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In Which Gail Dives Head First Into Also-Boughts (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello my darling Gentle Reader.

This is blog post is going to be one of those long rambling ones where I am ruthlessly using you to try to understand the strange world of ebooks and publishing. So, yeah, you can skip it if you’re not into that kinda thing.

Also-Boughts!

Oh you know them, they live on Amazon and other book vendors, below the description, lurking like tempting little sweets…

You might also like…

or

or

Readers who likes this book also liked…

Most authors, including me, find these utterly fascinating. It’s basically:

Who am I author-friends with without ever actually meeting them?

A strange kind of author gossip.

We know something (although certainly not everything) about Also-Bought algorithms:

  • They are often tailored not just to the book but to you, the reader, and your previous buying history.

But not everything:

  • They’ve changed a lot over they years, Soulless, for example, had the movie Serenity as an Also-Bought, now that kind of cross pollination between media seems verboten.

I had a new release recently, and with that a shift in my Also-Boughts. At the same time, Amazon (accidentally?) killed sponsored ads site-wide for desktop (who knows if this is a blip or not).

This meant those Als0-Boughts were pretty much the only other thing offered up to readers and for this short spate of time, and they couldn’t be easily hacked into.

So I thought I’d investigate…

Why these books?

Wanna play?

Here are some of my Also-Boughts, in order, and not my own books.

OK, so first we have Louis McMaster Bujold. I love her and she’s quite popular and this is a lower price point than her normal offerings on a recent release, but this looks to be a continuing series het fantasy.

I’m guessing fan crossover is likely responsible?

Jordan L. Hawk. No surprise here. Hawk’s Hexworld is an alternate Victorian universe with shapeshifters featuring gay romances, lots of crossover with Romancing the Werewolf. I purchased it recently myself. I read everything she writes in this universe.

Grace Draven is a killer romantic fantasy author, and this is a holiday novella offering, so it shares that with RTW. I picked her excellent Radiance for Coop de Book a while ago so I’m not surprised to see her here. She’s been making waves for a while now. (Amused to see that title though, what with Georgette Heyer and all.)

A Thousand Miles Up the Nile got a shout in the same Chirrup that announced the RTW release. I’m assuming that’s why it’s here.

Okay, here is where things start to get interesting. With the exception of Trickster’s Queen (which is on massive sale, is by my favorite author, and is spy related so I gave it a huge shout out and I think everyone should buy/read it) the other three are total unknowns to me.

Third page in and already I’m confused, so now I investigate!

Bec McMaster – a name I know because she also writes steampunk (and there really aren’t that many of us). From the cover I am assuming Fantasy Romance. However, from the others in the series this might be steampunk, or at least gaslight fantasy. The price point is right to be rec’d along side RTW and it’s also a recent release. That said hers isn’t a name I hear often from my readers.

Devon Monk – is a urban fantasy author out of Portland with a huge Oregon following. Pacific Northwest is also my biggest US territory. I blame Powell’s. This is a holiday themed short for only $1,99 set in a popular fantasy world, so I’m guessing that explains the connection.

Amy Hoff – Is a totally new name to me, the book is described as a supernatural crime novel “When Scottish folklore meets everyday Glasgow.” This book is in KU and so far is the only KU to show up in the Also-Boughts. I’m wondering that’s why it was nested there? As a kind of lure?

Jeannie Lin is a new author to me but I sure am intrigued. Steampunk China, dark, but fascinating twist on alt-history. Reviews look good. Have any of you read this series?

“In 1842, the gunpowder might of China’s Qing Dynasty fell to Britain’s steam engines. Furious, the Emperor ordered the death of his engineers, eliminating China’s best chance of fighting back.”

Patricia Briggs is no surprise at all. I nest next to her in bookstores (last names, you see?) and we share quite a few readers. What’s interesting is that it’s the first obviously traditionally published book to show up as an Also-Bought. This is also a pre-order, it’s not out until next March.

Anne Renwick, another new author name to me. (I do try to keep a close eye on my fellow authors, I swear I do!) This is a prequel short set in a KU only steampunk world. Pretty cover.

Josh Lanyon, a surprise to me. This is looks like a straight up noir mystery short, with a dude gumshoe. Not normally a story to be connected with my stuff. But looking at HIS also-boughts and categories it seems like this might be a queer character? And it looks like he writes pretty snarky. I didn’t get any of that from the description or the cover.

KJ Charles is one of the leading authors for MM historical, mainly regency set. So no surprise at all to see her listed here in pre-order form, also this does not look to be a gay romance. Surprised there wasn’t more, to be honest. I really enjoyed her Society of Gentlemen series.

Ministry book, since Tee & Pip are dear friends of mine and we came into steampunk pretty much together I’m not at all surprised to see their next listed here for pre-order. I know we have a ton of crossover fans, to the point where people want cross over stories (sorry, IP issues make that impossible). I believe this is the last one in their Books & Braun series, comes out boxing day.

Nalini Singh & Courtney Milan are two of the biggest stars in the het romance firmament at the moment, the one in PNR and the other in Historical. Courtney and I share an agent, and this is Hamilton related (props on that bandwagon jump). It also looks like her story in the collection might be… could it be … gay? Hummmmm. And one of my Alpha readers is a big Singh fan, although this one is contemporary het rom, so I don’t know how many of my readers would read this book.

Kate Danley (never heard of her). Looks like chick-kicking-arse UF, so basically on brand for my trad books.

Lyn Gala, fantastic gay SF author who I have rec’d a million times, this is her Aberrant Magic series, which is gay UF. I comfort reread her sci fi regularly, don’t know why I never tried this series. Runs off to sample the first book.

Robin LaFevers’ Grave Mercy was a Coop de Book pick, and it was on super sale recently and I gave it a shout out. Light fantasy with strong historical element and assassins so… yeah. Perhaps not like Romancing the Werewolf, but definitely one for my reader base.

Angel Martinez, I have tried the first book in Offbeat Crimes like three times now. It should be totally my thing: gay, cops, urban fantasy, humor. It’s like a laundry list of Gail’s loves. But for some reason that first book…and you need to read them in order. Grrr.

J Kathleen Cheney.  No clue on this one. Not sure from the description what this series even is. Fantasy maybe?

Okay, there’s a bunch more but I’m gonna leave it there. Not sure where I’m going with this, just find it interesting.

Pippity pip,

Miss Gail

Do you want more behind the scenes info? New stuff goes to my Chirrup members first, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for December is The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania Book 1) by TJ Klune.

OUT NOW!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct

Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger is now available in digital form (print & audio to follow).

Gay reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and some unexpected holiday gifts.

Rally the Readers says:

“Don’t let the novella length of Romancing the Werewolf fool you: there’s a sweet, wonderfully developed story here, along with some lovably quirky characters, lots of witty dialogue, and tea. This novella was everything that I’d hoped it would be—simply perfect from beginning to end.”

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus.
  • TOC ~ San Andreas Shifters #2
    Status: Writing Rough draft.
    There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy werewolf with a powerful crush. Shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1905 NYU Costume Studies @NYUcostume Mary Garden wearing Redfern Ltd., Les Modes 1905.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Lilliput on her 5th Birthday

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Caffeine in tea – is it bad for you?

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Top 20 Scariest Things Ever Said to Writers

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“One’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!


Where’s the print edition? The Mess Behind Self-Pub ~ Some Sad Hybrid Truths (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Pre-order for Romancing the Werewolf will go live soon, Gentle Reader, and thus I anticipate being asked about the print edition.

I’m going to state up front, Gentle Reader, one basic truth… if the book is long enough (novella or longer), I will always endeavor to publish a print edition for you. That said…

I am no longer promising to try and synchronise Print with Digital release dates.

I will bring out Romancing the Werewolf in print as soon as possible. It will be coupled with The Curious Case of the Werewolf that Wasn’t short story, as a little extra bonus for your patience.

Here’s Why Print Editions Are Delayed

 

  1. Lack of Print Pre-Order:
    There is no way to set up pre-order for print safely and without great financial risk. We can hope Amazon will fix that (and yes, with 75% of the market or more, I will be talking mainly about Amazon). If I want to workaround their prohibition on pre-ordering print, it takes too much time, effort, and TOS risk to make me comfortable.
  2. 3rd Party Scraping:
    In order to get print set to drop at the right time, I have to list the book with Createspace or IngramSpark and then take it off distribution. I know, getting technical, but it means that 3rd party scrapers find the book during the brief moment it’s offered wholesale. They then list it for sale, even though it isn’t (they just throttle shipping when you order from them) which brings us to…
  3. Buy Button Scammers:
    Since Amazon changed TOS there has a been a big scramble to steal buy buttons. I’m a prime target for this kind of thing as I work hard to promote my pre-order and get everyone excited. Then a 3rd party can basically steal all the print pre-sales from me by listing it before I do (see point #2) and charging extra. Readers think that’s my print pre-order, and then the 3rd party just pretends to ship even though they don’t have the book. (How to Avoid Scams While Shopping on Amazon?)
  4. BookBub Rejection:
    BookBub will not send out a new release notification to my followers if someone else (e.g. 3rd party scammers) lists the book as already published. What the scammers do is claim an early publication date, (in the case of my last book – a July release – they claimed May release). Then BookBub says they can’t post a new release about my new book, because the print book was “already out months ago” according to Amazon’s listing.
  5. Possible Copyright Issues:
    This TERRIFIES me. If someone else can claim my book released early, they can also try to claim my copyright. Fortunately, I have a  killer IP lawyer. Still, I’d rather not have to use him, because we are getting very expensive, all because the print edition. Which can’t make back that kind of money.
  6. Print Edition Sale Date:
    There is no way to schedule a strict on sale date for the print edition. You submit to Createspace, they say “available between 5-7 days,” and drop it 3 hours later. I’m not a gambler, I hate not being able to have everything planned.
  7. Price wars:
    Between 3rd party scammers, Ingram’s restriction, and Barnes & Noble all trying to claim market share on print books I can’t control the price of my book. Print is already a favor to the fans, I make very very little income on my print editions, and guess who loses out if someone decides to slash the price and Amazon decides to price match? Yeah… me.
  8. Vendors Don’t Care:
    Never make the mistake of thinking Amazon or any other vendor will do anything about any of this. They do not care about authors. They do not care about readers. They care about profit. They are a business. That is their business. So I must safeguard myself.

Finally, and here is where I get possibly too honest (but that’s ever an issue with me):

I can’t make enough money off print editions of my self-published books to make any of this worth my time. Self-pub print editions are less than 3% of my income.

They are, literally and figuratively, a luxury item that I produce for those of my readers who must have print editions.

Yes dahlink, I’m looking at you.

So where does that leave us?

  • Me, still trying to get the print to you as fast as possible but it will likely start to run a week to a month behind digital releases.
  • You, still writing me emails, comments, and such every time I publish a book and it isn’t instantly in print.
  • Me, directing you to this blog post. *waves*

Could be worse, you could not want it at all, right?

Or it could be audio, which always takes way longer than it should.

All that said, I will still try to continue to use Borderlands to pre-sell print editions. That, I believe, I can do simply because they are close enough to me that I can physically truck books over to them using BART. (See how much I love you? PHYSICAL LABOR on PUBLIC TRANSPORT!) So if you really want it, you’ll end up having to go through them.

Final Thoughts ~ Gail Bucks Tradition

Here is the thing, I come out of traditional publishing and putting all three editions out at once (digital, print, audio) is a traditional approach. It’s intended to make a run on the Lists. It helps with a broad reach. It does all sorts of important things. There is something admirable about it, no fan is left in the dust. But it is traditional.

I’m not that kind of person. You know I like manners and history, but tradition?

I’ve always been interested in experimenting with new things as an author. Jumping whole hog into something different. When my publisher calls me up and says, “Would you let us try…?” I almost always say “YES!”

That’s why I went hybrid in the first place.

That’s why my books are such weird mash-ups of so many different genres.

I don’t like to be in a category.

Nevertheless, I tried to do my self-published stuff the same way my publisher does my traditionally published stuff and…

…it doesn’t work.

I should have known that from the outset. Because not only it is not my style but the system is not set up for an individual author to fight that particular fight. Not even an author like me who has the most enthusiastic killer fabulous fans on the planet.

So I’ll be trying other ways going forward until I figure out what works best for me.

Unique, my dear! Unique.

One of the things I’m trying is occasionally throwing a short in with the print edition, to make it a little different from the digital, given print readers have to wait slightly. A perk of gratitude.

I hope you don’t mind being on this strange experimental journey with me.

As always, many hugs,

Miss Gail

Publishing Moves On. Do Readers?

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for September is The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip.}

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 or 2019.
  • TOC ~ San Andreas Shifters #2
    Status: Writing Rough draft.
    The werewolves are back. There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy man mountain with a powerful crush. The pack’s started a business called Heavy Lifting. Gail is contemplating shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.

NOW IN DIGITAL, PRINT & AUDIO!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now in all editions.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1901 Afternoon Dress The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My friend Alex White models his book

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

10 Steps to Making a Living as a Self-Published Fiction Author

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Why Does Microwaving Water Result in Such Lousy Tea?

Book News:

The Hat Tilt On My Cover Art

Reading My Collection says of Prudence:

“This book is ridiculous, wonderful and fantastic…. It was a delight reading the adventures of the grown up children of characters I came to love.”

Quote of the Day:

“When all else fails, dress beautifully and throw your food.”

~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!


State of the Gail: The Blog, The Writer, The Ridiculous (Ketchup Blog)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Some old fashioned style berbling from yours truly today, Gentle Reader. Enjoy!

Blogging Thoughts

A few of you came to this blog when it moved from LiveJournal, and then again when it moved from Blogspot. For which I love you very very much. (I’d adore knowing exactly who you are, if you want to leave a comment. Since way back in the day everyone had weird handles on LJ, I don’t always know who stuck with me through all of the last 8 years.)

I still enjoy blogging, although I’m more personal and emotional over on the Chirrup (it simply feels like a safer less-public forum). However, I’ve been on a pretty heavy schedule of 3 posts a week for the past 8 years or so, and that may slow slightly. I started already with Retro Rack (which was 2X a week).

I’m going to put less pressure on myself to produce blogs, and concentrate more on producing books and stories. Also I want to give you quality over quantity, in other words, if I don’t have anything to say, I’m not gonna say it.

Balancing Writing Joys

Which brings me to the next thing, which is a little emotional, but I shall try to be pithy about it.

Miss Carriger’s Office Writing Set Up

For a while there (and many of you sensed this) I edged on burn out.

In 2012 I took on too many events and it has taken me until this year to learn how to say “no” and balance conventions, books tours, and conferences against the demands of the rest of my life. (The fangirl in me still can’t get over a convention asking me to come to them. Amazing.)

In 2013 I took on too many writing projects at once and my muse rebelled in a big way.

I was writing on a untenably short timeline for each book for several years. I’ve learned to be a lot firmer about deadlines (and whether I can realistically make them) and thus manage everyone’s expectations. Strangely, this freed me up from some creative blockage and I managed to write more this year than I have in a long time. I guess I’m learning to be less hard on myself?

All this is to say I’m feeling like I am in a good place right now and I might sally forth and try some other creative experiments and different kinds of events. I think 2018 is going to be a fun year for this writerbeast.

Self Pub & Hybrid Life

I’m still figuring this part out. I’m on a 5 year plan, and we are only just into year 2. The more I learn about being my own publisher, the more I realize I have to learn. But this helps too. I’m at heart (still) an academic, and I love learning new things, so the business journey is pretty exciting for me.

Speaking of, if you are local to the Bay Area, you can come here me talk about some of these business lessons at my RWA chapter in Berkeley next month. Check out my events page for details.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

* Coincidentally the quazi-prequel to The Blue Sword is on sale today for $1.99. The Hero and the Crown is another truly wonderful book and particularly formative in my taste as a reader and my development as an author. I adore Aerin, although I find I identify more with Harry (the heroine of Blue Sword.)

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 or 2019.
  • TOC ~ San Andreas Shifters #2
    Status: Writing Rough draft.
    The werewolves are back. There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy man mountain with a powerful crush. The pack’s started a buisness called Heavy Lifting. Gail is contemplating shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.

NOW IN DIGITAL, PRINT & AUDIO!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

Recommended on BookRiot!

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
Support Arms, from the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Assassin’s Teapot

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Literary Comedy for Beginners

Book News:

Blue Cover Art: German Parasolverse, Finishing School, Supernatural Society

Friend of Dorothy Wilde says of Romancing the Inventor:

“What other genre writer is this witty, this good at world building, and this concerned with the important things? Namely, what they wore and what they ate. But kidding aside, she is a masterful world builder and terribly terribly good at dialogue, so when I heard that Genevieve, the mysterious, moody scientist from the Parasol Protectorate books, would be getting her Happily Ever After, I was thrilled.”

Quote of the Day:

“Sidheag came up next to him, and after he managed to straighten, threw a companionable arm around his soot-covered shoulders. She was more relaxed than Sophronia had ever seen her. ‘It makes sense. Why should we fight like gentlemen? After all, as you keep reminding me, Sophronia, we aren’t gentlemen. We aren’t even soldiers. We’re supposed to be intelligencers. We should learn to fight dirty. We should learn to fight any way we can.’”

~ Etiquette & Espionage

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!


7 Side Effects of Being a Full Time Author (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’ve been a full time author for five years now, and I’ve learned a few things. Here, Gentle Reader, are some of the side effects of my life choices.

1. My spelling is worse than it ever was.

While my typing has gotten faster my accuracy certainly has not. Follow me on Twitter for the sad consequences of this fact.

2. I have never read that book you think I should have.

New book, old book, whatever the book is that you think I should read because of what I write, or assume I have read because of my genre. I probably haven’t read it.

3. I know about all the octopuses on the internet.

All of them. All the time. First.

Octopus Mug

4. My passion for the oxford comma is unbending.

I’m open to wiggle room on other points of grammatical enforcement, but you will pry the oxford comma from my cold dead calloused fingers.

5. Cocktail parties are a minefield.

What do you do?
I’m a writer.
What do you write?
Commercial genre fiction.

Then the conversation inevitably goes horribly wrong, either…

  1. I have to explain genre by using dumb Hollywood examples.
  2. They assume I’m some starving artist type who lives off my tech-bound significant other.
  3. They want to tell me all about the brilliant book they have inside them. (Which is invariably not brilliant and should stay inside, preferably buried with a small but elegant tombstone.)
  4. They want me to write the book of their: life, times, weak imagination.

Godeys Sept 1872

6. I have no sense of time

I never know what day of the week it is and I never know if it’s a national holiday. Ever. The number of times I have gone to the bank and then been confused as to why it’s closed are almost as frequent as the number of times I’ve gotten up and gone into the office, even though it’s Saturday.

7. There is no retirement, there is only writing

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 0r 2019.

NOW IN DIGITAL, PRINT & AUDIO!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

Love Bytes says:

“And if that is how the author treats her secondary characters, you can be damn sure that her protagonists are wonderfully written. They have layers and flaws–some not so obvious on first or second inspection–and grow throughout the book in the way all good characters should.”

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900ongesoleil- “The Umbrella Maker” Studio Shin-e-Do ( Kobe, Japan ). End 19th century? Kimbei Kusakabe.(1841-1934). Photographer

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

New TSA Policy May Lead to Increased Scrutiny of Reading Material

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

My Top Five Suggestions for People Thinking about Writing a Book

Book News:

FanArtCharactersparasol_protectorate_sketches_by_terrizae

Quote of the Day:

The truth about Gail & tea comes out at last

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!


So Much Awesome ~ An Author & Her Team (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

I’m so very lucky, Gentle Reader, to have a killer team behind me when I publish a new book.

I don’t talk about them much, and frankly the most they tend to get is a nod in the acknowledgements. I thought, perhaps, I would share a little insider trading on some of these fabulous people so you could appreciate them too.

My Photographer

I’ve used a number of different cover model photographers over the years, but whenever I can, I go to Evan Butterfield. (Do yourself a favor and check out his site. No, really, I’ll wait.)

When I say “my cover photographer” I’m generally talking about Evan, because I feel very personally connected to him (and the models I chose of his).

Quinn, my cover model, holding the book featuring himself.

Here is a picture of Quinn, the cover model for The Sumage Solution, holding The Sumage Solution ARC at a recent shoot. This is taken by Evan. How awesome is that? It’s the meta-ist of meta.

Who’s a lucky authorbeast? ME!

How’d I find Evan?

Evan and I (virtually) met because of The Airship Ambassador (a dear friend of mine via the Steampunk community). I pinged Evan to use his photo for Curious Case, and the rest, as they say, is history.

My Cover Art Designer

Starla of Designed By Starla does all my indie cover art. She is also an amazing author in her own right. I’m a particular fan of her Flipped Fairy Tale series. If you like fairy tale retellings, I recommend them. We are part of a private writer’s group, wherein she has the reputation (well deserved) for making me cry during readings (in a good way, because her prose is so beautiful and her voice is amazing).

How’d I find Starla?

Via the podcasting world. Below is my favorite of her covers (aside from my own, of course):

My Developmental Editor

Sue Brown-Moore of DavinciKittie is my developmental editor. DE is basically the same kind of editor as my acquiring editor at a traditional publishing house. I chose Sue because her specialty is romance and my novellas tend to lean that direction. I wanted someone who would have that focus in mind. She’s extremely helpful and I find if she and my beta’s agree on anything, then it needs to be altered in the story.

G.L. Carriger, Sue Brown-Moore, Lea Kirk

How’d I find Sue?

Sue is a member of my RWA chapter and a veteran romance blogger at GraveTells.com. She also edits an author friend of mine, Lea Kirk, who recommended her.

My Copy Editor

I use Richard Shealy (of SF/F Copyediting) for my copy editing. He edits for traditional publishing houses but also freelances. He specializes in SF/F but that specifically made me want to use him for my more romance-focused books because I’ve found CE’s catch more if they aren’t invested in the story. He’s excellent, fast, and efficient.

How’d I find Richard?

Via author forums and general pinging of author friends.

My Proof Editors

I use Flo Selfman (of Worlds a la Mode) and Shelley Bates (of Moonshell Books) for proof pass editing. This is like a second copy edit to make certain everything is PERFECT. Shelly has a particularly busy schedule but because she also writes steampunk (as Shelley Adina), her expertise on the Victorian era is not to be sneezed at. I will often beg to be fit into her schedule.

Flo is wonderfully meticulous. I tend to use her for my contemporary set stuff. She’s also a consummate spy, having infiltrated the Ripped Bodice to take a picture of my books on the shelf there.

How’d I find Shelley & Flo?

Shelley is a member of my RWA chapter and that’s how I met her. Flo came via recommendations.

 

My Audiobook Producer

AKA Producer Bryan is also a member of the sacred writer group (with Starla). His specialty is actually full cast audio work, but I needled him into doing single point narration for me. Occasionally I find the narrators (Romancing the Inventor and The Sumage Solution), occasionally he does (Poison or Protect), but he does all the leg work interfacing with them, adding in special sound effects, and cleaning up the files.

How’d I find Bryan?

Podcasting, of course. All good things come from podcasting.

Logos & Other Fun Stuff

Kim Killion of the Killion Group wears many many hats, but I use her for quick logo creation. She and her team can handle pretty much all an author’s design needs, including covers. If you want  a one stop shop, I suspect it’d be difficult to find better.

How’d I find Kim?

RWA forums.

My Formatter

Nina Pierce is my last line of defence. She comes along and makes everything pretty in print and digital. I’ve never had a single complaint, and I know my readers, they would say something. They’re polite, but they aren’t that polite.

How’d I find Nina?

Recommended by a friend.

Conclusion

So there you have it, a small sample of my team in action.

I usually do a blog post about book-specific team details around the announcement and launch of that book. For example, here’s a blog post all about Evan, Quinn, Starla, and the cover of The Sumage Solution.

I hope it goes without saying that I recommend every one of these people.

That said, not every author has the same kind of work style. The kind of team that works well for me may not be what you’re looking for. And for those of my blog readers who are just interested in behind the scenes… now you know.

Yours as ever,

Miss Gail

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Sumage Solution by G. L. Carriger.}

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 0r 2019.

AVAILABLE SOON!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Greer Garson and Ann Rutherford in Pride and Prejudice directed by Robert Z. Leonard, 1940

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Many Ways in Which We Are Wrong About Jane Austen ~ not sure I agree entirely but it makes for interesting reading.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Twelve Questions To Ask Yourself After That First Draft Is Done

Book News:

Shannan Bloom says of Romancing the Inventor:

“Imogene Hale is a great addition to the pantheon of Carriger characters. She’s different than anyone else in any of the books I’ve read by Gail Carriger, but her plucky attitude, intelligence, and passion make her a perfect fit.”

Quote of the Day:

“I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!


Miss Carriger Recommends 20+ Blogs & Podcasts for Authors (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

My dear Gentle Reader,

This one if for authors/writers who are interested in publishing & marketing their books.

This post is part of my occasional FAQ series where I endeavor to answer questions I get asked all the time. (Mainly so I have a perma-link to point people at in future.)

Below I list the blogs and podcasts I find most useful as a hybrid author (including those related to indie and self publishing). I recommend picking episodes/posts based on topic.

(I keep this list as updated as possible.)

Miss Carriger’s Top 11 Blogs for Authors

  1. Goodreads Authors & Advertisers Blog
  2. Build Book Buzz
  3. Elizabeth Spann Craig
  4. Kikolani
  5. Business Rusch
  6. Live Write Thrive
  7. Smart Blogger
  8. The Blood-Red Pencil
  9. Fiction University (was The Other Side of the Story)
  10. Writer Beware
  11. Writer Unboxed

Gail consumes her blogs via Feedly.

Miss Carriger’s Top 12 Podcasts for Authors

  1. The Author Biz Podcast
  2. Authority Self-Publishing Podcast
  3. The Creative Penn Podcast
  4. Internet Business Mastery Podcast
  5. The Murverse Annex (Ditch Diggers & I Should Be Writing Podcasts)
  6. Novel Marketing Podcast
  7. Online Marketing Made Easy
  8. The Publishing Profits Podcast (no homepage, just search & add)
  9. The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast
  10. Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast
  11. The Self Publishing Podcast
  12. The Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast

Gail consumes her podcasts using Overcast.

Gail’s pinterest board Writer Education is full of more recommended resources for authors.

{Gail’s monthly read along for June is Local Custom by Lee & Miller.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Poison or Protect Audiobook.
    StatusOut now!
    Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?

COMING SOON

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 vi antique-royals tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Gender Neutral Pronouns: Singular ‘They’

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

15 Productivity Apps to Help Keep Your Writing Goals on Track

Book News:

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm says of Prudence:

“Gail’s characters are so much fun…”

Quote of the Day:

“She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”

~ Annie Dillard

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


A Gail By Any Other Name Should “L” As Sweet

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

After some dithering and hemming and hawing, Gentle Reader I chose the new pen name G.L. Carriger for my upcoming urban fantasy, The Sumage Solution.

What you got in your inbox if you follow me on Amazon. You can also follow me on BookBub.

G. L. Carriger

I talk about why I felt I needed a changed name in this blog post: Why G. L. Carriger? On Pen Names, Cover Art & Reader Betrayal

The question then became:

What does the L stand for?

Because they had already had some chatter on the matter, I asked the Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group to weigh in first. I read through their suggestions and then I picked those I like best, based on meaning, cadence, feel when said between Gail and Carriger, and also memory. (Some names, for me, have negative associations.)

I chose Lovelace because of the wonderful Ada Lovelace, Lilac because it was my Grandmother’s favorite flower, Ladybird because I’m amused by the idea, and Libellus because it means little book in Latin.

Then I had Twitter vote on the finalists.

Then I asked my Facebook Page if they agreed. And mostly they did.

So the winner is…

Lovelace

So now whenever anyone asks me what the “L” stands for, that is what I will say.

Of relevance to this post: The Evolution of Female Pen-Names from Currer Bell to J.K. Rowling

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Radiance by Grace Draven.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Poison or Protect Audiobook.
    StatusOut now!
    Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?

UP NEXT

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Paris, 1900 (Source- pinterest.com) via fawnvelveteen tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.”

~ Neil Gaiman

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Singular ‘They’ Now Acceptable

Book News:

What’s She Reading? says of Manners & Mutiny

“This book probably had more action than the first three (or it at least felt like it) and that’s not a bad thing. I really liked getting into Sophronia’s head and seeing all of the skills that she’d been learning at school come into play. It’s kind of hard to explain without spoiling anything, but it was really enjoyable to watch Sophronia strategize.”

Quote of the Day:

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”

~ Anne Herbert

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Why G. L. Carriger? On Pen Names, Cover Art & Reader Betrayal (Important for Writers)

So let us talk a little bit about pen names, shall we Gentle Reader?

G. L. Carriger

My next book, The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1, is a big departure for me. OK, perhaps not that big. It’s still me, full of silliness and fun. It’s urban fantasy, but it’s set in contemporary times, in America. It’s not steampunk. It has more sex than my other writing has in the past. It’s certainly got worse language.


Preorder Amazon | B&N | Apple | Kobo

I dithered for a while about what to do about this. You see, I worry about reader betrayal… a lot.

Reader Betrayal

Reader betrayal can take many forms. At its root, it is that sensation one gets if the book you’re reading does something totally unexpected in a bad way. Like if a book you picked up thinking it was romance suddenly doesn’t have a happy ending.

Now, why does this happen?

Well, it can be a flaw in story: you’re reading one thing when the author suddenly takes a dive and turns it into something else. That is the author’s fault. (This is what I call the “scream and hurl” scenario.) Or it can be a flaw in expectation, you thought it was one kind of book, despite the cover and blurb trying to tell you otherwise, and you read it anyway.

Far more common these days is visual marker caused betrayal. This means that you picked up the book expecting one thing because of the cover and then got something completely different from the words within. Controlling these expectations is a serious business. It’s done many ways: visually through cover art (image & text), but also via author name, and cover copy/blurb and description. (There are also things that can’t really be controlled like algorithms offering “similar books you might like.”)

For example, if I showed you this cover:

You’d expect one thing. Dark gritty urban fantasy. Possibly noir tropes in use. If that’s the kind of thing you like, you might then take a look at the book description and decide to buy it.

But if I gave you this one:

You’d expect something else. Upbeat, cheerful, youthful, pulp-ish.

Both covers are based off photos. Both are single person images, saturated color use. But the kind of image chosen, from dress to facial expression, and the tweaks then made to it, from color choice to the overlay of type and font in use, all tell you, the reader, something about what is inside.

You may not know exactly what you are being told, or how to control your own response, but trust me, you’re reacting. The thing that worries a savvy author the most is NOT “does this cover depict what’s inside my book” but “does this cover accurately portray the spirit of my book?”

If you picked up Fairy Debt and did not get a fun little light hearted read about a fairy in silly times, you would be angry with me as the author. You would feel betrayed.

Print edition proofs arrive in office.

Why talk about covers when I should be discussing pen names?

Because most of the time, covers come first. Covers are the single most important thing when selling a book or establishing a brand as an author. Initially. After that, of course, its up to the author to pull the reader in and make them want more.

Which brings us to author name recognition.

After a certain point, if lucky, an author starts to accrue loyal readers. These are the readers who write to say they love you. Who regularly leave book reviews. Who vow to buy “anything you write.” These readers follow an author’s newsletter (if really lucky) and get excited when a new book comes along.

These readers are you, eyeballs reading this blog post right now. I LOVE YOU.

You know what to expect from me as an author because I have tried to give you something quite consistent over the last few years. Yes, it jumped around from YA to adult to novella, from espionage to romance to adventure, but the spirit of the Parasolverse has been unchanged.

Cover art plays into this too, keeping a theme going is pretty darn important:

Here’s how I played with my own themes for my indie stuff:

Romancing the Inventor

Do you see the similarities, and to which books? Can you understand why I might want to make some of the changes I did between my novels and my novellas? (Perhaps that is a whole other discussion if you’re interested.)

One of the things I’d encourage you to notice is that I made my name bigger than the title for the first time when I produced my own stuff.

Why?

Because when self-pubbing I’m banking on name recognition. Because it’s more common in romance to do this for well known authors, and my novellas touch on romance more heavily. (And, because I have noticed over the years that male F/SF authors get this kind of name glorification treatment while the rest of us, erm, do not. That gets my goat because it smacks pretty darn strongly of sexism.)

So, why go through all this trouble to establish name recognition, only to change my name… slightly?

G. L. Carriger

Because we are back to the first part of this post: reader betrayal.

My new non-parasolverse m/m urban fantasy is just different enough for me to worry. Even knowing that I could give you a very different cover, which I have done, I worried that my name was now strong enough to sucker readers into expecting things: gentleness, steampunk, sweet romance, Victorian food & clothing.

I worried that if it says “by Gail Carriger” readers would expect exactly the kind of thing they had gotten from me before. The Sumage Solution is just different enough for readers to get mad at me. Not because I don’t write urban fantasy or paranormal romance well (This book is oodles of fun. It makes me so happy.) but because it’s not what readers expected from Gail Carriger going in. Which isn’t really my fault.

Except that it is. It is certainly my responsibility.

I have established Gail Carriger expectations with 17 or so books now. So it’s up to me to shift those expectations. So I’m publishing The Sumage Solution under G. L. Carriger. Still me. Just tweaked. This way, going in, readers pick up the book and perhaps go:

“Huh, I wonder if this is still Gail? I wonder why Gail is doing this? Perhaps it’s not quite the same thing as before.”

It wasn’t an easy decision, I’ll tell you that much.

And, I hope you like her.

Still and always yours,

Miss G

Want more?

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Radiance by Grace Draven.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Poison or Protect Audiobook.
    Status: Battling ACX. (AKA Audible/Amazon)
    Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?

UP NEXT

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Longchamp, France. 1900 via Edwardian Time Machine tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Gail Carriger Sketched by Howard Tayler

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

~ Albert Einstein

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Writing a book is like telling a joke and having to wait 2 years to know whether or not it was funny.”

~ Alain de Botton

Book News:

The Reading Chick says of Prudence:

“The style of the characters meld completely with the storyline, that it all seems completely believable, in a rather fantastic way.”

Quote of the Day:

“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.”

~ Logan Pearsall Smith

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


How I Work: Gail Carriger, Authorbeast (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, I’m a bit of a Lifehacker follower. Back in 2013 I was particularly taken by their How I Work series. I thought it would be fun to answer their questions, and now here’s an updated version. I hope you enjoy!

Location:
Bay Area, Northern California, USA.

Current gig: 
Chronically tea addicted, octopus obsessed, shoe collecting, New York Times bestselling authorbeast.

Current mobile device: 
iPhone 5, iPad Mini

Current computer: 
2013 MacBook Air (named Hestia) – desperately in need of an upgrade

One word that best describes how you work: 
Efficiently.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? 
Apps: (most of my phone’s natives like Mail, Weather, Camera, Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Notes) as well as Twitter, Facebook, Friendly, Feedly, Instagram, Google Maps, Stylebook, Yelp, Downcast, Chrome, and Scrivener iOS. All the airline apps for checking in to flights.
Software: Scrivener, Skype, Chrome, Firefox, Safari (yes all three browsers), iTunes, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Hootsuite, Pinterest, Wikia, Word (because I must for work).
Tools: Kindle Oasis, iPod Nano, yearly wall calendar, old street stomper bicycle with detachable shopping panniers, electric kettle or water boil coil, tea, Ikea mini reading lamps, my car, tote and carry-on suitcase, modular packing devices, Roomba, a bath tub (does that count as a tool?), and a gas stove.

(Although, truthfully, back in my archaeology days I can, and have, lived without all of the above except the iPod and tea.)

Tea zone in Gail’s Office

What’s your workspace like?
At home and in my office I have a standing desk made from a CB2 wet bar with a S-shelf for a riser, Perixx wireless keyboard and mouse, and Wellness mat.

Gail’s Home Desk Set Up

In the office, I also have two additional sitting desks which I use for editing and sewing projects. A reading/research/imagination nook, a sitting area and the all important tea station. I have a blog post with more pictures, including the before and after of decorating.)

Gail’s Reading Nook

What’s your best time-saving trick? 
Outlining and setting realistic goals. And tea.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
Evernote.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
My iPod nano, named Caper. I’m addicted to podcasts, I use them to stay in touch with the writing industry and the world, everything from news to entertainment to comedy to academic lectures about the Byzantine Empire. Because I live in California (driving!), bike to work, and travel a lot, audio is a great way for me to stay informed.

Pretty much any time I’m not writing, I’m listening to a podcast. Since I’m a girly girl who likes pretty clothes I can’t pocket my phone on my person and I’m not yet happy with wireless earbud offerings, a small iPod down the bra is essential to my mental well being.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Making tea.

What are you currently reading?
See Coop de Book at the bottom of this blog post.

What do you listen to while you work?
When I’m writing that’s the only time I’m not listening to a podcast. So, nothing.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert, though I perform extrovert very well.

What’s your sleep routine like?
Regulated but restless.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ______ answer these same questions.
Mercedes Lackey

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
No one is interested in a writer that doesn’t actually finish her novels.

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more.”

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: With Copy Editor
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1894 Seaside fashion plate shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

16 Cozy and Inviting Reading Nooks

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

What it Looked Like to Travel the World Solo as a 19th Century Woman

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Unpredictable Nature of a Writing Career

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“A sentimentalist is simply one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Cover Art & Its Purpose in Life (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello, Gentle Reader!

I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about cover art recently.

It came up unexpectedly (for me) on a podcast interview over on SF & F Marketing. I’ve also been embroiled in the back-and-forth of creating the cover for Secret Project SAS (which is also the start of a new series and a new identity as G.L. Carriger so it needs to be LOTS OF THINGS) and then re-doing Marine Biology to match.

More on that later.

So Cover Art…

My new saying? The pretty is the enemy of the correct.

Covers are like a visual elevator pitch for a book, they don’t need to say exactly what’s in it so much as what’s it’s about. The point of the cover is not to find AN audience for that book but to find the RIGHT audience. I think a lot of indie authors forget this, and get embroiled in trying to make it look too much like what’s inside and not enough like packaging that represents the book’s theme. That last statement may have made some of you angry, because it smacks of manipulation. But stick with me, okay?

Goodreads put up a ton of books on sale today and three interesting things happened.

  1. I wasn’t interested in a single one of them. (I’d either read it already, or it’s not to my current reading taste.)
  2. The range of art as meets genre was fascinating, and many of the covers did catch my eye.
  3. I really wanted to blog about it.

So let’s run a little test?

Here are 10 covers that stood out for me:

So without knowing anything else but having those small images…

Which one might you click on to read the blurb. Or pick up in the store and flip to the back?
  • Smoke & Bone 19%, 50 votes
    50 votes 19%
    50 votes - 19% of all votes
  • Heirs of Empire 17%, 45 votes
    45 votes 17%
    45 votes - 17% of all votes
  • Dragon Bound 14%, 37 votes
    37 votes 14%
    37 votes - 14% of all votes
  • Under Different Stars 11%, 29 votes
    29 votes 11%
    29 votes - 11% of all votes
  • Imitation 11%, 28 votes
    28 votes 11%
    28 votes - 11% of all votes
  • The Last Girl 8%, 21 vote
    21 vote 8%
    21 vote - 8% of all votes
  • Whisper 7%, 19 votes
    19 votes 7%
    19 votes - 7% of all votes
  • Skewed 7%, 19 votes
    19 votes 7%
    19 votes - 7% of all votes
  • The Curse Keepers 3%, 9 votes
    9 votes 3%
    9 votes - 3% of all votes
  • A Taste of Magic 3%, 7 votes
    7 votes 3%
    7 votes - 3% of all votes
Total Votes: 264
March 20, 2017 - March 27, 2017
Voting is closed

Now, without reading anything about each book, I’m gonna tell you what I thought when I saw its thumbnail, let’s see if you agree with me?

 Whisper
What I like: Clear indication of romance given the swirly font and large female author name. Horses indicate old west or plantation setting. Red and cream is a tasteful color match.
Issues: Can’t read whole title, cover is very generic.
What do I think this book is about? Heterosexual romance in a historical setting. Demure pose and the fact that she is alone in the picture with a horse in the background suggests sweet romance (little sex).
Was I right given the blurb? Yes

 Smoke & Bone
What I like: The color pallet, the starkness of the lighting, the slash nature of the mask and the title.
Issues: Didn’t realize the title was Daughter of Smoke & Bone until I really squinted, can’t read author name at all. Not sure how I feel about three different fonts on the same cover.
What do I think the book is about? I’m going with suspense of some kind, in the Gone Girl oeuvre maybe? Because of the mask, perhaps it’s either historical or set in a theater, makes me think Phantom of the Opera.
Was I right given the blurb? Sort of. Suspense but also urban fantasy?

 The Curse Keepers
What I like:
KILLER title! The shadow box to make the title pop while still over the figures is a neat trick, centered text.
Issues: Author name is not legible, weird tattoo stuff on left not necessary, whole thing is generic.
What do I think this book is about? Without a doubt this is in the Cassandra Clare, Beautiful Creatures, etc. YA angst show knock off. This one will be witches and warlocks and stuff like that, no vampires (because of the sunlight and lack of blood red color).
Was I right given the blurb? Yes.

 A Taste of Magic
What I like: Very easy to read title and author name, bold color choices.
Issues: Not a lot, actually, while this might not be my kind of book, I think it reads as a near perfect cover for the kind of book it is. Let’s see if I’m right.
What do I think this book is about? Romance, chick lit version of Practical Magic. Contemporary set urban fantasy but with a very light touch and gentle upbeat text, probably involves food. Beach read.
Was I right given the blurb? Yes.

 Skewed
What I like: Fantastically striking cover, retro feel, very basic but impactful, color choices. Title and author are clear and easy to read.
Issues: Absolutely no idea what it is about. Could be anything from a quirky adult version of Awkward (that MTV show) or a non-fiction tell all about the music/photo/modeling industry.
What do I think this book is about? Really, no clue. If I HAD to guess I’m going with quirky mock-tell-all of a photojournalist’s crazy hi-jinx. Possibly set in the 1960s.
Was I right given the blurb? Turns out it is about photography, but also celebrity, and crime, modern setting.

 The Last Girl
What I like: As with the romance one above, I think I know exactly what I am in for with this book. Title and author name are clearly visible.
Issues: I really strain to see the figure, I wish it were just big enough for me to make out something about her clothes as that would give me a bit more to go on for setting.
What do I think this book is about? Gone Girl type thing again, maybe post apocalyptic, but could also be country western setting.
Was I right given the blurb? Not really. Turns out to be an epidemic crisis book. Looks like that movie Children of Men.

 Under Different Stars
What I like: Striking image for the main photo, stark and atmospheric feel. This gives a slightly uncomfortable and weird feeling.
Issues: The title and author name are kinda hard to make out.
What do I think this book is about? Lit fic, just because of the contrast between the watery image but “Stars” in the title. I’m very wary because it could be a “Cancer Mom” type story. Read: depressing as hell.
Was I right given the blurb? Not at all. Turns out to be a sci fi YA romance.

 Dragon Bound
What I like: Again this is one of those that tells me exactly what I’m in for. I like a cover that uses blues and pinks for contrast, and I tend to gravitate towards centered lettering.
Issues: No idea what she is holding, hard to make out author name. Quite generic.
What do I think this book is about? Straight up no frills female main character urban fantasy. Probably heterosexual and featuring dragons as the hook. Modern setting.
Was I right given the blurb? Not really. It’s fantasy not UF, and historical-ish. (I did wonder since she’s in a dress and not leather pants, but the white t-shirt underneath threw me off).

 Heirs of Empire
What I like: Strong female central figure, power pose, can read both title and author name. Interesting choice on both serif and sans serif fonts.
Issues: Generic title, cover comes off as old fashioned. Makes me think author and text may be old guard out of touch. Male author with female protagonist is a red flag for me, personally.
What do I think this book is about? At first I thought epic fantasy because of her armor and the title and serif font, but then I noticed the spaceship in the background and the author name is sans serif, so I’m going with space opera.
Was I right given the blurb? You know what, I still don’t know if this is fantasy or space opera. I think maybe something like Dune? But the blurb doesn’t make this clear.

 Imitation
What I like: This cover is everything. I really adore it. I think it is stunning and beautiful and stark and so much more.
Issues: None. I like it a lot.
What do I think this book is about? Future, possibly far future, something to do with genetic manipulation or cloning. It reminds me of Orphan Black. This is the only one on this list I’m tempted to investigate further, read the blurb and possibly pick up. I’ve not been into SciFi recently, but I might buy this just because I like the cover so much.
Was I right given the blurb? Yes. Only thing I missed was that this is YA. Which actually turns me off (I love YA but struggle with YA scifi like Cinder). Blurb reminds me of the movie Never Let Me Go.

Right then, what do you think?

Cover art, yes or no?

Do you agree with my predictions?

{Gail’s monthly read along for March is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: Beta read (fifth draft).
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1887 Albert Aublet (French artist, 1851-1938) Sur La Plage, Le Treport

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My office sitting area

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

A Historical Look at Why Science Fiction Always Gets Screwed at the Oscars

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Why Writers Should Read

Book News:

Pinterest inspiration board for Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series. Characters Spoo & Virgil. Spoo is head deckling, Virgil is a valet and sometime helmsman.

Quote of the Day:

“A bookstore is a good place to go to be brave.”

~ Kate DiCamillo

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
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