Feb 12, 2013

Writers have a lot of balls

Wait, what did you think I meant?
With the popularity of authors breaking out on their own and publishing their own works, the role of author is expanding. I know many authors who are also their own publishers, editors, marketers, promotors, sales coordinator and graphic artist. Phew! It's a lot of work, for sometimes very little return. 

Through my small press publishing house, Hot Doggy Digital Press, I produce my own books and ebooks, but I definitely am not a one-woman show. I rely on lots of beta-readers (including avid readers, writers and my target market which is usually kids), employ professional editors, work with graphic artists and book designers and enlist various marketing programs. This costs money, but produces much more professional results than I could ever achieve alone.

Right now I'm sending out the final draft of Dognapped? A Dog Show Detective Novel to beta-readers. I'm also playing with cover designs. I like to do mock-ups, so when I talk to my book designer I have a clear idea of what I'm after. While this is going on I'm beginning edits on Undead Kev, writing short stories for submission, designing writing workshops for kids, attending my writer's group and undertaking masterclasses for editing. Soon I'll be designing and ordering promotional material for Dognapped (bookmarks, postcards, magnets, etc) and planning a book launch.

It's not easy juggling all those writer's balls (you thought I was going in a different direction with that post title, didn't you?). To be honest I find it easier to label all my balls, but only toss one in the air at a time. How are you going with time-managment and multi-tasking? Got a lot of balls?

Here's some of the very rough drafts of cover ideas for Dognapped? Feel free to be opinionated!


  1. Lol! Writing does seem to be turning into a juggling act, doesn't it? And new balls are suddenly thrown on to it. Crazy. Glad to see you're a good juggler!
    And I like the first cover.

  2. These covers are all really cute! I can see why it would be hard to pick. Either the first or the last is my favorite. I can't decide. :)

  3. I really like the first cover. Still need to read Zombie Dog. And you sound so organized. OMG!

    Hugs and chocolate,

  4. All those responsibilities are a plethora of hats that an author wears. Wow!

    I particularly like the bottom right book cover. Very cute and artistic.

  5. I like the two covers on the right better than the two on the left.

    So true about writers having a stockpile of hats. We're one-stop wonders these days. And we do need a lot of those other kind of balls most days, too.

  6. We do juggle a lot!!

    If you're targetting boys as well as girls, I'd eliminate the 1st and last. My favourite is the top right :)

  7. I like the second cover best, the others have too many distracting details!But I'd put a yellow highlight behind your name on it to bring a balance with the yellow in the title and to make your name different from the subtitle of the book. Love the title of the book :)

  8. Some days I'm super efficient and tick things off my list like Billy-O, but then other days, hrumph. If I could up the consistency I might actually get somewhere in life.


  9. Wow, lots of feedback, you guys are awesome! I'll let you in on a little secret, almost every 12-14yr old girl asked preferred the first design. It was my least favourite because of the busy. But there you go. I'm getting great tips from bloggers and FB friends on ways to tighten and fix some of the design problems.

    My fav Dezmond is also the second I like your yellow idea. Sadly NO kids liked that design.

    There is a theory that blue and yellow are the winning colours for book design and movie posters, so maybe the kids have proved that true. This is a girls novel, although it has some thrilling moments involving murder and kidnap (nothing graphic, the murder is off scene), its protagonist is a 12yr old girl and it has a lot of puppies in it. If I could have added a unicorn I would have.

  10. Hi, Charmaine, I like the two bottom ones. 'Course the pink works if the MC is a girl. And I like the blue one on the bottom because of the background pic. More realistic than the clouds for me.

    Yeah, we do have lots of balls to juggle. Definitely calls for help in several areas.

  11. Well, here's my comment and I'm sure it's not going to help you decide. I like the bottom left cover because it is easy to read, it's not too cluttered, and the colors are pleasing. Covers are so hard. And I never considered that young teens might have a different reaction.

  12. I'm drawn to the upper left and the lower right covers, but I think the legs of the human look better when the foot with the painted toenails show. If I had to pick my two faves, though, I'd pick both the mockups on the right. The upper left is a little too busy.

  13. I like all the covers, especially the fourth one because the notepaper on it makes me think of the notes that I used to pass with my friends when I was in school.
    I'm all about multi-tasking, partly because I work multiple jobs so I have to multi-task. But it's still hard to manage my time effectively, though I suspect it would be easier if Youtube had never been invented. :)

  14. I like the bottom left cover. They've all got their good design points, but as I know the story, I think my choice reflects your story (which is crucial in a cover)).
    Self-publishing is a lot more than clicking Publish on Amazon. I think those who do it on the cheap are robbing themselves. It is going to be a lot of work either way, but self published books must be professionally edited/formatted. A super cover is crucial!! Your first selling point.

  15. Self-publishing seems like an awful lot of work though of course the traditional path isn't any easier. Congrats to all the hard work you're putting here. For your covers, I like the first one on the upper left. I think it's colorful and would be very appealing to kids.

  16. Hi! Charmaine - all the book covers are great, but I like the one on the top left the best. Good luck with your book!

  17. I've got so many balls, my nickname is E.T., the extra testicle.

    Love the idea for the new book! And all the covers. I'd be hard-pressed to choose.

  18. Hi Charmaine,
    While I like the cover, it struck me as being less "dog-show" and more "dog-sitter". Perhaps a trophy, or some other dog-show type theme. I just watched a dog-show and it was a bit...dressier in that dog-show-meets-pageant kind of way.
    My .02 cents. I'll never pass up an opportunity to offer opinions when asked.
    Best of luck to you!
    ~Just Jill

  19. My favourites are the right-hand ones...
    You sound like you have everything under control Charmaine!

  20. Great post - so many threads to a writer's life now! I prefer the first cover but I can imagine it would appeal more to girls.

  21. You're so bad! ;)
    Yeah, I'm not doing so well with the whole juggling thing. I already had the 11 hour day job that I wake up for at 3 am. Now it's gotten much harder to do it. More and more paperwork and very fast-paced. This year I had hoped to back off on promotion and networking, and simply focus on writing with my limited time; however, now that's becoming an issue. *sigh*
    On the other hand, I started writing again a few years ago for the simple fact that I didn't want to have any regrets later in life. No matter what happens, I cling to that premise: no regrets!
    Thanks for asking. :)


  22. I wasn't so much *thinking* you were going in a particular direction as *hoping*. ;-)

    As for the covers, I dig the one on the upper left. The lower right cover's my second pick.

  23. What cute covers. I love the bottom right. It's so girly.

  24. One day at a time. You do what you can do, and trust it is enough. So nice that you give acknowledgment and encouragement for writers in this post. Thank you!

  25. I like the upper left. And thanks for the use of the Captcha badge. I'll try it for a while, especially during he A to Z Challenge.

  26. Hi Charmaine,

    It is definitely a lot of balls. And one need some balls too to pursue a career in being an author.

    Oh on the covers, first one for me!