#IWSG: Thicker Skinned and Book Covers

My best friend and hubby.
My best friend and hubby.

First let me thank everyone who sent kind thoughts, healing prayers my way during my husband’s illness. He is home but not back to being a healthy and happy mate. I’ve had to learn about getting a thick skin and squaring off my shoulders while facing off with a side effect to the angioplasty, PTSD (Is it mere co-incidence that Forbidden’s main female character has PTSD?). My most shocking eye opener has been how the medical community is pathetically unprepared to address mental health issues – especially in the middle of the night. Nuff said.


The awesome co-hosts for the June 1 posting of the IWSG will be Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner! Take full advantage of a wealth of information and the experiences of these accomplished writers and visit their blog today.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve made some significant decisions.  I will self-publish. It still scares my socks off but it also feels right. The next decision was under which ‘distributor will I launch Forbidden. Recalling my attendance at the ROMCON in Denver, writers had told me about the great success they had with Smashword (thoush I’m still wondering about Createspace). I downloaded Smashword’s manual and it sounds good. If you’ve published via Smashwords or Createspace, I’d love to hear about  your experiences.

Two weeks ago I gave an ekiss to Forbidden and sent it off to my editor. During this period of both dreading and looking forward to the return of the manuscript (that red pen salute can be ego busting), I’ve kept busy with reassessing Forbidden’s cover. This is where you,  my lovely, talented, sharp-eyed, perfectionists come in. After studying articles about book covers, the two key elements that attract readers are simplicity and color. And, of course, it has to look good on a variety of devices.

Many of you who have followed Forbidden’s journey know the story. If you haven’t, I think your advice would be just as valuable – maybe even more valuable. Note the image below. If you saw that book cover on your kindle’s app with Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or wherever, would it (1) invite you to stop and take a closer look, (2) be tempted to read the synopsis, and (3) give an impression or hint about the genre of the story by just the book’s cover? Let me know what you would like to see changed or modified. Thanks for your most honest and kind advice.

1-Forbidden bc edited



26 thoughts on “#IWSG: Thicker Skinned and Book Covers

  1. If I saw the cover on Amazon, yes, I would be nosey and want to know what’s this all about. The book cover is inviting. As for publishing your book, I would also like to suggest Kobo. I met one of the international managers last year at the Women’s Fiction Writing Festival and was very much impressed with their format and corporation also.

    Hang in the with the PTSD with your hubby. The medical community is clueless regardless of where you’re living. My husband has been going through PTSD changes since 2000 and I feel like I’ve become an expert on how to treat this sickness by trying to help him deal with each day, a day at a time.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Yolanda. Yes, Createspace appears to be something I could work with. Maybe I’ll have to study the choices a bit more but I think the main thing is that I move forward once all the editing is finished. Thanks; Blessings


  2. I’m a newb at self publishing and am going the simple route – Amazon KU, digital only.
    The cover image is lovely – and I think gives a good feel for the atmosphere of the book. I’m torn on the diagonal title. I think it’s eye-catching, which is obviously a good thing. But I kind of feel like its placement detracts a little from the arched opening. But then it does go nicely with the angle of the light, so…okay, sorry, I’m no help at all.

    Will keep you and your husband in my prayers.


    1. Hi Nicki: I can see why many writers go with Amazon KU. For me, my gut twisted a bit at the rigid control of Amazon. I also want a number of print copies; yep, mega $$$, but, for me, it’s not real until I can hold it in my hands. Regarding the cover, a part of me is thinking a few drops of blood on the steps might give it a more gripping feel in the direction of being a crime novel. Or would that just be too pulppy (there, a new word today, LOL). Thanks from the bottom of my heart for the prayers.


  3. Createspace and Smashwords offer two totally different services: Createspace is for physical printing and Smashwords is for ebooks. You would actually do best to use both, though you will need to learn different tricks for each.

    The nice thing about Smashwords is that they will list your ebook everywhere, including Amazon, Kobo, B&N, iTunes, etc.

    And if your looking for just a few physical copies of your book, because Createspace is POD (print-on-demand) once your files are set up you can print individual author copies for just a few bucks a piece.

    Check them both out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I cannot speak from personal experience but I have read about, watch lots of webinars, and I know several authors that use Amazon, of course, Smashwords, Createspace and Kobo, Apple, Google… Those are the bigger ones.

    What I know is each has a “stronger reach”depending on what country you are in and device you use most, so get more views on multiple platforms to a larger buying audience”.

    Getting seen is the name of the game and then getting them to read is the next step. More countries multiple streams of income which aids to the long-term career.

    All the above hit English speaking and reading in different countries and then you go into translations and more multiple streams because the reach is growing larger on one book and so on and so on… One book has the potential for a larger reach with multiple streams of income from countries, translations, audibles etc. So every book you put out has “a potential” for multiple streams of income long-term for each book, so the more places you put the more opportunities you access.

    B & N-NOOK use to be a good but I think they are closing out their e-books but not sure.

    Kobo is big in several countries, not the USA, and I have heard is a good way to go when wanting your reach to span outside the USA starting out.

    Amazon has the largest reach for getting seen by your genre audience. I know a lot of people have negative feelings about it but it does not change the fact that we can still use this to our advantage and seize the opportunity that is there no matter the machine. It’s our career our income that is the determining factor if making this a career.

    Smashwords comes highly recommended from the authors I talk to and I know I buy from Smashwords as well as Amazon, not so much Kobo but in other countries that is a good choice to get seen.

    I have also heard Smashwords is the most user-friendly with the best guide for authors about formatting and uploading their books.

    Createspace I have been told is a great print on demand when you do not want to invest the capital until you grow a bigger audience for your book. It lets you offer print books on demand instead of stockpiling with a large investment before you get any return.

    I like your cover. It does not say romance all that much to me but it does say intrigue. I would assume it was a spiritual story or quest, maybe an adventure or religious thriller just by picture alone.

    I like the “feel” of it tho so that would catch my interest and make me stop to look at it and read premise to see what it was about.

    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Juneta. Great feedback on the cover and distribution choices. Yes, Amazon probably has the best record for exposure. What rankles me is that they don’t allow ebooks distributed by anyone else. Too much of a ‘big brother’ communistic attitude for my heart and soul. Smashwords and Createspace – get ready for Forbidden. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My advice boils down to explore your options, check the markets options and aim for the biggest audience reach that can get you seen.

        Everything I said, I prefaced with the fact it was not from experience, nor am I attempting to speak with authority just sharing what I am learning from reading, watching and other authors who have experienced it.

        Since I have said I have no experience it would most HELPFUL to learn what is wrong so we will not do it or at least have the option not to make the mistake.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Feather. Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog.
    I self-published last year, so I can help a bit. Who you publish with will determine which format you want. Createspace is great and I did my paperback through them. As for your e-book format, you can go with Smashwords, who then distributes to other e-book platforms. You can publish your e-book directly to Amazon too, because it’s the biggest e-book platform. Also, you can choose to publish exclusively to Amazon, or not. Just mentioning it:) Another alternative to Smashwords is Draft2Digital, which I use, or you can go with both options. Keep in mind that they get a small piece of your profits for distributing your book for you. If you are looking for an easy way to convert your book to various formats, you can check out Calibre. It’s free and does the conversions for you. I hope I helped.
    It is scary at first, but just stay calm (no matter what). Try and enjoy as much of the experience because it goes by quickly. I like your cover. I’m just not sure about the the title being on the diagonal, though. Wishing you the best of luck.


    1. Hmm, you’re the second person who said the title on the diagonal may not work. Thank you. I didn’t know about Calibre; great advice. So I can go with the Smashwords format and Amazon as well? Didn’t think of that angle. Now I’m wondering how much time I need to dedicate to the ‘after publish phase’ to keep track of all the sales (well, assuming sales will reach best sellers list, LOL). Seriously though, will I be spending a lot more time with my publisher’s hat than a writer’s?


  6. That cover really makes me curious to know more. My prayers are with you and your husband. I really, really want to know specifically about “justice” and this person’s faith in Allah and their love for a (forbidden) woman? That makes three things and I want to know how they connect. If I saw this cover I’d definitely need to see a blurb. I want to see one now, just cuz. 🙂 Seriously. Okay, wait, four things – is that a church or a mosque? Does it matter that I really want to know? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ahtdoucette: You’re a writer’s dream reader. Seeing how your curiosity is sizzling makes me feel that Forbidden will succeed. The most important hope is that you and everyone will be capitvated by the characters and plot. Thank you.


  7. Sorry you’re going through a hard time with your husband’s health issues. As for self-pubbing, I took the plunge last year. I would recommend doing both Amazon and Smashwords (just don’t do the Amazon exclusive or you aren’t allowed to publish elsewhere). For the cover, what you want is something that looks professional and not self-published. I would highly recommend getting a graphic designer. My cover designer charges less than $100 for ebook covers and they’re gorgeous: http://www.novakillustration.com/ Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

    Hi! I’ve been self-publishing for nearly five years now, and I enjoy the freedom and control it gives me.

    For the e-book version, I recommend publishing on Amazon, as that’s the biggest U.S. market. You don’t have to enroll in Select (the exclusive program), but doing so allows you to set your book to free or a bargain price and get paid for sales. You only have to opt in for 90 days at a time, so you could start in Select and then opt out when you’re ready for wide distribution. I recommend Draft2Digital (D2D) over Smashwords for distributing to B&N, Kobo, Apple, and other vendors. With D2D, the publishing process is much easier and more responsive (you can change a price and see it go live much sooner). Amazon and D2D (and Smashwords too) will generate sales reports automatically, so you can view them whenever you want. However, the best way to promote yourself is to write another book, so focus on writing, not checking sales every five minutes. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, more research, LOL. I’ll have to read upon Draft2Digital. Thanks for the advice, Sandra. My muse already has Forbidden #2 in the outline phase. I thought I could go back to having more free time. Guess not. Thanks for always being there to help, Sandra. Blessings


  9. jenlanebooks

    CreateSpace has been great for me, but I haven’t tried the other formats. I agree with others that I’m not sure about the diagonal title. I also wonder if the font fits the feel of the image. I do like the mini-blurb.

    Is your hubs healthy enough to see a therapist with a specialty in trauma? The therapist may be able to help by teaching grounding skills or using other trauma techniques.


    1. Yes, it looks like the diagonal title will bite the dust. The format I used I thought would give a hint of the Arabic setting. That can go, too. Perhaps I should find a font that’s has more oomph (It’s midnight here and my brain is off duty, LOL). Re hubs, Ralph was threatening suicide last week; he called our local hospital who said to come into emerg. He refused, fearing another trek down a dead end (no pun intended). However, when I called, they told us to come in right away and we’d be talking to a psych nurse. We spent over an hour talking to her; very nice person. Hubs sees her again in a week; in the meantime, she is consulting a doctor on the best avenue / doctor for him to see. Fingers crossed. For the time being, he practices breathing techniques and I work on diverting his attention to projects and happy times. Thanks for thinking of us, Jen. Blessings


    1. Hi Jen: It’s been a while, but I recall you read Forbidden with the purpose of writing a blurb for the cover – which I have misfiled. The story has changed a lot since then. And it is probably going to change a bit more after I get the ms back from the editor. If you’d like to read it again, let me know. Of course, I will send you a free copy when all the conversions are done; I’ll send you a print copy. Enjoy self-publishing? I just hope I won’t mess up in any way, LOL.


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