For Readers & Writers

from Susan Dennard

July 11, 2014
Phew! What a week. I've been crazy busy, drafting up a storm and getting ready for the #YARunsA5K race next week. Just because I can run a 5K doesn't mean I'm doing it easily. Or faster than a turtle.

Speaking of turtles, my dogs stumbled across one on our morning walk...and FREAKED OUT. Asimov, the Irish setter, wouldn't even go near the darn thing. Notice he has his tail between his legs. What great guard dogs I have.

For the Misfits:
Extra Scene from A Darkness Strange & Lovely
As you've come to expect, I have another Twitter giveaway running (until 1 PM ET) for a signed ARC of Strange & Ever AfterJust retweet this tweet to win! Can you believe the book comes out in 11 days?! O_O

And, to celebrate the $1.99 e-book deal for Something Strange & Deadly, I'm giving away an E-BOOK of STRANGE & EVER AFTER!! Yep. You read that right. To be eligible to win, just RT this! (I'll pick a winner tomorrow, 7/12, at 12 PM ET.)

Finally, in SS&D news, you can read the first 66 pages of Strange & Ever After! Just click here to check it out. :)

AND NOW, as promised, I have that extra scene from Daniel's POV. If you haven't read A Darkness Strange and Lovely, then DON'T read this scene. It's a bit spoilery. ;) (Tweet this to share!)


For the Daydreamers:
How a Cover is Born

So when an author and a designer love each other very much...

Ha. Just kidding. ;)

You may recall that in the early days of the Misfits & Daydreamers I promised to share the behind-the-scenes steps of publishing as I encountered them with Truthwitch. Well, it's cover time--or "cover comp" time.

A cover comp is a concept cover that the designer puts together prior to making the real cover. It's usually super rough and clearly photoshopped, but the designer doesn't want to put in a ton of work if the idea is only going to get shot down anyway.

Here's the cover comp from Something Strange & Deadly (next to the finished cover). [Note: please do not share! This is for M&D reader-eyes ONLY!!!]


I'll be honest: when I got this comp, I was TERRIFIED. I mean, this chick looks pretty scary! But once the model was hired (she was actually 16-years-old! Can you believe it?!) and the photo shoot was conducted, well...Then things fell into place! The designer worked her magic and crafted something WAY more appealing.

Right now, with Truthwitch, I'm in the midst of offering ideas to Tor on what I'd like to see in a cover. Now remember: as a rule, authors have very little say in their covers. We can pitch all the ideas we want (and then pitch all the hissy fits we want too!), but if the publisher's various teams have already approved something, then it's super unlikely anything will change.

And if Barnes & Noble has already approved the cover? Well, then yeah--ain't nothing gonna change.*

Speaking of B&N, right now they're looking for "iconic covers with fancy framework" (my paraphrasing, not theirs). So 1.5-2 years from now, you can expect to see a lot more of these gender neutral, iconic books (think The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell). So, since I know that this is what B&N was into right now, I've made sure to only offer "B&N appropriate" ideas to my Tor team.

Again: this does NOT mean that I'll get anything I've asked for. It's up to Tor to decide what will sell best and reach audiences, and I let them do their job. But...I still have my fingers crossed that I'll get something pretty. ;)

To help my editor better guide the designers, we've started a shared Pinterest board where I can share what I like. Again, I'm sticking to what I think fits into the B&N requirements (frameworks or icons!), but at the same time, I'm pinning covers/images that I truly love (The King of Attolia!!!).


I don't think I'll have anything to show with y'all for a while. I'm supposed to get a cover comp this month, but I have a feeling that'll be Top Secret. I promise, though, that I'll bring you in the loop the instant I have something I can share. :)

*From time to time you'll see a book get repackaged--i.e. given a new cover/look. This happens for different reasons. Sometimes fans are vocal and demand a different cover. Sometimes sales could be better, and the publisher thinks a different look will improve the book's reach. And other times, the publisher just thinks the book needs a fresh look to appeal to a new market.
Now, to wrap up the week, here are the best writing-related links I discovered this week:
See you next week, my friends! And don't forget: if you have any questions about ANYTHING, drop by the forum to ask. Thanks for reading!

photo by Emily Rae Photography

Copyright © 2014
Susan Dennard
All rights reserved.

110 West 40th St., Suite 410
New York, NY 10018

I'm a misfit, a daydreamer, an animal-lover, and a (now gluten-free) cookie-eater.