, he not only left her his Class-A shares in the company but also “control of his personal possessions”. In doing so, he cut out his ex-wife and other family members.
From the PW article, it is clear (if you read between the lines) that the family isn’t happy. It is very possible that we’ll see this end up in court before it is all said and done. That’s something Scholastic as a company and publishing as an industry really doesn’t need. The interruption of business as usual could have a ripple effect that can impact not only Scholastic but their employees, contractors and even down to the bookstore level. Keep your eyes on this as it plays out.
Next up, book covers. You’ve seen a number of posts here on MGC about the importance of covers. You’ve probably heard traditionally published authors faced with possibly going indie lamenting that they can’t afford to have good covers made for them. Once upon a time, that was a valid point. But that’s no necessarily the case any longer. Take, for example, these covers shown over on Publishers Weekly. These are indie/independent press publications. Some of the covers are eye-catching and some are not.
Here are PW’s top 5 from their best seller’s list:
These covers are attractive but not something you should expect to pay thousands of dollars for. The first two are atmospheric covers. It is the color scheme and the fonts that draw the eye as much, if not more, than the actual cover image. All of them can be made with a little time, a little talent–nothing great needed–and patience as you do the tweaks. Most of the time would be in finding images and backgrounds you want that will convey the “feel” of the book. So, yes, it is something you can do or someone you know who has experience with Photoshop or something similar.
For example, the following is a cover I whipped up in less than half an hour. It is very rough. It is also the combination of elements from three different sources. I used Affinity Photo to do so. Even in its rough stage, I’d put it up against a lot of the covers out there right now, traditionally published and indie. But I will clean it up and fix shadows, etc., before the book goes live.
And the blue line across the middle isn’t something I did–or didn’t do. It is in the image. And it is something I will edit some before the cover goes live.
But the point is that indies can afford to have good looking covers. All tolled, the above cover cost me less than $10. That’s only because I licensed one of the images.
Finally, the latest in my adventures in going wide.
It’s been a wild ride. I have all but four (?) novels wide now. Looking at the estimates from the main outlets, I sold approximately 13% more on BN, Kobo and Apple than I did on Amazon. That is more than enough to make up for the loss of KU reads. Now, that is one full month only and I am not going to call the experiment a success until I’ve seen at least six months of returns and see how new releases fare on these other outlets.
I’ve decided to put three of the remaining books–Hunted, Tracked, and Prey–out in a staggered release. Hunted will be first. I’ll follow that with Tracked in 10 days or so and then Prey. The only remaining book will be Wedding Bell Blues. As I noted in my blog Sunday, I’m not sure about taking that one wide. I’m afraid of what sort of crazy ideas Myrtle the Evil Muse might get if I open the book to start formatting it for a wide release and I don’t need another book I hadn’t planned on writing suddenly taking up residence in my brain. Hell’s bells, I hadn’t planned on the one with the cover above until I started finishing up Victory from Ashes and realized it was either going to be a book weighing in around 200k words or more or I needed another book to finish the current story arc.
Anyway, it’s time to find my third mug of coffee for the day–I’ve been up 2 1/2 hours how–and get to work. Until next week!