Friday, January 30, 2015

Experiment, and you will get results...

And so, I decided to go back to the old covers. Experimenting with book covers is definitely one way to know whether or not you've got a good one in the first place. And when I changed my covers the other day, Book I went from being #64 or so on the +Wattpad Science Fiction charts to being #288, and Book II went from being #140ish to being knocked off the charts completely.

And I can see why: compared to the originals, the new covers were just a little bit...messy. My goal is to produce covers that look like they could actually be a paperback that you'd pick up in the store. And those new ones just didn't.

So instead I went back to my original picture that makes up the original cover, scaled it, cropped it (using Gimp, of course) so that the aspect ratios actually look the same (in fact, up to that point I worked with the identical image for both covers), and then added a new font, made the titles sleeker, and tinted Book II.

Much better, and much less washed out and screwed up looking then they were before. Better? I think so.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Playing with Book Covers, again!

But at least this time, I'm playing with RoboNomics book covers.

You might wonder what all this playing with covers is about. Well, it basically just comes down to the fact that unlike the old saying, folks judge a book by its cover. And sure, my stories still need tons of work, but playing with covers is my way of attracting some new readers at times like now, when there seems to be little to no activity on my +Wattpad stories.

So here they are: some alternate versions of RoboNomics cover art. What do you think of them? Let me know. I'm dying to know! :P

Friday, January 23, 2015

Update on Some of My Projects: Smashwords and Zazzle

Now available as an ebook
You may have noticed that I have a couple new widgets on my sidebar. Both are pertaining to exciting projects. Dipping my foot in, if you will.

I was hoping to start these projects when I had a little bit more clout. At some unspecified time somewhere down the line, I hope I would be well known enough as an author that folks would actually want to buy what I'm selling. (that is, for the most part, stories). However, after recently reading "The War of Art" (Thanks +A.M. Wilson now I need my own copy) I realize that all of this is just a form of resistance.

And so I did, guys. I finally did. I signed up for Smashwords. I had some material (the short story "Asteroid 433 Eros") and so why not?

So now if you're not a +Wattpad user and prefer ebooks, you can click the picture at left or the widget on the top of my sidebar and read it. For now, I've set the price at $0.99 to insure wide distribution. Once it's done being reviewed by Smashwords, it'll be available pretty much at any ebook retailer you can think of. I was thinking 'pay what you want', but apparently if I did that, the story wouldn't be distributed through certain ebook retailer. Weird, huh? Either way, I couldn't justify charging more than $0.99 for 4,000-ish words.

The second project that I've got going is my Zazzle store. Depending on rights of the images I use for my preview pics and other associated 'artwork', I've made some products that are related to my writings. A lot of quotation coffee mugs so far, as well as a bunch of notebooks and pillows with the Omorbia map on it. (my own creation, that, and it looks hella good as a pillow if I do say so myself!)

So check it out, if you're a fan. I'll definitely expand the selection of products as I go, so give me a shout out if you have something that you'd love to see and I'll see what I can do!

Exciting times ahead! Continuing RoboNomics, The Mage's Apprentice, and I've got another Scifi short story brewing for you! Have a great weekday, you guys!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sick Day...

But I'll at least edit Chapter 28 of The Mage's Apprentice for you. Aren't I just the best?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Omorbia Book Covers Reveal

Okay, not so much an official reveal. Because you've probably seen the cover for Book I already.

These may not be the professional grade covers that I promised you, but when I saw that I'd have to shell out at least $300 a cover for that...well, necessity is the mother of invention, I suppose.

And so instead I taught myself some gimp techniques instead (oh gimp how I love you). And in that fumbling (which actually didn't end up being too difficult), I made the style of cover that I always wanted.

As I've explained before, I don't like most fantasy novel covers. There is too much cheesy, cartoon-like renditions of the main characters. I also wanted to separate my books from the standard high-fantasy, medieval European plus magic tropes. Since my story was born of different imaginings.

But what I did want is similar to what you see on a particular edition's cover of the Game of Thrones series: an iconic symbol that can be similar but different across the covers, unifying the series as a whole.

And after racking my brain for what could symbolize the covers, it finally dawned on me: of course, silly brain! The letters of my tree language! So obvious!

As is apparent from this two particular covers, I still have some work to do. I have to figure out a way to get the symbols in the exact right place and have them all the same size. I'll get it eventually -- and for now, you get the idea from these mock ups!

In the meantime, what do you think? The Princess and the Dragon will make its appearance on +Wattpad  once I've finished posting Book I up there. Beyond that, I only have notes for the manuscripts but no manuscripts themselves. I'm planning on doing all three +NaNoWriMo! months this year (the camps during April and July, the month itself in November), and so I'm thinking I'll produce three more manuscripts this year. Books III, IV and V. And after that, depending on how it goes, the series might be over, but more likely than not there will be one more book.

But for now, there are no titles for those books. Only numbers. And only covers, it seems. Lend me your feedback! I personally love these covers, and it does seem like the first one has resulted in a bump of reads on Wattpad. But what do you think, my reader?

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, New Goals

It's going to be a busy month...
Hey, folks. I'm back! Back at work, back to writing, back on the blogs.

So what is it that I said about New Year's Resolutions? Did I not make any? Yeah, well, I sort of take that back.

Because, like anyone, the advent of a new calendar, as arbitrary as the time is, has set me thinking about the past few years. In summary: 2014, the year of posting on Wattpad, 2013, the year of working with a professional writer. 2012, the year of revisions and starting this blog, 2011, the year of ideas, and 2010: the year I decided to take my talent for writing seriously.

When I find myself summarizing the past four years in this way, it makes me wonder how I will summarize 2015 once it's over. There's no way that I can know yet. But what I can know is what I intend to do with my life and by extension my writing career (since in opposition to all folksy wisdom -- I am what I do) from here.

And the next step that I've decided to take is also in opposition. To my past self, to everything I've written about writing on this blog so far. It all started with a book club.

I joined a book club shortly after moving here, about six months ago. And since then I've been waiting until it's my turn to pick the book and to host the monthly event. And I've been doing research on the book I want to pick. And I've found one. A science fiction novel (of course) that is the very opposite of book club bait. Hey, if I'm not going to widen folks' horizons here in this suburban wasteland, who is -- right?

Anyways, I decided to pre-read the book. Cheater, I know. And in pre-reading it I found that the tone and future timeline of the story (although not the plot) is not unlike my own book, RoboNomics. And so for the first time in my life, I read a novel's acknowledgements.

The reason I've never bothered to read acknowledgements before is pretty clear to me. I read mainly fiction, and each novel I read is written by an author that I'll either admire or deride. Admire for their writing skill, deride because how the hell is this crap published and I'm not yet?! Writing god or writing pariah -- worship or jealousy, either way I had no interest in their personal lives.

But this time, when I looked over that much-neglected page, I noticed something. In among the thank yous, an acknowledgement of the writer's agent. Their agent. At an agency I'd heard of, with a good reputation.
Two-year Writer's Digest guide to agents I own.
It was a tad optimistic...

Out of curiosity, I looked up the agency's website. And you know what I found? All positives! Accepting queries in my genre, open to self-published works, and even possibility of combining traditional publishing and self-publishing. It's a good fit for me. It's a perfect fit for me.

Remembering something about back in 2010, when I first read the Artist's Way -- the book that set me on this journey. Something about walking through any and all open doors. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth? I had thought I'd resolved against going through a literary agent, but now I've changed my mind. These perfect opportunities don't come around every day.

So that's my goal for January, and the other 11 months will be taken as they come. The only other resolution I'll make for the year is to read 52 books by 2016. Yup, that's one a week -- up from about one and a half a month. No probs, bobs!