Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pipe Dreams Blog Tour: spotlight and guest post

Pipe Dreams by Destiny Allison
Sci-fi, dystopian
Paperback, 360 pages
Published June 2nd 2013

Beneath the park bench, a young girl cries for help, her voice a cold hand on Vanessa’s throat. “Please,” the girl whispers, a tear trickling down her battered face. Vanessa glances at the empty square. A piece of trash tumbles. A bird settles in a tree. Then there is silence — no voice, no wind, no movement. It’s as if the world is waiting. The naked girl is desperate, but compassion for the Fallen is never forgiven.

Vanessa’s hesitation is her undoing. Unbeknownst to her, Lewis is still haunted by her thick, auburn hair, serious eyes, and mocking laughter. She is the symbol of all he hates and her interaction with the girl is just what he needs to gain control of the virus. Originally developed to save mankind from itself, the virus can be used to create a slave race. When it is released, Lewis will have his revenge.

As his plan unfolds, Vanessa is forced to flee. Escaping through the sewer, she finds love, heartbreak, and the red beam of a gun sight dancing on the slick, black wall. In the deep dark of the foul pipe, she also discovers she has been betrayed. That’s when she learns Texas is real.

Pipe Dreams is a dystopian novel set in the near future. If gene splicing could merge Margaret Atwood and Suzanne Collins, the resulting author might write this book.

Cover design

Thanks for having me today. I love that you are a family of readers and that you do this together. How cool is that?

You asked me to talk about the importance of a good cover design and I can't think of a more important topic for aspiring authors. Most writers know they need an editor and will do everything they can to find someone to help them polish their work. What most don't understand is how their creative vision doesn't necessarily line up with cover art.

I learned this lesson the hard way. Last year, I published my memoir Shaping Destiny: A quest for meaning in art and life. It took ten years to write, edit, rewrite, reedit, and find the courage to release it. I knew enough then to know I needed the cover to be professional so I hired a graphic designer. We both thought that cover should relate to my artwork in some way, as that was intrinsic to the book. My designer took one of my paintings, some chunky red letters, and created a visually pleasing cover. Or so I thought.

The fact is, cover design is very different from graphic design. It has to convey what the book is about without giving away the details. It must incite curiosity and speak to the genre in a way that will encourage people to pick it up (or click on it). In addition, the print version has a spine that needs to be right, and a back cover that has specific product information in addition to the description and barcode.

My designer told me he knew what he was doing and it all looked fine to me until a bookstore owner pointed out the lack of genre information and noted that the lettering on the spine was the English style, not the American. In other words, it was upside down.

Finally, the cover had to look good as thumbnail and compete with all the other books in its genre while also being similar enough that genre readers wouldn't be put off by something unfamiliar. My first cover was a miserable failure and seriously affected sales.

I finally found the right cover designer for me. Ida Jannsen at Amygdala Design redid my first cover and created a cover for Pipe Dreams that I think is stunning. More importantly, my readers do too. I get tons of compliments and people have bought the book because of the cover. Since I changed the cover of Shaping Destiny, its sales have improved.

The thing about self publishing is that the author is operating a business. She needs to understand when to hire (and how) because she can't possibly do all the work herself. Not only does it consume too much time, she's likely not very good at absolutely everything.

There are some great tips on the internet about what makes a good cover design. Research your genre and then hire a designer who knows the difference between graphic design and cover design. You won’t regret it.

About the Author:

Destiny Allison is an award winning sculptor, businesswoman, and community builder, although writing was her first love. As her passion for the written word evolves, Allison is writing what she loves. Pipe Dreams is her fiction debut and other fictional works are soon to follow.

Last year, she published Shaping Destiny: A quest for meaning in art and life and it recently took first place honors in the non-fiction/memoir category in the 2013 LuckyCinda Publishing Global Book Contest. In it, Allison reveals the truth that life is art and it is a book Allison felt she had to write. She lives in Santa Fe, NM with her husband and dogs, alternately missing and celebrating her three grown sons.

Author's Websites: 
Twitter hashtag: #PipeDreams

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