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All About Book Covers


My cover's done. And ain't it beauty? The frustrated artist in me LOVES book covers.

It's not a stretch to say that while you can't judge a book by its cover you darn well can mess up its sales potential by being ugly. Covers are supposed to not only intrigue the passerby (There's something called the "airport test," I'm told. Will a passerby take a second glance at a cover of a book someone's reading?) but also attempt to suggest the story in an image.

They were originally "dust covers," and some people still call them that, which tickles me a little since we all love covers so much that who even thinks about taking them off to read 'em. And oddly they may be one of the biggest reasons I resist an e-reader.

For fun, here are some links about book covers. First is a New York Times article about covers that WEREN'T chosen--designers' favorites that just couldn't be used. You decide why:

The Cover Not Chosen

Next, here's one from the UK's Guardian about the possibly first book cover ever:

The First Book Cover

And here's on from Los Angeles Times about an actual art show showing classic cover art and the titles that might have been if the titular characters' genders were reversed:

The Classic Book Covers ReImagined

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The Most Famous Query Letter (Set to Music)

An agent responds to the most famous query letter of all time: The Beatle's "Paperback Writer."

(And for those who have neither memory nor interest in The Beatles song, it still gives great advice on how to write a query letter.)

"Agent Responds to Beatle's Paperback Writer."
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Hook 'Em, Author-First Lines


(Been thinking about first lines today. Here's a tip I thought I'd share for aspiring writers, taken from a craft course taught at the 2011 Writers League of Texas' Agents Conference)

Question #1: What's the most important part of a manuscript you want to sell?

Answer: the first five pages.
And really, the first page.
And really, the first paragraph.
And really, the first sentence.

That sounds crazy, but let's just admit that this whole writing and publishing thing IS crazy. (Now. Feel better?) So, how's your hook? When was the last time you took a second look at the first page of your manuscript? Let's put this another way:

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Road Reverie

Tumble down my rabbit hole--a literary travel writing web experiment.

Twelve literary travel writing pieces with creative links. The fun part of a scholarly project about literature in cyberspace. Thought you might get a kick out of it.

After all, where else can you find poetic Bathroom Graffiti from an Arizona Truck Stop?

Or a Bumper Sticker Poem?

(Originally published: Kairos Journal 15.2)  Read More 
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A Fun, Quirky Little Q&A with Scribe



I just did this quirky-fun Q&A for my upcoming WLT class in Scribe. Loved it!

Hey, you never know what a writer will say when asked crazy questions...

The Scribe Q&A with Novelist Lynda Rutledge



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WEEK LINK: The Blue Bookshop Door

Every old "thing" has a story, but this antique-of-a-whole-other kind has its story written all over it...

In 1925, a popular bookstore in Greenwich Village closed, but before it did, the place was a hangout for the bohemian crowd that included literary lights of all kinds--flames and flickers--and the owner asked the "usual suspects" to sign a narrow blue door at the back of the shop.

Along with icons such as Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos and Sherwood Anderson, the door records the "passage of forgotten poets, socialist pamphleteers, suffragists, Ziegfeld girls and multitasking oddballs," as the New York Times article put it. The door was removed by the manager and bought by the U. of Texas' famous Harry Ransom Center in 1960, after a dealer spotted an ad in the Saturday Review asking, “Want a door?” Where it was during all those years, who knows? But from 1960 to now, it had been forgotten until somebody stumbled across it in storage at the Center. You've got to love it. Everything has a story, even a blue door.

This week's New York Times Book Review section offered the article about The Blue Door from the 1920s as well as a slide show, both fascinating.  Read More 
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My Very First Web Interview




The nice writing gang behind "What Women Write" invited me over this month for my first web interview:


What Women Write BLOG-CLICK HERE:

"Lynda Rutledge stops by
to chat about her soon-to-be-released Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam novel Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale and the craft of writing." Read More 
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The Picture Window: My Ground Zero memory


New York City
10/11/2001



When I think about those days now, I see a dark street in some continuous midnight.
A man in a tuxedo carrying a cello from Carnegie Hall.
The sound of a sonata behind closed doors.
A Goya by a mansion's staircase, a Shakespeare folio under glass.
A flickering television in the apartment across from my 12th floor hotel window.
Only then, do I see why I was there and where I walked an entire November night—the gaping Ground Zero gash that was once the World Trade Center. The expected images have faded, mercifully if slowly, the images everyone knows without having to go there, the ones we'll always see. But the unexpected, what the mind chooses to hold on to and where the soul finds itself again, can be a lasting surprise.

I came to Manhattan a month after 9/11 to write a book with a crisis chaplain I'd never met. At 11:30 p.m., he walked into the hotel lobby in full blue tactical uniform, introduced himself, then led me immediately to the subway. Read More 
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Cherubs want to know

April 2012: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale.
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A WRITER'S MORNING

5:30 a.m. Wake Up-New Commitment to Morning Writing Time
6:00 a.m. Wake Up Again
6:35 a.m. Dog Breathing in Face. Get Up
6:40 a.m. Stumble Down Stairs
6:45 a.m. Make Coffee; Waves to Morning Person Spouse Rushing Out Door
6:50 a.m. Nuke Bran Muffin
6:52 a.m. Overnuked Muffin; Give to Dog
6:58 a.m. Gulp Coffee
7:00 a.m. Brighten; Feel Creative
7:04 a.m. Have Inspiration
7:05 a.m. Rush to Home Office
7:06 a.m. Wait for Computer to Boot; Begin to Lose Inspiration
7:07 a.m. Grab Pen and Paper Scrap to Save Idea
7:08 a.m. Pen is Dry
7:09 a.m. Begin to Repeat Thought like Mantra So Not to Forget It
7:10 a.m. Find Working Pen; Quickly Scrawl Idea
7:11 a.m. Dog Wants Out
7:12 a.m. Phone Rings; Attempt Not to Answer; Fail
7:13 a.m. Deal with Boring Issue on Phone with Spouse 7:14 a.m. Deal With Spouse Who Does Not Think Issue, Paying a Bill, Is Boring
7:15 a.m. Be Irritated That Spouse Disrespects Your Artistic Impulse  Read More 
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