Author - Nina Cordoba

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My interests are varied and I'm likely to write anything from funny to poignant to informational, so my blogs are organized by topic. Just choose your favorite topic on the left. I'd love to hear from you in the comments section or go to Contact and email me privately if you like. Thanks for coming by!

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7/7/2016 4:20pm

Why I Used 99Designs for My Book Cover

Note: This post is not meant to advise you whether to use or not use 99Designs. I'm posting this information because I had not heard any 99Designs user experiences from the members of my writing groups and thought this might be helpful to my fellow writers who have been very generous with their data over the years. I used the service several months ago (Winter 2016).

*To see the details, covers, etc. from my 99Designs contest go to the My Experience with 99Designs post.

I think I originally heard of 99Designs because it sponsored an indie author podcast I was listening to.

The hosts were saying how great it was to use 99Designs to do your book cover. I wasn't interested at the time for several reasons:

1) My daughter and I had successfully created my other covers. I had the ideas, she had the extreme Photoshop skills and an eye for fonts and colors. I've sold a lot of those books and still love all but one of the covers. However, the cover I don't love (Don't Make Me Make You Brownies) is the book that broke me out of obscurity on Amazon and still sells, years later, so I've left it alone.

2) I'd heard no buzz about 99Designs on the writers' groups I'm a part of. Hmm... Did I feel up to being the guinea pig?

3) My degree is in journalism with an emphasis in advertising. I was aware the hosts of the show needed to pimp their sponsor enthusiastically, so I took their words with a few grains of salt. (Mr. Nina, on the other hand is a marketer's dream. As we watch TV or as he's scrolling through his phone, he cries out, "I want a tiny house! I want a hat like that! I want a tree house! I want a pigmy goat!" ???)

4) I'm lazy when it comes to figuring out new technology, navigating new websites, etc. To be honest, It's not so much lazy as it is that I don't enjoy feeling stupid. Before everything was about software and websites and apps, I was a smart person. Now, I'm an embicile. I end up calling Mr. Nina into my office and jabbering on dramatically about what I'm trying to accomplish and how it's not working. He then steps to my keyboard and clicks the mouse twice. The problem is solved and I'm even more annoyed.

So, what drove me to the extreme measure of searching out the 99Designs site and actually figuring out how to do it? (Okay, there was very little figuring. It's pretty user-friendly.)

I'd started writing a series that wasn't a romantic comedy (which is what 4 of my books are and many future ones will likely be). But my new books were going to be part of a funny (Martin and Owen) mystery series with some action and, of course, mystery. It still contains a budding romance between the hero and heroine, but the relationship develops over time (kind of like Rick Castle and Kate Beckett, except completely different).

For the first time, I had no idea what I wanted on the cover. I did know 5 things though:

1) I needed a cover that made it clear the mysteries would be funny like most of my other books.

2) I needed a cover that would brand this series as being a different genre than my other books.

3) I needed a cover with some components that could be used on the other covers of the same series for continuity of branding. After all, by switching to a series, I was now playing the long game, not expecting to make much money on these books until I had several written.

4) I needed a cover that highlighted my distinctive titles.

5) Okay, as it turns out, I didn't really know five things. I just thought five sounded better than four.

I remembered hearing of 99Designs. I like the thought of seeing ideas from a number of different artists. I espeically liked the fact that you don't pay unless you see something you like. So, basically, I weighed out having no ideas for my series covers against seeing a bunch of ideas and paying only if I liked one of them, and 99Designs won.

Next post: My Book Cover Experience with 99Designs.


posted by Nina 1 Comments



5/21/2016 12:50:56 AM

What I'm working on: Mysteries AND Romances?

   

Well, as you know, if you've read my books, I can't resist romance. Even in my mystery series I have a romance that develops over several books between Rika Martin and Nick Owen.

However, once I started the Martin and Owen series, the various secondary characters started inspiring me to write more romances. LeeAnne needs her own romance, for instance, since she's a great friend to Rika, but was in an abusive marriage before the Martin and Owen series starts. And once I started writing Dead Men Don't Eat Quiche, I realized Rika's aunts each need their own romance stories. They've both been scarred by their life experiences--especially the fact that Rika's mother, their sister, was abducted and murdered. I have a great idea for Nick's sister, who is mentioned in Dead Men Don't Chew Gum, but doesn't appear until later. 

But the romance I was inspired to write immediately is for Rika's cousin Sofia. One morning I was lying in bed, not feeling like getting up, and I started mulling over her story. The next thing I knew, I was at my computer and I'd written 2,000 words and the next day, I wrote over 2,000 more.

Since that romance takes place just after the events in Dead Men Don't Eat Quiche, I've decided to keep writing the two books simultaneously--I currently have about 22,000 words in Quiche--and release Sofia's romance just after Quiche.

It's possible Sofia's story will be a novella instead of a novel. I never know for sure until I write the book. I had no idea, for instance, that just after writing No More Mr. Nice Girl (70,000 words), I'd write my first mystery--Dead Men Don't Chew Gum--and it would turn out to be 100,000 words.

So far, I have no idea what the title of Sofia's book will be or what the cover will look like, hence the question mark cover above. A title usually comes to me while I'm writing the book, if not before.

Of course, I already have the title for Nick's sister's book, but I love it too much to give it away yet. I think her romance will be the next one after Sofia's.

So, for those of you who were concerned I was switching genres completely, like Kiki in Not Dreaming of You, I, too, live my life for love, and I can't resist writing about it. Besides, there's an undeniable attraction brewing between Nick and Rika within the mystery series itself and that attraction will explode with a bang. It has to, if I make my readers wait through several books to experience it.

Meanwhile, if you're not on my book release notification list, please sign up by clicking the box and filling in your email. It's also the second group I go to when I'm looking for beta readers (who get the book free before anyone else sees it) and reviewers (who get the book free in exchange for honest reviews). The first group I go to is my Nina's Inner Circle who also repost, retweet, etc. for me. If you are interested in joining this group, let me know through my Contact page.


posted by Nina 0 Comments



4/20/2016 10:45:41 PM

Why Audible is Awesome

I’ve been a member of Audible.com for several years now, and I love it.

(If you want to know what audiobooks in general have done for me, read my 10 Reasons Women Should Be Listening to Audiobooks post.)

Technology has changed audiobook listening and you no longer have to buy super-expensive physical tapes or CDs or check them out of the library. In fact, Audible has made listening to audiobooks a wonderful experience. Here’s why:

1. Sales and deals. In addition to the special low member pricing I get, Audible is always offering me ways to get more books and save money. First, they have frequent Members Only sales. I’ve gotten audiobooks for the price of an ebook at these sales, and I didn't have to kick, punch or trample anyone to get them. Also, if I finish a book and have no more credits left, Audible offers me the chance to purchase additional credits at a discounted price. This all happens quickly and easily, which brings me to the next reason.

2. A great app. My Audible app is one of the most user-friendly pieces of technology I’ve encountered. It’s like they realized I’m barely able to turn the ringer on and off on my phone and (like Mr. Nina does with my website tools) they created something a monkey could use. It’s super easy to purchase audiobooks and listen on your phone or other device.

You’ll find recommendations on your store home page based on other things you’ve purchased and you can keep a wish list. It’s also easy to search using an author name, title, or even a narrator name (for when you’ve heard a narrator you particularly like and want to hear more of.) 

It’s simple to check your library to see what you already own. Some books are so enjoyable, I listen to them more than once.

I use my phone’s speaker, earbuds, noise-cancelling wireless earphones, or my car speakers, depending on the situation. When finished with a book, I can choose to store the audiobook in the cloud to free up space on my device. I’ve done this back and forth from the cloud a number of times. It’s simple and fast.

3. Channels. There’s a new feature Audible has added called “Channels” that’s included with your membership. Channels has all kinds of things to listen to, from TEDTalks to comedy to short, scary stories. It’s in beta, so I’m just starting to explore, but the first TEDTalk I happened onto was awesome and could easily have kept my interest while driving around or doing laundry.

Now you want book recommendations? Jeez, you're demanding!

Okay, here are some I've enjoyed:

Comedy

No More Mr. Nice Girl (romantic comedy) by me, Nina Cordoba- I can't read my own finished works because I always find something I want to rewrite, but the actress/narrator Susannah Jones did such an incredible job, I keep wanting to listen over and over again.

***If you are just joining Audible.com (U.S.) and make it the first book you buy, you can get No More Mr. Nice Girl free while my free codes last. For U.K. click here.

Rock Chick series (funny, sexy, action-packed romance) by Kristen Ashley. This is how I knew Susannah Jones was the narrator I wanted. I'd had trouble finding narrators who did the comedy and accents I needed, but here she was in my Audible Library.

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid, narrated by Jennifer Grace

Yes, Please written and narrated by Amy Poehler

Madigan Again (Comedy Show) by Kathleen Madigan


Psychological Thrillers:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, narrated by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne (Also great by Gillian Flynn, Dark Places and Sharp Objects)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Historical Romance:

The Husband Trap, The Wife Trap, The Wedding Trap by Tracy Anne Warren. Narrated by Bianca Amato.


posted by Nina 0 Comments



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