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Laurels Are For (Hopefully Far) Down The Road

When I began tentatively first tinkering with working on a new novel late last year, much as I’d done for my previous three novels I started now and then sharing “peeks” at a few paragraphs. (My first, Passports, didn’t get that treatment on here because I wrote it prior to starting this blog.) Now that the tale has a proper title, also as I have done previously I’ve now grouped those initial “peeks” together once more on their own page, and I will add to them during the months to come. That brand new page is found with a click on the Tomorrow The Grace draft cover(s) in the right sidebar:

[Tomorrow The Grace, front and back print covers. R. J. Nello, 2018.]

I didn’t discuss this in the previous post and I think it is worth doing so: that cover is another shift for me. My first three “modern” books (stories of the 1990s) had cover art that relied on my own personally-shot photography. In comparison, Conventions: The Garden At Paris, which takes place some four decades before photography was invented (and – yes, really! – that is also long before I was born, so I had no personal photos😂), has a cover that is a part of a 1780s painting of Paris’s then Place Louis XV (which is now the Place de La Concorde); the aim is to give the novel a “classics” book look and to set it apart from my earlier ones in emphasizing it is a nearly “250 year old” story.

For the upcoming Tomorrow, I’ve gone again for contemporary 18th-19th century period artwork. However, this time prominent faces will appear. I had never before had any on any of my covers mostly because I didn’t want readers associating cover faces with characters – preferring readers use their imaginations.

I suppose due to the presence of faces Tomorrow may change things in that department a bit, but it shouldn’t. We know the old saying “Never judge a book by its cover,” but of course we do, and often quite harshly: a lousy cover is a danger to a book. Tomorrow’s back one is a young woman of the English gentry painted in 1787; the front is a French well-to-do family painted in 1803. I like them, think they convey the sense of the tale I want conveyed at first glance, and feel our reading imaginations may benefit from a little help when it comes seeing people of that era who are perhaps “representative” of characters in the book.

[Meandering by Irish writer George Bernard Shaw’s house, Ayot Saint Lawrence, Hertfordshire. Photo by me, 2018.]

One other important reality I have learned in the ups and downs of writing since 2013 is this: we are not the likes of a George Bernard Shaw. (Well, at least not yet.) As an “indie” author, interest in your writing remains steady or growing only if you let it be known you are writing and have a firm idea of when your latest will appear in public. In short, you can never step off the stage for any length of time.

I suspect if web followers/readers sniff out that you aren’t writing another book, or even worse you actually declare that you aren’t (even for just a “hiatus” of sorts), interest in what you have written a year or two or three ago tends to fall off and I believe the reason for that is simple: readers feel they have invested in you, want you to keep writing, and above all want to read more from you. The moment they realize there won’t be more possibly for some time, or maybe even never, interest in what you have already written wanes. After all, as an “indie” author no matter how good your previous books may have been you cannot rest on your writing laurels because, frankly, you don’t have any yet.

“Laurels” may be said to be reserved for after you are literally a dead author. It took me just under a year each to write my first three novels; those relatively “short” spans between those books appearing was due to the fact that given their fictional memoir natures I did not need to do a lot of outside research. In comparison, Conventions, which did require extra research, took me well over a year and a half to complete.

[Walking the English countryside. Hertfordshire. Photo by me, 2018.]

That is the reason I revealed the Tomorrow The Grace title and the planned cover(s) only halfway through 2018. Tomorrow demands a Conventions level of research (and perhaps even more), so will probably require a similar length of time to write. I believe that as an “indie” author readers need to know where you are and what you are doing: thus my “2019” release estimate for Tomorrow and why I let you know all of that on here… just so you know.

Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

8 replies »

  1. I like your cover concept, but to me the back clashes uncomfortably with the front, because of the completely different palette. To feel more balanced, the back cover illustration would need to have one or more color accents that coordinate with the hues on the front cover.

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