The Good Stuff: Lousy Book Covers

We all need some good stuff right now.

I don’t remember how I came across this website, but I’ve been enjoying its content for over a year now. It’s called Lousy Book Covers and its sole purpose is to share really bad book covers. We can debate for days on end if we should judge a book by its cover, but no matter what side of that argument you fall on, you can still enjoy seeing these particularily lousy ones.

Lousy Book Covers’ format is simple. Each post is one cover, and he also provides the link to the book and a funny comment about the cover he’s featuring. Honestly, some of the covers on the site aren’t that bad in my opinion. But some are…yikes. So here are some of those yikes ones, along with the comment from LBC.

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This website has been going for almost a decade, so there’s a lot more content to go through if you want a laugh or to feel better about your art skills.

Most of these covers are from self-published books. Is it mean to make fun of these? Maybe a little. But at the end of the day, they put it out there so we could see it. And perhaps it’s even more important for self-published authors to have an attractive cover because they can’t rely on support/publicity from publishing companies or stores or anything, so we have to judge it on that alone (or the book blurb, which the site will occasionally feature as well if there’s a particularily bad one).

And look, I myself am a self-published author. I spent hours on photoshop, making my book cover look as nice as I could. I could have paid someone to do my cover nicely for me, but I chose not to. I think mine is pretty good, but perhaps others hate it, and that’s just how art is. I made my bed, and now I lie in it, just like the choices made by other small authors sometimes result in their covers ending up on a joke site…and then this blog.

objectively not good.

Anyway, I always get a kick out of seeing Lousy Book Covers’ posts on my Reader, so I wanted to share it with you because it’s always good stuff. I follow them through WordPress’ Reader, but you can also Like their page on Facebook.

That’s all for now!


P.S. This post is dedicated to the curling club’s unofficial book club who has allowed me to sit in on their quarantine video meetings even though I rarely read and don’t have much to say. Hi, y’all!


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What No One Told Me About Writing And Self-Publishing

As you saw in my last post, I am now an official author! I wrote a real novel called The Time Company and it is available now! And while I am super proud and found the whole experience really cool, I’ll be the first to admit that I never planned on self-publishing. As I said in my novel post, the book’s work and publishing happened in a bookmaking course I took. If I hadn’t been in that course and learned about Createspace there, I probably wouldn’t have considered self-publishing. No offense to any self-pubbers out there, but the fact is, self-publishing is seen as the lesser option to traditional publishing, and though I’m thrilled that I was able to make my book my way, I kind of do believe that. But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about what I learned over these past several months and what I had to teach myself because there’s a lot I wasn’t told. Self-publishing has been around for several years now, but it’s constantly evolving and in the grand scheme of things, it’s kind of new, so it’s understandable if you, like me, didn’t know a lot at the start.

The Writing

  • When self-publishing, you don’t have an editor or a manager. Sure, you can and should hire a copyeditor, but at the end of the day, you’re the boss, so some parts you want to write or keep in your book is not what should stay.
  • People may not tell it to you straight. I had friends and acquaintances read/edit my book, and while they all gave good feedback, there’s a chance that they were nicer to me because they knew me. Did they really like my characters? Was my plot actually okay? Was my writing decent enough? I may never know.
  • There will be errors. I had many, and honestly, there probably still are some. Oops and all, but I’m only human. My writing professor one day said, “every time you put your human hands on your manuscript, you mess it up a little.”
    flawed human gif
  • Editing sucks. I’m sure people actually do tell you this, but when you’re self-publishing and the editing is all on you, it gets so tedious. Compared to some, my book isn’t that long, but editing it took forever.
  • It’s really hard to write beautifully. Let me explain: I’ve always struggled with writing really deep, powerful, rich text. And so many times I’d try to do that, but I know it’s a weakness of mine. I don’t even know how to improve that. It’s just not how I write.
  • I am not JK Rowling, and people are not going to understand or enjoy all the writing choices I’ve made.
  • Furthermore, I likely won’t get a chance to explain the writing choices I’ve made.
  • You’re going to have days where you just hate your writing. Just power through those days.


The Self-Publishing

  • Fact: unless you’re a graphic designer, or know of one, your book won’t be as pretty as books you see in stores. My cover is simple, and I made it all by myself exactly to look exactly as I envisioned, but I don’t think people (other than my best friend) are looking at it and gasping at its beauty.
  • All online stores like Amazon or iTunes take a cut of the profits, and honestly, it’s a little unfair. In the movie Begin Again, there’s a line about authors getting “a buck a book” and I don’t know if that’s accurate, but selling self-published is only slightly better. My book is currently at about $12 dollars, and for every sale I make on Amazon, I get about $3. That’s the deal for selling on these big platforms, but I think it’s important to know.
  • It’s very anxiety-inducing. I’m a pretty chill person overall, but self-publishing is a big event and it got even me stressed. I had several stress-dreams about finding errors or having the uploading not work. But actually finding errors wasn’t any easier. Because you’re essentially going at this solo, there’s not a lot that can be done to alleviate this. Just do your best to stay calm and think logically and know that many before you have suffered the same.
    this is stressful gif
  • Because you can layout your book however you want, you have to sometimes put aside your preferences for the greater good. For example, I kind of wanted my page numbers in the center of the page because I like symmetry, but I knew that they’d be more effective in the corners so people can flip through the book easily.
  • You’re going to do a lot of research on self-publishing. What platforms, what programs, what prices. Because I wasn’t taught this in my bookmaking class, I had to do this on my own time. I read many articles, watched many YouTube videos, and I know there’s still more I could learn.
  • You’re not going to sell a lot. I don’t think people browse through Amazon self-published books the way people browse physical books in bookstores, so you have to do a lot of marketing and promotions, and even then there’s no guarantee. Make peace with this now.
  • Everything is up to you, and no one is going to tell you if you’re wrong.
  • You can do it! Self-publishing is not hard. Once you have the work written, this part is kind of fun. It’s time-consuming, but if you do have challenges, there are a lot of resources out there to help.

I hope this information was useful to you. I learned a lot so I wanted to pass it on to any future writers and/or self-publishers. If anyone has other questions about my book or the process, feel free to ask me in any way you choose!

That’s all for now!

P.S. As you can see below, I have a link to Goodreads. I’m new to it but I’m going to make an effort to use it to share the books I read and find new material, so please follow me or friend me or whatever it is we do on Goodreads!

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My Debut Novel ‘The Time Company’ Is Now Available!

This is the post I’ve been dreaming of sharing! My first novel is real and ready! I know I’ve been sitting on the details, but finally I can tell it all!

As I mentioned in this post, I took a bookmaking class in my final semester of university. This course was the program’s big thing, and you had to be interviewed to get in (though as long as you had material and a good GPA, you were approved). Most of my class wrote nonfiction and/or compiled nonfiction stories from previous classes, but as I said, I knew I didn’t want to do that. I had my old half-baked fiction novel, and I was determined to use that. So I began the process of opening the file, reading the awful, cringy garbage I wrote in high school, fixing it up, and adding another 20k words to end the story. Then I edited it several times, and then I sent it to be read by a few friends who volunteered to help me out (and I am very grateful for them).

By then the bookmaking class had started, and the prof had us get to work on learning how to typeset and design covers and understand the parts of a book. Now, the prof does own/manage a publishing company, so we originally thought that our books were getting traditionally published through that, but it turned out that Life Rattle Press is a “collective group of new writers” rather than a typical publishing company, so we actually published and printed our books with Createspace, which, for anyone unaware, is an Amazon affiliate site and a common tool for self-publishers. I knew nothing of the site going in, so I had to do a bunch of research on it, but I liked that because it was my book done my way, and I wanted to learn all I could. In the end, after my story got edited another few times and I designed a cover and typeset it all, I was ready to approve it for sale.

My novel is called The Time Company. My back of the book blurb reads:

There’s a secret company that produces and controls Time. When Cory’s missing father returns home after nine years, things aren’t what they seem. Before he knows it, Cory and his best friend are off to the Time Company to seek help and uncover a shocking scandal within.

It’s just over 60 thousand words and I describe it as an adventure novel with light fantasy elements (spoiler: the light fantasy element is dragons because I love dragons so of course I had to). I didn’t really have a target audience in mind when I wrote it, but my friends who read it believe it to be good for middle school readers, and I’m okay with this because it’s a book I think I would have enjoyed when I was growing up. If this book can make a mark on a kid the same way a few specific books did on me, then I can die happy. This is the only original story I’ve ever had that’s worth telling, so the fact that it’s finally seeing the light of day is outstanding for me.

I also tried to have my story not be super cliche in the sense that I really thought a lot about common tropes and how I presented characters. I really hope that comes across. I may not be the best writer ever, but at least I’m not serving you all the same old stuff again, ya know? The Time Company isn’t flawless, but it was created with love and passion.

So I’m an official author! I’m a writer! I was pretty pleased when my 16 page free iBook on Quidditch was published, but this is way more official! Being able to hold my own book, that I designed, in my hands and knowing that I wrote every word is indescribable. It’s a feeling only authors can relate to, and I’m so glad I can feel it.

So I’ve definitely convinced you to buy a copy, right? Right. Here’s how you can get one. The book is available on Amazon here in hard copy and here as an eBook for Kindles and other e-readers. It’s also available as an iBook on iTunes. Maybe you’re not into this genre, and that’s fine, but maybe you know someone who is? Tell your friends!

Image result for you know you want it gif

And what’s next for me? Aside from marketing my book on social media and building a bit of an author reputation for myself (how does one go about that???) I’m going to try and look into getting The Time Company traditionally published. In class, we did lightly touch on how to reach out to agents, so I want to see how that goes. I also have loose plans to make this into a trilogy. I have not started that yet, and honestly, I don’t know when I will, but it is an eventual goal of mine. I love my characters and I know there’s more to the world I’ve created, so I want to explore that one day. But I have just spent over a year working almost non-stop on this book, so we’re going to take a breather and enjoy this achievement for now!

Anyway, I’m so pleased to be able to share this after working on it for so long. I hope you buy a copy and I hope you enjoy it. I also plan to do a giveaway on Twitter soon, so keep an eye out for that. If you do buy it, feel free to write reviews or ratings or comments or something and send them my way! And for any real-life friends/family reading this, you can get a copy directly from me if you want.

That’s all for now!

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