Buy Cough Syrup And Your Favorite P.O.D. Book At The Same Time

September 20, 2012

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath


Good Morning Muse Trackers!


I have just run across an amazing bit of news. I sincerely hope it isn’t the case of the whole world already knows this and I’m getting clued in at the last minute, but here goes. In the not so very distant future, you may be able to print your e-books at CVS and other convenient locations. I think this has the potential to change the whole game. At the very least, it will bring in a whole segment of the population that simply won’t convert to e- formats. (I’m very excited by this, can you tell?)


A company, On Demand Books, has created a machine that will be able to print self published books and also the more than seven million backlist and public domain titles in its catalog. The Espresso Book Machine (I love what they call it.) will be able to print a book out in minutes and it can contain pictures as well. I see all sorts of possibilities for the future. Will it be much longer before we can include short films? My books take place in exotic locales, what about a photo journey?

Here’s an example of an Espresso machine in Alexandria, Egypt!


On Demand has partnered with Kodak to add print-on-demand technology to Kodak Picture Kiosks which are not only located throughout the United States, but are found all over the world! They have also formed a partnership with ReaderLink, which distributes books to grocery stores, drugstores, mass market and club stores as well, to make even more titles available through Kodak Picture Kiosks. As it stands, there are 105,000 kiosks globally. Book releases will begin this year in the U.S. and will expand on the international front in 2013. While the Espresso Book Machines are already in about 70 bookstores and libraries globally, Kodak will be able to expand their footprint immensely.

Think of the possibilities!

“We envision an integrated solution that can substantially redefine the publishing industry and bring exciting new solutions to customers,” said On Demand CEO Dane Neller in the release.

I also found on the Espresso Machine’s web site that they are excited to help authors connect their works with others. The books will have full color covers and black and white interiors making it indistinguishable from books produced by traditional publishers. If an author chooses to use this system, they retain all rights and the author also has the responsibility of setting their own price point. They have many different programs to assist writers such as EspressNet and The Shelves program which are detailed on their site  EBM will also go beyond simple printing as they offer full publishing packages including editorial, design, layout etc.- whatever you might need.

Book Cover Basics

May 11, 2011

Song of the Day: The Best by Tina Turner

How important is a book cover? The short answer – very.

Whether traditionally published or digital, the cover is the first thing a potential reader sees. The cover is the precursor to the story. The images should convey the overall essence of the book, genre, and emotion. If the author has an opportunity to offer input or create their own cover, there are a few things to consider.

Gracing the cover can be a hero, heroine, an object, scenery, action, or any combination of these.

Photo by Ken Centauri

Character body language and facial expressions on the cover are tell-tale signs marking the book’s theme. Individuals may be in defensive positions, embracing, smiling seductively, fleeing, brooding, scared, etc. Are the individuals holding an object? A weapon, rose, horse reins, lipstick, key, can of Pringles. These things clue the reader in on the type of story they are about to discover.  What are the characters wearing? Leather corset, army fatigues, gothic eye makeup, cowboy boots, school uniform, birthday suit, leg warmers, you get the idea.

What about  backgrounds? Many times a background is not necessary. An object, facial demeanor, or clever title may be all that is needed.  But if there is a background, what does it show? A jungle, cockpit, English garden, mausoleum, or wildebeest, distant focal points can be simple or complex. Keep in mind these images should say something about the book. You would probably mislead a reader if your cover’s background consisted of a NASCAR race track but the story featured zombie-hunting astronauts.

The font should compliment the book, too. Block letters of various shapes and styles can be applied to almost any genre fiction. Cursive might denote whimsy, elegance, historical, or all things girlie.  Sharp or dripping lettering might suggest dark plots or the paranormal. There are thousands of fonts to choose from to fit any theme.

Color is important, not just in the font, but in the picture as a whole. Just as black and white can mean good vs. evil, light and dark can be manipulated to match the core of the story. Red signifies death or blood. Blue represents suspense and chills. Orange suggests action and purple, passion. Softer hues might mean fun, inspiring, or sweet story overtones, whereas, darker hues indicate grit, thrills, or steamy plots. Of course, these are simply my interpretations. How the colors are used with images and fonts determines the mood.

Details speak volumes. It’s all subliminal. With a cover like this, you know you want to buy me.

Let’s be honest. How many of you picked out a book because the cover caught your attention? It’s a step toward selling your book.

I was aware of all this when I began to envision the cover for my own debut book. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted. Turning to e-publishing gave me the opportunity to create my dream cover. I spent countless hours searching for the perfect images. Thank you Jimmy Thomas (whistling to His Hotness).  Through the magic fingers and know-how of a special young lady, she put my images together exactly how I had asked, making me one happy writer.

I showed my brand spanking new cover to a few friends like a proud peacock. Amid the oohs and ahhs, there were a few “suggestions”. Suddenly, my tail feathers drooped. My dream cover had flaws.

The font might not be the best choice. (hmm…) The font color makes the title difficult to see in a thumbnail. (grumble, grumble) The title is misleading. Could you change that, too? (mouth falls agape)

Soul searching, I did a lot of soul searching on that last one. But I needed to hear these honest opinions. They are, after all, helpful in the grand scheme of things. I must love my cover, but I also must be reasonable and practical. And so, my cover is undergoing a nip and tuck. Once I have the finalized version, I’ll share it here on MuseTracks.

Ultimately, it comes down to marketing. The cover, every facet of it, must intrigue potential readers to want to learn more. It is a window meant to entice peering through. It is a piece of art that sparks the imagination.

Tell me about your covers. What do you like and dislike?  Let me hear from you.