Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A New Cover and Creative Procrastination

For February I am publishing a screenplay. It's called THE SCENIC ROUTE, and it was a finalist in the Find The Funny screenplay contest, and I even got some requests for options on it. (Unfortunately, the people asking for an option didn't want to fork over much cash and I was not at all confident in their ability to carry it off. So I declined.)

I spent much of the weekend formatting that and designing a cover. I still have some work to do on blurbs and front matter and end matter for it but I hope to get it up tomorrow or Wednesday.

Today's activities bring up two subject:

Using covers and titles to help readers identify what they're getting.

I've been talking with some folks on Kindleboards about using patterns in titles and covers to help readers figure out what they're getting when you have several different types of books. I'll talk more about that as I get to those covers and titles. But I think this screenplay cover is a good example. I'll use the same format for the screenplay I'm publishing next month as well.

Now the next one will be extra interesting, because the screenplay in question is the back story for my Mick and Casey mystery series... so I want to visually connect it to that too. What I plan to do is to use the black "film" frame and the top and bottom text fields the same as this one. However, the illustration in the middle will be from the Mick and Casey logo at the bottom of their books (see Have Gun, Will Play in the sidebar). Only this time it will feature Casey's silhouette as the larger fore ground image, with the Mick silhouette (probably reversed) reining his horse to chase after her in the background.

The other subject: productive procrastination.

There was a book published a year or two ago about a new technique of using procrastination as a productivity tool. It's a pretty simple theory: when we avoid doing something, we will often work twice as hard to do something else, just to avoid the first item. So this guy came up with the theory that to get one job done, you just give another job a higher priority.

For some reason I have been avoiding the work-in-progress this week. But I've been using it to get a whole lot of other stuff done. Well, not at first. At first I was cat vaccuming. Checking stats. Dealing with people who are wrong on the internet! (Click that link, especially if you aren't already familiar with xkcd.com comics.)

And then I figured out that I could do stuff I've been putting off in order to get the work-in-progress done. You know, like writing other stories, or editing the screenplay I want to publish this month, or doing covers.

Ah, psychology. Gotta love it. (I get tired of feeling like I'm a character in somebody else's story, though.)


ModWitch said...

I like it (the procrastination explanation). Maybe that's why I'm suddenly writing a children's chapter book this week.

I think that as indie publishing opens up genres more, covers that clearly communicate about the book (and not necessarily about the plot or characters, more about the type, style - how it fits in the universe of stuff to read) will be increasingly important.

I'd love a reader 'focus group' - "what does this cover say to you". I suspect we might often be surprised.

The Daring Novelist said...

We should ask Harvey and Ann if we could have a thread in the Readers Corner on Kindleboards for cover comments from readers.

berrnardine penner said...

concerning your procrastination:
please consider the four stages of creative thought by Wallas. there is an important stage/state called incubation. His four states/stages are:
preparation, incubation, illuminaation, and verification. sometimes they happen in sequence, but, often, these statges/states develop at will. what counts,as you know, is the discipline just to committ to writing and or reading, every day. anna maggiore

ModWitch said...

A readers' corner thread is a great idea...