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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Cover Art for Indie Authors

When I decided to end my novel contract with my small publisher, I lost my cover art for my Born of Shadows Book Series. One of the things that I've heard repeatedly on writing podcast (and know as a reader) is how important awesome cover art is for a novel's success. The challenge of course is finding an affordable book cover artist when you're an indie author without a big budget. Initially I found a designer that allows you to choose your own cover image and then she adds the font and formatting for $150, which is a pretty good deal. Unfortunately, I realized that this cost didn't include a paperback option, which is important to me because I love having paperback copies of my published novels. I found another artist who offers a great deal for beautiful cover art when you're doing a book series and ultimately went with her. She's been great to work with - intuitive, on time and mos of all creates a beautiful cover design.

If you're looking for affordable cover art, my advice is that you reach out to the designers. Tell them what you have in mind and what your budget is. Like most things, making a connection changes the conversation. Many designers have flexible pricing and can offer less expensive custom options if that's what you need. I posted a few of the designers that I checked out - including the one who designed my cover - below.

Do you want to recommend a book cover designer? Leave their information in the notes and we'll add them to the list. Also feel free to share your own book cover art.

  • Cover Quill - Rena is the designer at Cover Quill and she created my new cover for Ula: Born of Shadows Book 1 (I love it)
  • Beetiful Book Covers - This designer offers a custom e-book option for $150.
  • The Book Cover Zone - I have not worked with this designer, but I saw some great pre-made covers on their site. 
urban fantasy series
Ula: Born of Shadows Book 1
JR Erickson

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Urban Fantasy Book Giveaway

Five years ago I published my first novel Ula: Born of Shadows with a small publisher. I knew that I needed to market the book if I was going to have any success as a fiction author, but I didn't do it. Life stuff got in the way and if it sounds like an excuse, that's because it is. The truth is that at pretty much any stage of our lives, we're faced with challenges. Even during the most placid periods, we still have jobs, dishes and oil changes. There has never been a moment in my life that I couldn't make a dozen excuses for why I wasn't writing.

To make a very long story slightly less long, a couple of months ago I realized that if I didn't commit to writing in a real way then I was going to spend the rest of my life wanting to be a writer, but rarely writing. Since that day, I've written at least 1,000 words every day - many days 2,000 plus; I've cancelled my contract with my small publisher and started the journey towards self-publishing; I've contracted a freelance graphic designer to build an author website and I've taken about a thousand notes on fiction marketing. Over the next few months I plan to re-release Ula: Born of Shadows - my first novel in an urban fantasy series. The sequel Sorciere: Born of Shadows will follow shortly thereafter. They're both currently written and edited. The third book is in the works - though I have another 30,000 words to go, then will come the editor, the cover art etc. I will do my best to come here and share the journey with all of you. There's something amazing that happens when you share your story, it resonates with others and they share their stories in return.

Thanks for visiting! I am giving away three paperback copies of Ula: Born of Shadows on my Facebook Page. Visit the link below and like the post for a chance to win a copy.

Visit My Facebook Page for a Chance to Win a Free Copy of Ula: Born of Shadows. Winners will be chosen September 30th.


urban fantasy novel


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

2017 Writer's Conference in Michigan

Fall is a great time to get recommitted to your writing - or to hone your craft - or network. As summer drifts away, we find ourselves more often in quiet contemplation. Add a boost to that reflective time by attending a writer's conference. Not only are conferences a great chance to meet other authors, they provide valuable -  and current - news about the world of writing and publishing. 

The Kent District Library in Comstock Park, Michigan is holding the KDL Writer's Conference: Crafting Edition on Saturday October 28th, 2017. If you're thinking about doing NaNoWriMo, this conference may offer a great jump start for writing your novel in November. 

For more information on the conference, visit the KDL website here. Pre-registration is required for the event.  

Beautiful Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore
 (The area that I call home)



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Scrivener for Novel Writing

Wow - what can I say? Scrivener is awesome. Mind you, I've been writing novels in a basic word processor for years so Scrivener is like transitioning from a bicycle to a spaceship. At least that's been my experience so far. I downloaded the free trial of Scrivener a few weeks ago and it has seriously transformed my writing process. Being able to break down my novel easily into scenes, within chapters, within the entire manuscript - which is all easily seen and navigated to in a left side bar - saves a ton of time scanning back and forth through my document for previous scene information. I can't really offer a post with all of the aspects of Scrivener that are great because I'm still pretty new to the software; however, if you're writing novels and getting really bogged down in your process, consider trying out the free trial. Let me also add that I don't have any affiliation with Scrivener or benefit in any way from posting about the software. I'm just so blown away by how much it has helped organize my novels and ideas that I wanted to share. I've posed a link to the free Scrivener download below as well as a video that I watched to get acquainted with the software. I hope that you get some great results from trying it out.

Free Scrivener Download Link

Video: Top Five Reasons Scrivener is My Favorite Writing Software (this is not my video)


I don't believe in 'thinking' old. Although I've transitioned through many bodies - a baby, toddler, child, teen, young adult, mid-life and older adult - my spirit is unchanged. I support my body with exercise, my mind with reading and writing, and my spirit with the knowing that I am part of the Divine source of all life. Wayne Dyer



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Writing Every Day

I have been writing every day for a couple of weeks now. With a one year old vying for my time and attention, writing has been less of a priority. Though let me be honest, prioritizing writing has always been challenging for me. When I wrote my first published novel Ula: Born of Shadows, I wrote every single day. I also didn't have a day job, a child, or many of domestic rituals I've now taken on, but ultimately it wasn't about my time. I simply chose to do it. Just like now, some days I choose to vacuum or file paperwork - other days I skip it. If I skip it long enough, the dust/cat fur/clutter call me to action. Writing is both easier and harder to ignore. You see, no one is going to choke on a carpet hairball if I don't write for a few days. On the other hand, my brain, heart and bones will start to vibrate with the irritating request that I sit down and write. If I ignore that request long enough, I start to feel lost, frustrated and disappointed in myself. Those feelings don't help me to write. On the contrary, the self deprecating thoughts are another barrier to my creativity so I push it further from my mind. It's a disturbing cycle and so easily broken by a few minutes at my computer every day. That's it - so simple - ten minutes of writing and I can find ease. Lately it has come naturally. I have several projects going simultaneously. I've also just downloaded Scrivener and I've been slogging through YouTube videos on how to use it. So if you find your own frustrations with making writing a priority, I'm going to outline a few tips that I use to get my butt in the chair.


  • Brainstorm: Sometimes the only writing that I do in a day is a long rant about what's happening in my story and what could be happening in my story, etc. I have a separate file for every book dedicated to brainstorming, character development, outlines, synopsis, ideas. It's crucial to the writing of my novel and it helps me get the ideas out of my head without the pressure of committing words to the novel when I feel less inspired. 
  • Podcasts: I love podcasts and subscribe to a huge variety them from spiritual growth to writing and editing. One of my favorite writing podcasts is Write 2B Read by Ani Alexander. She interviews authors and people in the book business who provide great tips, resources and stories of their development as authors. I'm almost always inspired to write after I listen and you can tune into podcasts while driving, cleaning, cooking, which means you're not detracting from other to-dos.
  • Long Hand: Keep a notebook handy at all times to jot down ideas or write a scene or character description. So often writing inspiration will strike when I'm riding in the car with my husband or running into town on an errand. If I have my notebook handy, I can get my writing done at that moment. I also believe that our ideas are unique when we're in the world instead of tucked at home in front of our computer. Take advantage of your own unique perception in those moments by writing them down.  
Northern Michigan 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Snowflake Method of Novel Writing

Need some structure for that novel idea that has been floating around in your mind for a while? I stumbled across this website this morning by author Randy Ingermanson who details a novel writing structure known as the Snowflake Method. It seemed like a pretty effective tool for outlining so I wanted to pass it along. I hope that you find it helpful!

The Snowflake Method for Novel Writing


Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.

Moliere

Monday, October 3, 2016

Quit Whining Start Writing - October 2016 Writer's Conference

Hey Writers! Sorry for the last minute notice, but I just came across a writer's conference happening in Michigan this week. Take a day and head over to Grand Rapids for the Quit Whining Start Writing Writer's Conference which features keynote speakers, writing workshops and more.

For more information: http://www.splatteredinkpress.com/writers-conference-2016/