Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Something Different - Post by Stephanie Abbott - aka S.A. Reid

Confessions of a Self-Published Author
By Stephanie Abbott

It’s true.  I couldn’t get published the traditional way.  I am one of those authors who wanted to write novels from an early age – eight or nine.  In my teens, I wrote well enough that I was routinely accused of plagiarism by English teachers.  (And was thrilled and flattered each time!)  But what I wrote in my late teens and twenties wasn’t ready for prime time.  I could string together words fairly well.  But I hadn’t figured out who I was or what I wanted to say.  By the time I did – my mid-thirties – the publishing world was beginning to change.  I landed an agent.  Two manuscripts received consideration by major publishers: the famous “Big Six.”  But both were turned down.  My agent said it’s just the way of things now – new voices are seen as too much of a risk.  I don’t know.  All I know is, the book the Big Six turned down in just two weeks – a cozy mystery called Ice Blue, written under the pseudonym Emma Jameson – has sold wonderfully for me as a self-pubbed book.  So I’m glad I gave up my original dream and took a detour.

I hate typos and formatting issues even more than my readers.  There is a rumor going around about self-pubbed, independent authors – that we don’t care if our book looks like garbage on your Kindle, Nook, etc.  That we figure you, the reader, should just suck it up because our ebooks are less expensive than those from the Big Six.  In my case, it’s not true.  I have a copyeditor.  I have a formatter.  In my latest book Protection, sharp-eyed readers recently located five typos despite the copyeditor and formatter.  So I spent a weekend downloading new software and learning to use it so I could fix those typos and put out a “clean” edition as fast as possible.  I respect my readers and whether my book costs $0.00 or $100.00, I want the result to look professional for one simple reason.  So you’ll never be torn out of my story by recognition of a small error.

Cover anxiety can be crippling.  When I was waiting to hear which big publisher would sign me (go ahead and laugh, I can) I was a little worried what that publisher’s Art Dept. would do to my beloved book.  Each one is like a child.  Suppose the cover models are ugly?  Suppose the cover is so bland and typical it’s indistinguishable from everything around it?  Authors have complained for years about the covers forced upon them.  But as a self-pubbed author, guess what?  I get to commission the artist.  I get to decide.  And the responsibility is overwhelming.  For my cozy mystery, I let the artist dictate.  For my second bookSomething Different, I wanted a different cover than the usual m/m romance.  Instead of two guys, one shirtless, the other looking handsome but pensive – “Will I allow myself to love?” – I picked a scene like the place, Brixton Park, where Michael and James meet.

So now I want to fearlessly open myself up to a cover critique.  Please comment and tell me if Something Different needs a new cover, or if I should keep the one I have!  All comments are welcome.  I can take it. 
About the author - Stephanie Abbott is the face behind the popular pseudonym, S.A. Reid. Well-known for her “real and likeable characters”, she also writes  paranormal fiction (a new series titled Past Lives is currently being penned), fantasy, and sci-fi. Additionally, she also pens cozy mysteries as Emma Jameson.

Leave a comment, and I'll enter you in the contest to win a PDF copy of Something Different (current cover, of course).  But you have to leave a comment to be entered.  Contest ends 1/22/2012


  1. A friend of mine is actually reading this right now!

    I always say the cover can make or break a sale. I know we're not suppose to judge a book by it's cover....but you know what? We all do. Let's be honest here. And until we read a little bit about the book our thoughts won't change. I'm a firm believer in the book cover matching the story, a lot of my reader friends are. We also want the covers to the book series to match as well. I hate when I read about a woman with red hair and blue eyes and the cover of the book is a brunette woman with green eyes. Please use who or what you're talking about for the cover!

    Since I have not read this book (I don't read m/m books), I went and read some reviews so I could give my opinion. Because that's what you're asking for, right? One review said there was a park scene so that would make sense for the cover. Honestly, I find the cover a little boring. I wouldn't think twice while looking at this book, unless a friend is reading it. I think the leaves could have been a bit more vibrant instead of looking dull and I would have liked to see more of an outline for the street lamp. Also, maybe not so much black around the outline too. The cover has a very dark feel to it.

    I hope I wasn't too critical and could help! :)

  2. Taryn, thanks for your comment. I forwarded it on to Stephanie in case she doesn't pop back at my site to see it. Very helpful.


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