“Inspired” or “The Story Behind the Cover”

You’ve read the blog posts.

You’ve seen the novellas.

Now at long last, it’s time to show you what a full-length Danielle E. Shipley novel looks like.

I give you… INSPIRED!

Inspired_Cover_Draft_Final_web

Back of the Book:

For a muse like Lucianíel, one story’s end is another’s beginning.

In the wake of his author’s sudden death, Luc takes ownership of her surviving creations—four fantastical characters with tales yet to be told—saving them from unwritten lives crumbling around them and giving them a second chance at a literary future.

Luc finds that chance in the unsuspecting mind of Annabelle Iole Gray, a quirky teen with her head in the clouds, nose in a book, and imagination ripe for a brilliant muse’s inspiration.

Or so he hopes.

Neither Luc nor Annabelle, however, realize all they’ve undertaken. Even with a to-write list including accounts of a shape-shifting cat creature, gentle knight-in-training, vigilante skater girl, and a mystery boy smothering in unspoken fear, the most remarkable saga created between author and muse just may turn out to be one stranger than fiction.

Their own.

* * * * *

How in the world to condense all that awesome story into a single thousand words’-worth of picture on the front of the book? It was by no means easy, I can tell you that!

I knew from the start what I wanted. The tricky part was working within the parameters of reality (which is not my strong suit, hence my career in imagination). Out of a finite supply of stock images, J. Taylor Publishing and I had to search out the ones that best represented the novel’s heaviest hitters, Annabelle and Luc. She was not so terribly difficult to deal with. He, on the other hand… well, I don’t have to tell the artists in the audience what it’s like trying to get any cooperation out of a muse.

After much stress, toil, stress, compromise, and, just for giggles, a little more stress (whose bright idea was it to make me the spokesperson for the demands of persnickety characters?!), we arrived at a cover that was author-, publisher-, and muse-approved.

Idowanna wait ‘til March 17th, 2014 to get this book in your hands! There are so many amazing fictional people for you to meet! So much adventure and drama and whimsy to share!

Gah! Somebody distract me. Talk to me: What do you guys think of the cover and blurb? Anybody out there inspired to give this novel a read, once it releases? ^^

P.S. – You can totally add “Inspired” to your Goodreads shelf, if you wanna. (:

“Independent” or “Why I’m Going DIY”

There was a time I didn’t think I’d ever want to self-publish a book.

I thought it wouldn’t feel legitimate – which is less of a commentary on the legitimacy of self-publishing than it is on my feelings, which will tend to feel whichever way they want to, legitimacy be hanged.

To Past Me, self-publishing would have felt like quitting; like I couldn’t get any of the bigger-than-me names in the industry to give me a chance, so I turned to a do-it-yourself last resort.

But then something changed my way of thinking.

And no, it wasn’t J. Taylor Publishing’s acceptance of my story in their upcoming “One More Day” anthology, because that came later.

What happened was the realization of just how much I loved my “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” trilogy. Loved it fiercely, just the way it is. And it dawned on me that, were I to traditionally publish Allyn’s books, there would be any number of people in a position to pressure me to change the books in ways that could quite possibly break my heart.

I don’t totally despise change. Fear it, sometimes, but I can face it when necessary.

Messing with Allyn’s story, however, is not necessary. Not if I publish it “not dependent on or affiliated with a larger or controlling entity”-ly.

So that’s what I decided to do. And the decision was scary as change to make, but a little exciting, too. I was going to do this for my Merry Men. I was going to publish their books my way, all by myself.

…With zero self-publishing experience…

Hoo-boy.

Nobody wants the self-publishing attempt of my magnum opus to look as slapdash as this “Ballad” cover thrown together to inspire me during its first-drafting in NaNo 2010.
Nobody wants the self-publishing attempt of my magnum opus to look as slapdash as this “Ballad” cover thrown together to inspire me during its first-drafting in NaNo 2010. I mean, it’s cool and all, but it just won’t fly.

Well, the only way to get self-pubbing experience is to self-pub something. So I came up with a plan: Figure out what the heck I’m doing by self-pubbing another project first, and then handle “Ballad” and its sequels like a pro.

That’s where The Wilderhark Tales come in.

It’s a perfect story choice, too, because The Wilderhark Tales are actually something of a prequel to the “Ballad” books. Allyn-a-Dale was born and raised in the Wilderhark fairytale world before finding himself in the different-sort-of-magical realm of Avalon Faire. So pubbing The Wilderhark Tales first not only gives me experience as an indie author, it’s chronologically sound. Double win!

What’s the experience been like so far? Predominantly thrilling, with some stress on the side. I’ve got enough control-freakish tendencies that I enjoy being able to call all the shots. I can micromanage and nitpick to my heart’s delight, and the only one I have to compromise with is myself. On the other hand…it’s all on me, guys. I can’t just turn in my manuscript and wait for somebody else to turn it into bound books and e-books for sale. Nope – if I want it done, I’ve got to oversee the doing.

Thank God for the resources of the internet. It makes it that much easier for me to behave as if I have a clue.

In the meantime, I haven’t turned my back on traditional publishing. At this point, I don’t feel that I want all my literary eggs in any one basket. There are some books I want to handle on my own, sure. But I’ve written other books – and doubtless shall write more – that I’d still love to see accepted by a publishing company of greater than one. Because I want that experience, too.

And you can bet I’ll keep you guys updated on my experiences as they come. (:

Speaking of experiences, if you’re interested in sharing your experience of reading my soon-to-be-self-pubbed novella, “The Swan Prince”, and perchance having a portion of your review included in the published book… well, you’ll have to read it first, now won’t you? To request a pre-release read-and-review arrangement, or an author interview with me on your blog, drop me a line in the comments or e-mail me at Danielle.E.Shipley[“at” symbol]comcast.net. (Further details toward the end of this post).