Interview

Friendly Neighborhood Friday!

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It’s that time of week again! Friendly Friday, where I interview people who help authors get their books out where you awesome readers can see them. And today, I’ve got a cover designer! Cover designers rock because they give a face to our books. Without a cover, would you seriously be clicking over to check them out? Of course not! So, I’d like you to meet Lia Rees!

Lia Rees is a designer living in London. After several years bringing authors’ books to life, she’s finally publishing her own in January 2017. “But I’m Not Depressed” is about her ten-year battle with the beast of undiagnosed chronic illness. You’ll find its haunting trailer below.

She loves music, particularly prog rock, chillout and anything melancholy. Evocative language, open-source culture and wild places excite her, and she has a thing about light. It has to be admitted, she is easily bored. That’s why she’s dabbled in so many things: jewellery making, crochet, music, T-shirt design, and lately book formatting, covers and videos for authors and others. She spends all her time on the internet talking to friends who never grew up and taking care of her business, Free Your Words. She’s been engaged for two years to an outspoken Mormon anarchist, and their ambition is to live in Latin America. Five books she formatted are currently in the running for the Summer Indie Book Awards.

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Take a look at some of her designs:

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But wait, there’s more! You came here for an interview, so I asked Lia some questions. Check them out!

D.R.- Coffee or tea?
L.R.- Coffee clears my head in the morning, but tea is my default drink. I’m English after all.

D.R.- Marvel or DC?
L.R.- Neither. Hitchhiker’s Guide, Red Dwarf and Babylon 5. 🙂

D.R.- Dogs or cats?
L.R.- Cats. They have an independent streak I can identify with.

D.R.- What is your favorite color?
L.R.- Red, if I had to choose! More generally, I have an instinctive liking for bold, energetic colours and black. Lately I’m learning to like white and grey, but I have an allergy to pastels.

D.R.- Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
L.R.- My family are quite literary-oriented, so the books around me as a kid tended towards abstract, retro and symbolic covers. I’m also influenced by magazines, posters, album art and advertising. This has been quite useful in the new world of phone and Kindle reading: bold and simple design is particularly effective when the reader’s first glimpse of your book is a tiny thumbnail. 🙂

D.R.- Where’d you get the idea for your business/goods/services?
L.R.- When my neurological symptoms started to bite, I was miserable and totally unemployable. My dad (also a writer) hired me to proofread and format his books. From there, I branched out into covers, then posters and publicity graphics, then trailers. The name Free Your Words stems from the idea that an author’s words should be flying off into the blue, not stuck on a hard drive – but it’s also a reference to the personal freedom I needed the business to bring me.

D.R.- What genres do you feel comfortable supporting?
L.R.- Everything! You’re speaking to a person who has designed custom condom wrappers and banners with naked men and strategically placed roses.

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What do you have to offer authors?
L.R.- My latest big thing is a premade cover site, CoverBliss.com . At the moment I’m offering an introductory offer where you get 50% off by referring a friend 🙂 .

I also create custom designs at FreeYourWords.com and book trailers at WaterBalloonMedia.com. My style is versatile, but I do have a taste for bold and abstract work. I try to strike a balance in my covers where there’s enough detail and texture to look interesting at close range, but the basic outlines are well delineated for the thumbnail. I also take particular care in designing back covers. Some artists seem to see those as an afterthought.

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And finally, I have T-shirts for writers at TribeOfWrite.com

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Do you have any goods/services that might benefit readers or other artists?
I’ve got the ambition to work out a collaboration with an illustrator. I see so many beautiful drawings and graphics out there with awful typography, or no typography. Talented illustrators are selling them to clients for peanuts when they could make what they’re worth by presenting them to authors as amazing book covers. I’d love to put my typography skills to work in a collaborative cover design project.

More generally, my video work at WaterBalloonMedia.com isn’t restricted to book trailers! I worked on a music video last year, and I’m very open to branching out.

Where can we find your goods/services on the Internet?
Premade covers: www.CoverBliss.com
Custom work, book formatting, publicity graphics: www.FreeYourWords.com
Video work: www.WaterBalloonMedia.com
T-shirts for writers: TribeOfWrite.com
Me in general on Facebook.

 

D.R. Perry lives in Rhode Island and attends Dragon Con each year. She is also a member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA).

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