Cover Your Shame!

Not to say your written work is your shame, it was just a catchy pun to get your attention (by now, you know what you’ve gotten yourself into by reading this blog). As mentioned in a previous post, once you have your manuscript formatted for submission, you’re not quite done yet. You still need an appropriately formatted cover or title page. When you’re still in the process of writing, this can actually be a good motivator. Every time you open your draft and you see your title page, it makes you feel accomplished, and driven to finish your work. Just the act of coming up with the perfect title for you novel makes you feel accomplished. Even if your it is just a work-in-progress title, that W.I.P. usually fits your story perfectly, or you simply think “Man that title sounds cool.” So, here is a sample of how your cover page should look, then after I will examine a few parts for clarification:

Title Page

Then, nothing below that point on your title page. So, the first thing to examine is the spacing on the page. You don’t need any extra spacing, like 2 pt. spacing you would use in the body of your manuscript. You’ll notice in the upper left hand corner, there is no additional spacing between lines. Now, the centered section where the ‘title-by-author’ is located, has a bit of spacing between. That is not needed, but I prefer to put 2 pt. spacing where the title is located, simply because it looks ‘prettier’ to me. The concept behind the title page is that it is simple. No fancy fonts, no coloring, no images. Just a simple place to have all of your contact info, IF the publisher would like to see more. Below the title-by lines, there is an approximate word count. As mentioned previously, most publishers assume each page to have 250 words each. So, do a little math: 250x(page count) = approximate word count. A warning: check your publisher’s submission specifications, some do specify how they would like you to determine your word count. I’ve come across at least two that wanted the count as specified by Microsoft Word.

That ‘covers’ just about everything, when it come to your cover page. Make sure that you come up with an outstanding title, write a whole lot of words, then tell the publisher about on this page. One last thing to mention, don’t put a page number on this page. In MS Word, you have to check a specific box to prevent this from happening, if a publisher sees a page number here, there’s always a chance they will ignore your manuscript. I’ve never heard of that happening for this specific reason, but better to be safe than sorry. So, keep it simply, and have fun writing!

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More Than One Way To Skin A Story

This past weekend supplied me with a bit of an epiphany. I’ve known about this particular epiphany prior to this weekend , but this time it really inspired me and landed closely to home. On Saturday, a good friend of mine provided me with the opportunity to go and listen to a local indie rock band comprised of some of his good friends. I was immediately excited, although I hadn’t heard of the band before, so I initially assumed the band would be somewhat amateur and have a long way to go before “hitting the big time.” It is a rare occurrence that I am actually pleased to be wrong.The performers I had the privilege of listening to was the Eugene local band, Edewaard. The reason I bring this up on a writer’s blog is because, this isn’t just a blog about writing. I’ve always felt and looked forward to this blog being about telling a good story, not strictly writing one. That will become clear as I hope to post more about stories, events, and experiences that inspire me. Essentially, what I am trying to say is, there is more than one way to skin a cat, or in this case, tell a good story.

Edewaard Playing at The Downtown Lounge

Edewaard Playing at The Downtown Lounge

That is what stood out to me this weekend as I listened to this group of young and upcoming musicians who clearly enjoy what they do. They play music because it’s in their hearts and it drives them to strive for greatness. That alone is an amazing, inspiring story within itself, not to mention their actual lyrics. Seeing others take control of their lives and strive to do what they love is enough to convince me to press on with my own dreams. Their demo album, “Never Take Back,” is filled with a number of songs that tell brilliant, relatable, and intriguing stories. Many folks understand that music can be used to tell a tale, while others still just see music as pleasant noise that is strictly for entertainment with no ulterior motives, but so much of it is the attempt to evoke emotions and paint vivid images in our minds. One of my favorite songs off of their album is titled, “Mr. Niceguy,” and paints the image (if I am interpreting it correctly) of a man and woman together. They are together in spite of the fact that he is the exact opposite of the mild mannered, polite, average Joe that she could be with (Mr. Niceguy), if she chose to do so. Despite the warnings that, “I’m no good for you,” despite the bad stuff, they stay together, and that just because he’s not like Mr. Niceguy, doesn’t mean that he isn’t her Mr. Right. While music is generally open to interpretation, this is the beautiful scene that it paints in my mind, and while it would be fascinating to know what, or who, this song is truly about, not knowing has always been half of the magic. It’s songs like this one that make me strive to create something that tugs on the heart strings, and connects with an audience.

Edewaard Band Photo

Edewaard Band Photo

Lastly, I would like to leave you with a few things. The first is to not be constricted by a singular train of thought, or narrow “field of view.” You can experience and be inspired by a vast, and great many things. While it is widely presumed that you must read to be able to write a good story, that doesn’t mean that you know how to tell a good story. So watch, dream, listen, read, and experience good stories, then let them inspire your work. Secondly, I can’t emphasize how much I enjoy live music, especially that of good, up and coming artists. I truly do look forward to experiencing more of what each of the members of this band have to offer, their sound together, their solo’s, their vocals, because they obviously have so much to offer. Finally, a good old fashioned, shameless plug, because I strongly feel that they deserve it for putting on such a great show. Check out Edewaard on Spotify, iTunes, ReverbNation, Facebook and Twitter, and keep an eye, and an ear, out for them in the near future. Their upcoming performance dates can be found on their website, edewaard.com, so check them out and enjoy!