Colleen Houck


“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

Colleen's blog


  • Word Clouds: How to Turn Your Books Into Art

    April 29, 2020


    How to Turn Your Books Into Art

    I’ve had a lot of fun playing with word clouds on a website called Tagul. It’s pretty easy to turn your book into art for your readers, and it doubles as an editing tool by letting you see how many times you’re using those pesky repetitive words, such as always, like, and very.

    Here’s How it Works

    Once you finish your manuscript, open the website and click create. Import your text where it says “words” and scan through the list. The program automatically eliminates apostrophes so you’ll have to manually delete all the words like isn’t and didn’t and so forth which won’t be too fun anyway.

    Next, just for fun, I type in the title of the book and assign it to the top number so it appears in the art to identify the book. You also have the option to use capital letters or lowercase or capitalize just the first letter. This is a good time to delete small words you don’t care too much about keeping in there like all, they, go, etc. The program should do most of that for you but just in case there’s something you think needs to go, this is your chance to make a change.

    Choose a Shape That Ties in With Your Novel

    Once you’ve settled on the words, it’s time to select the shape your art will take. Tagul provides many choices for you, but you also have the option to add your own shape or you can even add text, such as the title of the book, or your author name, for example, and the words will fill in that shape instead of one of theirs. If you look at my samples below, you’ll see I select a shape that matches the theme of each book, a tiger paw for TIGER’S CURSE, a witch’s cauldron for, THE LANTERN’S EMBER, and so on.

    Select a Font That Fits Your Book

    After a shape, you pick your font. Bold shows up best. You can use one Tagul provides on their website wordart.com or import your own font if you like. Ask your publisher if they can either tell you the name of the font they used on the jacket cover or send you a link to download it and you can add it to the program and use it when you create marketing materials.

    On a side note: If you haven’t had to make your own marketing materials yet, trust me, you will have to at some point. Every author has to become skilled at that trick of the trade. I love using PicMonkey but there are many other programs you can use. These are things no one ever tells you when you start up in this business.

    The Layout of Your Words

    Next is the layout. That one is pretty simple. You choose how you want the words to look. I tend to let the program randomize it and let it auto-fill the amount of words but you can also play with it a bit and define just which words you want to appear and how you want them to look as well as how densely you want the words populated within your shape. If you don’t care that much, you can let the system work its magic on its own.

    The Style and Colors

    Last is the style and colors. I tend to do with the colors that match the book cover. Bold colors usually work best. You have the option of selecting a transparent background or a color. Make sure your word color choices appear vibrantly on the background you choose. For clarity, I’ve discovered that three different color choices for the words are the max you should probably select. It’s up to you, of course, but that’s my recommendation.

    Visualize Your Word Art

    Once you’re finished, click visualize, keeping the style box open. Clicking the CUSTOM button will switch up the word colors to give you more options. You can go back and play with the font or the shape or colors and it won’t affect your words, they just move around inside the shape. When you’re satisfied, download the image to your computer.

    You have the option to create an account and save it on their website if you wish, but it’s just as easy to save it on your computer and head back there again when you have a new book to promote.

    You can scroll down through my books below if you’d like to see some examples, just keep in mind I’m not the most artistic sort. I’m certain you will be much more creative! They will be in order from most recent to my oldest.

    I also added a paragraph to each piece where I describe what I noticed when I finished the art so I can stir more interest from my readers when posting.

    If you have any other ideas or thoughts about how to create quick promotional pieces for your books or if you’ve created any book art of your own and would like to share, please attach a link or comment below!


    Word Art For Colleen Houck Books


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, TERRAFORMER

    TERRAFORMER

    There are some obvious words that always show up in my books like kiss and day and head and glance but with TERRAFORMER you’re getting a bunch of new ones. You might notice the word crew, world, plant, air, moon, ship, planet, and colony. All of these are appropriate for space and a terraforming mission, but then there’s murder, harm, body, kill, pain, and death. What’s up with that? My mom said, “Gee there’s a lot of murder going on in this book, Colleen.” I guess I was feeling a bit deadly when I wrote this one. Best prepare yourselves.

    TERRAFORMER written by Colleen Houck

    TERRAFORMER

    “As a terraforming colonist on Crillian IV, Astra can’t listen to the whisperings of her heart, especially when someone or something else on the new planet is whispering to her mind even louder.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, THE LANTERN'S EMBER

    THE LANTERN’S EMBER

    For The Lantern’s Ember, I chose a witch’s cauldron for the shape which makes sense once you read the book. This book is all about Halloween creatures. Frank is on the top rim. You can guess which Halloween monster he represents. Ember is my heroine who just so happens to be a witch. Jack is the Headless Horseman, only in my book he has a head. We also have two vampires, Delia and Dev. Power is always a big theme in my books. Love is in the mix but it’s much smaller for some reason. Can you find Jack’s pumpkin? I wouldn’t be surprised if he was hanging out with Finney. 

    THE LANTERN'S EMBER written by Colleen Houck

    THE LANTERN’S EMBER

    “Jack, a Lantern, must do everything in his power to get the beguiling witch, Ember, back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, REUNITED

    REUNITED

    With my Reunited word art, I chose the shape of the full moon. This book belongs to the moon god, Ahmose but you can still spot Asten and Amon. Tia is much more of a prominent voice here than Lily or Ashleigh which is interesting. I really like the word ONE being so prominent. It’s a good representation of the book’s theme. What else can you find here that hints of what will happen in the story?

    REUNITED written by Colleen Houck

    REUNITED

    “It is time for Lily to become Wasret: a goddess destined to defeat the evil god Seth once and for all.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, REALIGNED

    REIGNITED

    For the Reignited word cloud, I chose a tree since Osiris is the god of all growing things and the first kiss he shared with Isis was in a gazebo in his garden. You’ll see my characters prominent on the tree. Other important words are power, star, want, and mortal. You’ll have to read the book to figure out why. Can you find the word sister? That’s a big one in this book as is the word heart.

    REIGNITED written by Colleen Houck

    REIGNITED

    “In a place of celestial marvels, passion and betrayal are intertwined, and an evil ignites that will reign over humanity forever.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, RECREATED

    RECREATED

    To turn my book, Recreated, into word art, I chose a star to symbolize the novel. You’ll notice that Asten features as prominently as Amon in this book. Heart and Eye are also very important. Arm and Head are coming up more frequently than Hand this time so not as much hand-holding as I usually do. You’ll also notice Tia is very large. Tia is a new character you’ll be meeting in Recreated. Power is back and Feel is usually a big word for me. If you look close, you might find Horus in there somewhere. Nephthys and Isis make an appearance as well. Amun-Ra and Ma’at were kicked out due to punctuation, it seems but they are important in this book as well. Also there a character called the Devourer. The program only kept the word devour so you might see that but not her name. 

    RECREATED written by Colleen Houck

    RECREATED

    “Lily journeys to the Netherworld to free Amon, and their realms from darkness and utter chaos.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, REAWAKENED

    REAWAKENED

    For this book, I chose a pyramid for the shape of the art piece and added the word Reawakened so you’d know the title. Right away I noticed dark and light which is a theme in this book. Asten and Amon are pretty equal which surprises me. Ahmose is slightly smaller but that’s to be expected since he doesn’t appear until halfway through. Power shows up a lot which is different from the tiger series. I think Lily is about equal to Kelsey in mentions. This book, like the tiger books, is written in the first person, so Lily and Kelsey are the narrators which means their names aren’t used as often. I never realized before that Hassan and Kadam sound very similar. Interesting. I see hair again. Apparently, I have a thing for hair. 

    REAWAKENED written by Colleen Houck

    REAWAKENED

    Lily and her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, TIGER'S PROMISE

    TIGER’S PROMISE

    I am exceptionally proud of Tiger’s Promise. If you haven’t read it because it’s a novella, you need to ignore that and check it out anyway. I like that Rajaram is so big, as is the word family. This is the first time Dhiren appears instead of Ren. No black or white here since the princes aren’t tigers yet. “Veil” is a big theme in this book since Yesubai veils her emotions and her father hides her beauty behind veils. I like the words home, girl, and mother. Then you’ll see “flower” and the word garden and beautiful. Yesubai loves flowers. Prince is large and seeing that “wish” is a word I emphasized is cool since this book has a lot to do with wishes.

    TIGER'S PROMISE written by Colleen Houck

    TIGER’S PROMISE

    “As dark forces gather around her, Yesubai must decide if she’s willing to reveal that somewhere deep within her she has the power to change everything.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, TIGER'S DREAM

    TIGER’S DREAM

    I finally figured out how to add an image of my own so this time you get to see a tiger for the shape of my book word art. Ana is the most used word in the manuscript which might give you a hint about the book. Of course, you see the word “tiger”, Kelsey, and Ren but a big one is the word man. This also makes a lot of sense when you read the book. The word “hand” is huge here. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s due to the many hands of the goddess. I like blowing up these images and looking at all the tiny words. You’ll get a lot of spoilers that way. 

    TIGER'S DREAM written by Colleen Houck

    TIGER’S DREAM

    ” Kishan must sacrifice the unthinkable to fight the dark forces swirling around the woman he’s charged to defend. As he does, he discovers that love and loyalty create their own magic and accepts that he must decide his destiny once and for all.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, TIGER'S DESTINY

    TIGER’S DESTINY

    I chose a flame to represent this book but the shape makes it harder to read all the words. Mr. is easy to find but I don’t see Kadam which is strange. Durga and Lokesh are both prominent and for some reason, Li is back in there. Not sure why unless it just needed a short word to fill in. Kiss has been a word that pops up in each cloud which is appropriate. I can’t find Phoenix or Rakshasa. They must be too small for me to see. The green flames don’t seem natural but I wanted to match the colors of the book. 

    TIGER'S DESTINY written by Colleen Houck

    TIGER’S DESTINY

    “The trio’s final challenge pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers’ true destinies once and for all.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, TIGER'S VOYAGE

    TIGER’S VOYAGE

    For this one, I used a water drop since water is the main feature of the book. There are a lot of words given equal amounts of weight here but what stands out to me are the words ship, boat, Wes, and water. Dragon is right up there which is appropriate and then there’s hand. I must do a lot of hand-holding or touching in my books for the word hand to be so big. Again I added black just so you could see the words better. Oh and I noticed the word golden is easier to find than green or blue or red. The golden dragon is my favorite.

    TIGER'S VOYAGE written by Colleen Houck

    TIGER’S VOYAGE

    “Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan challenge five cunning and duplicitous dragons while attempting to break the tiger’s curse.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, TIGER'S QUEST

    TIGER’S QUEST

    Even though I chose a tree shape for this word cloud I had to change the colors to match the book. I think an orange would have matched a bit better but the black is easier to see. I was shocked to see that Li is so much bigger than Artie. Artie has a weight to his character that I feel each time I read about him, but I guess I didn’t showcase him as much as I thought. The word “bird” is big in this one which makes sense and even though I didn’t add Tiger’s Quest on this one, “tiger” is still prominent. The word “date” is bigger than black or white in this book and I like that love is an important word.

    TIGER'S QUEST written by Colleen Houck

    TIGER’S QUEST

    “When her life is threatened, Kelsey is suddenly forced to return to India, where she forges an unexpected bond with Ren’s tiger-brother, Kishan.”


    Word Art for Colleen Houck's book, TIGER'S CURSE

    TIGER’S CURSE

    I chose a tiger paw for this word art shape for obvious reasons. What’s interesting to me about this one is the fact that the gada ranked so high and that Phet is almost up there with Kelsey. Incidentally, the gada is the only weapon in the tiger series I’ve been able to find in the cloud. Black is bigger than white though Ren is more used than Kishan. Hair has been a word I’ve used a lot in the tiger series as well. This is the only one where I can find Fanindra and fruit which is interesting.

    TIGER'S CURSE written by Colleen Houck

    TIGER’S CURSE

    “Packed with magic, action-adventure, and romance, the epic Tiger’s Curse series will keep you breathless and yearning for more.”


    For other book marketing ideas, check out my blog post feature titled, A TERRAFORMER Guessing Game

    Do You Have a Book Art Idea?

    How do you promote or market your new books? What do you put on Instagram? Share links with your ideas or leave a comment below.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Stop by again sometime to see what new Book Art I’ll be adding in the future.

    This entry was posted in Marketing, Marketing, Reawakened, Recreated, Reignited, Reunited, Terraformer, The Lantern's Ember, Tiger's Curse, Tiger's Destiny, Tiger's Promise, Tiger's Quest, Tiger's Voyage, Writing Tools.

    8 Responses to Word Clouds: How to Turn Your Books Into Art


    1. Danika Weddle says:

      I’m really glad that Ahmose is going to be highlighted in this book! Don’t get me wrong, Amon is my love and Austen has stolen my heart, but Ahmose seems to be such a tender spirit that I would love to learn more about!

    2. Natalie Arroyo says:

      Awesome!!!! I remember when I was working as Administrative Assistant in 2015, I often had to create word clouds like you did, Mrs. Colleen Houck. I really love them, how the images connect the stories

      Lots of love and support from me and all your fans!!!

    3. Hailey says:

      Is there any way to get a hard copy of Tiger’s Dream the day it comes out??? I wanted to pre-order it but even on one-day shipping it won’t be here til the 22 and I’m heading out of town the 21st and want it for my trip

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    Author Bio
    Colleen Houck
    Colleen Houck

    New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she's not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.