In Hindsight by Sharon Bonanno and Lisa Scott

In Hindsight By Sharon Bonanno and Lisa ScottThis is our story. 

On the outside, Sharon and Lisa appear to be two normal sisters living life in a quiet suburban neighborhood of New Jersey. Their parents divorce when they are young; every other weekend is spent at their dad’s house with his new wife, Janet, and their two children, who seem to dominate their father’s time and devotion. Their mother, on the other hand, works multiple jobs at a time to stay afloat and provide everything she possibly can for her beloved daughters.

“Mom had a way of finding out what we wanted and needed and made sure that it appeared.”

Like many sisters, Sharon and Lisa are competitive; they fight for their parents’ attention and call each other out when necessary. However, as they enter adulthood, life takes two very different turns for the women. Sharon moves into a career and starts a family, while Lisa finds herself tumbling down a dark path of addiction, deceit, and depression – a path only tough love and accountability can help pull her out of. But when Lisa’s drug addiction and constant deception lead to her inevitable breaking point, it’s no one other than Sharon who provides the wake-up call Lisa needs to finally seek professional help. 

“But when I looked at Mom, and then at Sharon, I could see how injured they were, and I knew that I’d done it to them. That realization shattered the shell inside my skin that I thought had been protecting me but really had been holding me captive.”

IN HINDSIGHT: The Story of Two Sisters Who Hurt, Hindered, and Healed Each Other (Advantage Publishing, ISBN: 978-1-64225-131-9, Original Trade Paperback) explores both the good and bad sides of Sharon and Lisa’s childhoods while also examining the differences between their personalities and perspectives. It authentically highlights the duo’s unbreakable bond that allows them to conquer hardships and challenge each other to be the best versions of themselves. This woven memoir acts as an incredible success story for those who have battled with their own inner demons, proving you too can turn your life around and even find success assisting those who struggle with the same issues you were once able to defeat. 

“I understand that we model behavior unconsciously. But I also know that it is possible to transcend your past, consider how your behavior affects others, and end abusive cycles.”

IN HINDSIGHT is a beautiful representation of the special bond sisters share and a true testament to all that can happen when you not only overcome your situation, but flourish into the successful person you were always meant to be.  

About the Authors: 

Sharon Bonanno is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. She takes her relationships seriously and always makes them a priority. Sharon has been a teacher for 22+ years and is passionate about her job. Leading and guiding young people has been her specialty since 1994. Her goal every day is to continue to make people feel that there isn’t anything they can’t do and to help others be the best versions of themselves.

Lisa Scott is a wife, mother, and experienced entrepreneur. Driven by her passion for helping others, she is motivated by her belief that all people deserve second chances. Her number one goal is to show as many people as possible that they can achieve anything they want in life.  Lisa is forever optimistic and believes that life is always speaking to us; we just have to learn to listen.

IN HINDSIGHT: The Story of How Two Sisters Who Hurt, Hindered, and Healed Each Other
By Sharon Bonanno and Lisa Scott
Advantage Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-64225-131-9
Price: $19.99
Original Trade Paperback
165 pages

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The Adventures of Veggieman: Food Fight by Karla Farach

The Adventures of Veggieman: Food Fight It is the first day at his new school, and Niko can already sense trouble in the air. Kids are throwing candy wrappers at each other, jumping on tables, and even sleeping at their desks. Perhaps the most shocking part of it all is that their teacher is doing nothing to stop the chaos. Naturally, Niko knew he had to step in and try to find the principal. Little did he know he would find himself in the middle of an epic battle between the forces of good and evil – evil junk food and good fruits and vegetables, that is.

In book one of THE ADVENTURES OF VEGGIEMAN: Food Fight! (Mascot Publishing; July 2020, ISBN: ; Original Trade Paperback), author Karla Farach takes young readers for a ride as they follow Niko, Veggieman, and more healthy superheroes in a battle for wellness against the gummy villain. Will the evil junk food’s pandemonium persevere? Or will the good guys come out on top in pursuit of health and vitality? 

Perhaps most important of all, THE ADVENTURES OF VEGGIEMAN acts as a fun, engaging, and informative tool for parents and educators to start conversations with their children about the power of wellness and the ability to make smart food choices. It’s a helpful reminder that it is never too early to teach kids about the benefits of healthy eating habits as well as the dangers of overconsumption. Farach’s ultimate goal with this book is to empower every child to become curators of their own superhero stories of health.

About the Author: Karla Farach is the CEO of Mothers of Health, LLC, a company she founded to inspire women and parents to adopt a healthier lifestyle. She is passionate about nutrition and wellness and is certified as a health and life coach by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Karla was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with her husband and two sons. Karla’s favorite vegetable is kale.

You can visit her on the web at www.veggieman.com.

THE ADVENTURES OF VEGGIEMAN: Food Fight!
By Karla Farach
Mascot Publishing
Publication Date: July, 2020
ISBN (lib.): 
Format: Paperback
Price:
Page Count: 60

Book Covers: Hiring a Designer

You have your book written, edited, and you’re now prepping to publish it. Previously, we spent some time discussing how to design an appropriate book cover that will keep your self-published masterpiece from going unnoticed. If you read over our summary on how to design a book cover yourself, you likely have a better idea of whether this is a task you can take the time to handle yourself or not.

If it doesn’t seem like the DIY option is the right fit for you, don’t fret! There is another way. There are thousands of trained professionals out there who would love to help you design an eye-catching and unique book cover – for a price, of course.

Where to Look to Hire a Graphic Designer

The biggest question when it comes to hiring a professional designer is where to start looking. You could start by searching social media using terms such as cover design, book jacket design, or a specific hashtags like #bookdesign. These terms may lead you to some smaller artists whose work you enjoy. You can usually either find a link to an artist’s portfolio through their social media accounts or get a quick snapshot of their work through their posts, which makes for an easy vetting process. Social media allows for direct, quick, and open-ended contact as well when you approach someone about their commission prices.

Other options that might help you quickly sort through many artists and designers who can provide the exact services you’re looking for are platforms like Fiverr, which exist solely for artists to advertise their skill sets and prices in one place. Freelance marketplaces like this cut through a lot of clutter that exists on social media. You can filter your results by whether you need only a book cover or whether you need help with the typesetting process as well.

Beware of Prices that Look Too Good to Be True

With these kinds of services it’s important to note there are people who advertise cheap prices and make use of premade templates, free stock photos, or, at worst, steal and recycle designs completely.  It is my firm belief that when it comes to commissioning a book cover you ultimately get what you pay for. Expect to pay upwards of $300+ depending on whether you want spine and back jacket designs included in your design. Adding in the cost of typesetting will also make the process more expensive. A unique, custom designed cover will cost you more out of pocket, but it will make your book stand out amongst the millions of self-published titles that are released every year. While browsing through artists’ portfolios, make sure to keep in mind the current trends and aesthetics of your chosen genre. Choose a designer whose aesthetics match these trends. You still want the outside of the book to reflect the tone of what you’ve written on the inside.

Basic Etiquette for Hiring a Designer

I’d also like to speak on some basic etiquette for how to approach an artist and inquire about their rates. Most artists are friendly people who want to work with you to see your vision come to life. Start the conversation with a polite greeting and ask them if they are currently open to taking commissions. This is especially important if you have found them through social media instead of a freelance marketplace. If they respond positively, feel free to explain your project and what you’re looking for in a cover and to ask them how much they would charge for it. If their rates are too steep for your budget, it is not impolite to thank them and say it is out of your range. It is impolite, however, to try and haggle with a designer or to criticize them for charging too much.

If you find an artist you like and who you can afford, make sure you read and understand their terms of service before agreeing to payment. Freelance designers often require payment upfront. There may be a no-refund clause in your contract once they have started to work on your design. Always bring something up with the artist if you find there is an issue with their work and make sure you mention any kind of deadline you may have upfront.

Working with artists to bring your concept to life can be an exciting and fun experience. Designers love to hear input about their work when it is a paid commission, and they want you to be as satisfied as possible with the result. So, if the DIY option is just a bit too daunting and you’re ready to start searching for a designer to hire- happy hunting!

Book Cover Design: DIY

Previously we discussed two possible options when it comes to book cover design for your self-published book. The first option proposed was the DIY option, where you design the cover yourself. This option is more complicated and time consuming than hiring a designer to create a book cover for you. While it certainly isn’t impossible to create a great cover yourself, it is probably best to steer clear of this option if you have never dabbled in any kind of design at all or if you’re unwilling to spend time doing research. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive into the DIY option. 

Step One: Brainstorm Ideas for Your Book Cover Design

The first step is brainstorming ideas for what your cover should look like. You may have a strong idea already or you may be entirely clueless. Either way, I urge you to take time and study other book cover designs of best-sellers that specifically match the genre or tone of your book. If you wrote a murder-mystery thriller, look at other books that are traditionally published within that genre.

Angel Wings Book Cover DesignPay attention to the general style of fonts used, the color palette, and the overall feel. These will vary widely between book subjects. A self-help book cover will be different from those of romance novels. Even if you do have a strong idea of what you’d like to present on the cover, take into consideration what other novels are doing. Remember, the main point of the cover is to bring in an audience that wants to read what’s inside. Your cover needs to quickly convey what kind of book it is through its visual language.

Step Two: Find a Graphics Program

The second step is finding and familiarizing yourself with a graphics program that suits your skill-level and needs. If you have access to Adobe Photoshop or InDesign, then those are the preferred industry standard for designing graphics and you should be all set. However, these can be expensive options for a single project. It is worth considering other options, since there are many programs out there that are cheaper or, better yet, completely free! 

If you have experience with design and using image editing software, try programs like Clip Studio Paint, GIMP, Procreate, or Krita. You may need to supplement these programs with things like stock photos or fonts. However, you need to keep an eye on their usage rights.  

If you’re less experienced with design, it might be preferable to choose a program that comes pre-loaded with tons of templates, fonts, and stock images that make designing a cover less of a headache. Try programs like Canva, Adobe Spark, BookBrush, or Placeit. These are only a few of the available options and a quick search will lead you down the path to finding the best fit for you.  

However, most of these programs, aside from InDesign, are not suited for typesetting. If you’re planning on working with the interior of your book yourself as well, InDesign may be worth the investment.

Step Three: Consult with Your Publishing Platform

Doug Wood Book Cover DesignOnce you’ve come up with the idea for a design that is both aesthetically appealing and tells people about your book at a glance and you have a program of choice that you plan to use to bring it to life, it is important to consult with your publishing platform. Wherever you choose to publish and sell your book from, whether it’s solely digital or from a print-on-demand publisher, these platforms usually have specifications that you will need to follow concerning image dimensions, file size and type, and color profile. Keep these in mind when creating your design. 

Best of luck on your journey designing a brilliant book cover if this seems like the right path for you! However, if all of that was entirely overwhelming and you’re considering exploring the second option of hiring a designer instead, we will be talking about that in-depth soon as well!   

Designing a Book Cover: DIY vs Hiring for Self-publishing Authors

If you’re familiar with the concept of self-publishing, you’re also probably familiar with some of its criticisms. It’s not uncommon for someone to scoff at a self-published book on sight and label it as unprofessional, or a work in progress- even if that isn’t true at all. If you’re planning to self-publish a book, those kinds of reactions might make you nervous. You most likely don’t want to invoke that kind of disdain from potential readers. So, how do you keep an audience open-minded when they can be predisposed to making assumptions about self-published books? Design a professional book cover.

Designing a Book Cover

The key is to make your self-published book look professional at first glance. The old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover” is great advice when it comes to the metaphor for how we should treat other people, but when it comes to actual books, people do judge them by their covers. That is why it’s so important to get your cover right. In a world where tens of thousands of new books are self-published annually, there’s no faster way for people to make the snap decision to swipe left or right. Your book cover’s quality needs to reflect the quality of its contents, so you can attract the audience who will enjoy all of your hard work.

When you begin thinking about your cover, there are essentially two options: you can give yourself a DIY project or you can hire a designer to make the cover for you.

You may know yourself well enough to already have an idea of which one will suit you better, but there are pros and cons to both when you’re considering your options for designing a book cover. This is just a quick and dirty guide to helping you make the initial choice.

The DIY Option

This option is more complex. You will need to find a graphics program that suits you- there are plenty out there that are low-cost or free. Some web-based services even provide premade templates to follow that can make the process simpler. Making your own cover will involve a lot more of your time. You will need to handle all of the steps from doing the initial design thumbnails to formatting the image properly for print. On top of that, these things will require research, especially if you’re a total newcomer to digital design. However, there is a positive side- the result will be a lot more cost-effective and it is completely customizable. If you have a strong vision for what you want your cover to be and are willing to do the legwork, this could be a very rewarding option.

Hiring a Designer

The initial step for this option might take a little time, but once you’ve found a designer that fits your budget and style, the rest of the work will fall on them and you can focus on other things. All you need to do is message them, discussing the project and their rates, until you find someone who meets your needs for designing a book cover. Expect to pay a minimum of $750 for an original design that doesn’t follow a template or use stock photos. Despite the downside of being more expensive, this option can save time and stress, leaving you with a more professional, eye-catching book. 

If one of these options interests, you- great! We’ll be going more in-depth into both of them in future blog posts, so keep an eye on this space! Until then, please check out our Not-so-Sexy Side of Book Publishing blog to learn about the technical parts of publishing that will help prevent you from missing out on opportunities.