Jen Minkman - YA Paranormal and Dystopian Author: mei 2013

woensdag 29 mei 2013

The Island - prologue

WHEN I step out of my bedroom door, mother and father are waiting for me in the hallway.
The clothes I’m wearing feel uncomfortable. They’re grown-up clothes: rough-textured and of practical cut. Made to last for a long time.
“I go my own way,” I say softly. The words that every child utters at age ten – the words my brother will say after me today – don’t sound as if I’m sure of them. But I am, because I know this is right. I clear my throat and speak up. “I stand on my own two feet. No one takes care of me but me.”
Father nods solemnly. Mother looks pale and is staring down at her hands. Why won’t she look at me? Is this her way of saying she wants nothing more to do with me? I haven’t even moved out yet. Dull disappointment grows in my stomach like a heavy brick.
The door next to mine swings open, and Colin steps over the threshold. My twin brother. He’s wearing brown pants and a simple shirt. Slung across his shoulder is a bag containing a few possessions he doesn’t want to leave behind. Almost all of our things will be destroyed after our departure, our rooms cleared, so we won’t ever be tempted to return. Not that I would want to. I’m done here.
Colin coughs. “I go my own way,” he says with a quiver in his voice. His eyes search our mother’s. “I stand on my own two feet.” A tear rolls down his cheek. He’s having a hard time with this. Oh well – he’s the youngest, after all. There’s a half hour between us.
“No one takes care of you but you,” father finishes the speech, when Colin can’t go on.
When I pass my mother, she suddenly puts a hand on my shoulder. “Leia,” she says, pulling a simple bead necklace from her dress pocket. It has a painted and glazed walnut for a pendant. “For you.”
My heart skips a beat. That’s the necklace my mother got from her mother when she moved out. And now she’s giving it to me.
“Thanks,” I whisper. Just for a moment, I imagine her giving me so much more than this. I feel this can’t be the end, but just then my father pushes open the front door for us. I walk out after my brother, into the early daylight, away from my mother.
Colin is waiting for me and grabs my hand. “You coming?” he mumbles.
We walk down the path without looking back. We’re going to the manor, where we will live until we get married and have children ourselves.
The front door slams shut. A new life has begun.

The novella will be out in Kindle & paperback format in two days' time!

maandag 27 mei 2013

Nothing below 4 stars... really?

Some of you may not be aware of this, but in order to be allowed to promote your book on big sites like EReader News Today, BookBub and Pixel of Ink, you have to have an average of 4 stars and at least 20 reviews on Amazon. Anything below 4 stars is rejected. A lot of authors with books that don't appeal to the masses but have a smaller target audience will never be accepted on those big sites. But how fair is the 4-star rule?

When I look at some Goodreads rating for absolute classics, I have to come to the sad conclusion that many famous books would be rejected by the big book sites too:

* The Great Gatsby : 3.79 average
* Great Expectations: 3.69 average
* Romeo and Juliet: 3.72 average (in fact, most of Shakespeare's plays wouldn't make the grade)
* The Scarlet Letter: 3.30 average.

I could go on all night, but I think it should be clear that a 4-star rating shouldn't be the main thing those book promotors look at. Or is Goodreads just a particularly harsh site?

vrijdag 10 mei 2013

Shadow of Time - Take One, Two and Three

... and this is how the cover for Shadow of Time has evolved from December till now! The first two covers were done by me and the third cover was designed by the insanely talented Clarissa Yeo. WHat do you guys think??

donderdag 9 mei 2013

Hard choices...

When I first published Shadow of Time, it had a self-made cover that isn't too bad and has a lot to do with the storyline. Many people liked the colors, but some had issues with the font, so I changed that a few weeks ago. However, the font wasn't the only thing readers had issues with - they liked the cover, but they didn't think it suited the target audience very well. Only AFTER reading the book did they think the cover matched the story. Now I'm the last one to recommend judging a book by its cover, but if truth be told, I do it too, albeit subconsciously. When I browse pages on Amazon, I frequently click on covers of books that look like 'generic' YA Paranormal books or YA Dystopian books, because I know what to expect. I'm all for originality (in fact, when I wrote Shadow of Time I was already determined I wouldn't get a book cover that looked like a dime a dozen) but maybe the originality should be in my writing and not in my cover art. So... I commissioned a cover artist I've worked with before (on a book cover for a book I still have to write, mind you < nothing like planning ahead) and told her what kind of book this was and what kind of message I wanted to convey while drawing in potential YA and NA readers. If all goes well, Shadow of Time will have a new & shiny 'face' before I run another promotional blog tour in the first week of June (coinciding with my next release, 'The Island'). I'll keep you posted!