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Turning into a rhinoceros

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

Having completed The Garden Plot, I’ve started to look at a cover for the e-book. This was done on the cheap – actually, done on the extreme cheap - with a designer who wasn’t so much a designer but a ‘putter-together-of-images’. Naturally, what I know about book cover design could be written on a post-it note, so when she looked to me for guidance, it was like the blind leading the blind. But notwithstanding any of that, I was rather pleased when it was finished.

I put it onto a social media group to get some feedback. And oh my…these were some of the comments: ‘Doesn’t look like romance to me…’ ‘Too many fonts.’ ‘I had to look for several minutes before I realized it was a woman with a bun on her head (thought it was a young boy with a mystery thing over his head).’ ‘Too soft focus’ And gradually my quiet pleasure in the cover I’d managed to get created for about thirty-five quid dissipated almost completely.

DOWN, BUT NOT OUT Gathering the shredded tatters of my dignity around me, I stalked off. (Watch this space for the new cover, from a completely new designer very soon.) I obviously have a lot to learn, and hopefully, my new designer will have more of a clue, too. A week on, I’ve been invited to join a writer’s group, where everyone gives feedback on each other’s writing. Given my experience with the cover discussion, I was a bit wary. Feedback is a gift, albeit sometimes you wish it came with a receipt so you could take it back to the shop and change it. Did I want feedback? With trepidation, I sent off the first three chapters of the sequel to The Garden Plot, my work in progress Love in a Mist. It’s very, very different sending your work to a bunch of strangers than to people who know and love you and will take the time to give criticism carefully. So yes, I was a bit worried.

BEING BRAVE… The chapters returned with some super-helpful comments, and a wish to read more. I relaxed. And then it struck me that writing a book means you have to be brave, put it out there and cope with what comes back. Some people say they never read reviews – and I suppose I can see why. Not only do you protect your self-esteem, by the time you get the reviews, it’s too late – the book’s written, you’ve set it free into the big wide world. If you’re writing for publication, once it’s out there, anyone can take a pop at it, or love it, or be critical. So - time to grow a thicker hide?

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