Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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If your cover could talk…

As a writer sometimes the cover comes before the writing. Odd, but true. Does your cover truly express the heart of the book inside? Does it totally blow the plot? Does it give away too much?

Have you ever picked up a book and wanted it just for the cover. Guilty as charged. I’ve seen a cover and just fell in love with the concept. It just inspired me to want to hear the story. I did that just recently and here’s what happened.

I was scanning through some of the books on Amazon. I do that from time to time to get ideas on cover design changes, fonts, etc. I come upon this book and the cover totally blew me away. I immediately purchased the book. I couldn’t wait until I had time that night to dig into it.

It was one of those moments when I put the book I’ve been reading aside and pick this one up. Well, I shuffled it around on my Kindle. The cover have a handsome cowboy and his trusty horse, but the background around it was just inspiring. The problem started when I read the first couple of pages. 

It wasn’t that the writing was bad, but it wasn’t following what I thought would be a cowboy romance. No ranch, no horses, no cowboy, nothing about this at all. I thought, well maybe it takes getting into the story to get to that part. Most of the book was about a businessman and woman. It was based in the city and not the country. Ok, well, maybe they are going there soon. Kept reading and nope. Close to the last couple of chapters they visited a ranch and then went back to the city. What??? That was it. 

The point to me telling you this is make sure that your cover tells the story. If it has a cowboy and his horse on it, then that’s what the reader is expecting. You know me, I love a good cowboy romance and I was left unsteady and very confused. I knew then that I’d been duped into this with my eyes. I should have read the blurb on the back. 

Make sure your cover gives a little mystery. If your character is going to go through a love triangle, maybe include all three involved, but don’t give away which the character will pick.  Leave a bone for the reader. Don’t leave a dinosaur though. If it’s such a mystery that you get to the end and say “WHAT?”

So, think about your cover long and hard. Maybe even design two slightly different and put them on your blog. Let your friends and readers vote. That’s always a fun concept.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Worst Part of Self Publishing

I’ve talked about the best parts of self publishing, the ins and outs, the how to’s, but I hardly ever talk about the bad side. With everything there is always some part that just plain out drives you crazy.

I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons about writing since I self published my first book. One of the worst parts to me is editing. That’s just not a fun process and sometimes I almost dread typing ‘The End’ because I know that’s the next part of the process.

I have a great assistant that helps me with this process, but I still am a hands on type of person. Also she’s leaving for college out of town, so… Also, I’m my worst critic. I’ll go over a part and tell her let’s change this. Usually she’ll tell me I’m crazy and take the file away from me. 

Another thing about self publishing that’s hard is self promotion. Which according to some of my author friends that’s even part of the process when you have a big publisher. So, I guess that could go on the bad side of publishing period!

I could probably list other bad aspects, but I really enjoy publishing my work myself. That way I know what’s changed and what’s not. So many authors say a publisher can tear your hard work apart and it doesn’t even sound like your work to begin with. That would be heartbreaking. Although sometimes I agree that some work does need to be torn apart. I’ve read some books lately that should have been torn up and started over. Did I say that? At least I didn’t say what they were. 

So if you’re thinking about self publishing then go for it. Some of the biggest authors right now started out that way. It’s rewarding even through the sweat and tears. If you’re not up to the editing or cover design, then check out my publishing service that I started. The link is http://www.horseshoepublishing.wordpress.com.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Does your cover reveal too much?

As with any writer I always struggle with my cover design. Sometimes I’ve got a picture in my mind of how I want the cover to look. During the writing of my books I’m constantly thinking of the cover. Some parts of the book inspire the cover.

It’s so discouraging to pick up a book and look at the cover expecting one thing and reading the book to find something totally different. I’ve done this several times as I know you have too. For example, the book has a vampire on the cover and the only thing about vampires in the book is a short part from a nightmare with a character. So why put a vampire on the cover when the book is not about vampires at all but about something totally different.

Then you get into the aspect of revealing too much with the cover. Let’s say that in the book there is a secret that will not be revealed until the middle or end of the book. You don’t want to put something about that on the cover if it will tell the reader what the secret is. This just spoils the whole suspense plot. 

So in my opinion the cover has to be thought over quite a bit. The cover can reveal a lot about the book. When my assistant and I designed the first couple of covers it was so wrong. We quickly revised it until we were happy. I was careful not to reveal too much about the plot but I also made sure the cover was relevant. 

Hope this helps if you’re working on your cover. It’s often one of the hardest things to me as a writer other than the dreaded description, but that’s a whole new blog post 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Your leading man…

When writing a romance novel you’ve got to have a leading man. How do you design him? Here’s the top ten things I ponder when creating my leading men. Hope you enjoy even if you don’t use them 🙂

1: Leading men always need to be able to take charge, be the hero type, at least for me. They have to be able to handle whatever the leading lady throws at them, or at least eventually handle it.

2: In the same instance, I like my leading men to be able to show emotion, whether it’s anger, frustration, or down right cry. It shows a human factor.

3: Most of my leading men have to be able to wear a Stetson and ride a horse. I know that’s just a personal preference, but it works in my books. The black Stetson is kind of my trademark.

4: Most of my leading men have dark hair and blue eyes. You definitely have to define the leading man’s looks and stick with it. If somewhere along the story he suddenly goes blonde and green eyed you have a problem.

5: What about size? Is he tall and lean or medium height and husky? It’s up to you, but it’s a pivotal point. If he’s a string bean with no muscles and the heroine needs to be carried off into the sunset you might have a problem.

6: Is your leading man a general good guy or does he have a bad side to go along with it? Sometimes your leading man has to be a little bad to get the lady, but that’s just my opinion. Sometimes they have a little rogue in them that draws your leading lady in. 

7: Will your leading drive a car or a truck? You may say that doesn’t matter, but it does in most stories. If he’s a high powered business man that wears a suit to work, nine times out of ten he’s going to drive a sporty car versus a four wheel drive truck. Now if he’s a cowboy he’s going to drive a truck. It makes the story more realistic to get the small details straight.

8: Will your leading man be a business type, a cowboy, a blue collar worker, or maybe be unemployed for the sake of the story? You can’t go from one thing to the other in the same story without a story line to support the change. 

9: Is your leading man educated? In a lot of story lines this is important because the dialogue needs to lean in one way or the other.

10: Ok, this is a biggy with me, is he romantic? Will he bring the leading lady flowers when things go wrong? Will he be the first to say those three little words that most men have a allergic reaction to? Or is he totally unromantic and moody? Your call…

I could go on forever, but these are the top ten things I look at in a leading man. Sometimes if you sit down and do a character sketch ahead of time it helps you to keep the story in line. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

    

 

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