Wednesday, 25 February 2015

“Do not judge a book by its cover.” An invalid maxim.

If we are talking about people then I readily agree that the old saying still holds true. If you are an author though, and you believe a bad cover will not negatively effect sales then you are clearly about to be disappointed.
As more bricks and mortar book stores close their doors forever the reading public go online to find new reading material. Paperback, Hard-cover, eBook and Audio books now appear as tiny icons on computer screen and electronic devices. Which icon will you right-click to read the title’s description, the one bearing the work of a professional cover artist, the humdrum stock cover that only sort-of relates to the title, or the one which looks as if the images were cut from various magazines and glued to a side of A4 before being scanned?
It is a world of vanity that we live in, one where appearances count more than ever, but as always you get what you pay for. If you go directly to your next door neighbour’s son because he has an A Level in Art from the local Secondary Modern school you may be pleasantly surprised with the results but the likelihood is that you will not.
Shop around; be aware that there are wannabe artists, time wasters and outright fakes out there so do your research. I found two excellent artists on a site called but there are several other sites with talented artists and photographers. Learn the difference between ‘digital modelling’ and ‘digital painting’, it is significant, and one may fill your needs whereas the other may not. If you lack the means to hire models and a studio then these guys and gals are a cost effective solution which you would be wise to explore. Traditional 2D artists and photographers also have pages on these sites and all will display examples of their work.
From experience I have found that if it takes more than three days for an artist to respond to your initial contact then move on, try someone else. If you find yourself chasing an artist for results then you may have to cut your losses and look elsewhere, you would not have paid cash on the barrel for the finished project so do not burst a blood vessel, chalk it up to experience and find someone more reliable. 
If you suspect the authenticity of an image in an artist’s portfolio just right-click on it and follow the drop-down menu to ‘Search Google for this image’ and if it appears with accreditation to another artist you may have to discover which one is the real deal and who is the phoney.
I have already stated in an earlier article that you should not expect free samples of an artist’s work as proof of ability, so ask their rates in advance and most will have PayPal accounts so the process is quite swift.
Artists are like computers, at least that is my recent experience, in that they can produce what you ask for but not necessarily what you want. None of the artists I know are mind readers so be clear in what it is that you have in mind and providing a visual for them will help enormously. Sanju Nivangune and Piero Vettori are the two talented artists who I found and both speak good English, but it is not their first language and over half of the artists you will find online are not English speakers, which is another reason for clarity. Google translate has come on leaps and bounds since its implementation a few years ago so your online communications will not read like a text conversation between Yoda and Jar Jar Binks. Use it, it works.
The bottom lines is that you want to be as proud of the cover as you are of the interior, hiring an artist may not be cheap but it is a worthwhile and very necessary investment if you want a return on all those months, or years, it took you to write your book.

The Linkedin article.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Apple iBooks versions and Hardcovers
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A fair bit of work went into converting the series into ePub and iBook formats. The maps are not included as it really is more trouble than it is worth trying to create a good quality map that can be read on a small screen. The other difference is that The Longest Night and Crossing the Rubicon are one volume, as was originally intended. At the time of producing them for Kindle and a matching paperback on Amazon the sixteen maps had pushed the paperback file size to over the maximum permitted by the printer, which caused a very reluctant split into two shorter books in order to mirror the Kindle. Without maps in iBook and ePub formats there are no such issues and the series is four volumes instead of kindles five.

The books all come in hard-cover copies as well the paperback and electronic versions. Unfortunately audio books are frighteningly expensive to produce so they will not be happening any time soon.

Apple iBooks and their self-defeating bid for dominance over Amazon.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Now on Amazon, Apple iBooks and in hardback.

The Armageddon's Song Series, an alternative history take on a Third World War is available in hardcover and paperback, plus in download format for Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Overdrive, Lulu and Smashwords.


'Advance to Contact'
'Fight Through'
'The Longest Night'
'Crossing the Rubicon'

'Shaw, Lt - USMC' (a prequel) is a work in progress.
'Spearhead' (a prequel) awaits.
'54 Degrees South' (a sequel) awaits.

'Of Demons and Blue Moons #1' An adult themed supernatural thriller, is a work in progress.
'Of Demons and Blue Moons #2' awaits.

The only maps are contained in the paper and Kindle versions but perhaps future technology will allow those to work on a small screen better than is currently possible.

Hardback versions far cheaper on Lulu than elsewhere.
Paperback titles of the series:
Armageddon's Song on Apple iBook
Armageddon's Song on Amazon
Armageddon's Song on Smashwords
Armageddon's Song on Barnes & Noble
Armageddon's Song on Kobo Books
Armageddon's Song on Overdrive.Com
Smashwords interview with top tips to help writers
Facebook Page for Armageddon's Song
Author on Facebook

Sunday, 8 February 2015

iBook conversion, Hardback and interview

I am going through the rather painful process of expanding beyond Amazon, who I am very grateful to of course but there are other markets out there. The pain is caused by the process of preparing the word document templates, which the books were written on, for conversion to iBook and ePub formats, which are far less user-friendly processes that Word to Kindle. Three days just to replace the italics in each book that the conversion process removed.

The publication into hardback of each book is progressing but it will be a couple of months before these are visible on the web due to the printers scrutineers being human and not a software program.

'Smashwords' interview