Posts Tagged ‘book design’

15 Books about Fireworks to Celebrate Independence Day


Thinking about naming your new patriotic book Fireworks? I wouldn’t if I were you – not if your goal is to be original. In my Amazon search tonight for fireworks, 3,320 titles came up. The following are a selection of these titles. Please understand, I am not endorsing them, as I have never read any of them. I chose them based on covers I liked, titles that intrigued me, and just plain ol’ strangeness. The descriptions are direct quotes from their Amazon write-ups or published reviews. Think some of them may be telling about the quality?


1Fireworks, by George Plimpton. I first read this book while sitting in the office of our fireworks shop in NJ. I got about 12 pages in and realized that Mr. Plimpton knew the fellow I was working for. When I questioned my boss about this, he said ‘George? Hell, he used to come down and shoot with us – he loves fireworks’. Unfortunately he had passed on before I read the book, it would have been interesting to shoot a show with him. However the stories and information in the book show how taken he was with the craft of fireworks. For the casual fireworks fan, or for the dedicated pyrotechnician, you will find this book most enjoyable. 

2Fireworks Fiasco: A Very Smell 4th of July, by PJ Ryan. Rebekah, RJ and Mouse are very excited because they are all going to celebrate the Fourth of July together. There will be great food, a pet parade and a fireworks display that’s about to get VERY interesting after they put there heads together to come up with a magnificent prank that is sure to surprise everyone.



3Fireworks, by RaeAnne Thayne. Rachel Lawrence hasn’t been back to Wyoming since her husband died fighting a brush fire, but if seeing her beloved nephews again means facing rancher Sam Wyatt and the guilt she still feels, she’s willing to take the risk. Sam has plenty of his own guilt. He walked away from fighting fires and built a comfortable life on the ranch for him and his sons in Whiskey Creek. The last thing he needs is for Rachel to come back with her green eyes, her long legs and the smile he’s never been able to forget. 


4Fireworks over Toccoa, by Jeffrey Stepakoff. An unexpected discovery takes 84-year-old Lily Davis Woodward to 1945, and the five days that forever changed her life. Married for only a week before her husband was sent to fight in WWII, Lily is anxious for his return, and the chance to begin their life together. In honor of the soldiers’ homecoming, the small Georgia town of Toccoa plans a big celebration. And Jake Russo, a handsome Italian immigrant, also back from war, is responsible for the elaborate fireworks display the town commissioned.



5Destiny Center Success Journal – Fireworks, by Diane Wigstone. Congratulations on taking your next step towards a new you! Your purchase of this Journal means that you are serious about making some changes in your life and becoming all that God created you to be! [NO idea what the fireworks have to do with your success or God…] 



6Quackers and the Fireworks, by Candace Hughes. This sweet little duck is back for adventure! This time around he celebrates the 4th of July with his best buddy Nickolas. Nickolas helps Quackers with his fear of fireworks so they can both enjoy the celebration together. [Wondering, just a little, why the namesake duck doesn’t seem to make an appearance on the cover…] 


7The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, by Philip Pullman. Lila dreams to become a firework-maker, just like her father. In order to become a true firework-maker, she sets off alone on a perilous journey to reach the terrifying Fire-Fiend. She travels through jungles alive with crocodiles, snakes, monkeys and pirates, and climbs up the scolding volcano. 


8Faith, Fireworks and Fir, by Pam Andrews Hanson. David Maxwell is on a mission. He’s come to Evergreen, Michigan to persuade his beloved elderly aunts, Carrie and Cora, to give up their bed and breakfast and retire to Phoenix to be closer to him. His aunts have no intention of retiring and enlist Faith Turner, who manages a year-round Christmas store, to persuade their nephew to change his mind. 


9Fireworks on the 4th, by CR Hiatt. WARNING: The exploits of the sleuthing duo of McSwain & Beck are not fanciful fairy tales, or made for TV love stories. Though the series is fiction, the crimes depicted are straight from the headline-type stories, developed from interviews with big city and small town detectives. The situations are real. Ruthless corruption is real, and the perpetrators and victims are getting younger. 


10Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces, by Angela Carter. In Fireworks, Angela Carter manages to tell stories dealing with Japan, medieval torture tactics, incest, gender-bending, and mirrors (LOTS of mirrors). 




11Selling Fireworks for Profit! “I Made Over $40,000 in 16 Days,” by Will West. [Sure you did.] If you’ve ever wondered about Selling Fireworks for yourself, your business or a non-profit group or charity, this books is an introduction to the business and the best way to make money selling fireworks. You’ll learn about the business and what it takes to sell fireworks.




12Fireworks and Darkness, by Natalie Jane Prior. The temperature in the room dropped, like the bitter cold before a storm, and the smell of magic gathered like a mist. Then the windows rattled, the floor shook and the paper stars and firework cases and all the trumpery tackle of Casimir’s trade suddenly lifted off the shelves and whirled around him in a blinding, stinging storm… Simeon Runciman is a firework maker who used to be a dark magician; a difficult man with a dangerous past. His son, Casimir, has always known part of the truth about him. 


13Fireworks at Dusk: Paris in the Thirties, by Olivier Bernier, portrait of Paris during the 1930s. Among the characters featured are some of the best-known names of the period – artists, writers, designers, party-givers and political figures, including Elsa Maxwell, Picasso, Dali, Gide, Cocteau, Schiaparelli and Pierre Laval. 



14Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse, by Otsuichi. Summer is a simple story of a nine-year-old girl who dies while on summer vacation. While her youthful killers try to hide the her body, she tells us the story – from the POV of her dead body – of the boys’ attempt to get away murder.  



15Katy Perry: A Life of Fireworks, by Chloe Govan. How Katy made her transformation from demure choir girl to sexy household name. Accounts of the conflict Katy had growing up with a deeply religious minister as a father and her penchant for skimpy attention-grabbing outfits and subversive lyrics. Details the story of her ill-fated early career, including an early gospel album released by a small record company which went bankrupt soon afterward. Her eventual rise to fame and her controversial first chart-topping single “I Kissed A Girl,” her bisexual affair and the struggle Katy faced between her sexuality and her religious background. Exclusive stories revealing the making of her albums. Tales of the love affair and marriage to notorious television presenter Russell Brand.

Wishing all of Marcie’s American readers a happy, fireworky 4th!


__________________ Summer Author Event PHOENIX-AREA AUTHORS: If you or someone you know is an author in Phoenix, please consider participating in the Summer Author Event on August 16. This multi-author book signing and meet-and-greet will put you in front of hundreds of readers in a casual environment where you can sell and sign books. There are three levels of participation. The first 100 attendees will receive goody bags – and for just $25, you can put a promo for your book into the goody bags!  Learn more or register at SummerAuthorEvent.com.


We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.



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Goals are good, but they need to be REALISTIC

I always try to listen when the same question or lesson shows up in quick succession. Today’s was about realistic goals.


At the end of July, I am hosting a live workshop in Phoenix: Learn to Design Your Book. Here’s the description of the event:

You’ve got the manuscript finished – now it’s time to actually make it look like a book so you can send it to the printer. But where to begin?

If you’re lost at this point, this workshop is for you!

We will cover:

• Book sizes
• Cover design
• Parts of a book
• Incorporating graphic elements
• Fonts
• Chapter headings
• Headers/footers/page numbers

If all that’s keeping you from getting your book printed is knowing how to lay it out, we’ll get you over that hurdle with this workshop. Bring your laptop, your final manuscript in a Word document, and a JPG of your cover if you have one – and come prepared to work!

Of course, this is an elementary workshop and will work best for fiction and simple nonfiction books without a lot of complicated graphics or design elements (e.g., columns, photos with captions, decorative margins, etc).

The most important part, perhaps, is the last section, explaining that this is an elementary workshop.

Today I received the following query about the event:

I have finished my second novel and received it from my editor. My cover guy is doing the cover this week. The document is 90% formatted for ebook and print. Last book I sent to Createspace for formatting and they did I great job.

I am not going to learn InDesign and yet want the final books to look good.

THE QUESTION: Will this one day session teach me to use InDEsign, Scriviner, Calibre, Sigil or ? to do the formatting?

WILL I LEAVE HAVING A CREATESPACE READY DOCUMENT? (spellings and all-caps as included in the email)

Please advise.
The expectations here are so grandiose that I was initially at a loss as to how to respond. First he’s not going to learn InDesign – but he wants to know if I am planning to teach InDesign in a four-hour workshop. Only a true savant would walk away from this session fully proficient at laying out a book. That’s not the goal. Between the workshop, the workbook, and an investment of time and energy, students should have a pretty clear grasp of how to get their book formatted for print. Here is my response:
What you leave the day with will depend on your own learning curve. More than likely I will use Scrivener, as they offer a 30-day free trial and their $40 price point is a low barrier to entry. It would be a fool’s errand to try to teach InDesign in a four-hour session.

I suspect you will be well on your way to a finished product, but this kind of work usually takes practice, refinement, and several passes before you’ll be ready to print to PDF and send it off to the printer. I might adjust my expectations or skip it altogether if I were you.

Next, I received a query about the Summer Author Event, a multi-author book-signing event I am hosting later this summer:

I am interested in attending the Summer Author Event (as an author of course) and I was curious what your previous attendance numbers were for this? I am JUST starting out (just had my first signing last Saturday) and and I just need to figure out could I expect after paying to get in to make that back and get more readers for my book.  

This author definitely has more realistic goals, but even he may have misplaced his focus. Here’s my response:

This is the inaugural event, so I can’t give you numbers. We will have nearly 30 authors participating, though. My goal is for each to do some marketing so we can bring in at least 300 attendees. As with many things related to book marketing, I personally believe it’s a bit short-sighted to focus exclusively on sales. For one thing, the quality of your book and your own ability to engage attendees will factor into sales, neither of which I have any input in.

And yes, you’d like to make your money back and then some, but even if you don’t, you will gain exposure, experience, and get to meet lots of other authors in the process. I will be sending out media releases and making postcards with every participating author on them. Would love to have you involved. We have about 4 tables left at this time.

This author thanked me for my fair response. I never heard back from the first guy.

Self-publishing is not for the weak-hearted. And it’s really important to have big goals – even a goal to write and publish a best-seller! But you’ve got to be willing to work to achieve those goals, often at the expense of other things. You need a plan, a system for implementing and adhering to the plan, and the commitment to see it through. If the plan appears stalled, you may want to rethink the plan.

What you can’t do is expect to achieve a best-seller with no effort – or having a completely laid out book on your first run-through. Is it time for you to revisit your goals to see where they fall on the realism scale, from certainty to pie-in-the-sky? Revising your goals to make them more realistic is not copping out – it’s advancing them to increase the likelihood of actually achieving them!

Here’s to a setting and achieving realistic goals!


__________________ Summer Author Event PHOENIX-AREA AUTHORS: If you or someone you know is an author in Phoenix, please consider participating in the Summer Author Event on August 16. This multi-author book signing and meet-and-greet will put you in front of hundreds of readers in a casual environment where you can sell and sign books. There are three levels of participation. The first 100 attendees will receive goody bags – and for just $25, you can put a promo for your book into the goody bags!  Learn more or register at SummerAuthorEvent.com.


We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.



Read Full Post »

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