Fun Friday: 5 Behind-the-Scenes Steps to a Great Book Cover

CoverModel CollageWith more and more authors turning to Indie publishing, there’s so many things an author has to do herself. Cover designing is one of them. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a great book cover, and how indie author Lora Young tackled the process for her debut novel, Malicious Mischief.

  1. Book a great cover model, or just ask a friend to help out. When author Lora Young asked her friend Kinsey Parker to model for her cover, I bet she never dreamed the pictures would turn out this great.
  2. Rent or borrow some historical costumes. Yes, finally a reason to dress up! Since it’s so hard to find great historical photos, sometimes you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and DIY.
  3. Book a great photographer. Luckily for Lora, her daughter Rebekah Young is a fabulous photographer. I think the railroad track pic is my fav!
  4. Find the perfect location. Need railroad tracks? Go find some. Want a historical building as the backdrop? Find one in your area. Some people are stingy about permission, so always ask if it’s private property. But if it’s a public place and you’re taking the pic, it’s usually fair game.
  5. Hire a fabulous cover designer. Lora found another indie author who is also a great cover designer, Lynette Bonner. Find the right graphic designer for your book genre, or you can try to DIY this, too. Lynnette has a great video tutorial on YouTube you could check out, Indie Cover Design with Photoshop CS6

Those are just a few tips from a (maybe) future book cover designer. You can always use stock photos for book covers, but you lose some originality. That’s why I love Lora’s idea of organizing her own photo shoot with family and friends. Now she’s got original cover models to add flair to the stock photos Lynnette used in her background. Totally brilliant!

Bonus Feature – The Crash at Crush

Here’s a clip about a publicity stunt that went horribly wrong on the MKT Railway, the setting for Lora Young’s Malicious Mischief. Not the best way to dispose of old trains. Though Mr. Crush was the first to try it, unfortunately he wasn’t the last.

Want to Read More about the MKT Railway?

Check out Lora Young’s debut historical romantic suspense/mystery for a story that’s just as dramatic, but not quite so tragic as the Crash at Crush.

MaliciousMischiefFrontFinal6x9Malicious Mischief
Lora Young

Her most annoying trait is the one she needs the most.

Delia Eastman returns home from teachers’ college with two goals: find a teaching position and sidestep her mother’s insistence on finding her a husband. But employers don’t care for women who are smarter than they. Neither do suitors. As she struggles to find her place, she discovers her sleepy riverboat town has turned into a powder-keg of rivalry between the steamships and the railroads.

Increasingly violent vandalism on the railroad brings her face-to-face with Endy Webster, a handsome trainmaster whose investigation into the crimes leads him to the door of a prominent steamship owner—Delia’s father.

As Delia tries to clear her father’s name, she keeps tangling with Endy. He’s intelligent. He’s charming. And he’s guarding secrets. Thinking he might know more than he’s telling, Delia reluctantly agrees to collaborate with him to solve the crimes. With the vandalism becoming deadly, they’ll need every scrap of intelligence and logic to stay alive. Working together may not be their first choice, but it might be their last.


Fun Friday: Subterra Collage

The Only Place to Survive

Neon lights, glow-in-the-dark clothes, freeze-dried astronaut food … What’s not to love about Subterra? It’s the only way to live underground. As I continue brainstorming this dystopian world for my next book, here’s my first impressions of what Subterra is all about.

Subterra CollageP.S. I still need your help. If you haven’t weighed in on what I should name these crazy characters, check-in at the polls from yesterday’s post: Naming My Characters in Subterra. Thanks!

9/11: I Remember

World Trade Center Towers view from the Empire State Building, 7/11/2000

In my search for throwback pictures, I came across this photo that made me pause. This shot was taken from the Empire State building fourteen months before the tragedy of 9/11. I was a 16-year-old girl on a missions trip to NYC, marveling at the beauty of the Manhattan skyline. Not once did I imagine that skyline would change, that these buildings wouldn’t stand forever.

Fourteen months later I was in college, watching on TV as the second plane struck its tower. Classes were cancelled, an emergency chapel meeting called.  Even as I write this, I’m reliving the abject horror I felt, the tears I couldn’t contain. Not then, not now.

I wasn’t there on 9/11, but I was watching like the rest of America, the whole world really. I’ve only been to New York City once, fourteen months prior to 9/11.

And I still remember.

Pinnable Quote from Upcoming Novel THE NEXIS SECRET

Drumroll please . . . here’s a quote from chapter one of my upcoming debut novel, The Nexis Secret. Enjoy! 🙂

Image, Emily Cahal via

Image, Emily Cahal via

Background: The main character, Lucy McAllen, just moved to Riverdale, New York because her parents shipped her off to a boarding school.

9 Author Photos to Choose From, Oh My!

It’s time to choose an author photo. My sister-in-law Joan Nelson took these lovely shots at their farmhouse in Topeka, Kansas. I asked for something young and fun and she totally delivered. She could be a pro photographer, seriously. Just one problem, I’m having trouble deciding on my favorite.

Maybe you can help. Check out the poll below and vote for your favorite photo. This picture will appear on all of my marketing materials, my back cover, the OakTara web site, and my social media sites. Which photo says YA author to you? Let the voting begin . . .

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I Need Your Feedback

The runners-up will find their way to other pages on this site. I even have an idea for my future web page design based a few of these photos. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. 🙂