Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I want to write a bit about covers for ebooks, and ask readers for help as well.  I started with this cover:

but thought it too vague. (I also began with the title, The Mayan Secret, but found Clive Cussler has that one.) I didn't think the reader could peg the book with a glance. Is it about aliens or ghosts or what? 

This image I purchased on Dreamstime and sent it to a designer on fiverr for the title and to have my name added. Because it didn't grab me and say immediately what type of book it is, or because I thought the title/image combo didn't work, I decided to take another approach.

I bought a ready made cover from Damonza dot com for $175. It is completely different, and loosely fits the book.

With the second cover it is immediately clear the book is action, that something has happened, that a new dawn is emerging, and that it is a love story. Which cover do you prefer, and why?

As a writer the image can't reveal an entire book, can't convey all I hope to show the reader. I believe that one has to trust a professional and let the book go. Ultimately the writing, the story, the writer's skill, has to sell the book.

I guess that still there is part of me searching for an image that will tell the reader of the spiritual transformation the hero experiences, the love that changes his world, his life, and allows him to share his heart. Where do I find that image?

Thank you for your time and help. Kevin R. Hill



Gabriela Pereira's article The Great Revision Pyramid, in the September issue of Writer's Digest was a great help with the rewriting of my novel, Touching Spirits. Ms. Pereira's approach is to divide the work into sections or layers of 1. narration, 2. characters, 3. the story (plot and structure), 4. the scenes, 5. cosmetics (grammar, punctuation).

That meant going through the manuscript and labeling the sections for reference. It was there, however, that I took a different path. And I believe every writer needs to find the system that works for them. Instead of breaking down the book as Ms. Pereira recommends, I divided my novel into character stories.

The author (on knees) teaches class at Home Depot.
I see novels that I write as ropes. The rope is made up of many strands of fiber. Each strand is a story, a character's story that is wrapped into the whole rope or novel. Since the problem I had was showing why a character did a terrible act, it made since for me to go into that characters strand or story and redefine it for the reader.

It was, once again, Writer's Digest magazine, with Ms. Pereira's article, that came to my aid. WD has been my constant companion during the writing of this novel as I stride to improve my skill.

Using the Pyramid article as a guide, I went through the manuscript and labeled each character interaction with color coded Stick 'em's for easy reference. That way I could go back and follow a character's strand,story, from beginning to end. It helped me keep the story tight and moving with the plot.

*Plot is the backbone of the book. I asked my sister, Shera Hill, herself a terrific novelist, whether characterization or plot were more important. "Plot," she replied, "because without a good plot no one will read the story."

To summarize, again I learned and benefited from a great writing reference tool: Writer's Digest. In this situation I found a new system to help me with rewriting my novel. I highly recommend utilizing the magazine. Their classes are great too, even the fifteen pages of rules for pronoun usage in the grammar class. Yes, fifteen pages!

I added the photo because a large part of being a writer is claiming the title. That means struggling with the day job. I have said many times and will say it again if only to myself: Writing means pushing against life to set time aside to put butt in chair and write. Writing is meditation in motion. 

I wish all who read this tremendous success. Kevin R. Hill