I Like Short Books and I Can Not Lie

 

bookshots

 

Last summer, this happened: James Patterson’s BookShots.

I love it. I want to sing it to the world! I’ll settle for the tiny corner that reads my blog but I’m singing, my friends. Loud and proud. “I like short books and I can not lie!”

Take a look at this. (And, if you’ve seen it, heard of it, know everything about it…don’t spoil my fun.)

Their message for readers is:

BookShots
Under 150 Pages. Under $5.00
Impossible to Put Down.

All the info you need (plus a modest boost) in a small, catchy slogan.

What’s this all about? This is what it’s all about.

Patterson’s catering to people who love to read but have very little time to do so. In fairness, he’s also targeting those who don’t read often or have the attention span of…what was that? Aw. A chipmunk! How cute!

The bonus for me, aside from having very little time to read, is that, as we’ve established, I love short books. I’ll be writing more on my undying love for novellas later but, the thing is, BookShots is bringing back novellas for the digital age with some clever marketing. Because, really, they’re just novellas in disguise.

(This whole line of books kind of reminds me of pulp fiction but, eh, what do I know about that?)

ThoughtBubble

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Have you heard of BookShots? What are your thoughts on it? In general, do you prefer shorter or longer books?

 

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Cover Reveal (with a Little Help from My Friends)

 

I have a few books simmering on the burners. But my short story/flash collection is the one I’m closest to torturing the world with. And it needs a cover, as these things go.

Anyway, there are many choices and it’s overwhelming. I’ve narrowed it down. A lot.

I write kind of “dark” fiction but it’s not horror. It’s not thriller. It’s not really any genre. It’s just sort of…dark. Sad? No idea. But I don’t want to mislead readers with a cover that screams, “Horror!”

That was fun.

I want something that represents the darkness while also retaining some softness. If you’ve read my flash, you know what I mean. Without further ado…

Would you, could you, pretty please (with a cherry on top) take a look at these and vote for your favorite?

The font type, color, size, and placement can be changed. Any suggestions/ideas in the comments would be much appreciated. 

Thank you, gentle readers. I am so very grateful.

 

Brentyn_Cover1 poll

Cover 1

 

Brentyn_Cover2 poll

Cover 2

 

Brentyn_Cover3 poll

Cover 3

 

Brentyn_Cover4 poll

Cover 4

 

Brentyn_Cover5 poll

Cover 5

 

Cover 6

Cover 6

 

Cover 7

Cover 7

 

The lovely Rachael Ritchey, author of Chronicles of the Twelve Realms and founder of BlogBattle, designed these for me. I asked her for some advice after reading her post about cover design in her Indie Publishing series and, before I knew it, I had 500 designs in my inbox. I jest. There were only 400. She enjoys designing covers. And is really good at it. And is most generous with her time and talent. 

 

 

All images copyright Sarah Brentyn

Window Shopping for Book Covers

 

Silly Book Cover

 

I know I’m getting ahead of myself, putting the cart before the horse and all that, but I like browsing through pictures and playing around in Paint with images that could possibly be my book cover. And there are tons of sites with pre-made covers to set my imagination on fire.

If I have a working title, not just any old working title but one I might actually use, I’m much more likely to talk about my book, think about it, and, most importantly, work on it.

It’s also nice when someone asks me what I’m writing. I can say, “Cool Title” instead of prattling on about the characters, what I think the genre might be, where the story may or may not be heading because I’m really not exactly sure, explaining that I’m a pantser (and then explaining what a pantser is).

If I have a cover? I’m completely inspired.

I write more. Because, now, my book is like Pinocchio. Someday he’ll be a real boy, right? It’s the same thing. Someday it’ll be a real book.

Many will say this is ridiculous. You have to know what your story is about before you can find an image to reflect that. True. But if a visual encourages me to keep writing, it’s well worth the time spent.

And I might find one of the reasons I was sifting through photos was because I needed a break from my writing and now I’m back to it. With gusto.

Whether I wind up using the cover or not, I have one now. In this moment. I can see it in all its glory. The title, my name, an image that speaks to me (literally or figuratively—you make the call).

Window shopping a waste of time? Perhaps. But it’s a helluva lot of fun and fabulous motivation.

 

 

Do you design your book cover before you finish your book? (Before you’ve reached page 10?)

 

* Just so nobody asks, I’ve created a picture for this post (at the top) to answer the question of whether or not I will design my own cover. The answer, quite obviously, is “No”. A resounding NO. 

 

How Do You Like Them Apples?

 

 

Scrivener App

 

I was wavering, trying to decide which program to use for my writing.

So, naturally, I wrote about it, hoping readers would help. They did. That post generated quite a few comments. I learned a lot. I also made a decision to at least try Scrivener because I need the organization.

However.

My main problem with it was that you had to download it to your laptop and leave it there. That did not work for me.

Here are some of my replies from that post:

Can you use Scrivener on different devices or only one? iPad, iPhone…?

 Awesome! And, please let [Scrivener] come out with an app. Please! *fingers crossed*

No, no, no! Say it ain’t so. This is my main issue with Scrivener. I’m a total tech floozie, too. (Nice accidental alliteration there, if I do say so myself.) I use different devices and need a program that is available on all. I can’t imagine this isn’t an issue for many writers. Why on earth hasn’t Scrivener…created an app?

Exactly. I use two different laptops plus type a lot on my phone (I know, but it’s convenient if not a bit tricky). I’m going to do the trial but this was my main problem with it. *shouts* “Fix this, Scrivener techies!”

A lot of writers had the same issue. They used more than one device (because, really, who doesn’t?) and/or wrote when they had a second between errands, taking care of kids, work, commuting, sleeping, eating…

Hang on to your hats.

If you haven’t heard, I’m delighted freaking out that Scrivener now offers an Apple app for iPads, iPhones, and any other iThing you want to use it for.

They advertise that you can “Write Anywhere”.

Thank you, Scrivener, we already do.

But now lots of us writers will buy your program to “write anywhere” with. How do you like them Apples?

 

Those of you who use Scrivener, are you going to get the app? Those of you who didn’t (specifically because you used different devices) are you rethinking using Scrivener?

 

Process This

 

Sarah B Process This

 

I’ve been using Microsoft Word for…um…many years. I’m old. Moving on.

I hear from online writer friends, bloggers, and tweeps that Scrivener is the bee’s knees. Some say it’s easy, others that it has a steep learning curve. I don’t have time for that. But, if it really is all that and a bag of chips, I’ll find time to learn it. Because, as we all know, a stitch in time saves nine. (I have never understood this idiom. Surely there are better ways to say that if you do a little work now, it will save you doing more work later. See? That was easy.)

To add nuts to the cookie dough, I’ve just started using Pages. I know. But it was there and I was in need… I’m finally getting used to it and it has some pretty cool templates.

Pages is a shiny new toy, Word is a comfy, tattered old teddy bear, and Scrivener is a bike in the shop window.

I want all of the things!

You see my issue here.

I’m not likely to ever get rid of my ratty teddy bear. It’s comfortable. I know it well. But I do see the lure of a new toy, though that could be temporary. And the bike in the window that everyone is talking about? It’s a must-have yet I should probably learn to ride it (and that could take a long time).

Using three different programs seems excessive but do I whittle it down to just one?

I’m thinking each program could be useful for different types of writing—novels, short stories, flash, blog posts, notes…

If you have a spectacular idea and type it out on some note-taking app on your phone (yes, I have done this), are you able to extend it there or do you have to type it out somewhere else? I’ve always had to re-type it or email, cut, paste, repeat. I want to be able to extend writing where my notes are because, when inspiration strikes, you can be in bed at 2am and you have to write that scene.

I’m befuddled.

There are word processing programs, software designed specifically for writing, and apps for…just about everything.

I want to know (from you writers, not sites trying to sell me something) how easy or difficult these are to use. I want to know if you can transfer documents from one device to another and how many steps are involved in that process. I want to know if you can save these documents as other documents—Pages as Word, Word as Scrivener-ish-thing. What is a Scrivener document called? Anyway, I would love to know all of these things as well as any shortcuts you lovely writers have discovered.

 

What say you, gentle readers? What program/software/app do you use for writing? Do you use more than one?

 

* Edited to add: I’ve seen numerous mentions of Evernote in the past few weeks. Do you have this? Do you like it?

 

“But wait! There’s more!” I know there are dozens of apps out there and I’ve touched on only a few so please do let me know what you use and what works for you. I’ll send you cookies. (Chocolate chip, not electronic tracking data. Although… That would be a cool spy gadget.)

 

** Here’s something amusing for you. I wrote this post weeks ago in Pages and it took me forever to figure out how to get it to my laptop (in Word) and now, as I’m uploading it to WordPress, I’m having formatting issues. And I just love the irony of this. So much. Plus, the Hulk in me gets to SMASH something. Which is always fun.