Spending money on a website and more money on book covers — I know how to do that. And I can afford it. But if that’s all I do, what’s the point? Good-looking covers and a nice-looking website are NOT a marketing plan. They’re just tools that you use in your marketing plan.
Once I have a website, and books that are available on Amazon, what then? If I sell half a dozen copies to my friends and that’s the end of it, there’s no point in spending the big bucks. I might just as well upload free PDFs.
It’s a discouraging question, and I have no answers. What’s more, I’m aware (from chatter in the Facebook authors’ groups) that it’s a question that perplexes a lot of self-publishing writers. I’m not alone. That’s small comfort, however.
No sooner am I ready to throw up my hands and say, “The hell with it,” than the guy who has been working on my covers sends me a rough. Many of the details you’re about to see will change. Those wings on Book 4, for instance, look like a bat, and they’re supposed to be dragon wings. (Finding good stock photos of a dragon poses certain challenges.) But as a boost to the old psyche, you could hardly beat this:
This is a clever 3D artist’s mock-up, of course. There are no print books. Unless I can generate some actual reader excitement, there never will be. But there’s a big difference emotionally between knowing you’ve written a series (actually it’s one long novel) and actually seeing it. Hey, there are my books! Yowza!
Also, I think I’ll give myself a pat on the back for the titles. They tie together pretty well, don’t they? And with a shield, a tree, a fountain, and chalice, you might not be too far wrong in guessing that one of the themes of the story is healing. It’s not grim, that’s for sure: This is no feast for crows. “Ribbonglass” is a bit of a stretch linguistically, it’s true. For a while I was going to use “Shimmerglass,” but I decided ribbons were more tactile.
Curious about the story? Oh, good — I hoped you would be! A couple of days ago I sat down and wrote the text that will go on the various pages of the new website. On the page for the Leafstone Series, here’s what you’ll read:
At seventeen, Kyura thinks she’s nobody special. She works hard in her Uncle Dulan’s inn, serving the dinner guests and sweeping the floors. But then a family of elves arrives from the distant land where she was born, bringing with them a broken piece of a powerful magical amulet known as the Leafstone Shield. Kyura has another piece of the Shield, which she thought was only a keepsake given to her by her mother before her mother disappeared.
And then, one by one, the other pieces find their way to her, brought by people who don’t know her and don’t know one another.
A god wants her to use the magic of the Shield to free her once-beautiful homeland from the iron grip of the Lord Dahilio Rundel, his unstoppable wizard Posthilnueze, and Kyura’s unstable and bloodthirsty cousin Tornibrac. She and her friends Meery and Alixia face impossible odds — and their allies? A burglar, a not-very-bright ghost, an egotistical and unreliable concert pianist, an ox-tender (who happens to be the Emperor, but don’t get your hopes up), a half-breed demon, Alixia’s disapproving governess, an unlicensed back-alley wizard, an old and bedridden blind woman, and an ogre with an attitude.
The story begins with The Leafstone Shield and continues through The Ribbonglass Tree, The Heartsong Fountain, and The Firepearl Chalice. In The Leafstone Shield, Kyura and her friends right a terrible wrong and then run for the railway station half a step ahead of their enemies. In The Ribbonglass Tree, they discover that getting from Lorvondes to Sa’akna is a lot more complicated than just buying railway tickets. In The Heartsong Fountain, Kyura learns what happened to her mother and struggles to seize power in Sa’akna without wholesale bloodshed. In The Firepearl Chalice we finally learn what happened to Arik, and Kyura finds that keeping the crown is even harder than acquiring it!
Along the way you’ll meet a dozen memorable characters — some noble, some despicable, and one or two who are simply hapless and doomed. You’ll live through three uncertain love affairs and more than a few desperate hand-to-hand battles, swept up in a whirlwind of political intrigue, treachery, murder, ancient legends, heartbreak, and exotic magic as you discover a world that’s not quite modern but certainly not Medieval. Imps, dragons, horseless carriages, prophecies, pistols, and railroad trains — it’s a mad scramble as three ordinary (or not so ordinary) girls set out to change the world or die trying.