Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cover Art

Cover art has always been important to me. A cover doesn't just sell a book, it also represents the author's care and attention (in my opinion). When I used to look at publishers I would look through their catalog and examine each cover they posted online. If the artwork was poor then I was very unlikely to approach them for publication. When we started writing "The Beginning of Whit" we had some thoughts on a cover. In a moment of boredom I actually worked on a rendition of "Night Hawks" that could work as the cover but when the flash drive that the image was on died, so did the image. 

(The original "Night Hawks" image by Edward Hopper.)
While I came up with a lot of images throughout the process, to get the right "feel" for the book we finally approached some actual artists. Even though we still were kicking around the idea of doing a play on "Night Hawks" we knew that if we started a series with that image then we'd have to maintain a series of covers based on famous art (if we wanted continuity between book covers). 

Ultimately, when I found an artist whose work was something I was interested in, I went with a design that fit her already established portfolio. The final image is something I think really represents the book and the care that my co-author and I took in selecting a cover. The color choices for the cover give it an urban fantasy feel and the youthful/fun feel of Whit. The scary chickenman in the shadows gives it some intrigue and the stake and donuts gives some hints about the character and the book.


Two parts of the cover are extra touches conceived by the authors. Andrew chose to have the broken egg at the bottom of the page. I chose to include the one-eyed cat beside Whit. When I told Chewie that she was featured on the cover, this is how she reacted:



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Experiment of Sorts...

So this past weekend I took a box of books and went to a local event in the hopes of selling a few copies. Indie South Fair is a two-day, twice a year event that is held in Athens, GA. Unfortunately, it was held outside (gah!) and the second day was rainy and in the 40s temperature wise. But I did sell three copies of my book, one of which was to a complete stranger, so I guess it was a success. Here are some photos of the event:

Me next to my books and my display. Also note the beautiful banner in the background provided by AWA's founder Katherine.

The tent on the first day. Books galore and fellow AWA members (and my sister Amanda).

A prop provided by Rob (pictured here), this sword was a hit with several kids and a few adults.

About a month back, Athens Writers Association was at a similar event and afterwards we discussed the need for props to bring potential buyers to our table. Because I constantly over complicate things, I made a plethora of props. 

What's a demon hunter without a box full of supplies? And since it's Whit, the box obviously has to be shiny and pink.
Some of the internal contents of the box. A red diary, some Big City paraphernalia, quartz, gold stone, a tiny magnifying glass, a leather bracelet with a ward sewn into it and a bottle of sparkles.
Another shot of what the box contains. Some Big City stickers, a bottle of holy water, and a mysterious box containing some strange items...

A guide to Big City.

The guide is full of interesting tidbits about the wonderful world Whit lives in.
A good knife is always helpful on the hunt.

All hunters need stakes. I made these and the leather sheath.
On the first day of this event, my stuff was tucked deep into the tent and few people felt comfortable venturing that far into our book abyss, so no one actually looked at the paper products I created (like the Big City tourist booklet). I did have two different kids (probably around 8 years old) ask me about my stakes. The second day was too wet to put anything out really without risking it getting damaged. So yeah, I went overboard on my props and they didn't really bring in sales, but it was fun making them (if that counts for anything). It's all a learning experience, and with each new event I'll know better what works and what doesn't work. Now that I have two events under my belt I'll be that much more successful at the next one. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's a Milestone!

mile·stone
ˈmīlˌstōn/
noun
  1. 1.
    a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place.
  2. 2.
    an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.

So the second meaning, not the first. My first novel is now live on amazon.com! It is now an actual physical book (thanks createspace), and it's the achievement of a lifetime. I wrote my first story when I was 6. Back then I didn't really think about it, this short tale about two kids, a kite, and a kind stranger. But it was the beginning of a very long journey. When I got older I fiddled around with a variety of potential careers but I kept coming back to writing. Even though I've been known to take hiatuses from my dreams, writing is always waiting for when I'm reading to give it a go again. I've been writing for 24 years and being published has been a life goal of mine. Now I have made that goal - it's a milestone.
Sure this won't be my only book, and yeah, it's not like some bona fide publisher picked it up and agreed that it's awesome; but it's my first book and it's now available for the masses to read and agree it's awesome. So I guess congratz to me. To most people in my life it's just another day, but big things have been happening for me and even if we're not all out celebrating them, I won't ignore their importance. 
This is a dream achieved, a moment of greatness, the beginning of an even bigger adventure.
Okay, enough blabbering. If you're interested in comedic urban fantasy's then check out book one of my new series - "The Beginning of Whit" (available on amazon, kindle, and at smashwords)




Thursday, October 31, 2013

How To Kickstarter Pt. 3

Content is key. Yes the video is important, and the prizes are too, but what you put on your Kickstarter in both the original page content and in your updates is potentially the most important. Not everyone is going to watch your video, but they might skim the page. Not everything you put on the page is going to be read but people might look over your project updates. The content you put up has to showcase your project and the reasons why other people should get excited and get on board!

With our Kickstarter we began with something catchy:


Whit Clayborne accidentally dates a soul eater and unwittingly falls for a vampire - and it's only his first week demon hunting...


This single sentence tells you about the project and hopefully draws you in with interest. Saying something like "I wrote a book and you might like it." won't get you very many backers. Think of something eye catching, something different, what makes your project unique and interesting? 


Since we are promoting a novel, we used our content to explore a couple of different things.


We discussed the book in a section called “book summary.” While we didn’t describe the book in its entirety, we did try to list things that would interest potential backers.


We also talked about “us” (my co-author and I) because people want to connect with the individuals who made the product. The video can be used to do this as well, but we explored our background and our interest a little further in the written content.


We discussed the prizes and shared some graphics related to this topic. 




We also shared our stretch goals (if you make more than your initial goal amount what else will you be doing with backer’s funds?) and I tried to make these related to what we are doing but also interesting so people would be excited about reaching them.

Lastly, I shared where people could keep in touch with us and our future projects. Your connection with potential backers doesn’t end with Kickstarter. Let people connect with you across the Web and maybe they’ll buy future books/CDs/artwork – whatever you’re working on.


My first update was a video, my second was a link to the first chapter of the book, and my third were the cute bitstip comics I shared in a previous post on here. These were all employed to hopefully get new people interested in the project and to keep backers interested in what’s to come. 


Don’t use updates to tell people what you had for breakfast. These shouldn’t be a nuisance and should only be used to thank backers and to get backers excited. By making updates open to the public you can potentially hook new people but if you have content you only want your backers to see then make sure the update is not public. 


Ultimately, keep your content appealing both with the text you use and the variety of media available to you to promote your project.

Want to see our content in action? Check out our Kickstarter at:
 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2121709675/the-beginning-of-whit-a-laugh-out-loud-urban-fanta

Friday, October 25, 2013

By the Power of Bitstrips

I thought it would be nice to break up the monotony of the Kickstarter campaign and instead share something I've been working on to promote the book. If you're on Facebook or have a smart phone you may have seen the Bitstrip app. This is a program that allows you to create a character for yourself and your friends and to put them into one frame comics. I decided it would be cool to do a couple of these with Whit and his roommate/bestie Brooks from the Full of Whit series. Enjoy!





The deep bond and hilarious misadventures of Whit and Brooks continues in book one of our series "The Beginning of Whit" on Kickstarter now! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2121709675/the-beginning-of-whit-a-laugh-out-loud-urban-fanta

Friday, October 18, 2013

How To Kickstarter Pt. 2

Okay, so part one was all about the video. Which is important. But another important feature of your Kickstarter, is your prizes. You want something related to your project, something you produce, and something interesting that will entice people to lay down money on the project because of what they will receive.

It took us a while to determine what our final prizes would be. We started out with a wide range of ideas some that seemed too simple (not valuable enough) and some that felt too difficult for us to make in a timely fashion or even too cost prohibitive. You want to give out some awesome stuff but you also want to raise money for publishing your book, not just raise money to make rewards and walk away from the process with just five dollars in your pocket.

What we settled on were obviously copies of the book, but then also series themed gift ideas. I had noticed on other Kickstarter campaigns that people were labeling the different levels, perhaps in an attempt to make them sound more interesting (which works) and so we decided to do the same. We created your basic prizes and then higher level “tracks.”

We did a demon hunting track with Demon Hunting Society gear associated with the prize levels.




We also did a Big City tourist track with prizes centered around Big City businesses.


We also took a look at what we could achieve in a limited amount of time and what the final cost would be for supplies. Our final decisions were as such:


As you can see we tried to have complementary prizes at each level of the different tracks but this also allowed people a little bit of a customization to their rewards.



What about the ideas we had to scrap? Well, those might end up being useful for future giveaways either during the campaign or once the book is out in print. I’ll talk more about that in a future post. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Kickstarter. Pt. 1

I have just launched my own Kickstarter for the first book in the Full of Whit series - "The Beginning of Whit"!!!!


Woohoo! 
*Applause* 
Boo-hiss!
What? No booing!

Anyways. I decided to share some of my experiences with you here since Kickstarter is a very viable option for indie authors to get support (both monetarily and otherwise) for their projects.

I also decided to drop this into a multi-part blog series because it's a lot of content and I don't want to overwhelm or bore any of you. So bear with me. ;)

My Kickstarter Timeline:

August - filmed the original video for Kickstarter
Early September - finish editing video, polishing up text, creating content for page.
Late September - typing all of the information into Kickstarter, tweaking video, adjusting content
Early October - jumping through amazon.com business account hoops, final touches on Kickstarter page, waiting for Kicktarter to approve the project
October 8th - Kickstarter launched!
November 7th - Kickstarter will end.

Okay, so if you pursue a Kickstarter for your project it might not take you months to get from idea to launch but it might take you that long or longer. Kickstarter is a lot of work and even though we are only in day two of the campaign, and I can't say if it's worth it, I can say what it was like putting it all together. 

The first bit (other than several conversations and some serious planning) was making the video. It took us about 3 hours to shoot all the footage we wanted, and we only utilized about 5 minutes of it. The other usable footage has helped in other ways, like a promo/introduction video I made for my co-author and I for our FB page and Youtube page. Compiling the video, (because we shot a lot of our stuff in small segments and we didn't have a set script so many takes had to be scrapped), took over 20 hours to complete. 

The point of the video is to introduce yourselves, your product (the book), why you need backer's support (printing, editing, cover art, etc.) and what they will get out of it (shiny new books! and other goodies.). It's also important to make your product sound interesting - why are you passionate about it, why do you think it's worth a backer's time and money.

The video should be as professional as you can make it which means cutting down on background noise, considering the location of the shoot and utilizing the best equipment you can afford. I actually saw a Kickstarter video that was filmed in a mall with people walking by, the noise of the mall and the noise of the music playing in the mall on top of the authors talking about their project. I'm not sure if their project was successful but their video was pretty awful. 

I tried to create the simplest background I could - just a solid color wall with no pictures or other distractions. I also tried to limit the amount of ambient noise, but that was difficult in a busy household. We also filmed inside to limit any of the unpredictable noises that you could get outside or in a public location. 

When I compiled the final video, I utilized photos (some of our own and some free ones from www.morguefile.com) to introduce different segments of the film and I utilized free music from the free music archive http://freemusicarchive.org/ (windows movie maker actually suggests this site as a viable option for movie music). I also utilized windows movie maker to make my film, and it was good enough, but I know it's not the best software out there.

Lastly, I showed the original film to several people and altered it with their feedback, then showed them an edited, and changed that as well. I think I finally went with the fifth or sixth version which was a suitable time (5 minutes or less - to keep the interest of the viewer) and held enough content to promote the project. 

Long story short, here's my Kickstarter video for you to enjoy:



Friday, October 4, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Five More Haiku

A couple of years ago (has it really been that long?) I was working on a story that was going to have some post-apocalyptic haiku featured in it. In case you weren't around back then I had a post with my own haiku here, and a post about how to haiku here. But the point of this post has to do with the fact that I've picked that story back up and come up with some new haiku. While I've written almost 30 haiku now, a lot of them are pretty awful. I went through and picked the five best of the most recent batch to share here. I know they need work, and I haven't mastered the use of punctuation within them yet, and my syllables might be off (because I can be awful about counting them. One minute a word sounds like it has two syllables, the next minute it sounds like it has three, or one, or four. My brain has problems). But all that being said I'm pretty happy with the end result. Enjoy!


Tall grasses wave like 
welcoming friends, hiding the
graves that sleep beneath.

Tiny blossoms grow
where warmth and love do meet; we
struggle in darkness.

The wind rattles dry
branches and sun bleached bones of
those long forgotten.


Hawks fly across the
sky with purpose; we too, move
with deadly intent.

Trees reach within the
dirt, exploring deep places
unsoiled by man.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Have I Really Been Gone That Long?


Wowza, how time flies. I'm starting to see a trend though, seems like every year I get into a funk followed by a busy period followed by a funk and I put this blog on the back burner. For anyone who is disappointed by this, I apologize. I will say that, during the busy period between funks, I did some great things and I'm moving one of my projects forward (at a snail's pace but at any pace is better than no pace). One thing I want to share with you is something I finalized recently. My first YouTube author video! Okay, the exclamation mark is a little excessive because it's not that exciting, but I had to give it some emphasis since it feels like a moderately sized reveal. So here it is:


Yeah, that's how awkward I am in real life. Okay, you got me, that's how awkward I am when I'm keeping the awkwardness in check, it's a lot worse in real life...

Anyways, good stuff coming down the pipeline and I'll be updating here to keep everyone informed. :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Creating Content for an Author Facebook Page

Sorry to all of you who are tired of hearing from me how to publicize yourself and your work as an author through social media. For those of you interested in this topic, I've got another tidbit for you.

While I've seen a lot of authors approach their FB pages in different ways, one thing that makes any FB page "successful" (i.e. gets more traffic/more likes) is viral content. Viral implies that it is shared across the web (or FB) reaching more people than just a single share by your page. Content can be anything that applies to your brand (i.e. you as an author, your book, your interests).

Take into consideration what types of things are often shared on FB.

Quotes are pretty common among FB content and FB shares. Here are two quotes I added to images and shared on my FB page. Notice how they apply to my brand (fantasy author).



I also created this one with my own text because it applies to my brand (fantasy books and strong female characters).



Lastly, I created this to help promote the series in particular. I have more of these cat photos/text to share on the page. I chose cats because they are popular and they are featured in our book.


So consider what your brand is and what content you can make to add to your page and get people to share. Also note that when it's time to promote your book asking family and friends to share any posts about your book is helpful. Don't ask them to share every post you make (unless you want to be annoying) but getting them to share your posts about your actual novel will get more eyes on that post and more potential sales.

Monday, July 8, 2013

One Thousand Reasons Why I Need to Stop Buying Pens and Pencils

I recently unpacked some of my office boxes and found multiple boxes labeled 'pens and pencils.' I wasn't surprised until I started dumping them out and I realized just how many I really had. Now it's important to note that I also keep multiple pens in a variety of bags, purses, backpacks and drawers that never really see the light of day (or not much of it) and those were not taken into consideration when going through what I had packed and subsequently unpacked.

So here is some of my collection:

(Part of my pen/pencil collection.)
(The collection a little more organized but still missing a boxful.)
One of the reasons I have so many, is because I love so many different kinds of pens for different reasons. When writing, drawing or editing, a variety of colors is always helpful:

(I love colors!)

I also enjoy pens that have minimal friction. They allow me to write faster such as gel pens and felt-tip pens. So I buy a lot of those when possible.

(I especially love colorful felt pens.)
I've also found that pens can last a long time. After 20 years the collection continues to grow steadily.

(I've had these two pens since the 5th grade, also known as 1993 AND they still work!)
I also like to collect pens while on vacation. I have a cool cat themed space pen from Hemingway's house in Key West (not pictured) and a replica pen from Gettysburg, PA (pictured below):



On occasion I've also received pens as gifts. While I do love all pens, I will say that some of the pens gifted to me have been more unique and thoughtful than others.

(My father made me these quills a few years ago.)
So long story short, I need to stop entering any store that sells any sort of pen ever because my addiction is getting out of control. ;)

Monday, June 24, 2013

3 More Q and A

I haven't done this in a while but I figured I should get some more answers out there for the questions I receive from readers. So here goes.


I know you really enjoy movies, which NEW movie are you most excited about?

This is pretty easy to answer and maybe obvious. I'm most excited about the new WOLVERINE!!! (yes it has to be said in all caps) movie.


I know there were things I didn't like about the last Wolverine movie but as a huge X-men fan and a huge Hugh Jackman fan, how can I not get suckered into loving this film sight unseen? The hope that this film will be better than the last Wolverine film is what is ensuring my seat in the theater on opening day. Okay, maybe not opening day if I'm busy, but def. opening weekend. I know what you're thinking, fool me once...but I'm willing to take the shame of being fooled twice by this franchise. 


What happened to all the Gabby and Chewie comics? Will there be more soon?

I can't say if there will be more soon as comics take a considerable amount of effort (I know, mine don't appear to take much effort as they often show up still quite raw) and I haven't had anything funny to say through comics about the cats as of late. But I'm still drawing and still working on Gabby and Chewie images (such as the rough sketch below) so I hope to eventually get more up on here if not sooner than later.



If you could have any superpower what superpower would it be and why?

There are so many awesome potential powers to choose from so it would be hard to decide. If I were to limit the assortment of powers to something that fit both my past and my personality then invisibility would be the power I would have to choose. Initially, my reasoning for this might seem I guess sad for lack of a better word. I grew up as a middle child between two very bright and outgoing sisters who loved the spotlight while I wandered in shadow. I was a shy kid by nature and as I grew older I got more scared and quiet. Even today I still get anxious talking in front of large groups or even single strangers. I often try to melt into the background of most social situations because it's always been easier to observe than to be the center of attention. So since I've historically felt quite invisible and even worked towards making myself invisible in social situations, I think I could use invisibility to my advantage as a superhero. I already know how to blend into the background and how to observe and use those observations to my advantage. As an invisible superhero I could be a strong asset to any superhero team/league/group that would have me and I could use my already explored invisibility to help fight crime or even save the world.


Monday, June 10, 2013

3 Ways To Fail At Twitter

Recently I started back on Twitter since it seems that most successful self-published authors are on the site. I'm not sure how many sales I'll get from being on Twitter but it makes sense to build up a following before I drop my book in case it does bring in a few sales. Since I've been back (I had signed up originally back in good old 2008) I've noticed some things that seem to work and some that really do not. So if you're an author and want to use Twitter to market your books, here are 3 ways to fail at Twitter, or really 3 things not to do on Twitter.

1. Sell, Sell, Sell
Would you ever return to a store where once you walked in the room someone started yelling at you: "Buy this! Buy this! Buy this! Buy this! Buy this! Buy this!" Probably not, so why would you ever use Twitter that way? If every tweet you post is "Buy my book!" people are not going to buy your book. Even if 50% of your tweets are like that you are still going to turn off a lot of people. A good rule of thumb is 80/20, 80% non-selling, 20% selling or other promotion (such as follow my FB page, or look at my blog tweets).

2. The Forever Tweet
There's a reason it's limited to 140 characters. Do Not post multiple tweets on the same topic with no end in sight. It's okay to carry on a conversation with others but don't just fill your page with a long string of endless tweets on one subject.


This especially doesn't appeal to followers because tweets go in last post order, meaning the first thing posted is at the bottom, so they have to scroll for a long time to see your original thought and then scroll forward to read the entirety of your ridiculously long rant. Imagine if you had to watch a TV show in reverse, it would be annoying just like a never-ending tweet rant.

3. Not Interacting With Others
While the other two are about what you might be doing that turns followers away, this is what you might not be doing which isn't allowing you to attract followers. When you choose to follow someone  it will work to your advantage to re-tweet something they've said, star/favorite something they've said or tweet directly to them with some sort of question or comment (not a direct message, that's different and typically frowned upon). By interacting with others you're directing them to your page and they'll usually follow you back (if your tweets are interesting to them and not examples of 1 or 2 above). Now some people are too busy to follow everyone that follows them and nudges them with a RT or a star but you'll get more followers by interacting with others. Also jumping into a conversation or responding to others is a great way to get noticed and if you're polite (not attacking others online) then you can typically get some followers by joining conversations or even starting conversations. People want to be noticed and when you notice them they'll typically notice you in kind.

So those are the top three things that come to mind when thinking about my experiences so far with Twitter and what seems to work and what doesn't. Hopefully this helps you out as you explore or improve your author Twitter account. :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Unigons & Dracorns

Over the weekend I had a moment with a pencil, some paper and my always working overactive imagination. I started trying to make a cute baby dragon. So I made really big eyes, but quickly these eyes made my baby dragon look like E.T. So Amanda suggested that I add hair around the face to make the eyes seem smaller. While most dragons don't have hair, I thought it was a good idea and drew some on. Then I realized that my baby dragon had pretty much become a dragon/unicorn hybrid. 

(It's even drooling for added cuteness.)
What exciting uncharted territory I had stumbled upon. What happens when someone finds a creature that hasn't been defined yet? I looked at the Lion/Tiger Lyger/Tigon example to determine what this new creature would be called. So if our unicorn/dragon baby is female it would be referred to as a Unigon and if it was a male it would be a Dracorn. Okay so this is just a theory because I'm not scientist, just a writer with an overactive imagination, a pencil and some paper. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Work(s) in Progress - 5/26/2013

For all of yous who be interested, here's what I've been working on lately.

Book Two of the 'Full of Whit' Series "Whit's Complicated." 

Book One dealt with Whit, our incompetent but with good intentions demon hunter moving to the Big City.
(possible cover for book one in the series)
In Book Two, Whit starts feeling acclimated to the Big City only to find political upheaval and personal trusts shattered in the second book in the series. I'm currently working on a bit where another demon hunter shows up and hopes to become Whit's mentor and help shape him into a better hunter.

No Rest (working title)

(This is a picture I drew for the character Dorian in "No Rest" but it probably is more like Lem now that I think about it.)
I featured this post apocalyptic tale of horror and hope back in 2011 and then the story went unfinished. After a 10 year old flash drive bit the dust, I decided to track down what was lost and what I could piece back together. This story was one of the things that needed to be pieced back together and I found myself invested in the project again and I've started working to rebuild it and finish it. 

In addition to working on these two stories I'm also in the process of preparing the first book in the "Full of Whit" series for publication, so keep an eye out for that in the near future. :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Using Facebook to Publicize Your Books

Since I've been delving into the world of social media as of late I figured I'd share my most recent online endeavor. Recently, I created a Facebook page for my co-author and I. This page will allow us to market our 'Full of Whit' series and potentially other works we publish.

(The cover image and header on our FB page.  https://www.facebook.com/JenniferInnesAndrewGrace)

We don't have a lot of traffic yet but I'm not too worried about it since we are in the process of polishing the first book and should have it ready to sell a few months from now. Getting the page up and running was important so that when the book is ready we will already have people waiting. It's also given us the opportunity to get some awesome feedback from future readers on both cover design and potential editors. Ultimately, I think there are a lot of interesting things a Facebook page can do for any author who is willing to take the time to set one up and maintain it.

The best place to start is to look at pages made by other authors and see how they built their page and what updates they make. Since there is two of us I decided our page needed both of our photos, but our faces are too big to fit in the tiny box given for personal photos so I made our cover image a picture of us. We also didn't have any good pictures of the two of us together so I had to cut and paste two different pictures and add an artsy effect so that it appeared seamless. In the smaller photo I posted a potential book cover for our first book in the series. Why I decided to do a joint author page was because a page for a book only works for that book (not easy to cross promote) and a page for a series alienates readers who enjoy your other works (also hard to cross promote when you start publishing other books or series). So an author's page seemed like the best option. Here we are able to promote our series and our own works.

Just like on Twitter where it's important to engage with others, Facebook requires a level of engagement because it is a "social" media. It's hard to engage others through a Facebook page but once you do you are reaching more individuals than you probably are through a blog or other media outlet. Every time a person shares your FB page, all of their friends/family will be exposed to it unlike your blog which is harder to share with everyone your readers know.

A final comment, keep it professional. Writing is fun but marketing/promoting your work is a job and to be successful you need to be professional. Maybe that's not the rule for everyone, but it's the rule for most people. Keep your photos clean, keep your content kind, and keep active online. :)

Do you have an author/book/series Facebook page? How has it worked out for you? Let us know in the comments! :)


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Guest Post: Author KR Mitchell On Self-Publishing Your Own Novel


With his first ebook published, KR. Mitchell tells us about his self-publishing
journey.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________


I didn’t think I would ever get a book published, and nine years ago without the rise of ebooks that would have been true. The book I had wanted to write was nontraditional and unique in a literary sense. I was more inspired by the fast-moving action and stylistic quirks of animation, movies and video games than any actual book. The result is a book that's dialogue focused and character driven with an emphasis on humor as well as action.
I'd like to explain to you all the process through which I self-published. Let me start by saying there is a wealth of additional information about self-publishing and if anyone wants to know more about it check out my Facebook page or Twitter feed for more advice.
First, I wrote the book. This was quite honestly the easy part. I was free to be as creative as I wished to be without regard to style or form. You don't have to worry about bad dialogue, cut it out later; no need for intensive research, google it later; and no need for editing—which bring us to point number two.
  I had to edit. I hated editing. I hated it more than I hate math and I loathe math. Punctuation, grammar, style and so on had to be carefully checked line by line. There was a lot of addition and subtraction, which coincidentally are the only things I know how to do with math. Dialogue had to be rewritten and scenes had to be switched. It was a heavy task and it took about a week but I eventually turned in a clean copy. I'd recommend pushing this work off on some editor if you can afford it. I currently eat canned beans for dinner so that should tell you my money situation. Pop-tarts are equivalent to French macaroons at the moment. I'll let you know how the macaroons taste as soon as the royalties start coming in.
The final step was publishing the book via Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords and iBooks. The method to do so couldn’t be simpler as long as you take a deep breath, be composed and follow the instructions like a worker drone in an ant colony. When you’re writing the story be sure to set a half-inch first tab stop, use an auto generated table of contents, use page breaks when needed and use “Heading 1” paragraph style for the chapter titles. After you’ve finished the book convert it into an ePub file. Most programs should have an export or save as function to do this for you, but if you’re not sure if your writing program has this function; you can use this website to convert it for you. I recommend using an epub, because the format is universally accepted by all major ebook publishers. Yes you can set the pricing to whatever you want, but stick between the sweet spot of $2.99 and $9.99. You shouldn’t bother with ¢0.99 because you’re not only devaluing your work but every self-published ebook as well.
I lied, the final step is marketing, which is a subject I’m still learning about myself, so I can’t offer you any advice beside the obvious such as use social media and everything else to get the word of mouth started.
Don't look down on self-publishing. The era of "vanity publishing" is over. This is a time where vanity is the social norm. Vanity is the reason why we know who Mark Zuckerberg is and why we should hate him. Having a digital prescience won't hurt your chances at getting a deal with a traditional publisher. In fact, it could help if you can use any sales reports to prove to the gatekeepers who keep their bony claws on the printing press lever that there is a market for your book.
Some additional advice: have your bank information available. All ebook publishers will want to know where to send your well-deserved money. Keep your check or savings and bank routing numbers available as well your Social Security or Tax ID numbers on hand for tax purposes. Don’t be intimidated by the technology or the paperwork assets of self-publishing just be calm. Oh and one more thing, take the plunge and either hire a professional cover designer or buy a royalty free stock photo and edit it yourself. You don't have to use any fancy, finicky programs like Photoshop just use PowerPoint like I did by following this guy's advice.
I hope to see all of you aspiring writers alongside me on the Kindle store. There's no need to keep buying TV dinners with the ice crusted brownies and rubbery corn nimblest. Go forth and write books.

About Forces of Nature Series
The adventures of a young girl named Alison Moody and her friends, Ren Kiramitsu and Edwin Silversine, as they try to save their country and the world from corruption by secret forces with extremist intents. The Forces of Nature is seamlessly mixed with drama and action that keeps you laughing on the edge of your seat. The character development is fascinating along with the twists and turns associated with them. Find the FON Series on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/ZVfuGb

About KR. Mitchell
            KR. Mitchell is currently working on a Bachelors of Arts
 in Journalism at the University of Alabama. KR. Mitchell began with a love of reading and writing from a young age. Not until reaching college did KR start serious work on honing his skills in writing thanks to vigorous journalism courses. It is an adherence to AP Style and brevity that influences his writing style's focus on minimalist descriptions, short sentences and conciseness. It's not the standard, but it works for him. Find him on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/10wHEmK 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fonts and Cover Design

Lately, I've been working on potential cover designs for the book I've co-written with my good friend Andrew. One thing that I think non-professionally made covers need to make them look a tiny bit more professional are some awesome fonts. In my exploration of fonts, my sister Amanda directed me to some awesome links. I loved what I found at the first one so much I haven't actually explored the other ones yet. The site http://www.1001fonts.com/free-fonts-for-commercial-use.html offers free fonts for commercial use.

When you download a font you will often find a 'read-me' document where the creator of the font has a few words to say but other than their simple requests (i.e. let them know if/how you use the font) it seems to me that these fonts are truly free for commercial use. Which is important because the last thing you want is for your book to get popular and then get sued by a font maker or font website because you didn't have the rights to use their font in that capacity.

Here are a few of the fonts that really struck me as being awesome enough to be on the cover of a book. The story is an urban fantasy with vampires so I tried to find fonts that worked with that idea.

Haunting Attraction:

Riky Vampdator:

Zombie Holocaust:

Zombified: