What week is it?

Is it Wear your Best to Work week? I’m all for that kind of thing. I mean, we live in a fantastic age where we have incredible choice for what to wear, so why not bust that suit out and wear it with pride? But no, no, it’s not that week.

Is it Stay in Bed week? Unfortunately no. While I would welcome the change of pace, I’m sure the economy wouldn’t enjoy workers dropping tools, wheels, keyboards and pens to take a kip.

Is it Put your Phone Away Week? I wish, I wish, I wish it was. You know how much fun it is when you can talk to someone without a black rectangle covering their face?

Alright, alright. I’ll let you in on the gag. It is, in fact –

Read an Ebook Week - Banner sized for Facebook
Smashwords Read An E-Book Week!

And to celebrate, they’ve got a bazillion titles up on discounts. 25%? Yup. 50%? You bet. 75%? Even so.

100%??? There sure are! In fact, if you head to my profile page:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JeremyTyrrell

You’ll find all of my books for… free. That’s right, gratis. Go nuts. Get the entire set of Adaptation (Just get the compendium, it’s easier). Go on. What’s that? You want an octopus detective? OK, go get Tedrick Gritswell of Borobo Reef and, while you’re there, get Tedrick Gritswell Makes Waves.

Not your thing? Grab Atlas, Broken or the Bullet. Or if you’re into Paranormology, grab all five books and shove them in your cart. Electrons come free, baby, so go nuts.

Then, when you’re done, go and visit some other authors and give them some love. And then… and then… and then read them! That’s part of the whole ‘Read an E-Book’ week deal. If you enjoy them, great! If not, that’s fine too. Oh, and if you don’t mind, please come back and leave a review when you’re done.

If reading really ain’t your thing, might I suggest you listen to the audiobook versions? It’s kinda sorta still almost and E-book, right? It still counts. It’s just that you’re reading with your ears. Yeah. Let’s run with that.

What are you still doing here? Go and read a book!

Read an E-Book week goes until March 7, so get in while you can.

The Quality of the Merchandise

Forgot to mention yesterday about the quality of the print of the books that arrived.

I’ll start with Tedrick. I got Tedrick Gritswell of Borobo Reef and Tedrick Gritswell Makes Waves delivered so I can give a final check to the quality of the print. I have to say, I’m impressed. The stock used was a cream paper, nice and easy on the eyeballs, with a good sized font and proper looking margins.

I’m always concerned with the gutter, to make sure that when the book is opened, the words don’t get lost somewhere down in the spine. The guidelines of the KDP template help out there a lot and they point out, quite clearly, if words are going to be squished in the gutter.

The margins, too, are spacious and roomy, enough for fingers to hold without getting in the way. Where the print falls down, in my opinion, is on the cover. I’ve noticed a distinct difference with the brightness of the colours on the monitor versus those on print. The books seem to have their colours muted somewhat, like the ‘volume got turned down’.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still the same image, it’s not altered at all, but the realisation into the physical world leaves a little something back in the digital world. I’m sure there’s a term for this.

The Adaptation book is a whopper. It’s printed on white paper with 9.5 point font, 0.5 points below the recommended minimum. That was the absolute largest I could use without blowing the pages out past the maximum of 800. I also used a custom font that squished the words up a fraction more. Each chapter title also uses a custom font to match the title cover.

This was a bit annoying because it means embedding the font into the final PDF. If I didn’t do that, the font would default to something else, and I’d gain an extra few pages and push past the limit. Embedded the font ain’t so bad – it makes the PDF larger, of course, but that makes it longer upload.

The cover came out better than I expected. The charcoal of the carbon-fibre comes up good against the cyan and orange. The back holds a likeness of yours truly in a little circle. The print quality is nice and the matt cover has a definite feel to it.

The only thing that annoys me is the slim margins and small font size. I would have preferred to go to, say, a thousand pages with a thicker margin and 11 point font but, unfortunately, the Laws of Physics only extend so far.

You Asked For It

Adaptation began its life on my PDA. That’s right, I didn’t really have a means to write my story in bed like some kind of, oh, I don’t know, computer that could sit comfortably on my lap – maybe a lap-computer of sorts? – and I wasn’t keen on resting a typewriter on the blankets, and writing with a pen was out so I resorted to the only thing I could think of. A Personal Digital Assistant which had, as part of its software, a highly trimmed down version of Microsoft Word.

There was an on-screen keyboard, and a little two by three inch space for the text, which made writing possible, albeit difficult. I’d tap away on there, adding my paragraphs and hitting save, and in the morning I’d download the text onto my computer and repeat the process the next night.

Why am I telling you this? Because it leads into the reason I’m writing this post. You see, after a while, the PDA began to suffer. It couldn’t cope with the demand of me hitting the save button after a couple of paragraphs. The files were just too big for its little processing unit to cope with and, after around a hundred thousand odd words, it just got too damn slow.

So I broke up the manuscript into three pieces, Adaptation Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, three different files, that could be edited separately and hitting the save button wasn’t so bad (still bad, but not to the point of annoying). It also meant I could cut my teeth on the whole publishing process and bumble about without having to wait until the very end.

This is why Adaptation comes in parts. The size of the project was just too big for technical reasons and, as such, it had to be broken into smaller chunks, each of about 100k words. When it came to hard copies, the breaking-up helped a lot, too, because that way I could fit the books into standard title sizes.

Great, great. What’s that got to do with the price of jerky in Iceland? (About 600 isk a bag at the time of writing, which is almost $10, so there you go)

It’s because, as of now, you can get all the Adaptation parts in one compendium. It brings all the bits together into one big book.

Adaptation Front Cover

As you can see, it has the new front cover design, but without the ‘Part X’ bit. On the inside, you’ve got all the parts, together with their own chapters and dedications, comprising nearly 600k words.

Now that’s got to be a lot easier than having to manually grab all of the individual parts, right? As a bonus, the Adaptation compendium is cheaper than the sum of its parts.

This is now live at Smashwords, Kobo, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google, iTunes and all the other guys.

Judging a Book by its Cover

When I first started out writing, I was busy with the whole ‘writing’ part of the deal, you know, putting words together to make sentences and all that jazz. Then, when it got time to get real, I slammed into the ‘oh-crap’ wall, filled with blocks of requirements held together with a mortar of doubt.

Books need a description. And they need an ISBN. And they need to be categorised according to their content and type. And, of course, they need a front cover.

Well, as far as I can tell, you can get away with not having an ISBN, and you have categories of ‘General’ under fiction which, I guess, sort of covers just about anything, and technically you don’t need a front cover to have a book published.

But it sure helps.

So there I go, flailing against the wall, doing whatever I could to get through to the other side. A front cover? No problem. How hard can that be? I mean, it’s just words and a picture right? Well, technically yes, that’s correct, there are words and there is usually a picture, but it’s not as simple as… No worries, gimme two minutes.

Cue me running around like a maniac, taking photographs with my old, clunky phone, trying to figure out how to operate GIMP, fending off the calls from work – heck, it’s eleven at night – and a whisky shot or two later, here you go:

Yeah, I didn’t like it either, but you have to admit, there are words and there’s a picture, so it’s a cover, right? Besides, it was bed time and I wanted this thing up and out and off my hands (There’s a lesson right there – if you’re feeling pressured, you’re making mistakes and if you’re making mistakes, back off, go to bed and tackle it tomorrow).

Alright, fine, it was poo, I agree. So after I did the same for part 2 and 3, I sat back and thought that I’d better take it more seriously. After all, by this stage I was looking at hard copies and, yeah, these guys ain’t gonna cut the mustard.

I started with the idea of emphasising the split from title and author as top and bottom and the imagery in the middle. I found a nice carbon fibre background and a chrome bar to add the separators and changed the font to something more appropriate. And for the most part, I was happy with it, until I looked at it with fresh eyes last month and thought that looked unpolished.

The uniformity of the imagery was bothering me. Sure, the method of thresholding the image and using the darkness to create a silhouette over a gradiented background made some amount of sense, it still didn’t convey exactly what I was after. So I’ve gone and made a change, I hope, for the better.

Yes, that’s still the same carbon fibre and chrome curtain rod. Yes, that’s still my eyeball (albeit updated) but now we’ve got a more modern twist on things.

Firstly, you’ll notice the change from a single point of reference, to having the city below, a bustling, light filled city, shining in amber, contrasting the relatively cyan eyeball on top. Amber and teal, apparently, is the combination of the month. The cityscape lends itself nicely, since the perspective of the main roads naturally lead one toward the top, reminiscent of the famous ‘all seeing eye’.

I was going for a pixelated eyeball to emphasise the use of technology, but then I backed off on that since it made it look a little too 8-bit. Instead, I went for a glass-tile filter to add the squareness to it, keeping detail while still breaking the imagery up.

All things considered, I’m chuffed with the result.

Release the Beast!

What day is it? The 23rd of December? Why that must mean…

Adaptation – Part 6 is out!

That’s right! The conclusion to the Adaptation series is finally out and up for your reading pleasure, on Amazon and iTunes and Barnes & Noble and Kobo and Google Play and, of course, direct from Smashwords. All the links, plus some interesting info about the final, can be found here.

Lulu? Yes, it actually is up on Lulu, but the GlobalREACH hasn’t been activated yet. Why not? Because I made the mistake of thinking that shipping (for confirmation) would be fast at Christmas time. No disrespect to the guys at Lulu, that was totally my bad.

Once the copy has been approved by yours truly, it will be distributed and available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon in paperback, but until then you can actually buy it direct from Lulu.adaptation-series-med

Many thanks to everyone who has helped me through this. Now it’s time for a bit of a break. All work and no play makes Jez a dull boy.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Adaptation – Part 6 on Pre-release

The wait is over. The time to crack champagne (or a decent Lagavulin whisky) is now!

Adaptation – Part 6, the conclusion to the Adaptation Series, is up on Smashwords and Amazon, and shortly it’ll be on Google Play, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo for pre-order.

Pre-order?

That’s right, pre-order. I was aiming for the 15th of December, but due to restrictions with the publishing houses, the earliest I could get was the 23rd of December.

Just in time for Christmas, eh?

An Apology…

On a side note, I must apologise to my Kindle audience. I am very sorry that you may have received an old edition of Adaptation – Part 1. Because of the way distribution works, I have to manually upload my books and editions of those books to Amazon and I’m pretty sure that the edition that was up there was not the latest, and had a bunch of spelling and grammatical issues in there.

If you’re one of the unlucky ones, I am sorry. I have re-uploaded the latest edition today, and that should clear in a couple of days. I will be looking over the Kindle versions after I finish, just to make sure I haven’t mucked up again.

OK, so, it’s party time?

You bet! Come on, this is a celebration! Part 6, up on pre-order, release on Friday the 23rd!coverart6small

Come and witness the conclusion to the Adaptation series!Mini Jeztyr Logo

Adaptation – Part 6, Cover Art Sneak Peek

I’ve been quiet lately, I know. I’ve been busting my digits, giving my red pen a serious work out. Actually it ran out of ink. After that I ground my laptop’s CPU into the dirt making corrections and alterations and adjustments and –

Get on with it…

Alright, alright. You don’t want to hear me yapping on about the process. Your here to have a sneak peek at the cover, right?

Right.

Well, bear in mind that Adaptation Part 6 is the final and, without giving too much away for those of you who are still catching up, behind every good man, there’s a great woman, right? True, true. Am I talking about Ottavio? Ryan? Marcus?

You’ll just have to wait and see.

Come on, Jez, hurry it up.

Hey, I’ve been doing a lot, so sue me if I take my time. Where was I? Ah, the release date is still looking to be around the 15th of December, 2016. Depending how hard it is to upload to Smashwords and Kindle, along with pre-order, that might get push back a day or so. Not to worry, I’ll make an announcement when the pre-order is ready.

And now, without further fuss, here is a look-see of the cover art for Adaptation – Part 6:

coverart6small

Stay tuned for more updates as the days count down.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Adaptation – Part 6 (The Final)

Well who would have thought they’d see the day, eh? Eh? Adaptation – Part 6 is heading for completion in December.

Say whaaaaat?

You heard right. The much-anticipated conclusion to the Adaptation series is due for release before Christmas. I’ll be making a space on this website soon enough. As per the others, it will be available from all platforms upon release, from iTunes and Barnes and Noble, to Kobo, Google Play and Amazon Kindle, along with our good friends over at Smashwords.

As a heads-up, just like the other Adaptation parts, it’s not exactly suitable for children what with the violence and swearing and other unsavoury topics.

Is there a cover? A fixed date?

No cover just yet, kiddies, that will come soon enough. I’ve got to the second draft going first. How’s this for a deal: I’ll do another post when that’s done.

As for a fixed date, the unofficial launch will be December 15th (ish). Don’t worry, I’ll be banging on about it a fair bit, so you won’t miss out.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Good News

Woot! Woot! I’m happy. Can you tell?

Yes, got that much. Why?

To quote Kylie Minogue, “You did it again!

Uh, did what again?

That’s right! It’s amazing how the power of people can manifest. All it took was the power of the internet and the will of others and, boom!

It was a long time coming, heck, several years in fact, but the end result was worth the wait. I wasn’t sure if it was true, so I checked it twice and, sure enough, it’s a fact.

What’s a Fact? Jez, what are you on about?

Why, Adaptation – Part 1 is now perma-free, as it should be, on Amazon. Just like Grosvenor Lane, just like Atlas, Broken. Just like… oh, wait. Jolimont Street Ghost still isn’t free, darn it.

But, hey, let’s celebrate the win, shall we? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a happy dance to do.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Adaptation Animation – Dynamic Changes

There is a temptation, with everything we create, to fiddle and poke and prod to get it ‘just so’. This applies to writing, of course, but also to drawing and, as I’ve discovered, animating.

The Conundrum

We start the creative process with an idea, vague or exact, of what we want to build. As we progress, the idea will morph as we think more and more about it, and it should, for rarely is an initial idea perfect.

Things change, ideas change, the goal will change. A book, painting or animation is made up of many ideas, and therein lies the problem: the bits will change at different rates and in different directions. The struggle of the artist (read: one of the many struggles) is to keep all of the moving parts aligned an synchronised with each other.

That’s very much a software developer’s perspective, you can tell by the wording, yet it’s quite applicable.AdaptationAnimation

As I’m making more scenes, my drawing style is converging, so that my original sketches are dissimilar to my current ones. So too with the colouring. So too with what I intend to offer to the end user. Now that the music has come into play, the order and relevancy of the scenes is also under question.

Along with all of this, comes the desire to optimise before functionality has been achieved and, as any good programmer can tell you, premature optimisation is the road to Paintown, stopping all stations.

Solutions?

While things change, and they have to, its good to set a few core elements in concrete. For example, when it comes to books, I can maintain the theme, the premise, and the setting while being free to develop characters or explore morals, so long as they fit within the scope of the aforementioned.

Likewise  with animation, I am keeping to the original plan of showing parts of the story rather than telling the story. Which means that the scenes can be out of order in order to fit with the music, and they can take artistic license to render a scene conceptually, rather than in actuality.

Using this approach, it also shows me that some scenes that I had originally earmarked for inclusion no longer fit under the category of ‘an important part of the story’. In short, if the scene did not demonstrate something new to viewer, then there was no real point including it in the final cut.

I guess this is why film makers take so many shots and leave most of it on the cutting room floor. Not everything is relevant.

Also, since the music has been locked into about a minute or so, I’m restricted to the amount of content to include. This isn’t such a terrible thing. In fact, it solves the primary issue: I can’t afford to ‘optimise’ (tweak, fiddle, poke, prod, push, tap) until I’ve got the fundamentals laid out.

There’s a solution for you – limit the scope of any project, before you commit to too much, so that you are forced to really assess what must be in there and what would be nice, and what amounts to wood pulpMini Jeztyr Logo.