Cover Creation?

Hi Jim, 

I just started reading Drakin. I have to admit, your cover designs are what drew me in. The first cover on Raiya is badass! I’m just curious how you come up with yours and where you go to get yours done. I’m just about ready to publish my book, but all I have available is the generic covers on places like createspace. Do you think I should use those or pay one of their people to create a cover for me?

Thanks,
LaToya 


Hi LaToya

At the risk of sounding elitist, I would absolutely NEVER go with, what many in the industry refer to as ‘clip art covers’. Those generic covers have been used over and over again and are, IMHO very plain. You just stated that the cover of Drakin is what drew you in, so let me ask you this; would you have given the book a second glance if I’d gone with one of the covers you’re looking at? I highly doubt it.

The fact is, especially in this day and age, most people are visual learners. We take in more from what we see in pictures and video, and hear in audio, than what we read on paper. This is part of the reason why things like audio books are so popular now.

There is an old saying that goes ‘you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover’. To an extent, that’s true, but it’s also not true. The cover is the first thing someone is going to see. It’s going to be the first deciding factor as to whether or not they want to read further. If they don’t like what they see on the cover, chances are, they’re not going to read on.

Personally, I would find yourself a good artist/illustrator/graphic designer. Usually, a cover will run you between $300-$700. Trust me, it’s worth it. For my covers, I go with three people…

A Photographer: Rick Chandler 

A model. (Multiple)

An artist: Brett Warniers

From there, I pick a character and/or a scene from my stories to have created into a cover and have the artist recreate it. Sometimes, I’ll even just tell the artist what my story is about and let them go nuts creating a cover that they think will work. I’ve actually gotten some really good results that way.

Long story short, a good cover is going to cost you a lot of time and money, but it’s worth it. I don’t think you’re ready to publish just yet, honestly. Find a good artist, and for the love of God, do not short change them. Be up front with whatever budgetary restrictions you have, most will work within a reasonable budget to create something great but pay them what they ask for.

Readers, what do you think? Would you ever go with a generic cover?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Darth Vader, Shards of the Past

Wanted to share this as I am a HUGE fan of the Star Wars Theory Channel! They do amazing stuff on there and are really high-level storytellers in their own right!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Linear Writing Rule?

Hi Jim, 

I was actually hoping you could help me out with a problem I was having. I’m currently writing a book that will be part of an established series. It’s been a pretty good run so far, but I’m worried because this next book actually takes place before the one I just published.  I got this idea fairly late in the game, but want to include it. I’m just worried about publishing my books out of order. What should I do?

Thanks,
Randy


Hi Randy

Prequels and bridging stories are always tough. The hardest thing about them is creating an engaging story, despite people already knowing the outcome. In many cases, unless you’re writing a series where each novel surrounds a different cast in the same universe, I’d recommend avoiding it altogether. However, if you can find a way to tell a story within a story, you may have something there. My advice to you is to look at your story outline and then go back and read the other book. Is too much already revealed? Is everyone going to know what’s going on the moment they open the cover? If your answer is yes, you may want to consider abandoning it or releasing it as sort of a free addendum to the book you already have out. That one is really up to you.

However, if you think that you can make a good story out of the in-between years, then by all means, go for it. The space between one story and the next could easily be a story of its own. Don’t worry about writing out of order. Though it may be slightly confusing for some readers, I think most will pick up on what’s going on. There’s no rule saying that series have to be written in order… look at Lucasfilms!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice.

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it. I wish there was some way you could pin a post at the top of your blog!

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice.

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it. I wish there was some way you could pin a post at the top of your blog!

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Choosing a Name?

Hi Jim, 

I was hoping you could help me out. I’m trying to choose a name for my novel, but I can’t seem to figure out a good one. Every one I choose doesn’t really sum up anything about the story or seem to stick. Do you have any advice for choosing a title?

Thanks,
Aubri


Hi Aubri,

I do indeed. The best way I’ve found to choose a title is to choose something that really sticks out in the story. Pick one central focal point and then choose a word that adequately describes that theme. I’ll give you a few examples from my own work…

divinity9

I have to admit, this one was fairly easy for me. The whole book centers around the loss of an angel’s divinity and what effect it has on her and the people around her. Divinity was the obvious choice for the title. So let’s move onto something a little more complicated, shall we?

Drakin-Cover-Poster-Final

The series title: Drakin was a lot more difficult. What am I going to name a post-apocalyptic story about dragons falling from the heavens and waging a war of total annihilation of all of mankind? What do I name something where the focal point of the story is an accidental abomination of both dragon and human origin that had a score to settle with dragonkind?

Dragonheart? Taken.
Dragonrein? Taken.
Reign of Fire? Taken.

To figure out the title, I needed to reread the story. My eyes caught one specific word that was mentioned throughout; ‘Drakin’. In the ancient language of the drakeas (the proper name of the dragon species), drakin is their word for relative. It’s an unspecific term for ‘relative’. The dragons refer to Raiya as such because, while she isn’t a dragon herself, she is related to them in some way.
I came up with the word as a way to say ‘dragon-kin’ in a made up language.

The subtitle was actually easier. The story is about Raiya and her quest for vengeance. However, the Orphans of Haven was slightly more difficult. I started the story with a working title of ‘Qira’s Tears’, but I didn’t care for it very much. So I looked more into the story. Basically, the main mission of the characters is to save the west from restarting the war against the dragons. However, their more focused goal was to keep a special place called ‘Haven’ safe. Haven is a shelter for orphans from the previous war. Not only that, but Qira and Radley are also orphans of the war who wind up living there when they abandon their old lives.
So you could argue that the title may be describing the people that Qira and Radley are trying to protect, or you could interpret it as describing Qira and Radley themselves. I thought it was kind of a moderately clever idea so I went with it.

My only advice is to make it something that will stick out and no more than a few words. Try not to go with anything too basic or your book will get lost among several others.

I hope this helps, but let’s open it up to the readers and see if they have any thoughts or advice. As always, feel free to reach out to me again if you need any further advice!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice.

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it. I wish there was some way you could pin a post at the top of your blog!

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim