Bookkeeping Prompts Another Cover Revision

Ashkenazi Sefer TorahI’ve been catching up on my bookkeeping. This is appropriate, because my current work-in-progress, Tally the Betrayals, is about a bookkeeper.

(He inks his tallies on scrolls. Thus the photo above.)

Now he’s not your ordinary bookkeeper.

He works in the “dark tower” of Silmaren in the Bronze Age of my North-lands, keeping track of the tin and copper flowing into the smithies where the weapons of the troll-lord’s armies are forged! And one of his tin ingots has gone missing.

But I digress. (And, yes, that was a tease.) 😀

Back to the bookkeeping at Casa Ney-Grimm.

I was updating my year-on-year spreadsheet, where I see how many copies of each book title sold each year, from 2011 through the present. It helps me assess the big picture.

web imageSeveral things became clear after I tallied the numbers for 2015. My short stories sell sporadically and by the handful. This is normal. Short stories just are not as popular with readers as longer works.

Except my Crossing the Naiad, which sells steadily. Still by the handful, but every month readers are choosing Naiad, which intrigues me. It’s a great story, yes. But so is Resonant Bronze a great story. What is it about Naiad that has extra appeal?

More experienced writers than I tell me that this is always the unanswered question, so, moving on…

Next conclusion: novellas sell better than short stories, still by the handful, but steadily. (Sort of like Naiad, in fact. Except that Naiad is not a novella.)

And novels sell best of all.

None of the above is really surprising. But the thing that caught my attention was that Livli’s Gift – a novel – is alone amongst my novels in selling merely like a novella. What’s up with that?

I think I know the answer. It was the cover. The old cover just wasn’t right.

Now I revised the cover a few weeks back and blogged about it. But seeing the cold, hard numbers made me revisit the issue. Sure, I’d revised the cover, and I liked the new version a lot. But had I revised it enough? If the old cover had been hurting its popularity that much, had I truly fixed the problem?

No, I didn’t think I had.

So I’ve been tinkering with it some more. I’m not quite done tinkering. I have a few more details I want to change. But I thought I’d show you what I have thus far.

Livli's Gift, night sky cover, 350 px

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What do you think?
😀

To see the original cover of Livli’s Gift, created step by step:
Creating Livli’s Cover

To see the cover revision of Livli’s Gift:
Why Revise a Book’s Cover

To see the inspiration for my novel Tally the Betrayals:
Tally the Betrayals

 

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Livli’s Gift in Paperback!

After printing umpteen million proof copies – okay, I’m exaggerating! it just seemed like that many – CreateSpace has finally disgorged an edition that looks the way I want it to! Livli’s Gift is now available in paperback. I’m thrilled!

Livli paperback photo 3853

Livli heals challenging injuries among the pilgrims to Kaunis-spa. Its magical hot spring gives her an edge, but Livli achieves spectacular cures mainly because she refuses to fail.

A pioneer, she hopes to match her new ways for banishing hurt with new ways of living.

But the sisters of Kaunis-lodge fear rapid change. What precious things might they lose while tossing old inconveniences?

Livli pushes forward the new, and one influential foe pushes back. Kaunis-home will keep its revered traditions, even if Livli loses almost everything.

Everything . . . and the one thing she absolutely cannot lose.

Livli seeks an answer in the oldest lore of her people, something so ancient, it′s new. But mere resolve against failure meets an immovable counter force this time. Victory requires more.

Must surrender spell defeat? Or could letting go harness real power?

Livli’s Gift as a trade paperback:
6″x 9″ trim size • 212 pages
ISBN-10: 0615743080
ISBN-13: 978-0615743080
Amazon.com I Amazon UK I B&N I CreateSpace

Livli’s Gift continues to be available as an ebook:
Amazon.com I Amazon UK I Amazon DE I Amazon ES
B&N I Diesel I iTunes I Kobo I Smashwords

Update: A lovely review appeared on Goodreads over the weekend, so lovely that I can’t resist sharing it!

“I have never read a novel that made me feel so good. Mrs Ney-Grimm, you absolutely BLEW MY MIND! . . . It was so unique, so original . . . Usually I blast through the pages of a book that I love, but Livli’s Gift made me want to go as slow as possible, absorbing every moment of bliss.” – Goodreads review

 

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Livli’s Gift is Here!

art by Kay Nielsen depicting a queen in her gardenSome of you have watched a Twitter stream of plot teasers while I wrote Livli’s Gift. Some of you have followed my progress notes on Facebook. And some of you have simply waited patiently. But wait and watch no more. Livli’s Gift is finished and ready to be enjoyed!

Livli heals challenging injuries among the pilgrims to Kaunis-spa. Its magical hot spring gives her an edge, but Livli achieves spectacular cures mainly because she refuses to fail.

A pioneer, she hopes to match her new ways for banishing hurt with new ways of living.

But the sisters of Kaunis-lodge fear rapid change. What precious things might they lose while tossing old inconveniences?

Livli pushes forward the new, and one influential foe pushes back. Kaunis-home will keep its revered traditions, even if Livli loses almost everything.

Everything . . . and the one thing she absolutely cannot lose.

Livli seeks an answer in the oldest lore of her people, something so ancient, it′s new. But mere resolve against failure meets an immovable counter force this time. Victory requires more.

Must surrender spell defeat? Or could letting go harness real power?

Livli’s Gift is available as an ebook in electronic bookstores.
Amazon I B&N I Diesel I Kobo I Smashwords

For lovers of print, the trade paperback edition is coming this summer!

 

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Creating Livli’s Cover

I want to take you with me as I build a book cover. It’ll be fun and interesting, so let’s go! My second novel, Livli’s Gift, will be released soon; watch as I put together its cover.

from art to complete coverThe first step is selecting art. I could commission an artist to create something new. But my North-lands were inspired by the folk tales in the collection East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and I adore the work of Kay Nielsen (who illustrated the stories). So I choose one of his pieces. It was published in 1914 and is in the public domain. It depicts a queen tending two magical plants under cloches in her garden and fits well with the events in Livli’s Gift, as you’ll see when you read it.

I’m not expert at working the scanner, so the color balance of the scanned art is wrong. Luckily I know my way around Photoshop well enough to fix the problem. I bring the art back to black and white, then drop the image into my cover file.

 

 

 

 

I leave room under the art for my name and an author tagline, but the area needs to be something other than a rectangle of paleness. This piece of art calls for a dark foundation, so I fill it with black. I also remove the black frame line at the top of the art, creating a smooth expanse for the title.

 

 

 

 

I know I want the color of the title to match the color of the author name: a bright blue. I’ll need a dark ground for the title to show well, so I create a translucent shadow at the top of the cover.

 

 

 

 

 

I type in the the title and the author. The J.M. Ney-Grimm looks great (grin!), but the title is not “popping” enough.

 

 

 

 

 

I add a drop shadow behind the letters of the title. That’s better! All that remains to be done is type in the title tagline and the author tagline.

 

:: Typing, typing, typing ::

 

And there we have it: Livli’s Gift.

 

More posts about book covers:
Eyes Glaze Over? Never!
Building Star-drake’s Cover
Choosing a Tagline Font

 

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