Thursday, April 18, 2013

The ART of Promotions; A Visit with P & N Graphics!

I have benefited from the talents of the two guests I have today on my blog. Amazingly talented, Sahara Kelly and Scott Carpenter bring more than a few years combined in the publishing and/or graphic art business success to their new brainchild--P and N Graphics. 

Authors and aspiring authors-take note!


WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO OPEN UP

SAHARA: We both love art. We've both done covers, and Scott is the best there is. It was a natural result of so many conversations about it over the years and also mutual trust. You can’t start a company with someone unless you trust them completely.

SCOTT: Like Sahara said, we both love art. We talk all the time about it and I wanted to have a place where people can get anything they want for their books. Covers, promo, whatever they want, at a good price and with a personal touch. It was the right time and the opportunity was there so we decided to go for it.

WHAT TYPES OF SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE ON YOUR SITE?

SAHARA: A little bit of everything, really. We don’t actually PRINT anything, though. We do the designs only. We’re getting more and more requests for print flats as authors decide to produce their own print books. Our personal experiences with those places really helps.

SCOTT: We do let people know if there is something they need that we can’t provide we recommend someone that can. Like editing and a few other services. I do shoulder and back rubs but that a different story.

IS YOUR SITE ONLY FOR PUBLISHED AUTHORS?

SAHARA Nope. We’ll help anyone who needs some art. Bloggers, readers…whoever. Haven’t designed a tattoo yet, but there’s always a first…

SCOTT: We cater to anyone. Tattoos, hmm.... Have to try that.

DO YOU GET MANY CLIENTS WHO ARE SELF-PUBLISHING FOR THE FIRST TIME AND NEED A COVER?

SAHARA: It’s hard to tell. So many of us are turning to self-publishing, either re-releasing back list books or offering new ones. Our clientele seems spread through those who are multi-published and new to SELF-publishing, those who only self-publish, and a few small publishing companies who enjoy the convenience of a central location for their art needs.

SCOTT: The growing number of self-pubbed authors is another reason we opened up. I wanted them to get professional looking covers and promo and not get hammered with the high costs. We self-pub also and I know the initial cost can really be a burden. So we try to keep those down.


DESCRIBE BRIEFLY THE PROCESS OF WORKING WITH A CLIENT TO PUT TOGETHER A COVER?

SAHARA: Since Scott is really the “heart of the art” at P and N, I’m going to let him take this question.

SCOTT: Oh thanks, drop it on me.  The main thing is talking to the author to get a feel for what they want. We have a form on our site for them to fill out and need as much info as possible. That’s the key. I tend to be very personal and as an author know how the cover is important to someone stopping to see what the book is. So if the author has main elements I try to put everything in I can and make the author happy. Sometimes it is completely different than what they envisioned but the main thing is making the readers see the cover, get a feel for the book, and pick it out of the others to read.

DO YOU DESIGN GRAPHICS OTHER THAN BOOK COVERS? IF SO, WHAT IS THE PROCESS?

SAHARA: Absolutely. The process is 90% communication and 10% inspiration. We talk to our clients, via email, work up some sample ideas to start with and go from there. Logos, brands all that kind of stuff. So much fun!

SCOTT: Like Sahara said, communication. The process itself is similar to covers and anything else graphically. Something appealing and represents the author. We have done logos, websites, banners, the large freestanding banners at RT. I was Art Director for Samhain Publishing for 6 years before starting our company, so anything that goes with publishing, I’ve done, lol.

DO YOU CONTINUE TO WRITE AS WELL AS DO DESIGN WORK?

SAHARA: Yes indeed. I HAVE to shout out about Scott’s latest release…FULL SERVICE It’s the third book in the Working Stiffs series and just released over Easter Weekend. Wonderful characters, a lovely real story about real people and – yeah – really steamy heat!! LOL

SCOTT: Whenever the muse hits me I write. Thanks Sahara, yes my new book came out over Easter. Writing takes a lot of time and I tend to be a mood writer. Sahara and I usually start talking and our co-written stuff just happens because of some odd thing said in conversation.


HOW DO YOU FEEL SITES LIKE YOURS CAN HELP AUTHORS IN THIS EVER-CHANGING INDUSTRY?

SAHARA: We like to think we provide a simple, reasonably-priced service that gives authors what they want. Also a little bit more control. We’re authors ourselves. It’s our strongest selling point, because we understand.

SCOTT: You need to get noticed. There are a million people saying they do cover art and take a simple picture and throw type on it and boom, you are exactly like the other books and just blend in. I like to think we give authors a professional looking cover that is theirs that they are proud to show. If the author is happy, it comes through. The rest of the promo also helps but you need to come across as the real-deal. Price is also important which is why we try so hard to get low printing prices and low pricing for the art.


DO YOU EVER TAKE APPOINTMENTS AT CONFERENCES? IF SO, CAN YOU GIVE US AN ITINERARY OF WHERE YOU’LL BE APPEARING?


Sahara: We’re not really used to taking “appointments”. LOL But we love talking to anyone at any time. At the bar, in the hallways, in the elevators…ask us a question and we’re off and running.  We love that.  And we hope to be doing a lot of it at the RT Booklovers Convention in Kansas City. I’ll be at the Authors After Dark event in Savannah come August, and Lora Leigh’s RAW in September. Although those are author events for me, I will be available for any and all P and N questions. October will be fun, because that’s when both of us attend IndieCon (Tennessee), and after that, P and N is one of the sponsors of Hot Mojave Knights, a couple of weeks later in Nevada. We’re working on arrangements for that one right now, but I’m definitely going. Vegas, baby. LOL

SCOTT: I’ll have my secretary get back to you. My office is anywhere you see me. Just don’t follow me into the bathroom. Conferences are easily the best place to catch us. We’re always around and Sahara calls me a social butterfly. I think that’s cause I’m always flying around babbling on to anyone that will listen.

I just go where Sahara tells me to go. Definitely RT and IndieCon but maybe a few other places also. I may go to Hot Mohave Nights since it’s close to me. I love talking and helping people.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE TO THE ASPIRING AUTHORS OUT THERE; WHO MAY NOT YET BE PUBLISHED (EITHER TRADITIONALLY OR NON-TRADITIONALLY) IS IT WORTH THE TIME AND MONEY TO INVEST IN PROMOTION?

Sahara: Oh, tough question. You have to let people know about your books, certainly. But how? I wouldn’t want to advise anyone on how to fulfill their own promotional needs. We just give ‘em the tools and the designs. How they use them after that? Up to them.

SCOTT: The double edge here is that they do need to get out there. It’s easy to write your first book and assume everyone will want it. The reality is some will take a chance but there are so many others out there. 

wouldn't recommend spending a lot of money on everything all the other authors are doing. Some authors are phenomenal at promoting their books and spend a lot of money doing it.

If you are new you need to get something that is you. If you like bookmarks get one, but make it different than others with a rainbow tassel or something a little different.

We offer this little package that goes with all your electronic devices. It was Sahara’s brainchild and it is to promote the writer. Laptop, phone, all that. Wherever you go, it’s there. That’s the kind of thing I think people see. 



Have you ever wanted to have a brand for your writing, maybe you're looking for a professional look for your blog, website, or facebook page?
Be sure to check out their site at P and N Graphics

 Today for those leaving a comment, P and Graphic's will give one lucky winner a personalized  T-shirt!! 
~*~
And thanks for their amazing graphic design on my new release RUGGED HEARTS, hitting the streets April 24, 2013!!

Until next time~
Amanda

10 comments:

BookObsessedChicks said...

What an awesome interview Sahara and Scott... You both seem to be a great team, especially in the comic relief area! Hoe to see you both at RT...

Thanks Amanda for the heads up...

Sahara Kelly said...

That's us, Kim. I'm the straight man, feeding Scott the lines. LOL I like to think the rocks in his head fit the holes in mine. Whatever it is, it works for us and we're thrilled to be sharing our P and N Graphics adventure.

And thanks to Amanda for being such a gracious hostess. Looking forward to seeing you both in Kansas City. Sooo close now! EEEEEEK!

(Hugs, Squirrel. :) )

Sally said...

Congrats Sahara and Scott! Two very talented individuals. I know you'll be very successful. Great interview Amanda! Wishing you much success and luck! Your covers are stunning!

C.H. Admirand said...

I'm late posting a comment, but LOVE the cover P and N Graphics designed for me. Sahara and Scott are an amazing team and so very creative.

P and N Graphics is designing the covers for the 4 books in the series, I'm re-releasing--and I cannot wait to see the rest of them! :)

A HUGE thank you goes out to you both.

Thanks for inviting them to blog today, Ms. Amanda :)

Can't wait to see all y'all at RT! :)

Nicole Laverdure said...

Nice interview Sahara and Scott! I went on your website to see your work. it's great. It's so important for an author to offer their readers beautiful and appealing book covers. I am a book lover and I can easily be attracted by a gorgeous cover and never get disappointed. Thanks Amanda for sharing!

lindalou said...

Nice and very interesting interview! Thanks for the contest too!

Cheryl S. said...

Great interview! I was checking out your website and WOW! You've done some pretty great covers.
Thank you for the giveaway!

Sahara Kelly said...

You guys are very kind! Thanks for the lovely comments. We are blessed to be able to do what we love. It's always a delight to know that others love what we do! :)

Sahara

Amanda McIntyre said...

Thanks to Sahara and Scott for letting me grill them about their new adventure! Extremely talented and both of them a stitch!!

Now I'd like to announce the winner if the T-shirt is Cheryl S!!! YAY!!! Please sned me your email Cheryl at amandamcintyre.author@gmail dot com asap!! Congrats!

Gail said...

Interesting and well done interview great questions to Amanda