What I Use for My Covers on Wattpad

What I Use for My Covers on Wattpad

*This is not a sponsored post*

First off, I’d like to share my Wattpad, something I recently decided to resurrect. I only ever had one story on there for a few years, until yesterday when I decided to put more short stories on there. “I Am the Bell Jar” and “Dead Poet’s Pendulum” were published at one point, but all rights are mine again, so I’m sharing them for free on Wattpad. To me, “Dead Poet’s Pendulum” reads a bit more amateurish, but I was 18 at the time of it being published. Despite that, I only did some proofreading before publishing on Wattpad because I want to preserve my voice as it was at the time.

I think I had “Sister Evelyn” published on a weebly website I used to have, but it’s part of my Stars universe, as well as another story that isn’t included in the covers above simply because that is a cover I purchased from a designer, not one I made myself.

I plan to add more Stars shorts and then may bundle them in an anthology on Wattpad.

Since I am considering myself absolutely broke for the time being, purchasing pre-made covers has not been feasible. There are people offering services on Wattpad, but most charge in some form or another, and, again, I’m not spending more than a dollar in these uncertain times.

So what is a writer to do? Well, I decided to turn to Canva, this brilliant, amazing website I have been using for my blog posts’ cover photos as of late. It is a database of thousands of photographs along with a myriad of elements and what not you can use to customize whatever it is you want to work on.

Doing book covers on here is the easiest thing imaginable. You don’t need any editing or photo shopping skills. All you need to do is go to ‘create a design’ in the upper left hand corner.

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Then you choose the option for a book cover, and it will bring up a template that is the perfect size. While I’m unwilling to spend several dollars on having others create book covers for me, I don’t mind spending just one single dollar for the perfect photograph to use as my book cover. And that’s what I do. I browse for a photograph I think will fit my short story, drag it into the template, purchase it, and start working on the text.

Creating book covers on your own really makes you realize that the text is what makes a cover truly bookish. Now I don’t know what the Pro option is like for Canva, so you can’t create brilliantly fancy text–multi-colored, for example–but there are plenty of options for the type of text you can choose from. If you look at my cover for ‘A Treacherous Flame’ on Wattpad, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I mean fancy text. You just can’t do that on Canva, probably not without upgrading to the Pro option. But like I said, I don’t know.

The other amazing thing about Canva is that it will let you know if your text or image is centered or not, or even if it’s extending beyond the borders. Basically, as you move the text or image around, it’ll bring up a grid that serves as a guide to tell you where it makes sense to place whatever it is you’re working on.

But that’s what I use and it’s what you can use if you’re strapped for cash. You can make some pretty amazing covers for self-publishing on Canva.

Late Manic Monday: Life Goals and A Treacherous Flame

Late Manic Monday: Life Goals and A Treacherous Flame

a treacherous flameA Treacherous Flame is now free on Amazon for five days! It is a precursor to When Stars Die. Once you get the story, you can also freely lend it to whomever you wish. I will eventually make it perma free. I just have to format it for Smashwords and have Amazon do a price match.

Here’s what it’s about:

Benjamin Fairchild, interrogator at Usiburn Tower, is in charge of extracting confessions from witches–and then killing them. His methods are brutal. From crushing thumbs to cutting out tongues, Benjamin is not afraid to use the most extreme methods to get what he wants.

On a crusade to eliminate every last witch he can, Benjamin is currently tasked with a young girl named Emily. She proves to be a most difficult case. Trying to convince Benjamin of her innocence is impossible when he is certain that witches are the biggest embodiment of sin. However, Emily will force Benjamin to discover a secret about himself that threatens to undo everything he has been taught.

***

So besides this, what else is going on in this hectic life of mine?

Well, I finally got certified in CPR/AED/First Aid, which means I’ve scheduled my personal trainer exam for next Friday at 1 PM. YIKES! Here I am wondering what more I need to study besides the math, which is easy, but I just need to memorize the formulas. I’m both nervous and excited because I’m finally certain of what I want to do as a career, and even though I hear it’s really tough, I hope to find both happiness and contentment in this career. To be honest, I’d love to be as big as Kayla Itsines. But that’s a long-term goal. Right now, I’m just going to focus on short-term goals: passing the exam, getting a specialty certification, getting my BA in English, then finding a job as a trainer.

I’m also developing my fitness platform, primarily through blogging and Instagram. I started a Twitter account, but I feel like I need to be more popular to really have Twitter work for me. It’s easier to get followers on Instagram because pretty pics really attract people, so I’ll depend on my blog and Instagram for now. It’s kind of crazy trying to juggle both a fitness and author platform, which is why a Manic Monday post is late in the first place.

What about my goals as an author?

Well, with the re-release of When Stars Die being next Saturday, I plan to submit my second book some time in December after I go over it once more. And I can’t say I’ll be able to start the third book soon. Maybe I can, but there’s no promise. Right now I have to focus on getting certified and then getting my BA, which will hopefully be next March if I can get into two classes instead of one like I’ve been forced to do lately.

Like striving to be like Kayla Itsines, my long-term goals are to eventually be a bestseller, or even just make enough that it’d be a GREAT supplementary income. Even if I made loads of money from writing, I wouldn’t let go of my job as a trainer.

From here on out, it’s all about HARD work.

Cover Reveal Sign-Up!

Cover Reveal Sign-Up!

fireandfeathersNext Wednesday I’m going to be revealing the full cover for my short story titled “A Treacherous Flame.” It’s going to take place in The Stars Trilogy universe and will be told from the viewpoint of a boy named Benjamin Fairchild. I don’t yet have a formal summary for it, but I can tell you he is an interrogator at a placed called Usiburn Tower. He is in charge of extracting confessions from witches–then killing them afterward. What’s unique about him is that he isn’t afraid to use torture to get what he wants. So, like When Stars Die, it’ll be a brutal, gritty dark fantasy. It’s going to be available for free on Amazon on October 31st!

By helping me out with this cover reveal, you will be eligible to win a first-edition copy of When Stars Die, back when it was with AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. I tried to create an official sign-up form to help me out, but since my job has taken up too much of my time and I just feel so burnt out anymore, you can either leave your email in the comments or email me at thedancingwriter@gmail.com if you’d like to help out! You’ll then be entered into the drawing.

For those on Tumblr who happen to see this, you can just message me your email.

 ***News***

  • When Stars Die now has a release date. It’ll be November 21st of this year! You can add it on Goodreads here.
Writing the Stars, a New Forum for Writers

Writing the Stars, a New Forum for Writers

My Tumblr followers (now 1700 and counting!) have inspired me to start a writing forum that has a less tense atmosphere than some of them do. It is still a platform for writers helping other writers–and me trying to play a large role in helping writers–but I do not want tension in this forum. I want it to be a friendly place to be for writers to feel comfortable asking questions and posting things for critique. There are no stupid questions in my forum.

It is called Writing the Stars, and I hope many of you who read this post will consider joining it. Membership growth is slow, but I am hoping it will pick up the more people join. Here is a screenshot to give you an idea of what this forum looks like. There are far more boards than what is presented. There are boards where you can talk about books, critique each other’s writing in various genres, like paranormal, short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and the like; a general discussions board, where you can talk about whatever you want; a board for personal problems (so similar to a ranting board); one where you can talk about successes in your life, big or small; boards on literary agents, traditional publishing, and self-publishing; social media so you can connect with others; literary magazines; a board for young writers; contracts; writing and grammar tips; and you can even suggest improvements for the forum. I hope to see you there!

Writing the Stars

Magazine Submission Etiquette

Magazine Submission Etiquette

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As you all may or may not know, I found a literary magazine called The Corner Club Press about 3 years ago. I am now simply the president and web designer for the magazine, having decided to take a backseat to focus on all the other things going on in my life. In any case, throughout these three years, I have come across a multitude of things that are just downright annoying. You expect them, but countless posts have been written like mine, and, yet, writers still do these things we tell them not to do. I feel like there are no excuses anymore, not when you have an entire world’s worth of information at your fingertips. Not to mention that every reputable magazine should have solid submission guidelines. In any case, let’s begin with what you should be doing when submitting a short story or poetry piece, or when you are considering doing so.

  1. Follow submission guidelines down to the very last letter, lest you be rejected. It doesn’t even matter that the submission guidelines are detailed. People will still sub to us with wonky or small fonts, incorrect formatting, genres we don’t want, or more pieces beyond the limits we’ve established. We’re not desperate for submissions. We receive more than enough. And, to be frank, when I was going through the slush pile, I was looking for any reason to reject a piece because I’d get so many. The ones we accept are the rare few that make us not want to get up from our chairs to fetch a snack.
  2. When submitting, address us accordingly. I once had a writer address me as Mr. Forbes. Read the bios. They’re not just there for gloating.
  3. Rejection. Throughout the three years of the CCP’s existence, only one has ever gotten into a fight with us about rejecting his piece. I wasn’t able to find the e-mail he sent us. Otherwise, I would have posted it right here, sans name. I am not above doing that. We editors eventually develop a snarky side. I can’t even remember exactly what he said, either, but it was enough to cause me to send a polite, nasty letter to him, simply for the sake of his own writing career. So, technically, I was doing him a favor by responding at all. Mariah was the one who read his response first, by the way. I don’t look at submissions anymore. I trust my experienced staff with them.
  4. Don’t respond to rejection letters. Even if you’re just thanking us for taking the time out of our day to read your piece, don’t do it. At all. It’s not going to make us accept your next piece, just as not responding is going to make us reject your next piece. Just send to us again. That alone tells us you really want to be in our magazine, and that alone makes us hope we eventually accept you.
  5. Respond to acceptances immediately. Please. Don’t send us a revised version, either. We liked what you originally sent us. Plus, we do light editing anyway.
  6. Don’t tell us to make corrections AFTER PUBLICATION, when there is no error on our part. I actually had one writer tell me I published the wrong story. It was THE ONLY story said writer had submitted. Poets are especially notorious for doing this. Don’t tell us to italicize something when it wasn’t italicized to begin with. This means having to go through and change something so you don’t slander our magazine, having to change links, and then having to re-upload the issue. Think about how you’re inconveniencing us before you send a correction to an error we never made. We’re not perfect, and we have made errors in the past that we’ve fixed, but if no errors were present to begin with, don’t accuse us of doing something we didn’t do in the first place.

There you go! My post will be just one of thousands already written, but it’s worth repeating, over and over and over and over and over…

The Madness of Rejection

The Madness of Rejection

I’ve seen this done a lot all over the internet. A person gets a rejection, one single rejection, and suddenly feels the need to post the rejected story online. This person treats this rejection as a big deal, an earth-shattering thing, and then suddenly feels like it’s absolutely okay to post said story for people to read it because clearly there aren’t hundreds of other magazines out there said story can be subbed to.

When I subbed short stories back in my short story day, I expected rejection so much that receiving a rejection never even stung. I was so informed about the industry that I knew I was supposed to expect a lot of rejections before finally receiving an acceptance. Sometimes you get lucky and may not need to suffer through a lot of rejections, and sometimes you just haven’t found the right place yet that will fall in love with what you’ve written. Sometimes you’re not rejected because of how bad your writing is but because the editor doesn’t have a taste for what you’ve written. And sometimes you are rejected because of how bad your writing is, but you shouldn’t give up after one rejection and suddenly think it’s okay to post that story online. That’s admitting defeat.

Now I know some magazines are afraid to take on pieces that have been published on blogs because those pieces could potentially have been stolen from the time the author pressed ‘Publish’ to the time the author decided to delete it. As someone who has a literary magazine, I’m not so nervous about that because it’s rare. I’ve done it only once, where I read an amazing story on someone’s blog and really wanted it in my magazine, but, for the most part, I only accept stories that haven’t been published anywhere else, blogs included. It’s the principle of having original work that no one else has seen yet that makes it thrilling to publish it.

Expect rejection, especially with novels. I know someone who was discouraged after receiving ten rejections and I had to be the one to give her a reality check by telling her that authors can expect to receive 50-100 rejections on average before landing an acceptance with either an agent or editor. The market is flooded, and agents and editors have to be really choosy about which authors they take on–not to mention that they have to make money, and choosing an author who doesn’t sell can make them lose money. It’s not easy. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. But it’s the nature of the industry. If you don’t want to suffer through the rejections, self-publishing is always an option; keep in mind though that this route isn’t any easier–you just bypass the rejection route and the ironclad gates of agents and editors.

I don’t really have any solid advice on how to make rejection easier. Rejection was easy for me because it’s what I expected. I loved my stories enough to give them a chance, even if that meant suffering through tons of rejection letters to find homes for them. Most of them were impersonal letters anyway, though I did receive one that was very personal. But I rolled my eyes at that one because it was an unprofessional personal letter, and the letter said more about the editor than it did about my story.

Reviews, Sister Evelyn, and Giveaway Reminder!

Reviews, Sister Evelyn, and Giveaway Reminder!

Unedited draft of Sister Evelyn.
Unedited draft of Sister Evelyn.

I am very pleased to announce that I have all the reviewers necessary for When Stars Die. The number came out to 52 reviewers (a few mix-ups, so I had to squeeze the remaining two in), and I am so happy how quickly I was able to go through and do this. It means the world to me to know there are people interested in reading my book, and whether or not they love it or hate it matters not to me. The point is, all you guys want to give me and my book a chance, and that’s all that matters. I’m just going to let you guys know edits haven’t even been started yet, but you’re on the list, and you’ll stay on that list for when the time comes for those ARCs to go out. And I’ll probably remind you a few time on here, Twitter, and Tumblr, oh, and Facebook, so you don’t find yourselves surprised when you get an e-mail about a galley.

In other news, I mentioned two or three posts back that I was starting an installation piece to give you a taste of what you’ll find in When Stars Die. It isn’t exactly a reflection of WSD because the character doesn’t exist in WSD and her struggles are very different from Amelia’s and, of course, zero romance. There might be four or five parts, and I already have part one drafted. I will revise tomorrow and hopefully post next week.

It is called Sister Evelyn and revolves around, well, Sister Evelyn who must endure being a witch in a city of religious zealots who worship witch hating. So this installation will give you insight into the workings of Cathedral Reims, how intense hatred for witches is, and what it’s like to vie for a position in the Professed Order when you really don’t want to be in a convent in the first place. So, very different from When Stars Die, but does share its dark tone.

Also, please do not forget about The Looking Glass Wars book giveaway. That will be going on until Saturday 9 PM!

I am also thinking about doing some vlogging so you guys can really get to know me. What things would you be interested in me vlogging about? Remember this is a visual experience, so if you want to see something, like my writer’s bag, my cat, or whatever, let me know (G-Rated please).

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