The dirty ‘M’ word – Marketing

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Writing a book is a mammoth task. Editing, re-editing, revising, polishing, revising, (did I mention revising), and pouring over word selection, sentence structure, and punctuation line-by-line is harrowing. And then, if you are an indie author like myself, there is marketing.

Marketing sounds like such a dirty word. I blame that on all those prim and proper writers in their pure ivory towers whose fingers would never deign to touch a marketing strategy let alone draft one… Just kidding. Kind of.

Truth is, there is a perceived touch of the uncouth – the unpalatable – about an author spending time on anything but penning beautiful prose to paper. A (dangerous) stereotype has been born that equates author authenticity with a very limited skill-set (or focus). We want our authors to be creatives – to focus on the words and leave everything else to the ‘professionals’.

But I have never been one to play to stereotype, or expectations, so being an indie author suits me just fine. I’m also a bit of a control freak – my authenticity is intimately tied to my vision for a book, a series, a character… And I want to control how those things are presented – to you, to my readers, to the world.

And that brings us back to the dirty ‘M’ word. Marketing.

As humans, we market ourselves every day – how we dress, what car we drive (or don’t drive in favour of public transport), what words we use, what words we place emphasis on, who we associate with, what we choose to comment on (and not comment on), what posts we promote and tweets we retweet. We don’t think of it as marketing – it’s just our way of communicating our identity.

That’s how I see book marketing. It’s less a manipulative capitalistic venture designed only to pull dollars from weary pockets and more an introduction. It’s a chance to introduce the identity of a book, or a series, or a character. It’s a chance to match-make – to pair one thing of unique interest and beauty with a person of unique taste and desires.

And like match-making, which can end in disaster as often as true-love (probably more so), marketing is a tricky art to master.

Recently, in the process of finalising Rebellion (the second book in my Divided Elements series), I tried to contact the cover artist who had created the beautiful cover for the first book, Resistance. After multiple attempts, and with a looming publication deadline, I had to start my search for a new cover artist.

This was a tough undertaking – so many readers loved the original cover and (as the cover of my first ever published book) I had also developed an attachment to it. It took me forever to find an artist that I was comfortable to approach, and even then I was skeptical I would end up with a cover that was as imaginative and original as the first.

I shouldn’t have worried.

I first contacted Ethan Scott, an independent artist himself, on the basis of a striking cover he had imagined for HG Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’. It was the closest thing I had found to capturing the tone and genre and audience of Divided Elements. I told him about my series, gave him some general parameters, and asked him to come up with something striking.

And then he started working on it. And what he came up with was beautiful. Different from the original – as it should be – but still capturing the abstract illustrative style, the theme of a fractured identity, and the singular focus on a strong and independent female protagonist.

This new re-imagining of the series – this new representation of its style and content – is like a re-introduction. Like updating your profile, or putting on a new shirt, or using a new word to describe yourself. Sometimes it’s an improvement, sometimes it’s a detraction, and sometimes it is just different. But, each time, it is an evolution.

I’m so proud of this evolution of Divided Elements – it’s like the visual has caught up to the original vision of this series, that it speaks more honestly to its character. And I’m so pleased to share it with you. To re-introduce you to this world that I have loved crafting (and will continue to craft).

So, here they are – the re-imagined cover of Resistance (Divided Elements #1 and the new cover for Rebellion (Divided Elements #2). Both books are available now for purchase and, if you want to stay up to date with the progress on Book 3 and gain access to exclusive offers and content, you can sign up to my ‘author updates’.

Divided Elements - Book 1 and 2

 

LIKED THIS? WANT MORE?

Discover the Divided Elements series now with award-winning Resistance (Divided Elements #1) and just-released Rebellion (Divided Elements #2). Available as paperback or ebook on your favourite device. Just click to start reading!

Divided Elements - Award-winning speculative fiction

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The dirty ‘M’ word – Marketing

Gonzalez @ Berlin Graphic Days

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

For those of you that have been following along, you’ll remember that my debut novel Divided Elements is soon to be published. I am so excited to announce that Leonardo Gonzalez, Grammy Award winning and multi-­laureate art director, is designing the cover – stay tuned for the cover reveal later this year.

I selected Leo, a  Berlin-­based Venezuelan artist, to do the cover because he is a master at rendering (in his words): “beautifully-drawn-­yet-­fucked-­up characters” – which is exactly what my lead character is – a beautiful and tortured soul.

While you’re waiting for the cover reveal, you can catch his work online or at the Berlin Graphic Days.

Berlin Graphic Days – a three-day arts festival running from 1 – 3 July 2016 – will feature  around 100 national and international graphic artists, illustrators, street artists and screen printers, who will converge on Urban Spree Gallery in Revaler Street, Berlin, to create, display and offer works of art for sale.

Leo will be offering some silkscreen prints, including the awesome one below, as well as risographs and his comic book. Go check him out and tell him I said hello 🙂

Gonzalez - Know your place, shut your face

Gonzalez @ Berlin Graphic Days

Science vs Art in Writing: Antagonistic or Symbiotic?

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Recently, I strayed from my usual posts on tips, tricks and techniques on how to write and let loose with a burst of creative writing. It was an unfiltered stream of consciousness piece that captured a pure moment of joy, a snapshot in time, an unedited response to life. I was surprised at how many people liked it, which got me thinking – was I spending too much time reflecting on the science of writing and not enough on the  art  of writing? And that got me thinking about how the science and art of writing, of literature, and of creativity generally, are related…

All artforms are a delicious meld of art and science.

Art vs Science
Art vs Science
(image courtesy of Zach Baranowski, via Flickr Creative Commons)

Music is heavily grounded in science, with its mathematical progression of notes and chords, its meticulous tuning of tensions to precise values, and its consistently-timed beats in meter signatures written as mathematical fractions. Our understanding of music is grounded in the fundamental science that tells us hitting a certain shaped object, of a certain density and material, at a certain velocity, will result in a sound of particular pitch, volume and timbre. Our ability to perceive music is also grounded in the science of physics and biology. And yet, in spite of all this science, there is that something else. The soul of the music. The part that can’t be captured by mathematical equations or scientific models. That intuitive understanding that a formulaic approach to creation will, in the end, leave the music devoid of creativity.

Literature is no different. Its science manifests in the hard and soft rules that abound in writing advice published in books, articles, websites and blogs (like this one). Hard rules – grammar, spelling, punctuation – speak more to the fundamentals of legible, written communication. Soft rules – develop your antagonist, don’t forget the inciting incident and plot points, ensure every scene has tension or conflict – speak more to the best practice of creative writing. And whilst it is good to remember the science of writing (especially for a debut indie author such as myself), it is important to not overlook the art of writing – the joy, the creativity, the unedited, unfiltered emotional response that writing (and reading) sucks from us.

So, in an effort to live this beautiful dichotomy of art and science, I am going to occasionally intersperse my observations on writing compelling fiction with random outbursts of emotion at the art of writing.

I hope you join the conversations on both – because good art and important science are always enhanced by considered and interesting discussion.

Science vs Art in Writing: Antagonistic or Symbiotic?