Tag Archives: Cover Art

17.5: The Promise of the Brand

Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela RiveraSandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd

Your brand—your name, the cover art for your book, and even the typeface for the title—set expectations for the book’s contents. That advice about not judging a book by its cover? It’s lovely in theory, but in practice, that’s just not how it works.

In this episode we’ll talk about how your brand gets defined, and how you can work with those elements to correctly set expectations regarding your work.

Liner Notes: We’ve done several episodes about branding. 14.34 is particularly good.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson


Describe the perfect cover for your work-in-progress. What is the right typeface for your brand?

Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

11.11: Self Publishing in 2016, with Michaelbrent Collings

Recorded live at LTUE, Michaelbrent Collings guest-starred for a discussion about self publishing. The landscape continues to change, and Collings is fully engaged in it.

He begins by stressing the importance of truly understanding the craft of writing—every professional writer needs this—and then talks turkey about Kindle Direct, Bookbub, formats and lengths, output, available resources, publicity activities, and what kinds of things new writers should commit to spending money on.

Note: Writing Excuses Patrons at the “Hear it When Howard Does” level got this episode on March 9th, four days ahead of the rest of the world. You can help support the podcast, and get early access, plus other bonus goodies, by joining them at Patreon.com.

Credits: This episode was recorded live by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Take the first line from any book, and turn it into a scary line. Then take the scary line and create two separate short stories using it.

Strangers, by Michaelbrent Collings, narrated by Jeffrey Kafer

Writing Excuses 4.25: Mating Plumage

James Dashner and Julie Wright join Brandon and Dan for an episode about what Lou Anders called “Mating Plumage” back in this 2008 episode of Writing Excuses recorded at Denvention. Lou was just referring to covers, but for this ‘cast Dan has extended the metaphor to include  titles and first lines.

These are the three things that are best positioned to quickly “sell” a book. But to whom? And why?

The crew talks about their experiences with each of these. Yes, we judge books by covers, and no, writers don’t have any control over them. We have a little more control of our titles, and still more over our first lines.  Humorous and tragic anecdotes follow, along with a great example of a first line from Barbara Hambly.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

Writing Prompt: Julie Wright, when offered the chance to use the word” monkey,” came up with “I can’t believe you did this to me.” James suggested “Brandon and Julie go on safari and get attacked by monkeys.” Plenty of material there. PLENTY.

Big Hugs One Last Time: With the absence of Producer Jordo and Former Audio Engineer Howard (neither of whom could make it to CONduit) Revan and Malek of Dungeon Crawlers Radio stepped up and made each of these last FIVE EPISODES of Writing Excuses possible. We owe them big-time, and you should go check out their podcast.

I bet it’s about puppies: I Don’t Want to Kill You, by Dan Wells.

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