My Write Road - SL Baum

... MY WRITE ROAD - S.L. BAUM ... I am a mother, a wife, a former teacher, and a writer! Crafter, baker, taxi driver.......

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Good Cover... and the Importance of Branding!

When I self published my first novel in June of 2010, I jumped into the deep end of the pool with no floaties on and I had no idea how to swim. It wasn't the best idea, but somehow I survived.

A Chance for Charity (The Immortal Ones) was released to the eBook world with a crappy cover, which produced a barely audible whisper. I didn't know much - I just knew that after sitting on my computer for a year, it was time for Charity to get out there. Thank goodness for the Amazon Kindle Forum. Somehow I stumbled upon the numerous threads and landed in the right one... no... the best one! The other authors and the readers I met in the forum taught me how to swim.

I think one of the most important lesson I learned was that I wasn't just writing a series of novels, I was creating a BRAND.


JUNE 2010 - Cover number one. I will start off by saying that I absolutely LOVE the photograph that I used on the cover of this first one. My husband took it during one of our many trips to Telluride. But I can look back now and admit that there is NOTHING about it that says it is a YA Paranormal book. It doesn't speak to anyone. The design looks childish and very few copies were sold with this cover. But this first cover lead me to my next one - which was only slightly better...

AUGUST 2010 - Cover number two was designed to look like the one that I created using the Cover Designer at CreateSpace (the Print on Demand website that I use for the paperback copies of my novels). It is a slightly different font than the one I created there... but the design is the same. I still used the photograph of Telluride, because, like I said, I love it. This cover was more successful for me but only slightly. It didn't take me long to realize that it had to go. I needed to appeal to the Young Adult audience.

JANUARY 2011 - Cover number three came about because I knew a change had to happen or I would never reach the audience I was striving for. Charity was steadily increasing in sales, but as I worked on the sequel and experimented with covers for Book#2, I just couldn't see the "Setting Photographs" working toward a brand. I searched stock photo websites and decided that this faceless girl reminded me of Charity. So I went with it. I designed it on my own, getting many opinions as I experimented, and ended up with this one. It worked well and sales continued to rise.

MARCH 2012 - Cover number four is a result of learning that a series must be branded. The 3rd cover did a great job - it grew the fan base of The Immortal Ones. But as subsequent books were released, I wasn't happy, they just didn't feel cohesive to me. You must have a uniform look when marketing a series of books. I attempted to stick with the illustrated covers and released 2 novels and a novella with illustrations... but they just never felt quite right. It was while I was in Telluride during a ski-trip with my family that inspiration hit me once again and I went in search of a recognizable brand. This is the final cover I created for Charity...

People do judge a book by its cover... it took me six months to realize that I was putting out a product that didn't appeal to my intended market. That was a bad idea. And while my first attempt to design covers specifically for the YA audience was more successful than my covers with a photograph of Telluride, I still wasn't hitting my mark.

It took me almost two years to realize that creating a consistent and recognizable brand was exactly what I needed for readers to immediately know that the product they were looking at belonged to me...
SL Baum.

My unsuccessful attempt at branding...
This is why I needed a change. The covers were not consistent... they were not a BRAND.


a clearly recognizable brand.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Wow - I'm Lame!

I have this blog... I mean - it's here - I own it - I am the administrator of it, the author of the posts, and the one who checks it out every once in a while... my "while" has overextended itself.

Basically - I've ignored my poor blog. I've neglected it. I am a bad (lame) blog owner.

To be fair, I have been finishing a book. I tend to become all consumed when I am in the throws of a climactic scene. Oh wait... that sounds bad. I'll just say I was preoccupied. I know, I know, I didn't ignore Facebook. But I can give FB five minutes of my time and then walk away... Okay, that's a lie and we all know it. Once you get on FB you are sucked into a time vortex. Pictures of misspelled tattoos and cute cats and shamed babies are more than enough to keep me clicking on yet another link. FB is bad...

Oh hey - are you following me on Facebook? You totally should.

So, about this book I was writing... it is finished. The Eve of Destruction (The Immortal Ones - Book Four) is now available on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords (I am still waiting on Smashwords to approve me for their "premium" catalog - which opens up iBooks, and Sony, and Kobo ect). Here is the cover... I love it...

Now I have another book to finish... the second book of my YA dystopian. So expect more lameness from me. I'm going to attempt not to be - but I make no guarantee. I gave that up years ago... when you say "I promise" to a child and then do not follow through it teaches you a lesson. So as a mom of three - I do not solemnly swear to make sure the blog is attended to on a more regular basis. As I say to my kids... "We'll see. I can't promise anything." But I'll try. I can always try harder!

I won't say I'll try my best, because only losers talk about their best, winner go home and do something with the Prom Queen... or so says Sean Connery in The Rock. I've seen that movie waaaayyyy to many times (I proudly proclaim).


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Immortal Ones - a new possible (future) novella

So... I put up a poll on my FB page. You should weigh in and give your opinion...

After I release - The Eve of Destruction - I thought I might explore another one of my characters. It was pretty fun to dive into Elizabeth's world when I wrote - Of Fire and Brimstone - and I'd love to do it again. I've had different emails and messages in the last couple of years since - A Chance for Charity - was released, from people wanting the next book to feature more of their favorite character.

Please visit the page and weigh in... who would YOU like to read more about?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Website Overhaul

Overhaul - great sounding - labor intensive - perfectly accurate word...

So being an Independent Author comes with a few "perks" that the mega-cool traditional writers are somewhat exempt from...

I just had a new release... so that means that EVERYTHING must get updated... FB pages, Blog, Twitter account background (yeah - I just realized that I haven't done that yet), and my website. So I went to my website this morning - intending just to upload a pic and a blurb - but realized that some changes needed to be made... because I hit this little button that said "add columns" but what it really meant was "screw with the proportions of the columns so badly that your current layout will no longer work."

Then I decided that it was an old looking layout anyway and should be updated... thank goodness for pre-made templates on hosting websites because I found one that I thought was quite lovely and decided to go with that - but then I had to upload a cover photo (yeah - I know - I need to fiddle with it - no more time today) - and then I had to delete some stuff - and then I had to add some more - and then an HOUR had passed and I hadn't even realized it. I need to give it another couple of hours for tweaking - but I don't have that time today... sooooooo, yeah, well, is in the process of being updated and will soon look great :D

In the meantime you can still visit it... I'm thinking of adding some more interactive pages over there... who knows...


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

LUSH - a new Serial - by SL Baum

 Look for LUSH on AMAZON - 4/19/13


Bluebell has spent the last twelve years of her life at Training Tech, the government-run boarding school all children are required to attend. Now that she's seventeen she is fully prepared for Incorporation; a time when females and males are allowed to mingle again, for the first time since they were toddlers. It is also the day she must endure Citizen Branding - the mandatory searing of a mark into the flesh of the left wrist of all new Citizens. O for fertile, X for infertile. The fate of every Citizen, male or female, is determined by the results.

Bluebell knows that a Citizen’s duty is to live for the glory of Concord, just as she was taught. But the frantic dreams and hazy memories that haunt her make her different, and the questions she cannot deny threaten to turn her world upside down.

LUSH is the start of a Serial (not just a Series). As the beginning book it sets you up in the LUSH world and asks a lot of questions, many that are not immediately answered. The follow-up novel is due October 2013... where the story continues.

Soooooo - What does that mean... start of a Serial (not just a Series)??
Well, think of any Television Show... Can you watch it this week if you missed the last week (or two) and will it still make sense - or will you be lost because there was something last week that is vital to this week? Do story lines carry over and start on one episode, but aren't resolved for another episode or two?

Serials are series of television programs and that rely on a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode-by-episode fashion. Serials typically follow main story arc that span entire season or even the full run of the series, which distinguishes them from traditional episodic television that relies on more stand-alone episodes. Serials keep the full nature of the story hidden and reveal elements episode by episode to keep viewers tuning in to learn more. (I paraphrased that from Wikipedia)

True Blood

Examples of EPISODIC TELEVISION (a traditional series)

Yes the episodic shows still have continued story arcs at times - but for the most part they are wrapped up at the end of the hour (with occasional small cliff hangers).

THE IMMORTAL ONES - is a SERIES (it is episodic)
LUSH - is a SERIAL (it will be unfolding)

I am a believer in full disclaimer... the second book in the LUSH serial will be out in October of this year. If you'd rather buy the whole season of 24 on DVD than watch it a week at a time... you might want to wait (before I tangle you up in the LUSH world - C'mon - enter the web).


Friday, March 29, 2013


 So... I'm on Instagram... Whenever I go to Telluride I'll post pictures :)

Username: slbaum

But, be warned, also lots of pictures of my day to day life...
new shoes

You know how it is :D