Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Indie Insider - Dee Krull

How are your book covers designed?

I think the cover needs to reflect the content of the book, the simpler the better. The two most significant topics in my book are the dreams of my main character and her clients; and the vampire love interest, as well as the other vampires she encounters throughout the book. She also interacts with werewolves, witches and humans on this other world but there are more books coming. Even though I have started the second book I haven't thought of the title or the cover design.

Someone asked the question on one of the LinkedIn forums, “How important is the cover of a book to you? Everyone had different answers and when I thought about that I wasn't really sure, so I decided to find out. I went to several different stores that I have bought books from before. What I discovered about myself surprised me. When I am looking for a book to read I am not really focusing on the cover at first, I see the title. I also noticed the titles I saw first, were the one or two word titles. When I picked the book up I noticed the cover before I turned it over to read the summary.

Based on this information, I told the designer I wanted Dreams in white and Vampires in red with a simple background mostly in black. She was very intuitive about what I wanted because what she came up with the first time was perfect. Everyone I showed it to loved it. I wanted to be sure so I asked her to come up with something a little different, I wanted choices. Then I decided on the first one. Not everyone sees the same thing so it is different for each of us. I am a very specific kind of artist, I am a realist but contrary to what you might think I am not drawn to busy photo covers. I like unusual but simple. Right now I am reading Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. I love the cover, a woman's profile superimposed over a wolf's head. It is simple and you have no doubt what it is about.

What do you do when you get writers block?

For me again, it is a matter of being inspired so I read similar books to mine, watch movies in the same genera or go to the Internet. When I was creating my characters, which is what I did in the beginning, I found creating the characters inspired me as well. In one part of the book Laurel, my main character meets a character that I hadn't created yet. It wasn't a major part but as I described this character he took on a more involved role. I pretty much let my characters do the talking.

How many hours a week do you spend writing? Editing? Procrastinating? 

When I wrote Dreams and Vampires I was very busy. I live in an active adult retirement community where the opportunities are limitless. I love to sing and am in a choir of sixty plus people, so I had rehearsals every Sunday evening. The director and I are good friends and neighbors so she talked me into joining a group called the Readers Theater which was on Monday nights. I had joined the SaddleBrook Preforming Arts Group last year which gives two performances, Christmas and Valentines Day. We rehearsed three days a week in the evening.

Then I tried out for a part in our local Prime Time Players and got the part which rehearsed three days a week in the morning. I was gone most of the time and my poor cat didn't know what to think. With all of that and social events I couldn't wait to come home and write. I started out slow but once I got into a routine I started putting out a chapter a night writing longhand and typing it later. I loved my characters and found writing to be just as stimulating as reading and I have been an avid reader most of my life. Once by book was completed for submission I didn't stop writing. I started marketing, writing a blog and sharing with my new friends on the net. I was chomping at the bit to get started on my next book but the hardest part was the first three paragraphs. Once I did that I was off again. I write at least a few hours a day on my bad days. On my good days I am on the computer for most of the day. I take a break once in a while for my body but the mind never stops so I don't stop for long. I love writing fiction, I don't know why I didn't do it sooner. I have heard that authors are notorious night owl's, now I know why.

The first time I edited Dreams and Vampires I thought, THIS IS REALLY HARD, but the next time it was easier and each successive time got better. Being my first fiction book I had to look at things differently. As I thought about it I realized the reason it got easier, I wasn't just looking for punctuation or spelling; I was looking for content which allowed me to create a better story each time I edited. Sometimes the story is never done but you just have to decide when it is time to stop. Otherwise you can make yourself crazy to the point of stopping completely. For me that wasn't an option.

I am an artist so I don't procrastinate, I have to think on things and eventually be inspired. How not to procrastinate: put things in front of you that will inspire you like; books to research; TV shows with similar theme content as my book; shows for research and with similar theme content and last but definitely not least, the Internet is a great place to research and be inspired. The more I read and see the more inspired I become. So, no I do not procrastinate when it comes to writing fiction but non-fiction has a whole different set of rules.

How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish on average?

I started writing Dreams and Vampires the beginning of January this year and it was submitted the beginning of June. It is in the final process of layout at the moment. I received my first authors books a week ago but the dedication page was forgotten so I should have those next week. It will then go into the next printing phase. Nine months, the labor wasn't as painful but the end result is just as exciting in a different way.

I do have three non-fiction books on the shelf at the moment. Two are teaching books; “How to Set up a Successful Private Practice;” and “Scripts for Success,” which I sold to hypnotherapy schools and bound and published myself. I plan to rewrite and publish those next year.

I also have an unfinished manuscript; “Bewildered” st-One families struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. I started this book about ten years ago. I was the caregiver for my mother-in-law, her sister and my husband who all had Alzheimer's. My husband was the last and passed away two years ago this past June. I have about thirteen chapters, pages of notes and almost a full outline, missing only my husband's last two years. That one may take me a few more years, it is too close to my heart. Even writing this brings tears to my eyes and pain in my heart, but I will finish it and see it published.

Where do you get your ebooks formatted?

My ebooks were formated by the self-publishing company I went with but I had to approve everything they did for me before it was final.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

I think the most important subject here is do not try to edit your own manuscript. Always have a professional editor do it for you. That doesn't mean you shouldn't check their work but when it comes to grammar and punctuation, the rules have changed. My book was self-published by Xlibris Publishing. I purchased a package which included copy editing.

I have quite a few friends who like my genera so several of them read different stages of my manuscript. Some of them read more than one stage and helped me a great deal with punctuation/spelling errors and a few with content. I have no idea how many times I have read my book but every time I would tweak it here and there for story-line or add something I felt might clarify the story line better. I must have rewritten the first two chapters at least four times and much later in the process I deleted large portions of the story that didn't seem relevant to the plot. All in all it has taken me less than a year to get where I am right now and I started writing the day after I was inspired with a new and unique story about mythical creatures. I must remind you though I am retired, so I can devote most on my free time to writing. I applaud those who have a full time job and write as well. I have done it and it isn't easy even with someone to help you.

Which is the most important social media platform and why? Twitter, Facebook,
Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, or any other one you use.

I feel each one lends it's own part to the whole picture. Without Twitter I wouldn't have found some of the sites I am on or learned as much because of reading about other authors and their process. Facebook has been a way for those people I don't see or have moved away to find out about my book. I have reconnected with quite a few friends in other states which I think is invaluable to marketing. Goodreads and Linkedln have been a good way to talk, make new friendships and learn about a great many things in the publishing field and new books to read for my own pleasure. My blog is a way to link everything together. Instead of giving excerpts or talking about just anything I have been talking about my process as I wrote Dreams and Vampires, giving inside information that is not in the book. Currently besides the for mentioned sites I am also on SheWrites, great for finding new things to read as well as exposure for your own books; Whizbuzz, another blog and place to connect with other authors and agents; fReado, another book marketing portal; Xlibris, self publisher and who did my website domain; Amazon, ebooks, kindle and I plan to look into Books in Motion for audio publishing.

What are three unique resources/web sites that you think are indispensable for authors?

For me the three that stand out are:

The Author's Learning Center which was made available through Xlibris was very valuable as a new fiction writer.
Twitter, which is a great way to find websites that you might not find otherwise and to connect with like minded people.
LinkdIn, because it has so many forums, to learn from more experienced authors or make new friendships and let others know who you are.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Dreams and Vampires is a character driven story. I tried to outline at first, in the past this is what I did when writing my non-fiction books. But I soon realized it wasn't working for this story. The key word is story, my story needed characters. I knew the premise of the story, it was pretty simple but also unusual. I already had the main character in my head but I needed to create the other characters, so that is what I did. I created them in detail, which meant I had to do some research because my characters come from a parallel world and their style of clothing is from our Renaissance eara. For awhile I wasn't sure this was a suggested way to write, but it just felt rite. Several people kept asking me if I wrote from an outline so I started second guessing myself. Then I listened to a children's book author who said, “there are two kinds of books, one is with an outline and the other is character driven. My books are character driven so I create my characters first then I start writing.” I guess I knew that intuitively because that is exactly what I did and it worked for me.

I know some people have a hard time with bloging and setting up new sites because the technology is beyond them. Believe me when I say, I can relate. That has been a daunting exercise for me, however the more sites I figure out the easier it gets. I hope soon I will be able to get them all working perfectly. My advise to the new authors coming into this new age of technology is to “feel the fear and do it anyway,” because it will make a big difference in your ability to market yourself and your book.

One of the forums on LinkedIn right now is, It doesn't matter if you are on facebook,
twitter, linkedIn or all of the other good sites out there, it's all about exposure.

Go to Google and type in your name and see what comes up. You will be surprised at how many ways your friends and fans can find you. I was shocked when I did. Now the real work is about to begin. I plan to do a lot of traveling to market my book. One of the great things about technology is you can market and write at the same time.

You can find my book at

Would you like to see your own book here on Indie Insider?

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