Sketch Your Novel to Fan Reader Interest

Young Ike’s life changes when he stumbles on a Klan lynching in the South Carolina woods in 1959. Sketch by Jon Haeffner.

Visit just about any author website or book purchasing site and you’ll be able to find an excerpt. But how many have illustrated excerpts?

I know: writers create pictures from words. But there’s nothing wrong with posting a few sketches to accent your novel’s most powerful scenes. Plus, you can cross-purpose your illustrations on Pinterest, where you’ll find lots of book-buying women.

The Bella and Bootlicker Pinterest board, titled “Novel Sketches,” is here.

You don’t need to pay a fortune to get great work. Find an up-and-comer at the local community college, or at the local street festival.  Maybe you’ll get lucky like I did and find one in the family.

The wonderfully talented Jon Haeffner did all the sketches for Bella and Bootlicker. I also turned two of his illustrations into bookmarks. Folks at readings and signings seem to love getting a custom bookmark when they buy the novels.

The idea of illustrations is also fun because it marries two ancient forms of communication – storytelling and drawing – with technology and applications that were unimaginable less than a decade ago.

Jon’s illustrations capture the essence of Bootlicker, the story of a man poised to become South Carolina’s first black congressman since the Civil War, and his tie to the state’s racist U.S. senator. I feel these sketches will also pique reader interest.

Has anyone else tried illustrating excerpts, and what kind of response have you had?



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