October 24, 2011

Contest! Design a book cover for THE FAIRY TALE TRAP

My book, THE FAIRY TALE TRAP is due to come out at the end of the year, but it needs a cover! Unfortunately, I have little to no talent for visual art. Lucky thing I have friends who can do amazing things.

Contest time!

What do you get out of it?

Everyone who scores well in the contest will get a copy of THE FAIRY TALE TRAP ebook.

The winner will get a feature on my blog (where you can show off your portfolio, website, etc...), their name and website in the acknowledgements, and of course, the chance to get your art on the cover of THE FAIRY TALE TRAP.

The winner also gets a $25 Amazon gift card.

Original art must be submitted as an TFF or JPG file.

Requirements for the size of your cover art:
• Image dimensions of at least 500 by 800 pixels.
• A maximum of 2000 pixels on the longest side is preferred
• Ideal height/width ratio of 1.6
• Save at 72 dots per inch (dpi) for optimal viewing on the web [I don’t know what this means. I pretty much copied this from Amazon's publishing site. I figure they know what they're doing.]

All submission must be received no later than midnight, on December 10th, 2011.

Submitted artwork must be your original creation. You must have full rights to all material used. (Public domain is fine to use.)

Yes, you may submit multiple entries.

Your cover needs to have the title: ‘The Fairy Tale Trap’ plainly visible and large enough to read the title when the image is reduced to a thumbnail. The author's name, ‘Emily Casey’ should also be plainly visible.

Book covers will be judged by Emily Casey and/or a panel selected by Emily Casey and the voting may be opened to the public. All submissions to be sent by email to emilycaseysmusings@gmail.com

Please include your name, age, email address, and website.

Judging Criteria:

Marketability: 35 points

  • Is the cover aimed toward the target audience? (Girls age 12-18)
  • Does the cover make it clear that this is a young adult fantasy book?
  • Is the title largely visible, even when shrunk down to the size of a postage stamp?
  • Is the writing legible on the cover?
  • Does the cover bring out emotion and/or reflect a mood in the viewer (that relates to the book)?
  • Is it clean and professional-looking?

Overall Visual Appeal: 40 points

How it Captures the Essence of the Book: 25 points


I’m putting up the first chapters of The Fairy Tale Trap so you can get a feel for the tone, setting, and characters of the book. I highly recommend you read it before you start! Some things to note:
    • Ivy’s dad is Asian. Her mom is Anglo/White.
    • Ivy’s personality and attitude vs. the setting
    • This book is all about Beauty and the Beast, with a twist.
Cover art with white or very light backgrounds can seem to disappear against white background. Adding a very narrow (3-4 pixel) border in medium gray will define the boundaries of the cover.

Although I've never used them, I've heard GIMP and Scribus are good tools for making a book cover. Since this is an ebook, you don't need to worry about designing the spine or back cover. :)

Good luck!

Let me know if you decide to enter so I can cheer for you!

Stuff I have to put on here to avoid headaches and lawsuits:

By entering this Contest, each contestant consents to the use of his/her name, and/or artwork in any merchandise, advertisements, educational materials, publicity, or other related use carried out or produced by Emily Casey and advertising and promotional agencies without further notice or compensation. Emily Casey can publish or decline to publish, or use or decline to use, any submitted artwork at her sole discretion. The winner relinquishes the rights to use and publish the submitted artwork.

October 18, 2011

On the Road to Self-Publication:The Unknown

I'm making plans for the release of Ivy's book. The title Roses and Mirrors doesn't seem to do justice to Ivy's voice, so I'm playing around with that. At the moment, The Fairy Tale Trap appeals to me, but I'm open to suggestions.

The idea of self publishing has put me in a weird place, emotionally. I'm torn between I'm-So-Excited and Wow-This-Is-Scary. The book won't come out until late November/early December, but it feels right around the corner. I want to make sure the book is as close to perfect as I can make it.

This is the road to self-publication. It's chock-full of fear. I have to wonder: is my manuscript good enough? Should I send it to agents one more time? What's going to happen?

I think it's that unknown factor that makes self-publishing so exciting and stressful at the same time. It's a gamble. On one hand, I could have amazing success. On the other, I might sell two copies to my mom and that would be the end of it.

Would that be so bad though, if I learned something? If I even got one review on Amazon that mentioned one thing that I didn't know, would it be worth it? I mean, it would be horribly disappointing, but still. I'm doing most of the production on my own. I'm trying not to spend a ton of money on this.

But I think that learning from all this is key. Maybe I'll learn about a weakness that's been holding me back. Perhaps I'll learn about a strength that will launch my next book into success. Or maybe I'll learn that self-publishing isn't for me. (I hope it's not that last one, but if it's true, better to learn it sooner rather than later.)

The unknown is scary. But it's also promising.

October 11, 2011

Thanks for the Musefire, Holly

It broke my heart when I heard this, but Holly Lisle is going to close the doors to her writing classes to new students. These online courses changed my life and put my writing on the right path. I owe so much to her, but she's pursuing her true passion: writing fiction. I completely understand.

Holly has put so much of herself into helping other writers find their passion. She taught us how to dig into ourselves, find what we love, and transform it into stories we could be proud of. She called the course How to Think Sideways.

Then Holly realized that most people don't know how to simply "revise a novel" until it becomes what the writer intended it to be. She'd written so many novels (35 at the time, I believe), revision was second nature to her. So she analyzed her process and broke it down into lessons to make an even better class (in my opinion) called How to Revise Your Novel.

I thought I knew how to revise. I was wrong. Even now, as I try to describe the excitement of turning my book into what I hoped it would be, I fall short. You know when you watch a movie trailer and, even if it's for a movie you've already seen, it gets you so pumped that you suddenly feel like to HAVE to watch that movie? Going through How to Revise Your Novel is like that.

Holly, you've done incredible things for the writing community. You helped change me as a writer and as a person. The aha! moments were priceless, but there were moments that were even better.

So Holly, if you're reading this, I want you to know: because of your classes, I wrote dialogue that made me laugh, stories that made me dance for joy, and hints to my readers that literally made my hands itch with anticipation.

Thank you.

October 10, 2011

Brief Update on the Self-Publishing Schedule

So, just to get you lovely readers caught up, I'm trying to schedule a photo shoot for my book cover. I'm doing another revision before sending it off to a final few readers. And I'm just hoping I don't forget anything.

The plan is to release Ivy's first ebook around Thanksgiving. (I know. So soon!) I'm really excited, but also a bit... terrified. This is so new to me.

While I have your attention: what kind of bonus material would you be interested in?

October 4, 2011

Ooey, Gooey Chocolate: A writer's best friend

One of my good Twitter buddies, Shellina has this great recipe blog called The Frugal Flambe. When she tweeted about Sinless Chocolate Lava Cake, well, I didn't waste any time. It was my duty to evaluate the authenticity of this claim.

Being a writer, my muse needs to be bribed every now and then. This was the perfect way to do it.

It looks so innocent in this picture, but don't be fooled.

This is what good books are made of.
After sufficiently downing one of these cakes (I promise it was only one!), I sat down and had a pretty good writing day.

Lesson learned: chocolate in good. Gooey chocolate cake is better.

**Just so you don't overestimate my cooking abilities, this past Sunday I made waffles. Instead of 4 teaspoons of baking powder, I used 4 teaspoons of baking soda. *shudder* Those babies got more bitter with every bite. Don't make that mistake!**
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