Untitled IP Work I Wish I Could Make YA

I went home recently. It was a trip well worth the wait. But while at home, I had the best IP idea while sleeping. As usual, it happened while I was dreaming. To say I was annoyed to wake up is an understatement.

Unfortunately, it also was an ADULT IP idea instead of a YA one. What does this mean (I know people out there are thinking dirty things)? Basically, my idea would be a better fit for an adult book than a children’s book. So since I can’t develop it for my market, here it is (please keep in mind, this is really rough since I wrote it down during the early hours of the morning, aka 7 am (what? I am not a morning person)):

In her last year of college, a young woman befriends the new British exchange student, Henry, and they begin a romance. Picture Henry Cavil (who I dreamed about) or Sam Heughan (just because I needed a picture of him in this post).

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outlander-ep4Their first conversation over the phone and that is what really attracts Henry. They are together for years, with the girl not knowing that Henry is really a duke. Eventually, he reveals it. They get into a fight, and patch it up, though the girl lets him know she is with him for him and not the title. To her, it doesn’t matter. As his birthday approaches, the girl has decided to surprise Henry for his birthday by knowing how to conduct herself in the aristocracy. She hires a tutor at the recommendations of one of her close friends and the girlfriend of one of the other lords.

A few days before Henry’s birthday, his mother arrives to tell Henry that his father is dying. The girl is preparing to leave with them when she hears the call pull away. She races down the stairs and outside to find Henry only to find him by the door clutching a magazine.

They have an explosive fight. Henry shows her the magazine, a royalty one, and points to a picture of the girl;s mother holding a shopping bag filled with nothing but shampoo. He tells her that he knows she never wanted him, pointing to the other aristo in the magazine and noting that she can’t name that person (she can’t. her lessons haven’t covered them yet); he tells her that she changed and only wants the trappings of privilege. During their arguments, his mother and sister return. The sister, Chloe, likes the girl, but their mother never liked her.

Henry shows the girl a photo in a different magazine, saying if the girl really cared, she would recognize his mother and the girl’s work. The girl looks, and is enraged. She points and says “That’s not my work.” In a very small shot is picture of Henry with his ex. The girls says he is the one who never loved her.

The girl is getting ready to storm out, but stops. She won’t be the villain. She turns back to the room where Henry is sitting, clutching his head, surrounded by his mother and sister. The girl lays a card down on the table, and tells him about the surprise lessons. As for the picture, she gives him pregnancy stick. He blanches. Her mother bought it for her, and was trying to hide it from the photographers.

The girl leaves. Chloe follows her down the steps and reminds her that the baby would be the heir. The girl angrily replies as she gets into a taxi that she would sooner claim she didn’t know who the father was then let her child be raised in Henry’s family.

A few days later, it is confirmed the girl is pregnant. She is hiding out in her mother’s apartment. Henry has been calling nonstop, but she just can’t deal with him. She points out to her mother that she is homeless, no boyfriend (I don’t know if they are married or not), and jobless, living with her mother. Her mother urges her to talk to her friends.

She rings up her friend, Katie, a good friend from college. Katie has moved so Henry hasn’t been calling her to find the girl. The girl and Katie make plans to hang out that day.

And that is all I have.

It is told in the third person point of view (or POV for my mom’s edification). And rest easy, there is a happy ending.

The Importance of Being a Book Cover

Recently, while surfing LinkedIn (it’s Facebook for working professionals), I stumbled upon this article about 7 Book Marketing Predictions in 2015.

What caught my eye and inspired today’s industry thought of the day was this little gem: “The best way to sell a self-published book is to not make it look like it was self-published.” The quote above mentions self-published books, but this is applicable to every book. I know I briefly touched on my love of a beautiful book in a previous post, but today, let’s focus on the cover.

Did your mom ever tell you not to judge a book by its cover? Yeah? Well, that was bad advice. Hear me out. The book cover is HOW TO GET YOUR BOOK NOTICED. A good book cover should tell the reader something about the book but also intrigue them to pick it up in the first place. A bad cover can send the wrong message about your book.

Secret: publishers put more money into book covers than you think. Book not selling well? They will redesign the cover. On top of that fact, the books the publishers have designated will be the bestsellers (yes, the system is slightly rigged) get more money for better covers.

So, you ask, can we see some examples?

Below are two books: one cover I hate and one I like.

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I can see you scratching you head wondering which one I liked. The first one, The Beautiful Cursed, is the one I don’t like. It is a historical/fantasy book with gargoyles. When I first got the book, I was like, “Is this self published?” For a major publisher, I was thought it looked cheap. SHE IS FAINTING ON THE COVER. The second, Mothership, is a truly hilarious book. Think Juno meets Alien.

But here’s the deal: Motherhsip didn’t sell well. Librarians said the colors  and illustrated cover attracted younger readers. So it got a redesign. The Beautiful Cursed must have done moderately well, because the second book has a cover in a similar design. Both of these covers are, in my opinion, bad covers. One I just don’t like, and one that underserved the book.

But what about GOOD covers?

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There are many examples of good covers (most covers are fine, it is just the great and terrible ones you remember). Red Queen is a great cover. It recently published, but when you look at the cover (and I am talking look at it, i.e. feel it as well) you can tell the publisher wants this to do well. The cover tells you a bit about the story: princess, blood, meant to do well in the marketplace. The Mara Dyer books are the same.  The cover compels you to pick it up.

This has been an especially long post, so I am going to wrap this up.

A book cover is a selling tool. You are meant to judge the book by it. Sometimes the book is better than you expect. But sometimes the cover shows it’s not. Go forth and judge away!