Wordless Wednesday: Judging by the Cover

I’ve never understood the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Because that’s exactly what we do. Whether books or people, despite admonitions otherwise, we make decisions based on appearance. In my journey as both a commercially  published author, I’ve had covers I’ve loved and others I winced at proof copies (crossing my fingers for the reprint). Being an indie or self published writer, however, means from start to finish I have the creative control (and responsibility) of creating a compelling story with an enticing cover to match.

Jamie WinderThe Internet is a jungle and as an indie you have to go through trial and error when deciding which editors or designers you would like to work with. How do you find good people? Ask for referrals and also look at samples of their work. This is how I found Jamie Winder, my go-to designer for my top eBook titles.

Jamie  is a freelance graphic designer, occasional print-maker and co-author of the forthcoming book Where You Going? Design Adventures in Southeast Asia. Having worked commercially across both print and digital, he often undertakes self-initiated projects to learn new things and remain enthusiastic. These have led to font design, illustration, screen printing and, ultimately, to Southeast Asia.

He’s done two of my titles, From Dunes to Dior and my latest release The Dohmestics. they’re invariably the ones readers love the most. Let me know if you have your own questions for Jamie.

How would you describe your design philosophy? Form follows function.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

I’m currently exploring Southeast Asia with Bangkok as my base, so I’m not thinking about settling any one place for now. That said, I’m intrigued by Taipei, and am attracted to the quality of life and rich design scene in Melbourne… but I’ll probably end up back in London some day!


Did you have support at the beginning of your decision to be in the creative industry? FromDunesToDior

I always assumed I’d be in the creative industry, so really there was no decision. I took a foundation course in art & design after my A-levels to help determine which area I’d pursue—over a year you get to try out everything from fine art to fashion, new media to print making—and it was my fashion tutor that pointed out to me that all work I was creating in her class was actually graphic design.


What’s your creative process?

The best ideas seem to come when I’m not thinking about a project, so the process often starts first thing when I’m not fully awake, or in the shower… unexpected times and places. From there I’ll sketch things out with a pen (very roughly, my notebook is no work of art), try a few variations of the concept and then get my laptop out to put it all together.


Do you design on a laptop or in a studio?

My laptop is indispensable, it allows me to travel and stay on top of my workload wherever I am.


Do you have a day job?

No, but being a freelance designer is often a day job + night shift rolled into one!


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Inside the Writer's Studio with Susan Buchanan

Author Susan Buchanan

We’re back in the studio today with writer Susan Buchanan to get the scoop on her latest release.

The Dating Game is her second novel, and published on 2nd Nov 2012. Sign of the Times, her first novel, was published in March 2012. She will shortly start work on her third novel, due for release Spring 2013. She’s a busy woman and clearly someone to tell us more about the business of writing!

 Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Life isn’t always easy. Juggling work, friendships and a social life can be hard. Finding the right person can be difficult. There’s no one right way of doing so. Sometimes even with the best engineered plans, Life has something else in store for you.

 How much of the book is realistic?

All of the book is realistic, although only a few anecdotes are actually taken from any event I have experienced or any trait of anyone I know personally. There are no characters based on people I know. That said, one of the most cringeworthy events in the book actually happened. I wanted to write chick lit without the fluff, so contemporary fiction which reflected people’s everyday lives and the trials and tribulations that befall them, as well as the happy occasions. I like to think of it as chick lit with extra realism.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Editing it. I thought it would be easier than last time, as last time Sign of the Times started out at 300K words and was reduced after ten revisions to 120K. Don’t ask!

Anyway, The Dating Game started as 115K and is now around 110K. I learned a lot from last time. But I also learned a lot about proofing and editing my own work before it went out to the professionals, so that required a lot more revisions. As a writer, you constantly notice parts you would like to change, tiny proofing mistakes etc. It is neverending, but one day you have to decide ‘That’s me done with that,’ and move on. Otherwise you would go mad!

 Tell us your latest news.

The Dating Game launched on 2nd November and I will take a few weeks simply marketing it. The launch lasts a week from 2nd-9th Nov.  There is a whole series of events, raffles and competitons. You can win a copy of 1 of 55 ebooks and Amazon vouchers. It’s a huge event and took a lot of co-ordinating. Once the dust settles mid-November, I am going to start planning my third novel. All I can tell you about that at the moment is that it features a male protagonist, a few love interests along the way, several life lessons, plus several key decisions for my main character to make which will seriously impact on his life.

For more on this, best to follow the blog, as I willl post regular updates


 Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

First of all, thanks to those who have read Sign of the Times and shown an interest in my writing. I chose rather a bumper task for my first novel, in integrating the lives of 12 main characters, plus their entourages. The feedback I  have had from readers boosted me to dust off the three chapters I had written of The Dating Game three years ago. I then wrote the rest, buoyed by my readers’ enthusiasm and their wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful!) reviews.

I also took on board that they loved certain aspects of my writing and I incorporate that into The Dating Game, specifically the section in Barcelona. My third novel will also feature a foreign country, again, because readers told me they particularly enjoyed reading the Italian section of Sign of the Times. They could almost taste the food, see the splendid scenery and ogle the gorgeous men!  I love travelling and have been to many countries. My only difficulty was deciding which one to choose.

I have also enjoyed chatting with readers on Twitter and FB and many now leave me comments on my blog, too, which I love. I hope you enjoy The Dating Game and, all going well, I hope to have a third novel to share with you in the Spring.

Keep with all of Susan’s latest on Twitter or Facebook:
Twitter – @susan_buchanan




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Book Bloggers are an Indie's Best Friend

Celebrating Bloggers blog hop

With the birth of a new industry, it’s not uncommon to have other associated services pop up. When you’re making a car, for example, you’ll also need upholstery, wheels, and even consumer reviews to tell you which car is the best for your lifestyle.

The same is true of book publishing. Years ago, like in 2000, you waited for magazines to tell you what to read. Or maybe word of mouth from your book club, librarian, or other literary source. The introduction of the e-book poured kerosene on the self publishing industry. Commercial publishers began looking at download rates and purchase prices to see what authors were now risk worthy. As more and more writers began flooding the market, and more platforms like Smashwords became available, suddenly it was was difficult to pick your indie read as a paperback.

Enter the book blogger. Book bloggers are a self selected literati who read, review, and blog about books because they love them. They don’t get paid, are often juggling hectic work and personal schedules, and in many cases are berated by authors for not being available. They do it because they read something exciting and they want you to know about it. OR they had a terrible experience and they want to warn you so that you can get to your long list of to-reads.

As an independent author, I couldn’t have gotten the international coverage of my book without these faithful word warriors. They are as professional and polished as any reviewer you’ll find out there.

As part of Celebrating Bloggers week, I’m sharing some of the recent book bloggers who have come my way. Check out their blogs, follow them. You may find a book or two that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

What blogs do you follow? Leave some suggestions so we can all support these wonderful people who are writers in their own right.

Library Girl Reads

Mason Canyon

Zoe Harrington

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