Linell Jeppsen is a writer of science fiction and fantasy. Her vampire novel, Detour to Dusk, has received over 29- four and five star reviews. Her novel Story Time, with over 58- 4 and 5 star reviews, is a science fiction, post-apocalyptic novel, and has been touted by the Paranormal Romance Guild, Sandy’s Blog Spot, Coffeetime Romance , Bitten by Books and 54 top reviewers as a five star read, filled with terror, love, loss, and the indomitable beauty and strength of the human spirit. Story Time was also nominated as the best new read of 2011 by the PRG! Her dark fantasy novel, Onio (a story about a half-human Sasquatch who falls in love with a human girl), was released in December 2012 and won 3rd place as the best fantasy romance of 2012 by the PRG reviewers guild!
Her latest novel, The War of Odds, won the IBD award for fantasy fiction and boasts 12- 5 star reviews since its release in February of 2013.
She is also in a collaborative effort with the Welsh author, J. Bryden Lloyd in, The Guardians- a science fiction, serialized thriller with over 30 reviews here and in the UK!
For more information about Linell Jeppsen and her novels, visit http://neljeppsen.weebly.com, or http://www.worldcastlepublishing.com/home.html
WHY BOOK COVERS ARE SO IMPORTANT!
I remember following a discussion thread on Amazon a couple of years ago that addressed the issue~ some said that e-book covers do not matter, but I disagreed. There are so many books to browse on Amazon, Goodreads, assorted book sites, Smashwords, B and N, etc. There is also a lot of competition even getting your own book seen!
The BIG houses certainly know that good cover art is vital to the success of a book, and so should the small press and Indie authors. I heard, recently, that there are over two and a half MILLION independent books now, on Amazon alone, so great art is a must!
I write, primarily, science fiction and fantasy, so my art is even more important. My publisher does a great job, but I also hire a graphic designer who customizes my art to represent the characters, time and place of my assorted novels.
Onio is a quarter Sasquatch male who falls in love with a human girl. As you can see he is quite handsome, tall (about 6’7) and very hairy! Melody is pretty, but she is wearing no make-up… I mean, why would she? She is with a tribe of Sasquatches deep within the Rocky Mountains. The story takes place, mostly, during the wintertime- so there is a snowy background- perfect for the time and place.
All of my covers are custom made- Detour to Dusk is one that has a real, live model on the cover, but in the background, there is a tall, winged man. This is a vampire thriller, and the protagonists are huge, evil, winged creatures. The lake in the background is beautiful Lake Christina, in Canada.
One of my favorites is the cover of The War of Odds- an urban faerie tale. The girl’s name is Sara, the little sprite is Pollo, and the cat is called Hissaphat. He is a warrior general from the land of the fae. The evil, red eyes in the cave… well, you had better read it and find out! LOL!
So, you have sweated blood and tears on your new book- don’t cheap out now and put up mediocre art for your opus. Make your novel as irresistible as possible to the millions of readers out there who are browsing for a new book to read!
10 TIPS TO BECOMING A BETTER WRITER-
Practice, Practice, Practice! I know- that sounds simplistic, but it is true. There are born storytellers out there… I am one of them. That does not mean, however, that I knew how to write the stories down that teemed around in my head, when I first started writing! That takes practice.
This is for those people out there who don’t have a master’s degree in English Lit, okay? There are a hundred pitfalls to overcome in order to become a “good” writer. First, you need a good story! You can write the most perfect novel in existence; perfect grammar, spelling, outlining, perfect characterizations, POV’s and tensing- and still produce a lousy, boring book if it has no soul- that magical spark that makes your story unforgettable!
Still, your beautiful, thrilling, heart-wrenching story will soon be forgotten (or, worse yet, put down unfinished) if you do not endeavor to write clean copy. A good writer, in my opinion, has an excellent editor, and a host of Beta readers. An excellent writer also has a VERY thick skin! A good Beta is one who respects your story and your voice in the telling of it. They will not try to intrude upon your vision, or your plotline, but will be generous with their ideas- if you ask!
Sometimes, a really, good Beta reader is the person who spots repetitive words, or phrases. (Recently, my sister-in-law spotted the number four- five places in the opening pages of my latest project. Who knew? I must have been feeling “FOURISH” the day I wrote that! LOL!) They will tell you, gently, that you are telling the story out of order, or that they started yawning at the halfway mark.
A great Beta or editor will Never, Ever scoff at you, disparage your words, or disrespect you in any way. They will not try to impose their will upon you, or interject their voice into your work.
We all need to learn about writing great stories- and how great stories are structured. We need to learn the best Point of Views, the correct tense for our chosen POV, and a working knowledge of good grammar. One of my bug-a-boos is comma placement! Ugh! I have been at this for years now, and I still use far too many commas, and use them in the wrong places! (I’m probably doing it right now!)
In short, good writing takes time and practice. Some of my favorite authors started out a little rough, and improved their craft over time. So must we all!
Finding Your Voice: Writing in First Person (or Third)
This is an interesting phenomenon. I usually write in the third person- except for my novel, Story Time, which was written in the first person- from a number of viewpoints…whew! http://www.amazon.com/Story-Time-ebook/dp/B0080XO25S/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1336362295&sr=1-3-catcorr
I ran into an issue recently, however, that really gave me pause. A reviewer said I was writing in omniscient POV (the God View) in my novel, The War of Odds. I looked at it, and stared at it until my eyes crossed but I just couldn’t see it. Finally, my publisher said that there was no clear break between my character’s thoughts, words and actions- thus- the dreaded GOD-VIEW!
She literally put “Breaks” between the different characters, and now I am back to writing in the third person.
Just because YOU (the writer) know who is thinking and doing what, does not mean your reader knows. That is why it is so important to clarify and to be consistent in your point of view.
Writing in the first person POV has its share of challenges. This is where the old saying “Show don’t Tell”, really comes into play. Most people aren’t going to tell a story by saying, “I have beautiful, but troubled, blue eyes!” (lol) The protagonist will show by his or her ACTIONS that they are in trouble- maybe they observe the result of sleepless nights in the mirror and mutter, “I have GOT to get some sleep!”
There is no good way or bad way to tell a story- each has its merit. The first person narrative garners sympathy in the reader. I will give no spoilers here, but one case in point is the novel, “Gone Girl”. If you want to see a master of first person storytelling and the power of first person narrative, try that novel on for size. You will be in for a shock, and realize how vulnerable we are to really, good liars!
The Right Way and the Wrong Way To Promote Your Book Online
There are people out there who are masters of promotion; unfortunately, I am not one of them! I have learned a few things about product recognition, however, since I was first published in 2011.
There is SO much competition in the marketplace that both you and your product must become recognizable. This means that you need to interact with your readership. Be friendly, helpful, and supportive to them, even as you are promoting your services.
Join as many web sites as you can- and be sure to choose your sites wisely. There are places on Amazon where a writer is allowed to promote, but there are also places that will rip you to pieces if you dare advertise! Join in chat groups with like- minded people. You might not be able to promote- I mean, how would you like it if your good friend lifted his trumpet every morning and blasted it in YOUR face? You can make friends online, however, and they will do everything in their power to help you get ahead.
I have a thread on the MOA forum (Amazon) called the SS Wordsmyth. It is one of the most vibrant threads there and is home to many writers of science fiction and fantasy. We cross-promote one another, and give one another a shoulder to cry on when that occasional bad review comes in, or we feel rejected.
I also belong to a number of groups on Goodreads and Facebook. Another important thing to do is open an author page on Facebook, and get a good picture of yourself. Readers want to know who you are and what you look like! They want to identify with you as a person!
Most of all, and I mentioned this before, you need to grow a very thick skin. Book promoting is a microcosm of life itself… no matter how hard you try, or how friendly you try to be, not everyone will like you (or your writing style)! Having a lot on on-line friends will help insulate you from the occasional attack, or horrible review!
Most important of all is having product recognition for your own name. I am gratified to see that more and more people are starting to hit on the name Linell Jeppsen for fantasy and science fiction. With a little good planning and hard work, your name will become a marketable as well!