If you’ve ever taken a writing course of any kind, you’ve probably heard that phrase.
If you haven’t, the meaning is pretty simple: don’t come out and tell your readers everything they need to know. Instead, show them examples and specific situations that support what you’re trying to say. Doing so often solidifies your points a little better than straight telling.
Read the advice Kristen Lamb has on writing a better story. Thank you very much for all your efforts, Kristen!
Last time, I brought up a subject I never believed would warrant discussing—cockygate. I wish this was the first time a writer did something epically misguided to gain advantage. Some drama to sell their ‘story.’ But, I’ve been around too long. Seen too much.
Yes, I was there for the BIG BANG (dot.com implosion). I also witnessed Web 2.0 shoot out of the dying Web 1.0’s ribcage then skitter up into the vents.
Where did it GO? What is it up to? What does it WANT?
As early as 2004, I projected the digital tsunami that was going to obliterate the world as we knew it.
Why is ‘Age of Aquarius’ suddenly stuck in my head?
Anyway, it began with Napster and Tower Records, then Kodak, blah blah and starting in 2006 I began blogging and predicting the next industry to fall…and the next…and even how and roughly when it would happen. All along I insisted publishing and writers needed to be prepared because we were also in its path.
Over the course my first years as a ‘social media/branding expert’ (an occupation widely regarded as a made-up job like ‘unicorn groomer’) I noted a trend.
Pretty much every year, new and evolved ‘bright idea fairies’ (BIFs) hatched with frightening regularity. This trend continues because shortcuts are tempting. Um…cockygate.
Traditionally Published Authors Want What Indies Have
When self-published authors like Amanda Hocking became book industry names, it was for reaching incredible sales figures on the fairly new Kindle e-reading platform. After reaching newsworthy levels of success, Hocking and others like her attracted the attention of literary agents and publishers looking to reach consumers. Experts would often question why an author who was already on the bestseller list would possibly be convinced to give a sizeable portion of their royalties; the answer was almost always the same: “I’m tired of being a businessman, I want to go back to being a writer.”
Essentially, self-published authors who “took the deal,” as people claimed, were looking for support that they either had to pay for out of pocket or do themselves. Marketing was a major reason for this, along with publishing services like cover design and editing. The work of being that…
… and still, we all do it, right? I’m not the exception to the rule either. Often I catch myself judging a person I don’t know because I don’t like her jacket. But I don’t know what happened to her that her jacket looks as ragged as it does.
But let’s stay within the literary world. Like so many other writers and readers, I love spending time in bookstores. I browse through the shelves and aisles, and occasionally I pick one, turn it around and start reading the blurb on the back.
My eyes fly over the shelves, and once in a while, they are caught by a particularly attractive and intriguing book cover. If I don’t like the cover, I don’t even bother reading a blurb, means I might miss a few good books, just because my eye isn’t attracted to the books’ cover.
Over the years I saw a few very interesting and eye-catching covers, and by a couple, I was quite fascinated.
Now, these five here, are only a few that impressed me and my eye in particular. To some of you, they might be weird, sad or even boring. This blog post and these covers are my taste.
I love how the designer mixes color and the trace of antique and ancient. It’s not often we discover a new book with an ‘old’ cover.
Cover designer: Peter Mendelsund
I love the colorful simplicity of the book cover. It seems to be one simple compass needle, but I was drawn in when I saw this cover.
Bob Giusti (illustration)
Amy Hill (lettering)
This I call a perfect symbiosis between illustration and lettering. It can’t get any simpler than this, any darker, any more impressive – and any scarier.
Designer: Na Kim
I cannot even tell whether this book cover is ‘intriguing’ or repelling… but it definitely is fascinating. And in combination with this book title it has a lot to say.
Cover designer: Anne Jordan
The cover caught my eye immediately. Why would a reader and writer like me not be intrigued by a turning page? I briefly looked at the book and found that I had to add it to my growing pile of books I need to read.
Are there covers you like? And I know, I got a lot to learn and many people to meet, cover designers amongst them. Who do you know, being a cover designer or illustrator and designed the perfect cover for your book?