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via Episode 1 (Butterflies in the Garden): Danger Above by Vivian Munnoch

Episode 1:

Butterflies In The Garden

Danger Above

by Vivian Munnoch



Photo by Jessa Crisp on Unsplash (edited by Vivian Munnoch)

The dully gleaming ebony feathers of the crow seemed to absorb the daylight into its black mass. The motionless bird stared unblinkingly at the motion below from its perch in a tree, looking more like its deceased and stuffed counterpart than a living creature.

Below him the little butterfly flitted weightlessly, bobbing on its wings over the flowers in the garden, oblivious to the danger above.

The crow blinked just once, the thin membrane moving across its cold emotionless eye a heartbeat behind the eyelid in a slightly off double motion. The bird tilted his head.

Spindly legs reaching, the little butterfly landed on a flower. Its wings moved slowly to some soundless rhythm. It tasted the air with its antennae, picking up only the sweet pollen of the flowers.

Feeling safe, the butterfly stilled its wings, letting them soak in the delightful warmth of the sun.

With slow languid motion, the crow spread his wings and took flight, his shadow passing on the ground below.

The fleeting shade was a cooling pulse across the insect’s back, the warmth returned as quickly. Only its antennae moved in response.

Landing soundlessly on a wooden post closer to the flowers, the crow ruffled his feathers and settled to watch the little butterfly.


More…  Episode 1 (Butterflies in the Garden): Danger Above by Vivian Munnoch


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To agent or not, is a question we all ask ourselves at some point.


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This is a good list of author to do’s.

Oak Island Publications

If you have asked yourself, or anyone else this question, then this post is for you! Here are 101 Marketing Tips for Authors (and anyone else) trying to sell their hard work. marketing 101

Marketing 101

Increase Your Web Presence

Create a testimonial page on your website
▪ Retweak the SEO on your site
▪ Ask fans to post their reviews on your Facebook page
▪ Ask fans to post their reviews on Amazon
▪ Ask fans to post their reviews on Goodreads
▪ Sign up for Twitter
▪ Clean up your social footprint
▪ Create an author FB page and use it instead of your profile
▪ Sign up for Google Authorship
▪ Offer bloggers advanced reading copies
▪ Go on an online book tour
▪ Create a book launch team
▪ Host Q+A sessions on Google+
▪ Create Facebook Friday videos
▪ Register as an author on Amazon

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Check out Colleen Anderson’s blog where I am honoured to be a guest blogger for Women in Horror Month. That’s now.

Colleen Anderson

WiHMX-horizontal-WhiteToday, we have L.V. Gaudet, crime, horror and children’s writer for Women in Horror Month. She talks about research, gory stuff and being a woman.

Research is Key, So Don’t Hold Out On Me

I am honored to be invited as a guest for Women in Horror Month.

Gaudet Garden Grove Cover - Amazon ebook - front coverResearch is key to making or breaking any story. As I write and edit I am constantly asking questions. I will research any little thing. I constantly flag lines with a note to come back and double check it. Should that little door open from the left or the right? Find a picture. What does it look like? What does it sound like? Is there a smell? Sound? What cereals were available then? The purpose is to make sure my descriptions fit and feel real.

I flag things I think I know because the odds are pretty good that someone out there…

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Hint:  scroll to the bottom if you want a fast answer without reading through all my gobbledygook explanations and descriptions and chatter.


First, after uploading my Kindle cover and publishing my book, everything looked just fine.



Later, when I went on the Amazon site to see what it looks like. This is what my book cover looked like:

Hint: ALWAYS go on the sites selling your books to verify how it looks to your potential readers.

amazon no image available


After some days where I unsuccessfully tried to re-upload the cover, even shrinking the file size a few times and trying again, and republishing it (because on the KDP publish your book site it all looked perfectly fine), and waiting for it to go live to view it on Amazon again, only to have the same “No image available” Kindle book cover, then abandoning it because I didn’t have the time . . .

(Wow, that is one run on sentence!)

After some days of doing nothing, my “No image available” Kindle book cover turned into this on the Amazon site:

Kindle Book Cover Wont Show

Pretty, huh? Not what I was going for.


Why won’t my Kindle book cover show on Amazon?

I tried to search this question online with zero hits. I’m a direct kind of person when it comes to online searches. (Obviously I did not word the question right because there is no shortage of blogs answering this question.)

“Odd,” I thought. After all, it can’t be an uncommon issue with so many self-publishing authors DIYing it.

I also had no issues with any of the other books.  So, after using the same template for the book cover, I knew it has to be something simple.

Either I had an internet connection issue, or it’s a problem with the file.

When it’s a file issue, the most likely culprits are an incompatible file type, or a problem with the size of the file.


On kdp.amazon.com’s help link, it lists the ideal dimensions for the cover file as being 2560 X 1600 pixels. The minimum size is 1000 X 625 pixels. The maximum size you can go is 10,000 by 10,000 pixels.

Now if you are like me, with limited digital and computer geek knowledge (geeks are beautiful people, by the way, so this is not to be insulting), you would be staring at your screen now with a confused look going, “Eh?”

These aspects, which are a foreign language to me, are in relation to the physical dimensions. The height and width of the cover.

Here’s a fancy fix to that confusion:

(This is in Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018)

Go to Image Size:

adobe image size menu


Adjust your Pixel Dimensions, which will also adjust your Document Size width and height.

If you look at this, my latest attempt to resize my cover, I did NOT do it right. My height is over the allowable pixels height.

Adobe Image Size


Changing that every time shrinks my cover size increasingly smaller than the print book size. That’s okay. This is a digital ebook cover that most people will not read on any device that big.

Adobe Image Size2



Now, while you need a decent sized cover file to have it show as decent quality to your readers who pay good money to read your book, file size also can’t be too big.

Kdp.amazon.com’s max’s out your file size at 50MB.

At this point I’m going “?”

HMU file size


How does KB translate to MB?

1 KB (kilobyte) = 0.001 MB (megabyte). I had to look that up.


Simple math: divide the KB (2,336) by 1000.

Ie) move your decimal left three spaces (the number of zeros after the 1 in 1000)

2,336 KB divided by 1000 = 2.336 MB



So why did my file NOT work on upload to KDP Amazon?

amazon no image available

Simple. My height is too damned big.  And at only 2.33 of a possible 50 MB, in my attempts to blindly reduce the file size, I also probably decimated the picture quality with shrinking the resolution. Yeah, I did shrink that multiple times.

Adobe Image Size3

The lesson learned:  take the time to figure out what you are doing before you do it.

Yes, it’s a no-brainer.  But, I figured, the problem is simple, and it was. And I was in a hurry.


The fix.  Since I already buggered my file (this is why you ALWAYS save an original unaltered version. ALWAYS!), I had to go back to the start and redo it.

Not so big.

  • I had to re-crop the print book cover to the front cover only for the ebook.
  • Save as a JPEG or TIFF (the only cover file types supported for ebook, unlike KDP’s print on demand book covers). I use TIFF.

(Yes, I did also commit the tomfoolery of changing the file to a JPEG, something I don’t normally do, in my efforts of reducing the file size while *hoping* without actually taking the time to check that this would solve my problem. As you can see from the TIF file size below, this was completely unnecessary.)


  • TIFF = larger file size (not compressed, therefore detail is preserved)
  • JPEG = smaller file size (compressed file, causing detail loss)
  • JPEG in a TIFF = same limitations and detail loss as a JPEG (because it is a JPEG)
  • Resize the pixels to fall below 10,000 in either direction (height specifically, the width will fall in line because my proportions are “constrained”)

Adobe Image Size4

HMU file size2



Amazon HMU



The quick answer:

Make sure your cover falls within these specifications:

Digital cover size:

Smallest – 1,000 X 625 pixels (or 625 X 1,000)

Best – 2,560 X 1,600 pixels (or 1,600 X 2,560)

Largest – 10,000 by 10,000 pixels (or 10,000 X 10,000)


Digital cover size:

Largest – 50 MB (50,000 KB)

Really? 50,000 KB looks so . . . big.



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Who loves swag? Authors promoting their books love swag. I will have to check these out and more and see what kind of a list I come up with. What would be nice? Finding the swag version of Createspace. Something the author can put a link to on their site where fans can directly purchase your POD swag items shipped directly to them.


AUTHOR SWAGI often receive questions about where to get author swag (promotional author and book items), so decided to list the resources that I know are popular with authors below.  Please note I do not endorse any of these sites, I just know that authors have used these.  I cannot vouch for their quality. How does it work? Most of these sites avertise products and to get the design on the product there are the options of the author (1) uploading a print-ready design, (2) using an online template they provide to upload an image and then create the design online or (3) contacting the company’s own designers for help.  Many ebook cover designers like myself are ready to help create the first option – a print-ready design for upload. You then have to select the quantity, delivery method and other details and place the order with them. Ordering the product is…

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