Tedrick is on his way! I’ve uploaded the final draft at Smashwords, Kindle and Google Play now, and I’ve set the preorder date as the 13th of August, 2019. So that means that, as of now, Tedrick Gritswell Makes Waves is up Kindle, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google and iTunes. That gives me a bit of time to iron out all the kinks.
Kinks? What possible kinks? The physical copy, that’s always a drainer. Then there’s the final-final check of the formatting and like. Then there’s the front cover. It’s just a matter of getting an image, slapping a title and author in comic sans and that’s job done, right?
Yeah. Nah. You see, the requirements of each platform is different. There are minimum sizes, recommended sizes, form factors, resolutions, margins and bleed. All of that. Which is why the keener eyed among you (probably of octopus stock) can spot that the digital cover and the hardcopy cover are, in fact, different.
Smashwords requires a minimum width of 1400 pixels, with the height ‘greater’ than the width. A bit loose. Amazon wants an ‘ideal’ 1:1.6 ratio, with a minimum of 1000 pixels, with a preferred width of 2500 odd. Google doesn’t really care, so long as the file is under 20MB. The hard copy depends upon the physical dimensions of the book, plus a margin and bleed. All in all it’s a tricky dance.
As such, the image needs to be painted bigger than normal. I went for a 1600 x 1800 dimension. I kind of missed the memo on Amazon’s ‘ideal’ stuff. Never mind, the process is still the same and I’m happy with how it turned out.
Using Corel Painter and my trusty Wacom tablet, I began with a sketch. In this episode, Tedrick isn’t so sure of himself, and there’s a bit where he’s hiding out from a vicious predator. I toyed with having the darkness of the Abyss stretching out before him, before scrapping that and wedging him in a crevice on the Reef. Above is shining and colourful, with happy fish flitting about and brain coral in pink clumps. Below is dirty and dark, menacing. Stumpy’s clinging on, somewhere in the middle.
One thing I really like about Corel is that you can have a play, see what you like, see what works, then undo it if you’ve muffed it, or slap on another layer to see what happens. I haven’t played with the full range of brushes available. There’s a ‘Real Watercolour’ I’m keen to try out, but I’ll have to wait for the next one, I guess. I’ve got more work ahead of me to get this book in order.
You know when your eyes are burning and your fingers and cramped and up come up for a gulp of air and realise, ‘Heck, almost there!’
The fifth episode of Paranormology is only a hop, skip and a jump away from getting published. Allow me a couple of seconds to enjoy the moment.
Back to it. I’ve highlighted the issues and suggested corrections, now I’ve got to pick up the pieces of paper – literally – and update the electronic copy.
Why ‘literally’? Well, funny story:
As you can see from the pic, there’s a whopping bulldog clip what holds all my sheets together. This system works really well because it keeps the pages in order when I take it from my bag, or put it on the table, or drop it on the ground. Where the system fails is when I unclip it, then let the pages slide off the desk and across the floor.
Let this be a lesson – when you print out your manuscript, add page numbering. It’s fast and it means that, if the pages get screwed up because of one’s clumsiness, it’s trivial to put them back into order.
As it was, I spent a good ten minutes flicking through, sorting and shuffling and rearranging.
You’ll also notice that I used a yellow highlighter rather than my favourite red pen. Reason is that I couldn’t find Old Red anywhere. The highlighter + black pen combination isn’t that great, in that I need to do two marks rather than one, and the black pen had a tendency to get smeared on the marker.
The end result is good. I can scan a page quickly and spot what needs to be updated, so that’s not a problem, and if I can’t have a red pen, I’ll settle for this, albeit grudgingly.
What comes next?
Updating the electronic copy with the corrections. It’s laborious, it’s boring, but it has to be done. A few cups of coffee should help.
After this, or during – if I need a break from words – comes the cover. I’ve got the sky how I want it, and I’ve removed a few ‘modern’ artefacts from the house and surrounds. Now I need to get the colours right, perhaps add a some environmental cues, and decide upon a font for the title.
And then, somewhere along the way, I have to start a blurb – *shudder*. For such a small patch of writing it is the most agonising to write: Summarise without being vague. Give clues without giving anything away. Create interest without using cliches. And do it all in a neat and tidy space of five sentences. Blegh.
So I might be near the end, but, really, there is much still to be done.
It’s official: the next in Paranormology sees our protagonist accompany the Professor to Exeter, following up on a potential lead involving a wealthy widow and a mysterious medium. I finished the second draft just now – coffee down, have a stretch, crack of the knuckles and back to it, Jez.
Naturally there’s the drama between the Professor and the Gypsy – neither appreciates the other’s presence. The protagonist is caught in the middle, being young and idealistic.
There’s the theme of the optimism of youth, and it helps in a few spots, yet the premise is related to controlling one’s emotions. Sound vague? Of course. I’m not going to spell out the premise, that’s the book’s job.
I don’t think I’ll be doing the whole KDP thing again on this one. Firstly, it wouldn’t be fair to those who have the rest of the Paranormology series on Kobo, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, etc. Secondly, I really like Smashwords as a publisher! They’ve got the author as their focus, not profits, and they make it easy to do just about anything. I’m cool with that.
As for the cover, I’ve got a particular house in mind that I pass by every day on the way home from work. It’s over in Essendon and I’m thinking I might want to ask for permission from the home owner first before I stand outside like a creepy guy and take happy-snaps of the house… Yeah, maybe I’ll do that.
Don’t know how I’m going to approach it, but. “Hey, hi. You don’t know me and, well, I don’t know you, but I was wondering if I could take pictures of your house…”
And is set to splash its way all across your e-reader? Tedrick!
That’s right, everyone’s favourite octopus detective is due for release tomorrow, 1st of June!
OMG! I’ll be holding my own little celebration, but I can’t celebrate for too long, no sir. There are too many things to do. I’m still getting AMS to play ball, and then there’s the hardcopy to finalise, and distributions. Man, it almost makes me wish I had multiple limbs! Sorry, Ted, I know you’re still smarting about your missing arm.
You can find Tedrick Gritswell of Borobo Reef at the Amazon store here, for the price of a cup of coffee. And once I’ve passed the required number of days, I’ll publish to Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo and Google Play. Or you can download the mobi or pdf and import that into your reader – I’ve heard that works.
Thanks for sticking with me on this ride. I’ll continue with the hardcopy KDP journey in a day or two, once I’ve shaken off the darkwater hangover.
I had planned to have finished the first draft of the next book by the 30th of March. To this end, I pulled out all the stops. I was writing day and night, lunch time, after dinner, before going to bed and even while sleeping.
All that hard work paid off – I did it! Not only did I hit my target, I managed to get it done days earlier than anticipated. That, like, never happens. And it’s got me worried.
You see, getting something done quickly is great, unless it’s done so hastily that stuff goes missing or gets overlooked or gets done sloppily.
I’m not really worried, not like that. It’s more that I’m going to stay on my toes during the second draft, keeping an eye out for anything glaringly obvious.
When’s that due? Glad you asked. 25th of April is the deadline for that. So I’m going at that hammer and tongs, right?
Instead of going straight into the second draft, I’m going to let my reading / writing brain have a rest and get cracking on the cover. That’s right, rather than put the cover off until the end, I’m going to use the down time to do some creative drawing.
So I started with a sketch of an octopus, the protagonist of my story, a spud named Tedrick Gritswell. After some scruffy sketches, I used the watercolour to get some feel for how he would look, and once that got somewhere close to what I was after, I added a layer and dropped in a background.
Corel Painter has some neat features like layering, lighting and texturing so I mucked about with that so see what I could use. After all, my spud ain’t smooth, he’s got skin. Plus there’s shading to be done and depth of field and all of that.
At the time of writing, I’m still working on the coral cliffs in the background and getting some rocks and shells and other plants in there, along with cleaning up the water and adding some details, but here tis:
I’ll keep at it for the next few days while I chill out my brain, you know, maybe get out and make a petrol station for Joey like he’s been bugging me. Fresh air and exercise, that’s what I need.
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?
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:
Stay tuned for more updates as the days count down.
Well who would have thought they’d see the day, eh? Eh? Adaptation – Part 6 is heading for completion in December.
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.
Cue the fireworks and open the champagne. OK, maybe I’ll just crack a beer and watch Hellboy.
You see, I wanted to hold off on the release until I had all my ducks in a row. I wanted it available in printed media, as well as on Google Play and Amazon, get the webpage up, and all of that stuff, but I, um, kind of mucked up the delay thing at Smashwords and, well, long story short: it’s out.
But, hey, it’s out!
It’ll be up on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and Kobo in a day or two, and I’ll update the website accordingly, but why wait? Head to Smashwords and bag yourself a free copy now! (Besides, it ain’t gonna be free on Amazon).
Third draft of Jolimont Street Ghost is done. More changes, “whoops, how’d that get in there?”, get rid of that unnecessary tosh, red pens and redder eyes.
Now I’m going to let it stew once more, while I figure out a release date, and attack the problem that, for me, is writing’s equivalent of cleaning the shower: the blurb.
It’s just a summary, right?
No. No it is not. If you’re thinking of a synopsis or a digest, that, to me, is akin to cleaning the toilet. I’ve got my own beef with synopses, but this is about the blurb.
The blurb is important. It let’s the reader know just what the book, this marvelous creation, is about. It’s a hook to get their attention and feed their curiosity. It’s a marketing tool. It’s a filter to let an audience decide if they will enjoy it. And it comes in two forms: short and very short.
The short can go onto the back of the print edition, and it’s also sent to various re-sellers. the very short is also sent to re-sellers and is what gets pushed under the nose of the audience when they click the ‘tell me more’ button. So it’s gotta be short, sweet and to the point.
Therein lies the challenge: How does one convey the subtleties of the book when they’ve got a limited character count? How does one grab the reader and say, “This book is (or is not) for you!”? How does one give a story line without giving away the punchline?
The Scene, the Theme, the Premise and the Moral
The hard work of writing the book is done, so writing less than a hundred words should be a cinch, but it ain’t. To help out, I write down the Premise, that global statement of hypothesis, that drove the book.
Then I write the moral out (which is surprisingly hard to summarise into a sentence), and put words pertaining to the theme and the scenery of the book, all in the same vernacular and perspective as the book. For example, with Paranormology, the narrator is relating a personal story from a Victorian era, hence the blurb will be a description, by him, of his tale in his manner of speech. Atlas, Broken, in contrast, is written in a third person, as an observer of Henry, in a more modern tongue.
Thus, the scribbles on my page read:
“A curse brought about by an individual can only be attended to by that individual. Rumour, gossip, conjecture, public opinion and speculation are born from assumptions. Assumptions. Science claims to make no assumptions, yet relies upon them. Light and Dark. Balance, what goes around comes around. Summoned demon, born in darkness. Occult, sorcery, physical harm, reputation harm.”
With these words and phrases, I then construct two sentences, one about the metaphysical nature of the book, and once about the physical side. In this way, I can give the reader two aspects to help them out.
“The supposition that darkness is merely the absence of light is both popular and false, as those who practise the occult can affirm.”
“In the dark cellar of number thirteen Jolimont Street, a house we had assumed benign, I unwittingly brought forth an ancient evil that threatened not only our reputations, but our souls.”
There. That’s 320 odd characters, 80 shy of the limit for the ‘very short’ version. Add in the series information, and I’ve reached my limit.
It took about an hour to write, twiddle, poke, and condense (I’ve got a little boy blowing a very loud recorder, so that skews the figures). That’s why it’s like cleaning the shower: A whole lot of scrubbing and rubbing and swearing in a cramped space, with very little at the end to show for it.
In the ‘short’ version, I’ll be able to add in another sentence or two to expand on the concepts of gossip, rumour and the like.