Day 2…this contemporary cover could be yours

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Meet Aideen…This could be your fantasy cover art!

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PhotobucketAideen O’Leary-Chung is the Manager of Digital Commerce and has been doing sales and marketing of eBooks for several of her ten years at Harlequin. She will be working with Eleanor on the eBook Store but her main focus at the moment is the creation of covers as well as promotion around Carina Press. She’s an entertainment multi-tasker – within the comfort of her own home – where television plays far too large a role in her life and she often has several books on the go at the same time, one for every room and one at hand for commercial breaks. Working at Harlequin is the perfect antidote for her male-dominated household where she’s outnumbered by her husband and two sons.

One of the aspects of working on eBooks that I love most is creating the covers. It can be both exciting and challenging to put together a cover that does justice to the story. We decided to create several draft covers to illustrate Carina’s range of editorial and give people a sense of the style of our art. Every day this week, we’ll feature a cover in a different genre. Just think, if you’re an author, any one of these sample covers could have your name on it!

Our first sample cover was in the fantasy genre. Mandy M. Roth was the artist and I love it. It wasn’t without its challenges though! In the past few years, I’ve worked on a variety of covers but I’ve never dealt with dragons. Having read about them, I was aware that they could be capricious creatures, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the challenge of capturing one on a cover.  We had our heroine, colors and font at Version 1, but the dragon….well, we auditioned three of them to get the right one.

In Version 1 (bottom left), the dragon was realistic but appeared a bit fresh for our liking.

In Version 2 (bottom right), our dragon was in flight, but the cover seemed to lose some of its mysticism and I questioned his commitment, he didn’t seem convincing.

Finally, we settled on the suggestion of a dragon, a touch of its wing, the tip of its tail…which prevented the dragon from stealing the spotlight.

Working on these covers was a blast for our team. The Carina crew weighed in on every version of this and the other four sample covers. It was another exciting step in bringing Carina titles to life and to launch. And with our recent title acquisitions , we’ve started kicking into high gear on the launch covers. So feel free to share some of your pet peeves about covers and we’ll be sure to try and keep them in mind!

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Week Ten…We’ve Got Plans!

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I don’t think I should start out by inundating you with all the things I did last week. It was a long week, I worked quite a bit trying to get things done (including the weekend, which I really try not to do) and as you read this, I’m winging my way to Toronto where I’ll be for the next three days, meeting with the rest of the team and giving a presentation updating Harlequin CEO Donna Hayes on what’s new with Carina Press. And there is definitely a lot to tell about the past two months we’ve been open: ten editors, two copy editors (don’t panic if you haven’t heard from me about your application, I’m only just starting on them), nineteen acquisitions (many of which you haven’t gotten to hear about yet), seventeen authors, 500 submissions in every genre, nearly forty blog posts, two trips (for me) to Toronto, multiple interviews, guest blog posts and invitations to attend conferences and give workshops. When you lay it all out like that, I think we’ve really accomplished a lot since we opened our doors mid-November.

And now we’re going to add one more thing…cover art! Starting this afternoon, and for each day this week, we’ll be sharing a sample cover art that one of several cover artists created. Five days, five different genres, three different cover artists (not all cover artists are represented). We know how important cover art is to both authors and readers, and we wanted to give you a sneak peek at the possibilities. If you’re an author, well, who knows, this cover art could be yours.

Opposite the cover art posts this week, I’ll also be sharing more acquisition posts from the authors who’ve joined Carina Press in the last few weeks. So stay tuned for two of our favorite things: cover art and books!

Join me for a self-editing workshop starting Monday

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I am teaming up with the ESPAN (Electronic and Small Press Authors’ Network) special-interest chapter of RWA to bring you a multi-day workshop on self-editing your work. You can visit their site to register. The below information is lifted directly from their site.

January 18, 2010 Self Editing Workshop by Angela James

Join Angela James as she shares some of the common pitfalls she’s seen in submissions and contest entries. She’ll give you ideas, tips and tricks for polishing and self-editing your manuscript. Discuss things such as dialogue tags, whether all forms of “to be” really are evil and just what you’re doing to your life expectancy with your use of that exclamation point. Through it all, she’ll be available for clarification and questions in order to help you on your way to a cleaned-up manuscript.

This course will run over several days on the forum, so you can pop in and out as needed to ask Angela questions or see the new information she’s posted. So, you don’t need to be available at any certain time of day, but you do need to sign up for the course to attend.

The course will be $5 for ESPAN RWA members, $10 for non-ESPAN RWA Members and $15 for non-RWA

Meet Eleanor…Remember when people used typewriters?

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Eleanor Elliott is the Director of Digital Commerce and has worked in the digital space for 14 years – 10 of those at Harlequin. For Carina Press, Eleanor is responsible for Marketing & Sales. She’s currently working on the development of the Carina Press eBook Store. In addition to books, she loves television – sci-fi, reality, drama, comedy – you name it. She is very happy that her TV boyfriend (Chuck Bartowski) has returned from hiatus, but will not be in complete television heaven until the next season of LOST begins. She lives with her husband, her toddler son, and two cats. She also plays a mean drum solo in Rock Band 2.

When I was 6 years old, I received my most memorable Christmas present from my childhood. A typewriter. It was a plastic children’s typewriter, but a typewriter nonetheless. It was red and white, and I adored it.

I remember sitting on the floor with the typewriter between my legs, a children’s book on the other side of my knees open to a story about the Princess and the Pea. I was determined to retype that story perfectly. What I intended to do what that typewritten sheet, I have no idea – but even as a child I wanted to do more than just read the story, I wanted to transform it.

I guess it’s no surprise that I ended up in publishing. But even now, after ten years of working for Harlequin on the Internet business, I still have moments where I need to pinch myself.

I had such a moment recently after a Carina Press acquisition team meeting – where I was able to share with the team my excitement over a truly delightful manuscript I had just read, and then I got back to my desk and saw a first draft of one of the mock covers the team is working on (featuring some very sexy cowboys). Reading great books and contemplating the sexiness of cowboy A vs. cowboy B. Is this really part of my job now? On second thought, please don’t pinch me! I’m not sure I want to wake up!

In my ‘other life’, I’m the Director of Digital Commerce – I’m normally consumed with strategic planning, and budgets, and sales figures, and inventory, and customer service, and promotions, and eNewsletters, and ad creative, oh and meetings, meetings, meetings. Reading the books we sell has always been a bonus. Now, as a member of the Carina Press team, I am involved in a side of publishing I’ve never seen before. I have the privilege of seeing a book at the most tender stage, and helping to bring the author’s vision to life as a published novel.  It’s a stage in the publishing process that is ripe with possibility and it’s extraordinarily exciting.

I’m not sure it’s quite as exciting as seeing that typewriter for the first time on Christmas morning – but it’s pretty darn close.

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