Friday, July 5, 2013

Virtual Book Tour & Kindle Giveaway for Templand by Jill Elaine Hughes

Welcome to my stop on Jill Elaine Hughes Virtual Book Tour for Templand.  Please leave a message or question below for Jill to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below (U.S. and Canada Only). 

Why Book Covers Are So Important
by Jill Elaine Hughes 

I recently hired a graphic designer to do new book covers for all three of my current self-published titles — TEMPLAND, THE DOMINO EFFECT, and ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED.  I did this after first trying to do it myself on the cheap. While I’m very computer-savvy, I’m no graphic designer — and the results of my half-hearted efforts to make my own covers looked reeeeally bad.

Here is the original cover for TEMPLAND, created by yours truly using PowerPoint (yes, PowerPoint) and a cheap stock image I got from Shutterstock for three bucks:

See, I can admit it. I have no design talent. I’m a writer, not a visual artist. And when I tried masquerading as a visual artist, the result was like something out of a fifth-grade computer class. But I really didn’t think a cover was all that important for an ebook. As a writer, I naively thought it was the words behind the cover that really mattered. Boy was I wrong.

I self-published the ebook over the Christmas holidays with that godawful cover. Sales were nil. I sent it out to bloggers for book reviews, and even did a free promo. The reviews that came in were good, but sales were still almost nil.

My literary agent, Marisa Corvisiero of the Corvisiero Agency — who has an excellent track record helping her clients boost sales for their self-pubbed ebooks and later landing them big New York publishing-house deals — sat me down for a straight talk.

“You need new covers,” she said. “I don’t want to be mean, but the ones you’ve got are awful and they’re hurting your sales. Ebook buyers are very visual, and an eye-catching cover can make all the difference. Oh, and you need to make sure you put a sexy guy on it too. Sexy guys sell books.”

Marisa connected me with JB McGee, a talented indie book cover designer — as well as a bestselling New Adult indie author herself — to get new cover designs made for me. JB had me fill out a detailed questionnaire about my books, get her copies of them to read, and also just spent some time chatting with me. She’s a very talented designer who also wasn’t afraid to share her creative process. “Like with writing, sometimes you have to wait to be inspired when designing covers,” she said.

We went back and forth for a couple of days on how best to create an eye-catching cover for TEMPLAND that captured its corporate workaday mood, the inherent precariousness and uncertainty of the heroine’s tough career and financial situation, AND had a sexy guy on the cover. (TEMPLAND has a love-triangle subplot, so we had TWO possible sexy guys to choose from — yay.) The result was this:

What a difference! And well worth the time and money invested. Shortly after I posted the new cover to Amazon and other ebook sites, I noticed a slight uptick in sales.  The blog-tour companies who are hosting this and other tours in support of TEMPLAND also said they saw an uptick in the number of blogs interested in participating. Plus, the new cover is just damn pretty to look at — and as professional-looking as anything coming out of New York.

It’s times like these I’m grateful to have a savvy literary agent who understands and supports self-publishing, while having the understanding of what sells books, and the connections to people who can make sales happen. So folks, make sure you do whatever it takes to have a good book cover — EXCEPT doing it yourself.

Jill Elaine Hughes

By Jill Elaine Hughes

Published by: Jill Elaine Hughes Books
Release Date: May 25, 2012

Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Length: 269 Pages

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Book Description:

The heroine, Melanie Evers, is a plucky young working-class woman from Akron, Ohio struggling to support herself in Chicago in the post-9-11 economy. TEMPLAND follows Melanie's journey through the temporary employment world from a college student on "just a summer job" to a 28-year-old woman with a lot of intelligence (and a heap of student loan debt to match) through multiple layoffs and a series of ever-more-wacky temp assignments, as she struggles not only to survive, but also to find romance and always remain true to the honest, working-class values instilled in her by her beloved grandfather.

In her long, solitary journey through Templand, Melanie encounters adventure and romance on her search for that always-elusive Permanent Job---which she finally gets, along with her man. TEMPLAND is a highly entertaining, wickedly funny social satire, contemporary romance, and mystery novel all rolled into one.

Buy Links:  Kindle NookSmashwords │ Sony │ Kobo 


Phil was over this morning.

(Phil is my loser ex-boyfriend.)

I keep finding his stuff tucked inside boxes and in the backs of closets and drawers.  Phil’s presence clings to the apartment like a rash that just won’t go away, no matter how much you pour on the calamine lotion.

Phil came over that morning to pick up his Farsi book collection, right on time at 10 a.m., just like he promised in his email. He acted like it was a big inconvenient chore, too. I had told him that 10 a.m. on a weekday would be fine, since given how things were going with my morning temp agency calls I didn’t think it was likely I’d get any work that week.

Phil showed up looking very sleek and dapper in a new suit, which I thought was silly, since he was there to pick up a bunch of dusty, dirty boxes of books and then lug them down to his car. But Phil never was very good at planning ahead logistically.  He had on a fancy black suit, with perfect little gray pinstripes that looked like they’d sauntered over from the stuffiest brokerage on Wall Street just to sit on Phil’s shoulders. 

And he looked damn good in it, too. 

(Phil is definitely an asshole, but this doesn’t change the fact that the bastard cleans up good.)

Phil told me some half-baked story about how he’d just had an interview that morning for possibly doing freelance translation work for a government agency, but I didn’t care much about that, because I just wanted him to take himself and all of his Farsi crap out of my life forever.  Phil was a tall, skinny piece of gelled-hair bad luck.  I was certain that my connection to him and all his negative Farsi-speaking karma was somehow interfering with me getting temp assignments.

Try as I might to get him out of my apartment and away from my karma, Phil just wouldn’t get the hint.

He wanted to make small talk with me when he arrived, which I ordinarily would not have stood for since our very messy breakup four months earlier, but I was bored and a little stir-crazy after not having been sent out to work by the temp agencies at all in two weeks. (One of the side effects of unemployment is loneliness, with a light dash of horny---something I’m sure Phil understood pretty well, since he’d never been much in the job-holding department himself.)

Phil wanted to know what I thought of George W. Bush.  He already knew that I always had plenty to say about our forty-third president, so I am sure this was a manipulative sexual tactic on his part.  I rattled on about what I thought about some Carl Kassel commentary I’d heard on NPR the day before, and Phil soon became so enthralled with my political small talk that he ended up not taking home any of his Farsi books at all. Instead, he stayed with me at the apartment until late afternoon, when after several tangles in the sheets I finally came to my senses and showed him the door. 

That day, I discovered that the combination of unemployment and lonely desperation can be sexually lethal. 

I needed to get back to work, and fast.  Time to call the agencies again.

About Jill Elaine Hughes

JILL ELAINE HUGHES is a journalist and playwright as well as a New Adult fiction novelist. 

As a reporter, she has contributed to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Washington Post, New Art Examiner, Cat 
Fancy magazine, and numerous other media outlets. 

Her plays have widely published and produced in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, and many other U.S. cities, as well as in the UK and Australia. 

Before self-publishing New Adult fiction, she published many erotic romance novels under the pen names “Jamaica Layne” and “Jay E. Hughes” for  publishers like Ellora’s Cave, Virgin Books, Decadent Publishing, and Ravenous Romance.

Remaining Tour Schedule:

July 5 - Queen of the Night ReviewsInterview

July 7 - Faerie Tale Books - Review
July 8 - Deb Deb Reviews - Review
July 9 - Must Read Faster - Review
July 10 - Reviewing Wonderland
July 12 - RABT Reviews - Review Wrap Up

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