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Monday, August 3, 2015

Cover me

Life is complicated. That's the tagline of my book and it comes from a place of truth. For those that are writing books it's not only complicated, but it hard and there's a lot that can't be control. The story is part is completely under the author's thumb, it's the author's brainchild and a accumulation of thoughts, ideas, experiences and imagining that are unique to everyone who put pen to paper in an honest attempt to tell a story. The manuscript is complete, you and the editor have battled it out challenging and defending the plot, characters, story order, tenses, anachronisms, bad choices and spelling and grammar. There's a lot of hard work by those involved and at the end the angles sing and a great hosanna echoes over the land as a finished book is produced and the author holds it triumphantly overhead and flips a bird to all of life's distractions that did their very best to get in the way.

It's done. A piece of the author's soul is in the world. It was a labor of love that may have taken months, or the better part of a decade, in some cases a lifetime. The author hopes, but knows, the book isn't going to be a best-seller, or win literary awards, but it's well received. Then one day someone has your pride and joy on display on website trashing it, not for the story, characters, dialog, or the clever twist that no one saw coming. It's there because they think the cover is terrible. Seriously.

So, yeah, this actually happened to me. When we put the book together we thought we had a fine cover is fresh and dynamic and both my editor and I liked it. It featured art from one of my closest friends and I thought it was very fitting to the book. Once I got over my shock and anger, because who were they to judge MY book over this cover, but it dawned on me. Covers are very important. The times I've been sucked into a Home and Garden show my wife was watching they talk incessantly on curb appeal. The house could be amazing on the inside, but if the outside isn't happening it's easy to dismiss. We do judge books on their covers and while art is subjective, there are things that are generally unappealing.

Once I started reading the comments and pulled myself out of the equation, I noticed the commenters were very specific in what they didn't like. I had to wade through the personal attacks from people who have no idea who I am, but, hey, internet. I was able to take notes from that and actually learn something. Until I found the website, there were a few negative comments, but it wasn't outside the realm of normal. I talked them over with my editor and he was encouraging and we both felt strongly about the material. With the new information it started to form a picture and that picture said, in the words of Neil Gaiman, "Make good art." At that point I started asking did we. the answer was an unequivocal yes, but maybe we need a new frame. I brought this back to my editor and said, 'hey check this out.' We were both scratching our heads at that point.

Luckily, I have a friend who is a cover artist and she put together another cover for me. Once we all settled on the cover, I hit the streets again. While sales haven't skyrocketed, they've been steady and there is a lot more positivity to the book. It's still an uphill battle, but I'm making some headway.

I know we're curious to see if this ultimately makes the difference. I believe we have a solid story, fun characters, unexpected twists and turns and all the earmarks of a success story. I've gotten some great feedback on my story, even those I haven't bribed with their home and garden projects. (Curb appeal wasn't the only thing I learned about on those highly addictive house flipping shows)

Only time will tell if my book is judged on it's cover. It's not like a have a large collection of books, some really terrible, with amazing covers. ;)

Please find me at:

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:

$3.99 for the e-book
$18.95 for the paperback

Plus, for a limited time with a limited number of copies, I have an online store on Amazon where you can purchase a signed copy of my book, with the new cover. Copy and paste the link below into your browser. Look for Used and New, click on New and look for MAberdeen. You're buying directly from me through Amazon and I have about 12 books left at the time I publish this, but don't worry, I know where there are more. :)


  1. I think a cover ultimately pulls me in or pushes me away. That said, when I love the writer, I don't even see the cover.

    1. There are some writers I buy book unseen. I know that no matter the cover I'm going to love stories by Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Fiona Barnes, but when trying out new material, I think the book needs to have some curb appeal. I know my own habits when browsing in a book store. I am attracted to artwork.