Books, fantasy, funny, great reads, indie author, Out of the Box Blogs, paranormal romance, Romance, scifi, steampunk, Urban Fantasy

If I Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover…



So we have all heard the famous quote “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but seriously how else are you suppose to pick a new book? Now I know what you’re thinking: the blurb, a recommendation or even how many stars it has on goodreads..but let’s be honest here, what do you see first? What do we all add at the top of the post for that eye catching extra like? THE COVER! But unlike the awesome cover I’ve snatched to catch your attention (yes I know you might be thinking, that’s the movie poster. That’s how great the cover was, they used it as the movie poster as well. Score one for that cover artist) not all covers were created equal. So what is the biggest problems we run into with covers? Here are my cover grips. These are all very subjective so please take them that way:

  1. It doesn’t match. If you’re a book nerd like me then you’ve done it, you know bought that book at 2am that has the most amazing cover, and didn’t read the blurb. But that cover, ugh it’s everything you’ve dreamed about! You don’t even need a summary of the story, it is the summary people. And then you start reading..ummm wait what? Maybe I accidentally bought the wrong book??? It’s like a bait and switch, you have a story on the cover that you never see in the book. Some covers have gone so far for me as the have aliens, robots that are minor characters or even one showed a main character of a really cool Tim Burton fantasy kinda guy on it, the main character was a girl..I never found him in the book!
  2. The oversell. Now this is the cover that does have something to do with the story, it just ends up being way bigger than the book. You know the cover that makes you think, this book is going to be 5 stars, guaranteed..and it’s just not living up to its cover potential. There are some breathtaking covers out there, truly gorgeous, but I fear them the most because I want the books to be just as breathtaking. You never know until you read.
  3. The undersell. This one is the easiest and yet the worst at the same time. It’s the ones where the cover is just plain old bad, and yet the book is amazing. Think of all the books you’ve passed on that are gold, or that later someone has convinced you to read and then you loved it. Now here is the cringe moment, think of all the books you passed on that no one convinced you to read that might have been gold..I know I’m not sleeping tonight either. I’d love to say I never would be so shallow as to just make a decision based solely on looks but I’m going to fess up here, I have an author I have read for 8 years that I passed on the first time because of the cover. They are notorious for their bad covers now but back then they were newbies and it made a difference. Fortunately for me someone talked me into trying them (very fortunately for me, I absolutely love them) but I actually put their book down the first time. A lot of people say that covers don’t make as much of a difference now that most people have gone digital and download their books, but I say to them, how do you pick which books your going to read a blurb on? I still look at covers on Amazon or Goodreads. I just don’t buy that argument.

Okay let’s flip this coin. I hate bad covers, you guys got that point but I’m sure authors don’t like them either. So what makes covers so tricky? Well this is what I’ve learned over the years, but indies if there is something I’m missing, comment! Back to cover art, Why oh why is it so hard to match? Here’s what my forage and gathering skills have gleaned:

  1. If you are a published author you don’t get to decide. That’s right, if you get a publishing house, they ultimately pick the cover they think will make the most, and here is the shocking part…MONEY. I know, I know, sometimes you see those covers and think how is a half naked man going to sell more urban fantasy novels? Or, really another really hot goth looking chick/dude? That’s not what the main character even looks like. Well apparently here is the stitch, they don’t care. They are hoping you buy the book cause you’re a UF freak like me (I mean fan, yeah that was a typo) and they hope someone else buys it cause their is a chick on the cover with a flaming sword. As long as they sell books.
  2. For indie’s sometimes $$$ makes a difference. Okay so you have this vision, and it’s awesome, I mean you want what’s in your brain to become print on your cover. And it’s going to be epic. But let’s be honest here, you have to foot the bill for the book, and you don’t have big brother who, though they would basically be making your cover decisions for you, they would also be helping pay upfront fees. You just can’t afford the Lexus, so you have to buy the Kia, don’t get me wrong it’s great, just not exactly what you were picturing in your head.
  3. You get the picture. Sometimes you can get an amazing cover but the story just doesn’t connect. Hey this is why everything is so subjective, maybe it’s my problem. I recently read an authors blog that said, sometimes a bad review is just the reviewers problem. HEY! As a reviewer I didn’t love that but I’m glad the author posted it, because if I’m the only one complaining than it’s on me. Now if everyone is complaining…


My favorite cover is PB

the sad thing is that this is no longer the cover for this book but I have always loved it. What is your favorite cover? Let me know!

Books, great reads, indie author, Reviews, scifi

Extant by Anthony Vicino


Anthony Vicino is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. So when he sent me this story and asked if I would read it I said of course! then I realized I already owned it..I know, it’s sad when you get a book more than once. Don’t deny it, you know you’ve all fought with Amazon demanding to buy a book that they refuse to let you click on, and then after 10 minutes of you being sure that the whole system is broken and you’re convinced you are going to have to call customer service you finally read what’s on the screen and you realize that it’s been trying to tell you this whole time that you already own the book. No? That’s just me? Okay then moving on…

Let’s start with the blurb, totally snatched from goodreads: Manipulating time always comes at a cost. For Special Agent Kaelyn Kwon, Blinking means living with one foot in the past and one foot in the present. Torn between memories of what was, and what could have been, she must use her power to decide what is yet to be.
A 10,000 word short adventure filled with action, time travel, and intrigue!

It is a shortie, I originally owned it in an anthology called The Time Travel Chronicles but since I still haven’t gotten around to reading the whole thing I’m going to stick to just talking about this story.

What I really liked about this book was the concept. You’ve got this place where people can control time, but it’s limited to 32 seconds (there are reasons for this, reasons I accept) and three different abilities. You have ones who can move forward in time, backwards, or freeze time. My favorite part was when three of them were working together, it was backwards, forward, forward, forward, backwards, stop, forwards, (please don’t quote me on that order I just made it up) but it felt like a rush constant time flipping I felt the craziness of that and loved it. Also as Anthony does so well there was an standard plot rescue mission and then the deeper psychological plot of how time travel effected the traveler.

This story did leave me with many questions about the world and the players within but it was a great read and from what I understand a great set up for the next book to come. It’s on sale now for $0.99 from Amazon, you know what I’ll even be nice and throw up a link for you to go grab it. Support your local indie author today, and read a fun short story, everyone wins!

Books, indie author, Out of the Box Blogs, Reviews

Bad Review or No Review At All?

I’ve been wrestling with a problem as of late, as our blog is growing and my presence on goodreads is getting larger: Is it better to put a bad review up or just no rating at all? Let me put this question in context. Authors need ratings, and recommendations, hey it’s how the world goes round in the book business, so in order to get that you have to get your books into people hands. The trend, and it’s not just indie authors since I’m also a member of netgalley, is to give away free books to people that will give you a review or blog about your book. Press is important. But as the old adage bad press is better than no press applicable here? I always tell authors, please be prepared I will be honest in my reviews, and that’s true I don’t hand out five stars just because I got a free book. But what if I hated it? What if I felt it was a one star flop? Still review? Tell all? Or just stay quiet? Let me know what you think in the poll I’ve attached, and this is not just for authors to vote on please do if you review books, or even if you just read tell me which would you prefer?

Books, great reads, indie author, Reviews, scifi

The Unspoken Agreement

I have always felt there was an unspoken agreement between an author and us readers when we purchase a book and frankly lately I think the rules have been out the window. So I’m curious, is it just me that feels this way, having these expectations of my writers? Do I need to adjust to a new way of writing? Or are some books just not playing by the rules? Allow me to explain.

When I buy a book it’s like the author and I have made a contract. A simple one, I will give money to your seller and you will deliver a story. I don’t have to like it but it must follow the guidelines of all stories. Sound simple? Apparently not. This is how I view a story: A beginning, if it’s the first time we are meeting everyone with character and world building when appropriate. Then a middle, this is where your plot comes to life, the climax of the story as it is, whether it’s bad guys seemingly defeating good guys, or a big fight, big reveals, this is when we get the meat of the story. The all important end, the big finish, where you frankly actually finish the book. No cliffhangers (I will discuss this), no unrelated twists, just bring it home. Make it complete.

What I feel like has been a trend in some writing lately…

The Cliffhanger. Why do authors do this? Especially with book one? I have yet to meet a reader that loves this, so why do it? Is it because you just couldn’t think of an ending? Is it because you want me to be forced to buy your next book (doesn’t work with me, you cliff hang I abandon)? Or is it because you knew from the beginning that you would write three books so it doesn’t matter to you? Well that sucks. Let me tell you there are many extremely successful series out there that have 8,10,20 books and you know what, no cliffhangers! Every book is a complete story by itself. We feel satisfied when we read it, like an episode on tv.

The Plot. Ever read the back of a book, then read the book and the blurb has nothing to do with the story? I bought the book because this is what you told me the story is about. Can’t always blame the publisher, indies are also committing this crime, it’s kind of like false advertising. See this whale??? Sorry we are sending you home with a guppy. I might have been interested in your original story, I like guppies, but it’s just not going to sit right with me the whole time cause all I can think about is that whale. Blurbs should match the story and the plot should follow that. Having a plot is good too, some now don’t even have a plot.

The beginning. World and character building are paramount. In fact too often characters are left with no personality, shallow as it were, and books can fall very flat. But some authors swing too far the other way making whole books out of world and character building. That’s great if I already have book 2 and 3 but if this is all I have, then I don’t have a story, just a really long resume. And 200 pages of that gets boring. I know a lot of authors say they are setting up the next book, but I’m not buying, you got to sell this book to me, not the next one.

So the big question is, are my expectations to great?