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Guest Post with Debut Novelist Hannah Linder

Erica here. It is my genuine joy to host debut novelist Hannah Linder here on Seekerville today. Hannah writes stirring Regency romance, and I was honored to read an early copy of her debut novel and give it a well-deserved endorsement. Please join me in welcoming Hannah back to Seekerville and help us celebrate her new release with a shout out.

The “Why” Behind my Dream

By Hannah Linder
Guest Post with Debut Novelist Hannah Linder



As I sit here writing this post, five days away from watching my dream come true, I can’t help reflecting on everything. For eleven years straight, why has this been so important to me? Why have I devoted my heart, prayers, and time to pursuing a writing career?

I could say the reason is because my heart flutters at holding my own book in my hand. To tell you the truth, it does. I don’t know any greater thrill than prying open the cardboard box, reaching inside, and gliding my fingers across the cover of my book.

But that’s not the reason I write.

I could say the reason is for readers. How dear and special it is to know that through the magic of text on paper, I can transport worlds I’ve imagined into someone else’s head. That’s a beautiful, exciting realization. Within itself, it would be worth all the striving and dreaming.

But that’s not the reason I write.

Perhaps the reason comes from the fascination of seeing my story on a bookshelf. Or the delight of signing my name on the title page and handing it to a reader. Or the stimulating thought that I’m accomplishing something with every “The End” I type on a manuscript.

But those aren’t the reasons either.

I guess there’s only one reason I keep writing. The same reason why, at twelve years old, you’d find me typing away at the computer instead of playing outside with the other kids. I had stories in my brain. I wanted to tell them. I still want to tell them.

Because you see, it’s not the printed books I write for, nor the readership following, nor the excitement of launches and signings. I write because I need to write. Because all the stories march and stir in my head, begging to be set free on paper, longing to be lived. I’m in love with my characters. I’m in love with settings I create. I’m in love with stealing away from reality, into emotions and time eras and situations I form from nothing—and that is why I write. That’s what makes this book release so special to me, and that’s what will sustain me through any highs and lows ahead.

Just three days ago, that dream came true. Beneath His Silence has released into the world, and I get to share a piece of my heart and passion with all of you.

But even if that novel were still a stack of printed copy paper, tucked away on a shelf and collecting dust, I would still be penning more books. For you see, more than anything, I love to write. 

That’s the “why” behind my dream.

 
Guest Post with Debut Novelist Hannah Linder




About the Author

Hannah Linder resides in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Represented by Books & Such, she writes Regency romantic suspense novels. She is a double 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award winner, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In way of career, Hannah is a Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design. She designs for both traditional publishing houses and individual authors, including New York Times, USA Today, National, and International bestsellers. She is also a local photographer and a self-portrait photographer. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments—piano, guitar, and ukulele—songwriting, painting still life, walking in the rain, and sitting on the front porch of her 1800s farmhouse. To follow her journey, visit hannahlinderbooks.com.


 
Guest Post with Debut Novelist Hannah Linder



Links

 Purchase Beneath His Silence: AMAZON CHRISTIANBOOK B&N 

 Website: https://hannahlinderbooks.com/

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannahlinderbooks/

 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hannahlinderbooks/

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22462033.Hannah_Linder

 Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/hannah-linder






One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

 

One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

Good Monday morning, Seekerville! I (Carrie) am here to introduce today's guest for this month's 'One Thing That Works For Me' series. Please join me in welcoming author and professional cover designer Hannah Linder to share what works for her when narrowing down the elements for a book cover.

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Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover 

Ms. Example Author has just typed the end on her baby. Her book baby. She’s cried over the manuscript, prayed over it, worked through a thousand kinks—and she’s finally ready to deliver this infant into the world of publishing. This brings her to a crucial stage: the book cover design. What should go on the cover? Which themes, characters, settings, or struggles are vital enough that they should be represented in the design?

So, with enthusiasm and lots of squeals, Ms. Example Author hurries to her keyboard and types her designer this e-mail: “I would like my middle-aged, purple-haired, thin-faced heroine (who also walks with crutches and usually wears a leather jacket) standing outside of her yellow duplex with her curly-haired, next-door neighbor reaching for her hand, a tabby cat sitting in the window, and a red package sticking out of the tin mailbox. And oh yeah, can we add a graveyard in there too? That’s an important part of the story, so we must get that in there somewhere!"

As you might agree, this request already has our brains hurting. Just imagine smashing all this into a book cover! So, how do we proceed with this? How can you, as the designer or the author, help narrow down the basics to portray the most important aspects of your book without overloading the design?

Here’s a quick method that works for me. Let’s run through the questions!

  • What is the genre? A big determining factor on how much, or how little, should go on your cover should be decided after perusing other books in your genre. Nonfiction? Let’s go as simple as possible. Less is more. Historical fiction? We can probably establish the main character, setting, and emotion—and throw in some embellishments too. So do some research and determine what does or doesn’t align with your genre’s current trends.
One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

  • What is the theme? Surprisingly enough, this is a question for both nonfiction and fiction titles. Granted, it may be more important in deciding for a nonfiction book—because hey, if the recurring theme is beauty from brokenness, let’s throw in something like a flower growing from cracked pavement, right? But the theme of your novel can be helpful to evaluate too. For example, if your protagonist must learn to forgive his father, whose dog tags he wears about his neck, that gives us a starting place. Should said protagonist be on the cover? Should the dog tags, which we’ve now established are an important aspect of the story, be hanging about his neck? If nothing else, knowing your book’s theme will help you identify the emotion your book cover should illuminate. 

One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

  • What is most important? This can be a hard one because running back to our Ms. Example Author, she might argue that all the things she mentioned in her e-mail were an important part of the story. But let’s narrow it down. Who is the main character? What is the central plot of the story? What is the main setting? What scene or visual would best pull the viewer into your world—and how can you represent that scene or visual in the simplest way?
One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

  • What is the takeaway? When you present a potential reader with a book cover, you are giving them one glimpse into the world of your book. Sometimes you’ve only got a second before they scroll on, pass to the next shelf, or slide your book back into another stack. So, you need to determine now what the takeaway of your cover should be. Will it promise suspense? Romance? History? A great psychological truth? If you’re throwing too much at the viewer in one book cover, they’ll walk away feeling a little unsure and without that solid impression they need. Make sure the aura, the feel, of your story is going to come out strong in your cover. 

One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

In conclusion, I defer again to the saying, “Less is more.” Be consistent with your genre, stay in mood with your theme, highlight the most important aspect of your story, and make sure the end result is strong enough to lure readers into your pages and leave an impression. I hope you find this process helpful in deciding what should stay (or not stay) on your book cover. Good luck!  

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One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

Hannah Linder, represented by Books & Such Literary Management, is a Christian fiction author residing in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Her upcoming Regency romantic suspense novel, Beneath His Silence, will be releasing with Barbour Publishing in November of 2022. She is a two-time 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award finalist, and an ACFW member. Follow her journey at www.hannahlinderbooks.com.

Also, Hannah is a magna cum laude Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design with affordable prices. Having designed for both traditional publishing houses and award-winning authors, Hannah understands the importance of an attractive book cover and the trends of today’s industry. Her clients have included New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors. Find out more at www.hannahlinderdesigns.com.
 
Authors, what cover design questions do you have for Hannah Linder?
Readers, what attracts you to a book cover?

The Making of Many Book...Covers!




Erica Vetsch here with you today to talk about Book Covers! After “Where do you get your ideas?” and “How did you become a writer?” “Do you get to design your own book covers?” is one of the most popular questions authors are asked. And of course, the answer is an ambiguous “sometimes.”

Depending upon which publishing path you’re on, you can have exactly zero say all the way to designing the cover yourself. While I often had a bit of input when it comes to my book covers, I have never designed one in my whole entire life. Even the first book I penned (penciled) in 9th grade only had the title ‘erased’ into the blue notebook cover.

Our own Pam Hillman designs the covers for her indie books. Ruthy’s daughter Beth designs her Wishing Bridge covers, so I imagine Ruthy has a tremendous say in the finished product. For myself, my covers have always been designed by a publishing house. Sometimes they send me the finished product and tell me that's what they're going with, and at other times, I have the ability to chip in with my thoughts before it's called done. (I much prefer this option.)

The cover art design process with a traditional publishing house often starts with an Art Fact Sheet, though different publishers call it by different names. This is where the author tries to encapsulate their vision for the book cover, giving the designer an overview of the story, the themes, the moods, settings, time period, etc. Often the author is given the opportunity to insert photos of covers they like, pictures of who they envision their characters look like, and settings and scenes. 

From this, the designer begins work on the cover. And at this point, I have no idea what happens.




So, I asked an expert. I asked Hannah Mae Linder, (who is also an amazing author) the designer of my latest book cover, if she would walk us through her design process from original concept to finished product.

 
The beautiful and talented
Hannah Mae Linder!


Hannah, thank you so much for agreeing to sit still for this interview! :) First tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started in cover art design?

Hi, Erica! Happy to be here! The first cover I designed was for my first self-published book when I was twelve. Crazily enough, one of my first covers was square. Not sure how I thought that would fit a 5x8 book! But even though I had a lot to learn, the more covers I designed for my own books the more I loved the process. It swiftly became a dream to work for publishing houses designing book covers.

Can you tell us where you start with a book cover?

I always start with a form! Whether it’s the online form I send to individual authors, or the marketing questionnaire publishing houses send to me, that always gives me the starting place I need to begin the process.

What software do you use to create your covers?

Adobe Photoshop!

How many of the cover elements are provided for you by the publishing house? Fonts, images, logos, etc.

This usually depends on the project. In most cases, I use my own resources for images and fonts, but if the author or team has a specific image or image source in mind, they purchase the rights and send the photo my way. Or, in the case of working on a series where I didn’t design the first book(s), the fonts and logos would be provided to ensure consistency in design.

Where do the other bits and pieces come from?

Other bits and pieces—such as lighting effects, texture, background, etcetera—come from either Photoshop tools or stock photos. Adding in subtle effects is the fun part!

How much give and take is there between the publishing house, the author, and you as the designer?

After reviewing the first comp(s) I send, the publishing team sometimes has a few tweaks of their own before they shoot the cover to the author. In most cases, the author’s thoughts and input are heeded—and we then make adjustments, if needed, to make the end result align with the author’s vision. Every once in a while, a suggestion will be made that I feel would hinder the design (for example, a color clash or an added element that would clutter the design), so I usually pipe in with an alternative suggestion to help resolve the issue without injuring the design.

The Making of Many Book...Covers!

 Erica here: The Debutante's Code was not designed by Hannah, but by another designer at Kregel. However, when Hannah was contacted about creating covers for books 2 and 3 in the series (Squee!) she needed to work with what was going on in book one to make the series cohesive. I think she did a fantastic job!

Can you walk us through the creation of Millstone of Doubt?

Millstone of Doubt was such a fun cover. How could it not be when I’m a big fan of the author and the time period? (Erica is grinning bigtime here!) Here’s a little run-down on the design process:

· I reviewed the marketing questionnaire and native files that were sent of the first cover in the series.

· I set in place the logo, title, and author name so the layout would match book one, then started to work on the first comp.

· Three comps later, I shot them over in an email to Kregel and awaited feedback.

· The next step was a request to combine different elements of two of the designs. On to comp number four!

· Once the author and her agent reviewed the latest version, we had a few more revisions to work through. We waded through a few different hero models until we landed on Mr. Right Cover Model for The Book.
(Erica here again. One trend of cover art that I'm not crazy about is the 'headless hero/heroine.' The model who posed for the hero's body that was chosen wasn't quite right to play Daniel, so imagine our struggle er pleasure in perusing photos of handsome fellows until we found the perfect one.)  

· Just a few more tweaks after that to fine-tune the design and we had our final product. Bingo!

The Making of Many Book...Covers!

 (I am absolutely enthralled by this cover! I love the atmospheric setting, the totally handsome dude, and how it pairs with book one in the series. You can for certain tell they go together!) 

Thank you so much for this insight into cover art creation, Hannah. I am an absolute FAN of your work, and I’m totally in love with the cover you’ve created for book two in the Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery Series. I can’t wait to see what you do with book three!

Thanks so much, Erica! Both you, your agent, and Kregel have been a delight to work with in bringing the Millstone of Doubt cover to life. I’m looking forward to book three as well!

Do you have a question for Hannah about cover art design? If so, pop it in the comments below. And let us know what you think of the cover art of Millstone of Doubt!


Hannah's bio: Hannah Linder, represented by Books & Such Literary Management, is a Christian fiction author residing in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Her upcoming Regency romantic suspense novel, Beneath His Silence, will be releasing with Barbour Publishing in November of 2022. She is a two-time 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award finalist, and an ACFW member. Follow her journey at www.hannahlinderbooks.com.

Also, Hannah is a magna cum laude Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design with affordable prices. Having designed for both traditional publishing houses and award-winning authors, Hannah understands the importance of an attractive book cover and the trends of today’s industry. Her clients have included New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors. Find out more at www.hannahlinderdesigns.com.

Erica's bio: Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/inspirationalregencyreaderswhere she spends way too much time!

AND!!!! Millstone of Doubt is now available for Pre-order! You can use the links below to take you to your preferred online retailer, or call your local indie store and get yours on order today!





Guest Post with Debut Novelist Hannah LinderOne Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book CoverThe Making of Many Book...Covers!

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