Wednesday, 29 January 2014


Here you can preview the first chapter from my upcoming indie release, which I'm hoping will hit Amazon and Bookstore shelves within the next four months if all goes well. Please feel free to leave a comment in the section below. I love hearing from readers. :)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Cover Art Dilemma

Whoever said "Don't judge a book by its cover" is an idiot. I don't say that to be spiteful, but because I believe that no human out there has ever not judged a book by its cover. No one is going to buy a great book if it has a boring cover or something that doesn't catch the reader's eyes. Can you say you ever have? I know I don't, and my library only contains books that have covers that caught my eye even if the book ended up being uninteresting.

We treat people the same way. The unkempt teenager is less likely to get a job than the well groomed adult, even if the teenager might have the skills, knowledge, and personality to do the job. People are more likely to pick up the golden retriever or husky before they pick up a bulldog or bloodhound at an animal shelter.

Long story short, human beings are simple creatures who enjoy beauty and value aesthetics over what's beneath.

That brings me to my main point regarding cover art. Or rather, MY cover art. Or rather, the LACK of cover art.

See, the only thing at this point that is preventing me from being able to publish my book is a nice piece of cover art to go on the front of the book. That may not seem like a big deal, until you consider what the cost of something like that is. Depending on who you commission, you're easily looking for anywhere between $100 to several thousand dollars worth of art, with hobbyists being on the lower end of that spectrum and professionals being higher up. Somewhere in the middle is Amazon's CreateSpace (Where I will be publishing) which offers cover art services for a "modest" fee of $500-600.

That's a big sum of money. Something a starving student like me can't afford. At least, not in any reasonable amount of time.

I want to be able to get my book out there. I don't have the skills to be able to sketch and design my own cover. Certainly I'm a sketch artist of moderate skill, but a painter? Please. My paintings would be less coherent than a Jackson Pollok painting.

I think I referenced the wrong artist but you get the point.

My other options are simple:
1) I could squirrel away a bit of money and save up while searching for a hobbyist that offers a decent commission at a reasonable price.

2) Alternatively, I could squirrel away even more money and use Amazon's CreateSpace services to design the cover for me, which would fit into their specifications without any complaints.

3) I use KickStarter or IndieGogo to raise funds to pay for the book. Probably no more than $1000 or something.

#1 and #2 are fully viable options. Whether I want to spend that much money on a mere art commission on a book that may not sell enough to recoup my losses, who knows. I would need, if Amazon's calculator is correct, at least 250 book sales to break even on a $600 commission. That's a pretty big risk to take, but it might be worth it if the difference between a professional cover and a amateur one makes up for it.

#3 is also an option, but unfortunately, I have little in the way of "gifts" to offer to donators. Certainly, a $1 or $5 donation would get a thanks on my blog. But I'm not a big name person so I don't picture that being motivating. ;)

$10 wouldn't be enough to pay for a signed copy of a book either, but $15 could. Beyond that, I have no idea what I would offer people.

So I leave the question up to you, the reader. What do you think is a viable option for this problem? Leave your comments in the section below. :)

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Self-Publishing Concerns

I've noticed that as I do my research to see whether self-publishing my LEGENDS OF GALRIA series is the route I want to go, I'm noticing a consistent trend that makes me worried that it's not really what I want to do. At the same time though, I do feel that I could bring a breath of fresh air to the market depending on your outlook. I know that sounds egotistical but I need to have some self-awareness, right?

I've been taking the time to read some self-published books that are available over Amazon, and reading some reviews for many more. Some of the common trends I've seen are cause for concern with regards to whether people enjoy reading indie authors' works. I don't intend to name authors or their books (because I'm not in the mood for "shaming" those who are in the same industry as me), but I do sufficiently feel like some of these concerns are common enough that you could pick up any number of indie books and see one or more of them popping up.

For example, one issue I've seen is flat and unsympathetic characters that do not get enough development over the course of the story to warrant their existence. I feel that if a character is in the book as the protagonist or antagonist, they need to develop to some extent or become relatable to the reader to be worth writing. A character who is angsty throughout the work or is overly obnoxious to everyone else is not fun to read about, unless they develop into someone the reader can like. Perhaps that's a bit of a generalization, but that's the way I see it.

Perhaps the basis for that perception is what some of my beta-readers have said about earlier drafts of one of my books. The protagonist was very whiny and angsty, and there were only a few interesting characters the reader liked. When one of those interesting characters was killed, people put the book down because the MC was not worth reading about, because there wasn't enough development and he was too much of a whiner.

Another issue I've seen come up is the lack of editing. Spelling errors, grammatical errors, and improper word usage are all over the place and across a huge spectrum in terms of severity. Part of it has to do with the author not being a native English speaker. I've seen that in at least one case, and they essentially received a lot of flak for it from people who purchased the book. However, since they are a furry author, perhaps the drama and backlash is to be expected since the whole furry community is terrifying when it comes to drama.

Other authors don't have as much of an excuse for a lack of editing. It shows a lack of care or concern for their own product, in my opinion. I don't feel that there's any reason to miss errors beyond having a poor grasp of the English language. I may be a bit harsh in saying that, but I believe that much of writing has to do more with editing drafts than writing. I wrote my novel 4 years ago. Everything else since then has been edits. ;)

I'm hoping that when it comes time to start working on CreateSpace, after I've obtained a cover I'm happy with and after my beta-readers get back to me, that I won't run into reviews that gripe about my handle of the English language. Or about flat characters.

Or that my characters are too gay. Part and parcel with a GLBT offering, I suppose. ;)