Archive for the ‘self-publishing’ Tag

Looking Back and Going Forward….   2 comments

Greetings, all! Been awhile since I posted something that wasn’t a review of a book or movie, so time to change that. And I want to start with giving an update on the final book to The Heart of Light Trilogy, and an apology on the lengthy delay in releasing it. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 2 years since Crown of Ravens was published. In that time, I’ve furthered my career in graphic designing, and just this year started taking courses so I can move into web development and design. I never forgot about the series and writing in general, but it’s one of those things that starts to get put in the back seat when you’re dealing with life and trying to support yourself. It gets harder and harder to make time when so much is needed for the more pressing issues, and every day you’re racing to catch up and cram as much as you can into that short space so you don’t fall behind. And with the audience for my books not being large, it was easier to put off the third book for “later”.

I’ll be honest, I never did much with marketing my books. I take full blame on that one. 😛 When I first published the series, I had to make the art myself, and while I was confident in the story itself (my mom and I did double-time on the editing) I wasn’t as confident in the cover art. If there’s one thing I pride myself in, it’s knowing a good cover. And while I will never knock my old work (it was pretty advanced for what I knew back then) I am brutally honest. It had some serious flaws, and trying to market a book with a cover you know is not put together very well is scary.

Last year was when my skills with making graphic art got to a point that I knew I could finally, FINALLY, give these stories the spectacular artwork I had always coveted in other books, and that they deserved.

I was already in a competition where the contestants needed to choose one of their older works and redo them. I looked through some of my older artworks, and the one for Crown of Ravens caught my eye. Right there, I decided to go for it. And behold, what I got was the art I had always dreamed of seeing on one of my books. I was even able to make the crown itself, a feat all on its own that I was unable to do before. (And yes, I was kicking myself for writing it as black. Gold sure would have easier. 😛 )

So Crown of Ravens was taken care of. It had a gorgeous cover, but now we come to The Dark Wolf. That book will always be my baby because it was my first, and from the start, I was never happy with the cover it got. Don’t get me wrong, I take pride in what I was able to make back then. I had ZERO experience making that stuff, and at the time, I had only a couple tutorials on Youtube to get me going. So it was big thing for me to even make a cover on my own. But again, I knew it had flaws, and it wasn’t the best work to represent the story. The first cover for Crown of Ravens had its own problems, but even that looked visually more appealing. As the years went by and I continued learning graphic art and design, The Dark Wolf went through 4 different cover variations as my skills gradually increased (I feel so sorry for putting it through that 😦 ). Last year was when the cover switching finally ended with the creation of the fifth and final work with a brand new piece of art.

Before

After

 

Before

After

I got both covers prepped and put together, then uploaded them to Amazon. Honestly, I did get a little thrill when the covers appeared on Amazon. 🙂 It was the art I had always dreamed of having for a story of mine. And at last, I finally had it. I did try to market it, but again I got sidetracked, and that was put on the back shelf. My workload was growing, and when I decided to take the leap into web development, that just added to my already full plate.

It was actually one of my friends who recently read my books that gave me the shot of encouragement and motivation I needed. And I realized I had to go back. I needed to finish what I started, not just for the dear readers out there, but also for myself and for the story that got me started on this journey through life. It was that first book, The Dark Wolf, that led me here. Now, I need to give it and the readers out there the ending they deserve.

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Now you’re probably asking, “The update, man! Where are things with that third book (you dang slow author you)!”
Okay, enough suspense here. 😛 Currently, I’m still on the first draft but have managed to reach the halfway point on it. And I have already plotted out the remaining chapters, so no time will be wasted with wondering where the story should go. While a 2017 release is not likely at this point, 2018 is. I can’t give an exact date, but I’m looking at publishing the third book in either summer or fall of next year, depending on my schedule. Regardless, I want to let all of you know that the third book will be published, and the series resolved. And once again, I apologize for the LONG delay. The last chapter of The Heart of Light Trilogy is coming, folks. May have taken awhile, but it is coming, so hang in there.

Next post, I’ll be sharing some exciting news about what to expect for the third book. And I promise, I won’t do my usual and post a month later. 😉

(Disclaimer: Image and art used is my work and copyrighted)
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Widows and Orphans: Poor formatting or someone’s asinine idea of more work for the writer?   Leave a comment

Up until a couple years ago, I had no idea what widows and orphans were, other than that one was a woman whose husband died and the other was kids without parents. That was as far as my understanding of them went. And then I started writing a book.

Like a lot of others out there, I self-published my fantasy book, The Dark Wolf, instead of going the traditional route. While it means you end up having complete control over your book and making more money, it also means more work, and when you’re self-publishing, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to get every little detail done to perfection. Not that you want it otherwise with the traditional route, but from most people’s perspective, self-published books aren’t formatted as well as those in regular publishing.

I am a guy who is very good at Grammar and English. This is not bragging on my part; it’s something I love and therefore do very well at. My parents homeschooled me and made sure to buy me the most advanced textbooks available, and my mom happens to be a whiz at English. So you can imagine my surprise as when doing some research on self-publishing, I found out about widows and orphans from an article on the internet. For those of you who don’t know about what I’m talking about, here’s a link to Wikipedia explaining it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widows_and_Orphans

My mom told me not to worry, but being a newb at the whole self-publishing biz, I spent a lot of time trying to learn exactly how to get everything done right and panicking at the slightest little thing that I thought might ruin the book. So when I heard about the widows and orphans, I spent days trying to eliminate them. And I mean days. When you get the right emotion and detail into a paragraph, you really take a chance on messing with it. And when you fix one, it either pulls the whole story up or sends it down, creating even more problems. Need I say that I was supremely frustrated by the whole ordeal? I can honestly say that it is only by God’s grace the story didn’t get messed up.

With the initial anxiety over self-publishing fading, I took the time to really consider if widows and orphans were poor formatting as I’d read. After all, just whose decision was it that it should be considered poor? And if it really is bad to have them, why in tarnation didn’t my textbooks mention something? My parents went to school and even they hadn’t heard about them, for crying out loud. Heck, many writers I’ve talked to didn’t even know and they’ve been writing longer than I have.

So I did some digging. Turns out, many of those books published by regular publishing companies have those same widows and orphans in their books. And we are not talking about just one either. The crazy thing is that none of the readers noticed or seemed to know about them either, even the ones who reviewed the authors’ overall writing in general. Granted, I never noticed. If I see something that doesn’t make the book look crappy, I don’t give it a second glance, and it seems that goes for the majority of people out there. In fact, the only people who do seem to even know or pay attention to them are a few self-published authors that claim to be an authority on writing. Go figure.

Now, does every book have widows and orphans? No, but enough have them to make one think seriously about whether they’re really poor formatting, or just another one of those dumb ideas out there in the world. To me, typos and misspelled words make a story look sloppier than a sentence beginning the page. If it wasn’t, believe me, I’d be the first to champion their removal, because if there is one thing I take pride in, it is perfection.

Why am I writing this post when I’ve gone through so much labor already? Because after what I went through, I want to make sure any person new to self-publishing knows that they don’t have to go through that. I remember how I felt, and if I can spare someone else that headache and frustration, I’m all for it.

So for any of you looking to go into self-publishing your own book and leafing through articles and blog posts on just what to do, take the advice from someone who’s been there already. Leave the widows and orphans alone. Trust me, your book will not look any worse than the other bestsellers out there that everybody likes.

Posted June 6, 2014 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

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Your grace is enough...

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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