I love playing Pictionary. Draw a kid sledding down a mountain. No problem. A camel in the Sahara. Sure, why not? A book cover for my novel. Okay, now wait just a minute.
You see my problem? I’ve spent years fine tuning my writing craft, but when it comes to drawing, my experience is limited to Pictionary. Honestly, it would be easier for me to draw a picture of a man trying to draw a book cover than it is for me to design a cover for my actual novel.
Scouring the internet, I found multiple websites to purchase book covers. But which ones really work? And how will someone design a cover for me when I don’t know what I want on it?
It took some trial and error, but here’s what worked for me.
Self publishing is EASY! Write a book, put the book up on Amazon, and watch thousands of people purchase your novel. Your book is amazing, after all. It spreads person to person like a wildfire. 0 percent containment! Then, you are asked to appear on Ellen. Sales skyrocket to the thousands. A movie producer calls you, and a three-part movie is released. Yes, you heard correctly, three movies for a single book. If the Hobbit could do it, why can’t you? You are living the dream.
Cut to reality. Your book has been purchased by ten people, and you can name all of them because you asked them personally to buy it. At least one of them was named Ellen. That’s close enough to achieving your talk show fantasy, right? As for that three-part movie deal, that would have destroyed the artistic integrity of your story. It’s better this way. Really. Writing is not about money, it’s about writing.
We got rejected. Not once. Not twice. Not thrice. Not…wait what comes after thrice?
Alright, the number doesn’t matter, but let’s just say it was a substantial amount of times.
So we’ve decided to self-publish our book. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say “selves-publish” since both my brother and I wrote the book together. Of course, we tried the traditional route of publishing. We wrote a killer query, submitted it out to agents, and waited eagerly for their winning feedback. What we got back was a bunch of “Thanks, but no thanks,” or “This is intriguing but not right for me.”
Truth be told, we got close. Four agents requested the full manuscript, and it only took a measly eight months for them to respond. Throughout those months, I dreamed about the call. The call that would change our life forever. “Hi, my name is Tess Tesla and I want YOUas a client.” I had a list of questions and talking points scrawled on a paper and tucked in my wallet so that when the call did come, I would be ready.