June went by quite fast – though part of this was because I spent a week in the hills. But I’ve also continued the preparation stage for the launch of my book, focusing mostly on research related to cover design.
Before I get to that, though, a quick update on some other tasks I had planned.
I’ve had a chat with my mother (she’s an accountant) about what I might need to do to get a tax ID (required to upgrade Amazon account to author account) and I know she’ll be able to point me in the right direction when the time comes.
I’ve also planned to get two drawings done: the crest of the Eternal Defenders faction and the map.
That alone needed a bit of research and thinking: as the crest is quite simple in nature, I’ve decided to give vector graphics a try. The simple outline of a shield was easy to but the other parts… not so much – so I’m reconsidering my approach to that.
I’ve also started to work on the map and got some early results. I started with my sketch as the base for layout reference…
…and then did some black magic I don’t really understand. A few hours later, what I got was this:
So far, I’ve only done base geography + major cities + the wall. It still lacks labels (leaving them for the last step) and I’ll probably have to look for some decent symbols to mark the cities. But it’s a start.
And, finally, I’ve made an updated sketch of the Royal Palace, which I showed in the Sunday post about the creative process behind the palace and the capital city.
This was the majority of my writing-related activity. And when I thought I might’ve figured out how to approach this, I realized the approach I was leaning towards can’t work for me. But let’s take it step by step.
99 designs… crossed out
A few months ago, I’ve watched a video review (link?) of the platfrom 99designs. If you use this platform, you set up a contest that lasts 7 days and anyone can give their submission during that time. Of course, as covers need iterations, the main storm likely comes at the beginning.
Which is where the problem lies for me: to use such a ‘rapid development’ technique, you need to be able to respond fast to all submissions, to cross out those who don’t fit your vision and guide the iterations of those who do.
If I was to use this platfrom, I’d not only have to take a week off to be able to respond, but also not wander away into the hills during that week – impossible!
Searching a new way
So, after getting high hopes for this, I was back where I began. It seems I’ll have to go the classic way of finding an artist directly. The question is: where.
Not for the first time, I’ve given a bit of attention to fan art. Wowhead has been doing monthly fan art spotlights for quite some time so I decided to go through them and see if any of those people catches my interest by their style – and then look whether they’re open to doing book covers as well. This approach has two limitations: first, many of them are often busy with just fan art (which, as they tend to have the character for reference, including gear, probably takes fewer iterations) and they might not know the specifics of book covers (dimensions, more so in case of print cover).
I’ve crossed out the idea of getting a premade cover quite soon – searching for something I’d like would likely take way too much time.
I’ve eventually wandered to fiverr.com as a platform for freelancers of all kind – and my search ‘fantasy book cover design’ spewed out tons of results. This platform also has its issue: the people there are from all over the world and when I saw a set of good images from someone but their English was at beginner level, I had to cross them out to not risk any misunderstanding and thus waste time for both of us.
Book two edits
Eventually, I’ve done a bit of something I wanted to do but feared it: at least some edits on the early draft of book two. The reason I feared it was simple: I knew about several scenes that would need to be reworked (or completely rewritten)but did not know whether to work on those scenes alone of go for a full read-through and full edit pass. And so I kept thinking about which way to go while doing nothing.
What had me give it a shot was unrelated to writing: as I prepared for my holiday, I had my preparations pretty much completed by Friday morning. And so, I decided to give it a try. What I’ve done in a day wasn’t that much – just various level of rework to a few scenes – but it’s better than nothing and I hope it’ll nudge me to get back to writing instead of just the non-writing work I mentioned above.
So, to wrap this up: I’ve made an early version of the map, more research on cover design (I plan to contact some of the people who look promising in the coming days), and started learning some bits about the paper-shuffling I’ll have to do soon.
Among some other small things, I’m thinking in more detail about the author bio and also about which characters/places/creatures/etc to include in the glossary.
I’ve bonked some parts of launch research into mid- to late-summer as David Gaughran plans to release new editions of his books on that topic in the coming weeks and I believe there’s something I’ll learn from it.
My plan for July is to work on choosing the cover designer (and hopefully make the choice, if not get the cover), further delve into formatting, and do some minor edits/corrections. If time allows, then to continue on early edits of book two.
So, that’s another month. Feel free to comment or ask questions, I’ll answer if I can.