Having a Good Team

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Just as a sport’s team needs to have good team work to win games so does the writer.

With the finish of my sweet-Christian romance, Courtships and Carriages, I reflected on how much a good product stems from those behind the scenes. In other words, an author needs a good team. These include an eye-appealing cover, good editors and having a story which takes people on a journey that entices readers to read more and want more.

An eye-appealing cover is important, such as the one for my newest release, Courtships and Carriages. This beautiful cover is above.

However, getting a good design which matches your novel is not easy. It takes the right photograph as well as relaying the right story concept. Mine says sweetness and romance, all fitting the story. But other genres require different qualities, such as a horror book depicting dark or black designs to denote evil lurking in the corridors.

At a glance, readers need to know what lies behind the cover. Currently, I am reading, Doctored Evidence. What is on the cover? A picture of a doctor’s stool and the type of bed you would find in his office or in an emergency room. As indy publishers or with certain traditional publishers, you can have some input on your cover. But a traditional-published book without an author’s input, places that author’s story at the whims of their graphic designer. This could lead to disastrous results like a cover depicting a man wearing pajamas, but no scene contains anything of that sort.

A good cover also needs to focus on not more than three concepts. My Courtships and Carriages has three — the girl, the basket and the yellow-wheeled carriage. Each of these are important to the storyline.

If you are a self-published author, you need to make sure you hire a professional to do your design work or are proficient in developing a cover. I met an author a couple of years ago who used his mother’s painting of their Alaskan cabin for the cover. It was awful. After talking to the man, I heard intriguing stories about his family’s experience in Alaska, such as a bear peeking into their window when a certain television show was on air. I bought his book after talking to him, but if I only had seen his cover I would have dismissed it.

Another must is to line yourself up with good editors. I cannot tell you the importance of having an excellent team in this regard. I have readers who look over my manuscript from a reader’s perspective. One reader is especially knowledgable about farm animals since she grew up on a farm. She also is a great resource for lanterns and cooking without electricity because she experienced these.

However, I also have wonderful editors. They are great in finding grammar and spelling errors, historical inaccuracies, making the story flow smoothly and providing suggestions to improve the overall work. I am so grateful and I cannot thank them enough. Without this team, my work could end up in a wastebasket.

Of course, a key is to have a story which makes readers turn pages. I cannot tell you how heartsick I was last year to learn that my story needed major changes. It would not work as a book in a series as I planned so I made changes and started a new series with Courtships and Carriages. Her input was extremely valuable. It improved the work and although I hated to hear this terrible news it also was what I needed to hear. The story is better and it freed me from having to stay under the guidelines of a villainous character which I was trying to turn into good. Now the story flows and the characters shine. Thanks so much to this special person.

So line up a great team. One which also works for you and remember this sometimes takes time to find, but you will and as always I will end with a God bless.

12 Comments

  1. Excellent advice. ❤ ❤

    1. Glad it was helpful. God bless.

  2. I had cover issues with some of my conventionally-published books. They were beautiful, but didn’t always have anything to do with the book. Case in point: The Unicorn’s Daughter. When Berkley published it, they changed the title to A Time for Legends (I still don’t know what that means) and put two hands, a man’s and a woman’s, on the cover. It was very glamorous…but the book was about a photojournalist searching for her spy father in Libya at the time of the 1986 U.S. air strike.

    When I regained the rights and self-published it, I went back to the original title and my son designed a cover featuring a woman in a burka (with green eyes). I’ve lost track of how many people have told me they would have bought it sooner, had they known what it was about.

    1. This is the problem when authors do not have input on their covers. Graphic designers from traditional publishers can make beautiful designs, but what good does it if their designs do not reach your target audience? Glad you republished it and your book is doing well, now. God bless.

  3. I know what you mean. I had good friends who helped me with editing my first two novels, and they both turned out much better thanks to their help. And I know someone who’s offered to do the cover of my next book (whenever that is), so I’m glad I have her as a friend. And as for a good story…I think that a story’s concept can be good, but it takes a lot of work to translate it into a full story and make it enjoyable. That’s why we work so hard, so we can become better at creating truly incredible and enjoyable stories. Thanks for the post.

    1. You are so right, Rami. We can have all kinds of good stories in our heads. But unless the stories are executed well, it does not equal a good story whirling in our heads. God bless.

  4. This is very true, Janet. We can’t do it all ourselves. Writers need to realize that and find good resources for all the things that need to be done for a book.

    1. That is the important thing – to surround ourselves with great resources. A good book often needs more than a great story to make it successful. It needs good editors and graphic designers. God bless.

    1. Thank you, William. I appreciate that. God bless.

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