#YAIndieCarnival: The wolf pack


Other than our absolutely smashing readers who we adore (!), us indie authors usually have our very own wolf pack - a team of essential folk right behind us, that come in the form of book cover designers, beta readers and editors.
When I first started out with Raven, I had no money put aside to pay for any of these, so my book cover was a photo my husband took of me running through a little forest up our local mountain. I fiddled with it a bit in Photoshop and uploaded it to Smashwords and Amazon. Needless to say, when I look back at that image, I cringe! It really was pretty awful.
From this
Then this
To this... gorgeous!
Anyway, after several weeks (or was it months? I can't remember!), I decided it had to go so off I went to track down the perfect image for my new cover. I paid a stock photography site a few dollars for a picture I did like but I knew it wasn't THE one but with no money to fork out for a professional designer, I had to make do with it. The next two books I did the same, used stock images and then added my bit of flair in Photoshop (very little flair... I'm not exactly a pro!).
For my latest book, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, I knew it was time to go pro and so, using some of my earnings (!), I found a fabulous cover designer (Ravven) who did a stellar job with a beautiful new cover which I adore. During the same week, before I'd even told anyone about my professional cover, I was approached by the gorgeous Emma Michaels, who is a YA author and cover designer. She offered to re-do all three of my Raven Saga covers. Naturally I jumped at the chance and I'm totally over the moon with the result! Gorgeous!
As for beta readers, I started off with a dear friend (a teacher) who offered to read Raven as well as a number of close friends who happen to be in the publishing business with some experience with editing and proofreading. They did a wonderful job. I still use them today, but I've also added to them with beta readers who I've found via facebook and other YA sites. In fact this morning, I received an email from a fan who offered to beta read for me. Delighted, I promptly sent her my latest manuscript!
I must mention Bryna Butler at this stage. Bryna very kindly beta read The Lost Soul for me and I am so grateful because she managed to stop me from making a fool of myself with a certain dinosaur. I had written that this dinosaur could fly... and of course, it couldn't! I am so grateful to her for that!
As for editors, I did hire one once and although she is a lovely person and did a decent job, I felt that my beta readers offered the same service for free so at the moment I am content to continue just with them.
For more stories about the important people behind us indies, check out my awesome fellow carnis...

1. Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series
2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series


  1. I have to tell you that I really, really, really like your new book covers. Emma Michaels is very talented. Congratulations!

  2. Wow, you've come a long way baby! I love your last cover, mysterious, theatening, gripping, chilling, just what you need! Congrats!

    I too have come a long way with my covers. I used a pro designer, very talented, but alas her cover didn't pass by my fellow readers/writers...So I went back to my own designs, after having tested several covers with polls. That was very, very useful: to get feedback from hundreds of people...

    Shall blog about book covers soon...

  3. Thanks Tina... Emma is a real star. I highly recommend her!
    Claude... thank you, I do feel like I've come a long way lol. Let me know when you've blogged about book covers. I'd love to read it!

  4. Great post, Suzy. I love seeing the progress of your cover. I forgot to mention cover stuff in my blog post - I was just focussing on the writing. But the cover is SO important and you did the right thing working on it until you got it right. Good job :) The final version is stunning.

  5. I had to read this post Suzy, not least because I am on a similar 'cover journey' but I haven't quite reached your point yet. I have just self published with a cover which has my son and one of my daughters on it. I think that at some point I will go to the professionals but I would like to see how the book sells first.
    I will be writing a similar blog to this soon, but this was enjoyable and I could relate to it so well.


  6. I do so love your new covers and your new blog background too. Thanks for the mention.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Bryna & Melissa!
    I'm actually in the queue to have my blog completely re-designed by a pro. I can't wait!!
    Nigel, thank you for popping in for a read. Do let me know when you've written your post. I'd love to read it!!


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