Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guest Post by Author Boyd Lemon




Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages
By Boyd Lemon

Twelve years after my third divorce I began writing a memoir about my marriages.  Digging Deep: A writer Uncovers His Marriages has just been released by the publisher, Outskirts Press.*  My journey in writing the memoir was excruciatingly painful, but in the end healed me and brought me the peace that I had never achieved by simply “moving on” after each divorce.  I believe the book can help others to deal with issues in their own relationships.

The impetus for writing the memoir came from a suggestion by the then 26 year old woman whom I call Kate in the memoir.  After 40 plus years practicing law in California, I had moved to Boston to live platonically with Kate, a singer-songwriter attending a music college in Boston.  Guided by her critiques and encouragement I had written a dozen short stories before I left California and continued writing short fiction and a few essays in Boston.

I wanted to write, and I knew I needed a change from life in California where my four children and grandchildren lived.  Boston is a writing city, and I had always enjoyed it when I had visited.  Kate could continue helping me with my writing.  She is a talented writer and teacher, despite her youth.

I didn’t go to Boston intending to write a memoir.  I was itching to write a book, and, of course, a novel came to mind.  When I mentioned that to Kate, she suggested I write a memoir about my three marriages.  “There’s gold there,” she said.  Encouraged by Kate, I started drafting the memoir, not having any idea how it would make me feel.  I finished the first draft six months later.  It was painful reliving the incidents of conflict in my marriages and how it affected my four children, but I had no idea how painful what was to come would be. 

When Kate read the draft, she said it didn’t work, that I could do better.  She advised me to throw it away and start over.  I needed to understand and write about my role in the destruction of my marriages, she said.  I realized she was right.  With her help, the help of another mentor, the great writing teacher and writer, Natalie Goldberg, and dogged persistence, I began digging and meditating and agonizing and thinking and digging some more, and what I came up with as I wrote shocks me even now.  What I had buried was astounding.  The process was excruciating, but in the end healed me.  I learned that writing can do that.

I submitted it to three different editors, in addition to Kate, and a proofreader and revised it numerous times.  Rather than wait the months, sometimes years, that it takes an unknown author to find an agent and then a publisher, I sent it to an author services, print-on-demand publisher, Outskirts Press.  They were a pleasure to work with and put up with my numerous changes and edits before I finally approved the final proofs.  

At the urging of several artists, I used a drawing that I had done of myself for the cover.  That was a thrill to see in itself.  I am hopeful that people will be attracted by it, buy the book and benefit by it.  Relationships these days are terribly difficult, and I feel privileged to write a book that I think might help people understand and deal with their relationships.

*Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages is available on Boyd Lemon’s website, http://www.BoydLemon-Writer.com in print and Kindle formats, or, if you prefer, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and by order from your local bookstore.
Thanks for visiting Boyd, best of luck with the book!!
Patricia

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Great Book Covers - A Chat With Designer Robin Ludwig

Authors Zoe Winters and Kait Nolan have both said that you are fabulous, why is that? :)
They did!? Both Zoe and Kait are fantastic. I believe that the writers I work with give the design inspiration for all of the cover designs I create. I am simply the tool they choose to make their visions a reality. It’s a team process and I love that I have had the opportunity to work with authors of all genres.

How important is it to have a really good book cover?
Good packaging is key no matter what you are trying to sell. It is the first thing a buyer or reader, in this case, sees. A good cover design will give a great first impression. With as many print books and ebooks as there are available, making a statement with your cover can determine the success of the book.

How long does it take to get a cover done?
The finished design work only takes about one week. Finding the right photography and creating comps can take a bit longer. The more clear or precise an author is on what they want, the faster the process will go. I always try to respond to inquiries within two business days.

What if an author has no idea what they want, can you help out?
Sure. That’s part of my job. Narrowing down the focus of the design can be as simple as asking a few questions. Should the design focus on the characters or the setting? Realistic or abstract? Dark or light? Is there another cover design that they like?  Once answered, we just need to choose imagery that fits.

What are the most important elements of a great book cover?
Good color, proportion, and merging of elements. If there are people on the design, make sure they look real and fit the “feeling” of the book. If the story is a darker one, the cover design should convey that. Most importantly, make sure to appeal to your target readers.

Can you suggest a site where authors can get good photos?
There are a ton of great stock image websites online. I am currently working with Dreamstime.com (http://www.dreamstime.com/res2740232-free-stock-photos). They have one of the most flexible and simple stock licenses I have found as well as a fantastic selection of stock.

What other services do you offer?
I own a design and printing business, which specializes in custom design and print services such as, business cards, bookmarks, postcards, magnets, trading cards and more. We also offer website design and management. Please feel free to visit our business website for more information: http://www.rldprint.com/

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just to have confidence in their work and to make sure it shows in design, marketing and networking. Get out there and promote. Bloggers and readers love to share, so make connections and the story will sell itself.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am honored to be interviewed. I laugh with Zoe all the time that I am just a designer. She is amazed when I still gush over her being an author.  Designers and authors are much alike in their mindsets. We are creating something we love and hope others do as well.
Thanks so much Robin!
Patricia