About Me

My photo

Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Get A Move On!

I added another romance to Kindle today. This is one that hasn't been published before, but I have copy edited in line with the principles I'm picking up from comparing my original texts to the published versions. Have you come across the saying 'murder your darlings'? I can't remember which writing guru said it, but it means that if you think you have been doing some particularly fine writing, you should cut it out. It is so true! I've been noticed how the editor will cut lines of stuff that goes: "he stood up and looked at her with sad grey eyes, and they turned, and feet crunching on the ground blah blah" and simply replace it with 'They returned to the car.' All my painstaking attempts at creating atmosphere are simply stripped and replaced with a summary. Including in one book about 5,000 words of description of a family enjoying Christmas, member by member, activity by activity. I can see the point - this is a romance. who wants to see Dad cutting the tree etc. Anyway, having applied a savage edit to this book, it is now 33K rather than 55K words and a whole lot better for it.  I've priced it as a novella and I hope readers enjoy it.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Lexical Sets and Copy Editing

So here's my cover solutions for now - I'm on with the next romance and for now I think it's more important to edit them and get them up on Kindle than it is to mess with covers - although I do think covers are important.
This week I've been thinking about lexical sets (a collection of words on the same subject) - when I teach I go on (and on, probably) about how there's ALWAYS a lexical set to be found in a poem or a piece of text. I encourage the students to find them and say what effect the lexical sets have on the piece they are analysing, how it affects mood and tone, how it builds a picture. So why then, has it taken me so long to appreciate the effect of lexical sets on a romantic novel? One of the things that copywriters do to my novels is change and possibly negative words to something with nicer connotations. I used to smile at bit at first. In one book a character I saw as comic pointed with a finger that 'had clearly been gardening.' This was changed to pointing with a 'beautifully manicured' finger. My couple found a dark corner in a restaurant. No, not nice enough. They were seated in a discreet corner. And so it goes, I honestly thought they were being over sensitive and fussy - until I wrote down each word. Over the course of about a quarter of a book: the words dark, oily, dirty, greasy, grubby, old and oily again were taken out. They look totally revolting piled up next to one another in a good old lexical set. Well for goodness sake! Who do I think I am, Salaman Rushdie? (Or any of those writers who like to pile on dirty filth in the name of realism - if you don't believe me, take a highlighter to one page and mark every negative word.) No way to I want to emulate that style, yet somehow I've been infected. I seem to think that in order to make a scene 'real' I have to use the kind of vocabulary favoured by 'real' writers. Well, no more. So far as I am concerned, a tree full of beautiful apple blossom is as real as a burnt-out car. No more negative descriptions for me! It's going to be cherry trees all the way.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover!

I give up, I really do. This is perhaps only one step better than a placeholder generated by Kindle, but it will have to do for now. The good thing about e-publishing is that you can change the covers at any time, so I think I'll get all my books online, then see if I can come up with a better cover solution.

What I'm busy with at the moment is copy editing. It's very interesting to compare the original text with copy edited versions - I know when I first got the books back, I was sometimes indignant at the changes made. The worst things publishers do to you is to find a nice picture they want to use, but which has a heroine with say, different coloured hair. They then go to your book and use search and replace to change red hair to blonde hair or black hair to red hair. This I hate. Because a search doesn't throw up expressions such as 'strawberry locks' or you have a heroine with black hair being taunted for being 'ginger' or a red-head deciding to put blonde streaks in, or a red-head looking fabulous in a scarlet dress. It really doesn't work. HOWEVER, I have to say that now 10 years has passed and I no longer remember what I wrote and why, in nearly every case I agree with the changes made by the copywriters.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Setting up in Business

This is too dark, and the photo is too small - grrr! However, I uploaded my first book to Kindle today. You can change the covers at any time, so if I work out how to make prettier ones, I'll change them. I also (hopefully) managed to link this blog to both Author Central at Kindle, and my website - this little post is by way of being a test to see if they pop up.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

How to make Simple Book Covers for Kindle

Nobody liked the flower covers so I am now looking for photos with people on. The heroine of this romance is an eco-warrior, and there is a scene that takes place in a tree house, so I thought it would fit the mood of the book.  I do not know why this photo distorted, but once I've found out how to fix that, the process of making a book cover for Kindle seems to be:
  1.  Find a royalty free photo that allows commercial use (this photo is from http://www.sxc.hu/)
  2. Then load a free online software editor and find the poster function (this one is made by Phixr)
  3. Change the poster colour to suit the mood, and hey presto - a cover!
PS: (Feb 2012) - I think you can see from the book covers that I'm currently using that it's possible to do much better!
1. I now only use photos from Morguefile because they are all free to use for commercial use - other sites have some restrictions and it's so disappointing when you find the perfect photo, do all that clicking, and then find you can't use it!
2. I have learnt to understand layers. All I do is have one layer with the photograph, another with the title, and a third with my name. You can do this in a free programme such as Gimp. I use Phototshop.

    Sunday, 15 May 2011

    Covers for Kindle

    Covers are hard! Is it better to have them all looking the same, like a brand? Or would it be better to design an individual cover for each book? Bearing in mind that I am so not a design person (as if you need telling!). Isn't it amazing how many things, which are nothing to do with writing, a writer needs to do!

    Sunday, 8 May 2011

    Kindle is Calling

    Somebody contacted me and asked if it was possible to buy my books for her Kindle. I had to say, 'No,' because it isn't. But it made me wonder why I'd never put them up there? I know Kindle is growing in popularity. Virgin publishing have put 2 of my Black Lace books on Kindle, and people are even buying them, so why not all my old romances? And even more fun, the romances I wrote but the editors turned down. I'd love to see if they were right after all. Wouldn't it be great if readers liked all my books? I have to work on my IT skills, and find the right cover maker.