Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guest Blog: Quanie Miller, The New Mrs. Collins

It's an exciting week for Quanie Miller. She's celebrating the release of her first paranormal novel and this a-ma-zing cover is perfect for October!




Today, Quanie is writing about a topic every published author can't get enough of: promotion. We can all learn from her experiences in hiring out her cover design.


A Book Cover Horror Story: Why You Should Google before You Hire

by Quanie Miller



I have a confession to make: last year I made a horrible decision. Yes, me. Quanie. Quan Dizzle. The girl from one of America's prettiest towns. The girl who slipped off the bus steps in high school and got laughed at by all of her peers. Yes: the girl who lost the spelling bee in fifth grade because she misspelled complacent made the cardinal sin of indie publishing: I hired someone without researching them. 

Picture it: July, 2013. There I was, minding my own business (like I'm prone to do) and surfing the internets for a book cover designer for my first novel, It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy, when I found him: The Book Cover Artist Who Shall Remain Nameless. And 'till this day, I ask myself: out of all the book cover designer websites in the world, why'd I have to walk into his? 

I liked his work, and even though he had no chick lit covers in his portfolio, I contacted him anyway. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Quanie, you big dope! That was your warning sign right there!" But hear me out: I conveyed this concern to him and this is what he told me: he doesn't have any chick lit covers in his portfolio because he never gets asked to do them. "But," he said, "I am fully confident that I can create a stellar book cover for your debut." 

"How can we proceed?" 

"Send me the money via PayPal, naive little writer, and while you're add it, also send me your pride and your ego." 

"Okay. Wait--what's that noise?" 

"It's the sound of my evil laugh, echoing against the walls." 

"Oh. Okay." I sent the money. He gave me a timeline for the cover, and once that time frame passed, I didn't hear from him. I waited. And waited. And made origami. And a cake. But still: no word from the not so gentle man. Finally, I emailed him, asking about the status. No response. I started to get the feeling that he'd run for the hills with my hard-earned coins when something truly bizarre happened: I had a dream about a redheaded woman with glasses, waving goodbye to me from her front porch. 

Not thinking anything about the dream, the next day I did something that I should have done from the start: Googled his name. I don't mean to get too woo-woo here, but one of the first negative reviews that popped up was on the blog of this lady with red hair and glasses who looked eerily similar to the lady from my dream. The title of her blog post? "Why you Should Never Hire What's His Face." 

I gulped. And then gulped again. I felt the words "You Big Dope" emerge on my forehead. I contacted What's His Face and still got no response. A couple of weeks later he contacted me: 

Dear Quanie, sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner but I have been spending most of my time trying to perfect my evil laugh. Here is your book cover, attached. 

Honey, let me tell you: I opened that attachment and laughed so hard I cried. I don't like disparaging anybody's work, but let's just say that if I had used that as my book cover, I would have provided the literary world with what might have been the laugh heard 'round the world. The lady on the front was knocked-kneed and pigeon-toed, had no facial features, was bent over and balancing some odd circle like thing on her back that she looked like she was just about to throw before someone took her picture, and to make matters worse, the back drop was gold and looked like that old rug in my grandmother's living room that she couldn't give away if she stapled twenty dollars to the front of it. 

Did I mention it was a hot mess? The only "positive" thing was that the lady on the cover was voluptuous. But what's a voluptuous woman without any facial features??? I'll tell you who: Mrs. Potato Head. 

As badly as I wanted to go around bad-mouthing the cover artist, the truth was that I did it to myself by not researching him and ignoring the fact that he didn’t have any chick lit covers in his portfolio. Quite frankly? I was so excited about publishing my first book and being able to show off my book cover that I lost all the good sense God gave me and made a terrible decision that cost me my hard-earned coins. I learned from this experience and when it came time to publish my paranormal novel, I knew exactly what to look for. I hired Ravven to do the cover for The New Mrs. Collins, and if I do say so myself, she did a pretty splendid job! 

Moral here? Don't be like me. Learn how to spell complacent and for the love of God, do your research before you hire somebody! 

What about others? Any book cover designer horror stories? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

About Quanie Miller





Quanie Miller grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana. She fell in love with reading at an early age and spent most of her time at the Iberia Parish Library discovering authors like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike (she was often found walking back home from the library with a stack of books that went up to her chin). She holds degrees from Louisiana State University and San Jose State University. She has been the recipient of the James Phelan Literary Award, the Louis King Thore Scholarship, the BEA Student Scriptwriting Award, and the Vicki Hudson Emerging Writing Prize. She is the author of The New Mrs. Collins, a southern paranormal novel, and It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy, a romantic comedy. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and is currently, as always, working on another novel. To find out more about Quanie and her works in progress visit quanietalkswriting.com..

If you're ready to buy The New Mrs. Collins or add it to your Goodreads list, check out the links below. You can also learn a little more about Quanie by visiting her website or following her on Twitter and Facebook.

49 comments:

  1. Mrs. Potato Head! That's bad.
    A good artist will send you mock up designs before requesting any money.
    I feel fortunate my publisher has done a great job with mine.
    Congratulations on the book, Quanie - that cover is awesome.

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  2. Congratulations on the book Quanie. Love the cover and the title.

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  3. I will second what Alex said. My bookmark designer actually sent me a mock-up before I hired her on Elance. I would never expect someone to do that because she put the work in without knowing she'd be paid, but it worked. I hired her and I've also hired her to do my event flyers and bookmarks for both books now.

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  4. lmao yeah mrs potato head might not get you very far. Always google, saves a lot of fuss.

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  5. now that really is a lovely cover. We don't often see well done covers especially in the blogging world, but this one is pretty!

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  6. Thanks so much for hosting me, Stephanie! Much appreciated!
    And thanks for the congrats, everyone!

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  7. i can imagine how many shysters are out there to take advantage! glad you have had success since!

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  8. Wow, Quanie. That is horrible and quite eerie! I can't believe you had a dream about the woman who also had a bad experience with the previous cover artist you hired. Sorry to hear about your loss but look at it this way, you have definitely provided a lesson for all of us.
    I can't say it enough how much I love your cover! I might even be reaching out to your designer once my novel is ready to go.

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  9. @TexWisGirl: Oh, yes! There are many shysters out there ready to take our money! Thankfully, they seem to be the exception and not the norm!
    @Gina: The dream really freaked me out, lol. And you should definitely reach out to Ravven! She works super fast and is really friendly.

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  10. haha this had me laughing and cringing! well, this cover is fantastic, Quanie :) congrats!

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  11. That's a great story! Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience but as they say we all live and learn from our experiences and I love this cover.

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  12. Hi Beth and Mary, thanks so much! Glad you both like the cover! :)

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  13. You are too funny! I commend you in talking about what happened as so many would not. You have helped many people know what not to do. Your dream about the red-haired lady is eerie. Glad you did not use the cover that idiot made

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  14. Wow, that is a great cover! Congratulations!

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  15. Well, she may have made a bad choice, but she sure didn't cry over all the milk that was everywhere. A very positive attitude.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  16. @Birgit: Ha! I'm glad I didn't use the cover that idiot made either, lol!
    @The Silver Fox: Thank you!
    @Sandee: That's right! Lemonade out of lemons! :)

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  17. Well written, heartbreaking and downright funny all at the same time.

    So sorry you had this expensive and sleep-disturbing experience, but so glad you took the time to share it with others.

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  18. It is a great cover. I do think each of has a lesson we learn on the road to publishing, writing in general, discovery is a part of the journey.

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  19. I'm so excited for Quanie! I read all about the book earlier today, and it sounds smashing.

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  20. Ravven did a fantastic job with your cover. So sorry that scumbag did you wrong. At least you had a good story to tell afterwards.

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  21. Quanie, I have a feeling that we would be great friends! I laughed so hard reading this -- not at you, mind--but at your telling of this fiasco! You are the master of turning a bad situation into an absolutely hilarious story from the back-of-beyond. I, too, have a cover-horror story. My novel was not a horror story, but you would have thought so from the first few covers the publisher sent...I LOVE your current cover! Can't WAIT to read!

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  22. By the way, Quanie, my mother-in-law was born and raised in New Iberia! Woot!

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  23. The cover is amazing Quanie... it's a good reminder to verify if the person is trustworthy and getting mock ups is a great idea :)

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  24. The internet is great in that regard. You can look up just about anybody. Thanks for the warning.

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  25. Good advice given for any one to research before getting any type of service done through anyone on line. I do like the cover of this book though!

    betty

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  26. Yikes! That sounds pretty horrible. Your actual cover is gorgeous. Congratulations!

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  27. Mrs Potato Head? Oh my gosh, I love it. Well not that she was ripped off mind you but that she can at least laugh about it now.

    I so want to read her new book now!

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  28. I'm sorry this happened to you, but you definitely spin a good story out of it! And your new cover is utterly amazing!

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  29. I'm so in love with the cover! thanks for the interview.

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  30. I love the cover of this one. Perfect! And I'm sorry to hear about your experience. We all stumble over something in the beginning. I spent too much time waiting for an editor who never responded to me after I sent her a sample. Thanks for sharing your story. We all need to learn from each other.

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  31. Congratulations on your first release, Quanie!

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  32. Congratulations! The book cover is amazing. I love the dock path into the water.

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  33. @Brenda, Crystal, Loni, Sandra, and Christine: Thank you! Glad you all like the cover:)

    @Megan: I can NOT believe that your mother-in-love is from New Iberia! Ask her if she misses Sugarcane Festival, lol! And yes, I think we’d be great friends (I was sold after your last post about wine!)

    @Liz: Yes. We are definitely in the information age!

    @Launa and Betty: Glad you both like the cover and yes, research before hire is key!

    @Kindlemom: Ha! And if you do read the book, I hope you like it!

    @Meradeth, Melliane, TBM, and Armchair Squid: Many thanks!

    @Diane: I love the dock path as well. It’s one of my favorite things about the cover.

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  34. Sorry about your bad experience! It's a good lesson to learn, though.

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  35. Hi Sherry, looking back, I can't believe I did that! But, hey. You live, you learn.

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  36. Congratulations on the book. The cover is well done!!
    Great work, keep it up!

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  37. Thanks for sharing your story, there's a lesson for everyone.

    Congratulations on the release and I love this cover!

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  38. Ack! Oh I'm so sorry. Although, that story made me laugh out loud - especially because the real cover is wonderful so I know it turned out OK :)

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  39. Oh my! This post is hilarious. Not the horrible not gentle man part, but reading it just had me laughing. I hate that this happened. I definitely wouldn't give money for a product like that before seeing it. I do graphic design myself and would never expect that up front. A deposit maybe, but I wouldn't do more than that. I am glad you learned from the experience though. I was worried he wasn't going to send you anything at all the money while reading. This cover is fantastic! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

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  40. Mrs. Potato Head. That's too funny.

    The new cover is amazing. Ravven did great work. Best of luck!!

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  41. Well, the cover HERE looks great.

    Man, that is a funny story! Good tale to share with others. At least you have that to share with the world. You can laugh now, that's what matters.

    Poor Mrs. Potatohead... all those little spuds and no one wants to write chick lit about her! That's au Gratin. Though, if someone did fry up the fiction, it'd probably be a comedy mash. (Am I out of bad puns? Oh good... started to sound a little baked there.)

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  42. I’m so sorry to say this but “thank you for the laugh," I really don’t mean that in a cruel way it’s just you have a way with words! I will be laughing about the origami and cake for days. Love the new cover.

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  43. @Carla, Romance Reader, and Elizabeth: Thank you much!

    @ Liz: Laughing with me, right? LOL!

    @Jaclyn: I’ve since learned that your policy is pretty standard (too bad I didn’t know that before!)

    @ J. Lenni: No worries! I’m a bad pun kinda gal myself, lol!

    @Barbara: You’re welcome! And glad you like the cover :)

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  44. I love your cover. Sorry you got burnt with the scam artist. A good cover artist doesn't ask for payment until after the design has been completed and approved.

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  45. Hi Carrie-Anne, thanks for that! And I do know now that most cover artists don't expect any payment up front. Thank God I had a back-up plan!

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  46. I love your current cover, and I'm sorry you had a bad experience with this person. I've seen some really bad covers. I think people don't want to admit they made a mistaking hiring the wrong person and want to justify the money they spent, so they go ahead and use the bad cover when it could hurt sales.

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  47. Ah! I can't imagine keeping a bad cover to justify the money spent. I'd rather have no cover than a bad cover. Truly!

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