Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stormy Night Publications: A Look Behind the Naughtiness, Part 2

Welcome to part two of the three part interview 
with the wonderful folks that make the magic at 
Stormy Night Publications.  

I had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing multi-talented cover artist extraordinaire, Korey Mae Johnson. As well as being a best-selling author in her own right, she also wears many hats at Stormy Night.  Some of her responsibilities include creating the gorgeous and eye-catching cover art, designing their wonderful website, and e-Book formatting.  She has also added the brand spanking new Newsletter to her list of things to do.

I asked Korey for a sampling of her covers and have included them throughout the post.  You'll find that they are spectacular and represent the variety of genres that can be found with Stormy Night Publications (SNP).

Now, on to my interview with Korey Mae Johnson

 Maddie:  Korey, thanks for participating in our SNP interview.  It’s about time we learned more about the cogs in the well-oiled machine that cranks out such awesome books.

We’ll start out with some general business questions, then get on to some fun stuff. Okay?

First off, the authors that I know and talk to personally who have published with SNP have nothing but good things say about their experience. How does that make you feel?

Korey:  Good! We always do our best to make sure that authors have a good experience with us! We really try to treat people with professionalism and respect, communicate, pay on time, and help authors achieve as high of sales as possible.

Maddie:  I can say personally that you are succeeding in making it a good experience for this author.  Thank you!  

As a self-proclaimed cover diva, I feel I am rather picky about my covers. I have looked through stock photos for hours until my eyes cross and I’m ready to pull out my hair. How do you do it? Where do you get your inspiration? And, on average, from start (receiving the author’s cover questionnaire) to finish (receiving the diva’s approval), how long does it take to create a cover?

Korey:  It’s really impossible to say. Some covers are easier than others. Some authors show me a photo of who they think their character looks like, and I’ll immediately think, “Oh, I know exactly what stock photo to use and what design to do!” just based on that. I even have tons of photos I’ve wanted to use categorized and saved so I don’t have to hunt for them again.

Other times, it’s not so easy. I sometimes spend many hours looking for the right stock photos for a particular cover, then another several putting it all together. Surprisingly, we’ve learned that in many cases the quicker I make a cover, the better it normally is. Then again, that is probably just because when I get the cover done quickly, it is because I already had something in mind that I knew would work really well.

Maddie:  Divas and prima donas aside (a.k.a moi), what's the hardest part about creating a cover for you?

Korey:  At the end of the day I try to make a cover that appeals to the book’s audience. I know what readers generally want because I know what they’re buying. James and I keep a really close eye on the erotica and BDSM market, and patterns of successful releases tend to pop up, even with cover design. I try to keep in the current pattern.

That being said, sometimes what readers want and what the author had in mind aren’t the same thing, so it can be a challenge, especially because I draw a lot of personal pride from my covers. I really strive to make them sexy, original, and successful. I know that people tend to judge books based on the cover, or at least it’s the cover that often draws people into reading the blurb and the sample and then hopefully buying, and being in charge of that aspect is something I take really seriously.

Maddie:  I often hear people say that they bought a book based solely on the cover.  It's the first impression, after all.  As an author, I agree it is pivotal in drawing readers in for that second look, at the blurb, the preview and hopefully, what lies beneath the cover.     

How about editing, do you ever do edit any of SNP's books? If so, what's one grammar mistake (my nemesis!!!) that you would pay, I’m talking big money, to never see again? Or are you strictly creative?

Korey:  Nope. I’ve only edited one book myself at Stormy Night. It’s not the type of work I enjoy doing, despite the fact at one point I thought of doing it for a career. I have my degree in Technical Writing and I worked on several magazines in the past, but I always found editing nerve-wracking in practice. I’d hate to miss anything, and mistakes are bound to happen. So although I’m always there to answer a question on editing, or on content, or even on wording & sentence structure problems, I never work on the editing myself.

I focus on the creative end of the biz, and I’m happy there. Between covers, graphics, newsletters, web-design, creating the e-Books and writing novels, my work day is pretty stuffed.

Maddie:  Of the books submitted, what is your favorite genre to read from?

Korey:  Science fiction and ageplay are my favorites. J After working full-time with spanking books since I was twenty-two, I’ve found that I am a little desensitized to spanking in and of itself. Sci-fi has the ability to give me that non-con discipline that I can’t get enough of, and ageplay gives me a lot of that erotic embarrassment that I live for. That being said, I don’t always like everything I read in those genres, and I do sometimes enjoy books in other genres as well.

Maddie:  As a fellow author, what have you found to be the biggest mistake new authors make?

Korey:  Some new authors are so excited to be part of the author community that they sometimes get in way over their head and rush writing their first book. I see a lot of authors not doing their research about what to write, what their publishing options are, who their audience is, what their audience expects out of a certain genre, etc. I also see a lot of new authors letting themselves get mistreated by publishers because they don’t know what the experience should be like.

Maddie:  Now for some fun stuff...

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… What are five of your favorite things?

Korey:  I like coffee with cream, moccasin slippers, shawls and ponchos, facewash, and squirrels. 

Maddie:  How about your least favorite?

Korey:  Nuts mixed with anything like cookies or chocolate. Gross. Also, as some of you may remember… hummingbirds. Screw hummingbirds. ;)

Maddie:  You are obviously very creative, do you have any hidden talents that most people don’t know about?

Korey:  Well, I’m a crowd ninja. Though I have not been trained in ninjutsu, in crowd situations (festivals, busy streets, crowded rooms, concerts, etc.), I have the ability to get from point A to point B in a very fluid, ghost-like manner. It’s my only true super-power. When my friends lose me in a crowd, they say I went “assassin” on them. It’s a talent I inherited from my father.

Maddie:  When you aren't hard at work publishing books, designing spectacular covers, developing stunning online media graphics, etc., what do you do in your free time?

Korey:  Well, I’m really lucky in that I make a living doing my hobbies, which are writing and graphic design. So a lot of my off-time is just figuring out how to do those things better. I also like audio books and puzzles.

Maddie:  Do you ever leave the man at home and go hang out with just your girls? If so, where do you go? What are you wearing? And what is your favored libation? (I’m a lemon drop girl, myself. Have I mentioned that before? LOL) And most importantly, can I come along next time? 

Korey:  I’ve only lived in my new place for a few months, and I haven’t yet developed a large friend group here in Dallas. I’m definitely on the hunt for such a group. So it’d just have to be you and me for now. You get your lemon drop, I’ll get my grasshopper. ;)

Maddie:  Christmas is just around the corner and you have been a very good girl all year. What do you expect to find in your stocking Christmas morning?

Korey:  I’m really hoping I just get a really nice coffee mug, one that’s insulated so it stays hotter for longer. Other than that, I just moved into a new home and I literally don’t have any furniture for it yet, so we’re saving our pennies through the holidays.

Maddie:  Thank you so much for joining me today, Korey.  On a personal note, I was excited to participate in the interviews.  It has been a great opportunity to learn more about the folks that do so much for me as an author, which to be honest, includes tasks that I seriously do not want to do or cannot do for myself.  Working with SNP allows me to focus on writing and I appreciate that so much.  

Don't miss the other two parts of our three part interview; Stormy Night Publications: Behind the Naughtiness.  

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