JM Williams

A home for all things fantasy and sci-fi.

SHARE: Book Cover Psychology

Jan
31

Book covers have been a recurring issue for me as of late. I know, right? Who’d think authors have to worry about covers and such.

I’ve engaged with two small publishers for my fantasy manuscript In the Valley of Magic, and covers have been part of both debates. In the end, I had to pull back on both offers as I was unsure I would get a cover I could stand behind.

A book’s cover is perhaps the most important factor for market success. This is likely only truer today than ever before. When there were only print bookstores, a reader always had an easy chance to look inside a book when deciding whether to buy or not. These days, the book cover is likely the only thing that a reader will see–and perhaps a blurb, which is also part of the cover–before making a final decision. Yes, Amazon and other stores have “look inside” functions, but how often are those used? Worse, your book might often appear side-by-side with other works in a thumbnail gallery, where it is only your front cover image that sets you apart.

The need for a great cover cannot be overstated. To that end, I’d like to share an article that came to me through Draft2Digital, which I used to publish The Adventures of Iric on non-Amazon retailers. The article has some great points on how to design attractive covers. These tips are not only useful for designers, but for authors as well. I have previously written about how important it is for authors to be involved in the cover design process. To do this, you should have some sense of what makes for a good cover.

Check out the article and tell me what you think about the cover design process.

~JM


The Psychology of a Good Book Cover

Covers are the first bit of customer-facing marketing that your reader will ever see. They’re a shortcut—telling the reader in shorthand that they’ll like this book, that it’s in the genre they love to read, and that the person who wrote it is someone they can trust with their valuable (often limited) reading time. That’s a lot of information to pack into one image, and still make it effective. So what’s the secret psychology behind choosing a good cover?

And choosing … there’s a reason we’re describing covers as a choice the author makes, rather than harping on the idea of do-it-yourself versus hire-someone cover design… READ MORE


I’m getting ready to send out my next newsletter in the coming weeks. I will be including an exclusive video of myself, talking Iric and future projects, as well as the usual publication highlight and writing tips. If you’d like to see all that, and be part of the “cool” crowd, you can sign up to join the RABBLE on the right side of the page!

My Experience with Book Covers and Artists

Jan
05

I recently had my third cover made. It was a couple months ago and was for my self-published flash collection The Adventures of Iric (which is available for purchase). That was my third time working with cover artist, as I do no feel capable of making marketable covers myself, each time being a totally different experience. The three experiences differed in many ways, from the amount of control I had as the author, to the level of contact I had with the artist themselves.

I feel I have learned a lot about getting covers made through these three experiences and wanted to share that information with all of you.

Let me begin with a short summary of the cover services you can find out there. There are generally two types of covers: stock art covers, and original art covers. Stock art refers to the pictures that are sold for use on sites like ShutterStock.com. Original art means an artist is (digitally) painting something totally new for you. Original art covers will likely set you back at least $500 as you are not only paying for design, you are paying for image creation. Artists generally get paid by time, so drawing something entirely new, then designing a cover, will take much more time than just arranging stock art. Also, you are paying for sole rights to new content, whereas stock art is available for purchase and use by many people.

Since my three experiences were all with stock art covers, I will limit my discussion to that side of the business.

On the stock art side of the cover market, there are more divergences. One such difference is the quality of the stock art used. Some artists only use free stock art sites like Pixabay. There will generally be a marked difference in quality between covers that use free stock art, and those that pay for stock images. This is because the best stock images are on paid sites like ShutterStock, and those sites also have a significantly larger library of images.

Another difference is whether the cover is premade or custom designed. Premade covers are ones that artists have already created. They simply put your name and book title on it. I am generally against premade covers since it is hard to find one that is a proper fit for the book. But it’s not impossible, and some artists do them very well.

These factors are going to affect the cost of your cover. A stock art cover can cost anywhere from $10-$500 depending on the artist, the stock art type, and the level of customization. You’re going to pay more for an artist that pays for stock art. You are going to pay more for a custom design, as it takes more time to complete. Typically, a good, original concept, paid stock art cover is going to cost you $100-200. But as I learned, you can find ways to save a bit if you’re willing to do some extra work.

Now let me talk about my three experiences with making covers.

The first was the cover for Call of the Guardian:

Call-Of-The-Guardian-Square

This cover was paid for by the publisher, Fiction Vortex. I did not have much input in the process, other than suggesting I wanted a protagonist stand-in and a dragon on it, and a lot of fire. Boom! This is what I got. It felt a bit like playing the lottery, but I was not too disappointed. I was told by the Boss Man that if I wanted to get this artist to do something for a personal project of mine, it would likely be around $200.

The next cover was for The Nightingale (releasing in April!):

Nightingale - Front

This cover was also paid for by the publisher, Fantasia Divinty. Unlike with my first experience, this time I had more input on the design. However, I did not have direct contact with the artist; the publisher stepped in as a intermediary. There was a lot of back and forth through those channels. I suggested an initial concept, the artist sent something back, I suggested changes, and so forth.

At first it was a bit of a struggle, as I did not care for what the artist was suggesting. In particular, I didn’t care for the character models the artist was choosing. So I started digging around on stock photo sites offering suggestions. This was perhaps the biggest lesson I learned about making covers, which I will discuss in detail below.

To my surprise, though, my suggestions were rejected. It took some time for it to become clear that the artist was only using free stock art, and I was suggesting pictures from paid sites. Moreover, I eventually learned that the artist used only one specific site for their stock photos. But once this bit of information came to light, the process became much easier. I searched the site in question, and though I did not like the choices there as much as on the paid sites, I did find a few that might work. This took me several hours of digging, but I viewed this time as an investment towards having a good cover. Finally, we settled on the character model shown above.

I do not know how much the publisher paid for this cover.

These two experiences suggested to me that the most important thing for an author to do, when getting a cover made, is to be directly involved. Be involved as much as possible. I carried this insight with me when I began working with an artist for The Adventures of Iric.

I found the artist, E. Rachael Hardcastle on a Facebook group. She responded to my query about cover letters by sending me a sample and a quote. I was satisfied with what I saw, so we started working.

It took about a week to finish the cover. Much of this was due to our geographic separation and online correspondence. I gave her an idea of what I might be looking for, and she responded by tempering some of my expectations. But I knew right from the start how I wanted to work it. I asked her upfront what stock photo site she used. Then I started looking for things to use on the cover.

I sent her suggestions of art and design ideas, she either shot them down as not good or even doable, or worked the idea and sent back a concept. At first, I felt like things weren’t progressing, but she kept trying. She suggested photos to me, and I looked for more.

After a lot of back and forth, I stumbled on a paid site that gave out five free images by signing up. I don’t recall what site it was. I entered my credit card info, selected my five free images, then canceled the account. What I found delighted me. This was the image that I discovered:

dreamstime_xl_39619227

My first reaction was, “This looks just like Iric!” Having been somewhat disappointed with how the characters in the two previous covers reflected those in the books (and being told that this doesn’t really matter, as the cover is more of a concept than a honest view), I was delighted to have an image that reflected what I saw in the character. It was also proper for fantasy.

I sent the image to Rachael and she also had a strong reaction. She did her bit of tweaking and artsy magic, and delivered me this:

Justin Cover small

In addition to adding the text, obviously, she also added a blue tint, shadows on the character’s face, darkened the hair, and many other things I would have never thought to do. It was mostly luck that the one image filled the page; usually the cover will be a composite of several images, as with the others shown above. But the end result was still a bit of a shock.

In the end, she spent hours on the project with me. She was ready to deliver a custom cover, on her own, had I not been so involved. She sent me at least four concepts before we settled on the one above. For that service I paid around $30.

Now I am guessing the lowness of that price is partially due to the effort I put in to help design the cover. When I asked her whether she appreciated my help, she told me “I think having the authors input helped. It’s their cover and they’ll all have a vision of what they want. Finding ideal images and keeping in touch with their own ideas makes my job easier and means I can design something suitable.”

That seems to me to be the hidden truth of cover creation. I could have simply rejected the concepts and asked her to do more, without any further input. But the easier you can make the artist’s job, the more willing they are going to be to go the extra mile. Also, they might charge you less if they have to work less, just like how premade covers are cheaper than custom ones.

So the advice I have for you, as I have learned over this past year, is to be involved with your cover design. Find the stock art that fits what you want and then let the artist turn it into something that will sell.

I certainly think I will be using E. Rachael Hardcastle’s services again if I self-publish another collection. But that is something to think about later. I have too many projects, and real work, to do right now.

I hope this helps you when you are deciding about covers and artists.

~JM

2017 in the Rear-View, 2018 Under the Tires

Jan
01
two-thousand-eighteen-2819045_1280


2017 was mostly for my cats. I expect 2018 to be the same.

A PRODUCTIVE YEAR

2017 has been quite a busy year for me. I’ve done a lot of writing, and reading, more than I expected. While I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, I did get a lot done.

Though I’m not exactly clear on the 2016/2017 divide, I think I wrote something like 40 short and flash stories this year, and received around 30 acceptances just in 2017. I finished the final draft of my novel In the Valley of Magic, started querying agents and publishers, though I haven’t received any positive replies. I finished a novella which will be published by Fantasia Divinity, though the release has been pushed back to April because the Editor-in-Chief has been going through some rough health issues. I’ve completed five draft episodes of Call of the Guardian, my epic fantasy series with Fiction Vortex, though we’ve also had to push back the release on that because our StoryVerse lost an author so the rest of the team has to cover the slack. Edits have started on my first and second episode, so hopefully we will go live in the next month or two. And of course I self-published my first book, The Adventures of Iric, though it has yet to sell. I need to get a few good reviews on Amazon, then things should pick up.

If I had to say where my center of gravity was this year, it was with short stories. Due to delays with my core projects, I spent a lot of time writing short stories, especially flash fiction.

If I had to choose my favorite, it would probably be “The Sorcerer”. This was one of the few stories I have written in first-person. I have written before how I think first-person should be a special case, not a default, and this story proved the perfect example. Unfortunatly, you can only read it by buying the anthology, The Great Tome of Magicians, Necromancers, and Mystics.

If I had to pick a favorite story that is available to read online, I would have to pick “The Performance of a Lifetime”. I really love this story, probably more than I should. I was disspirited that it didn’t make it into a higher-tier publication, but satisfied that I sold it for real money.

Which brings me to my biggest disappointment of 2017–no pro-rate, or even semi-pro sale. I thought for sure I would make a decent sale this year. Was it too much to expect to make it in a year? I’d love honest feedback from you guys on that question because I really don’t know how to feel about it.

I’ve got a few new stories I am wrapping up now. I think they are some of the best I have ever written. So maybe I can achieve my goal in 2018.

Which brings me to…

A FEW GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR

There are many things I could set as goals for myself in 2018, way too many realistically accomplish. I think I will limit myself to five:

  • Read more. I didn’t finish as many books in 2017 as I would have liked. Part of the problem, at least in the past couple months, was slogging through Stephen King’s IT, which, despite being decent and despite my love of the story, just doesn’t keep me as engaged as other works. But I’ve told myself I need to finish it, so I will. Next in line will probably be The Lies of Locke Lamora, which I hope will read faster.
  • Finish Call of the Guardian Season 1. So technically, I only have a contract for the first season, but the StoryVerse head and I have already discussed a second, and my series is plotted for two seasons, so I fully expect a new contract with the current one is done. I can also already think of a few spin offs if this thing keeps going. What I’d like to see most is my book physically on the shelves at major bookstores. That is what Fiction Vortex does when the seasons are complete, and I’ve seen a fellow writer find his book at Barnes and Noble. That would be my first big release.
  • Write a Second Novella. I really enjoyed writing my first novella, The Nightingale, for Fantasia Divinity. It felt more reasonable than the novel, an easier beast to handle. I think I finished it in less than a month. It didn’t hurt that I was riding a muse the whole time. I already have a couple ideas for novellas tucked away. I think it will be better to try writing one of those than another novel, especially if I am working full time and also working on Call of the Guardian. However, I think I will shop any new novella around before settling on a publisher.
  • Get a Pro-rate Sale. One sale of a SF/F work at a rate of 6c/word or better is considered a pro-rate sale by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA). One sale makes you eligible for Associate Membership, which opens up a lot of resources and also can be put on your CV and submissions. This is still my main writing goal, and probably will be until I achieve it. On the positive end, I have a couple new stories that I think have a decent chance of making it.
  • Take More Time for MyselfThe past year was a bit hectic. When I wasn’t working, I spent most of my free time doing the blog or writing. That left little time for me. I didn’t take any trips this year besides a quit trip home that was long overdue and necessitated due to my parents’ ailing health. It wasn’t a personal trip. Even another hop over to Japan would be nice. Heck, even a road trip across Korea would be fun. Haven’t done that in a couple years either. Writing is important, but I think I need to realize that this is going to take a lot more time that I expected. I am not going to become a household name overnight, so there’s no need to write myself into an early grave with stress and disappointment. I need a better rhythm. I need to take it slow.

A FEW PARTING WORDS

I’ve read a lot of the New Year’s messages from the blogger’s I follow. It seems everyone has had some successes in the past year, to varying degrees. It is nice to know there are other people out there working hard like me, and finding a win here and there.

For anyone who has engaged or debated me here, or on the Facebook page, thank you. It has been great talking with all of you! I think next year is going to be a good one. I, for one, am going to hit the ground running.

I am wishing you guys all the best in the Year of the Justifiably Defensive Lobster!

~JM

Random Updates

Dec
20

Oh my, a lot has been going on. Where to begin?

I should probably start by offering my thanks to anyone who voted for my story “Catching Cameron Ellis” on Astounding Outpost. I made second place! That means a little bit of treasure will be coming my way. You can read the announcement HERE.

Also, that story I mentioned a while back that was going to be published on Space Squid? Well, much to my surprise, it has already come out! You can read my story, and another quirky story by an author named Hillary Dodge, HERE.

Lastly, Bards and Sages just released the schedule for the Society of Misfit Stories for the first half of 2018. My Storm Hamilton story “A Step Too Far” drops on July 13th! Something to look forward to. You can read that announcement HERE.

To anyone who picked up a copy of “The Adventures of Iric” (or received one from me), I would be deeply humbled and grateful if you would leave a review on Amazon. Even one or two reviews go a long, long way to break a book out from the pack of self-published mush on there. It only takes a minute to make an author’s day!

If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, there should be a Amazon button on the right side of the page. Took me forever to figure out how to get it there!

That’s it for now. I’ve been working hard on episode 5 of Call of the Guardian, and think I need to catch up on some sleep. Hope your projects are going well!

~J.M.

Celebrating the Big 35!

Dec
17

No, I’m not that old yet. Almost. My time for running off to become an FBI agent is running thin.

No, in this case the 35 refers to my 35th short story acceptance. And a humor story no less. At least that’s what my submission tracker is telling me. But could be lying to me. 

This most recent acceptance came from Space Squid, for a flash story that I originally posted to the blog about an old Viking having a midlife crisis. I had almost forgotten about this one, having sent it to the Squid way back in December! Color me surprised when I got an email that started with “We apologize for the delay but…” Color me extra shades of neon when I saw that the phrase didn’t end with “we’ve decided to pass on your work,” as is typical.

I will post more details when they come, for now I am going to just bask in childlike giddiness for a while. 

Hope you guys are having an equally productive weekend! Now I really need to get back to Call of the Guardian. The series won’t ever release if I don’t write it!

~J.M.

Heading Home — My Writing Roots Vol. 5

Dec
07

Before heading back home–real home, where my wife and cats live, where my car is parked, that place with the big TV and PlayStation 4 I bought with my own money–I took one last glance at all that stuff my mom saved from my childhood.

This trip has been strange. This is the first time I have come to this place and not felt at home. This time I felt the same as at any other place other place I was just visiting. Is that what it means to finally be an adult? True, I am 33, so I’ve been old for a while, but always a bit childish, too. I wonder if all fantasy authors are that way. How else can you maintain the sense of child-like wonder necessary to dream up new worlds in your mind?

Here’s one last bit of my past, an excerpt from the infamous 6th grade journal mentioned in all my bios.

journal1

Makes me want to write a horrible, old-timey western. Also, I’ve realized that the narrators in the stories of my youth spent a lot of time “walking down the trail.” I was never an outdoorsy kid myself, so that strikes me as odd. Maybe dark forests were scary for me, ripe for horror tales.

In this little series of posts, I have tried to show my development as an author, from childhood to professional writing. I don’t think things would be complete without offering my thanks to one of the people who helped me get started as a real, published author.

So, I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Madeline L. Stout, the editor of Fantasia Divinity.

When started sending out stories to publishers around this time last year, Fantasia Divinity was one of the first to take one of my stories. I discovered the publisher through a third-party submissions call website (probably Horror Tree, but I can’t remember exactly). The story I submitted was my Valley of Magic exploratory tale “Snow Tracks,” which appeared in the Winter’s Grasp anthology. In fact, I wrote that story specifically for the anthology’s theme and was thrilled to get accepted on the first submission. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I usually don’t write directly for prompts.

Like me, Madeline was just starting her journey, but as a publisher. In fact, August marked the first year anniversary of her magazine. When I stumbled on Fantasia Divinity, Madeline only had a few magazine issues and a couple anthologies done.

In little more than a year, she has dozens of publications, the quality of which has grown significantly. I particularly like the new covers, which have developed a unique and shared style, one look for the magazine and another for the books. In addition to the magazine and regular anthologies, she also now has a series of fairy tale novellas, the first set already locked in for publication.

One of those is mine.

Nightingale - Front

I feel like my relationship with Madeline has been very symbiotic. I have made several contributions to her publications and offered what little advice I could, and she has given me a platform for my writing. It doesn’t hurt that she is such kind person and easy editor to work with.

The Nightingale will be released in the coming months and will likely be my first book-length work published by someone other than me (sorry Iric!). I honestly can’t say where I’d be right now without Fantasia Divinity.

Sure, Madeline’s little publisher is still a small indie, but I can imagine big things happening for Fantasia Divinity in the next year. She works very hard and has a good vision for what she wants to do. And the amount of work she has done in her first year alone strikes me as almost peerless. If anyone can make it in the current cut-throat market, Fantasia Divinity can. I have seen publishers go under in the past year, but each of those that I had the experience working with did not treat their authors with respect or kindness. One was a borderline cheat. Madeline cares for her authors, and I am sure that will be a boon for her own business.

So thanks, Madeline, for giving me a chance.

Oh, and by the way, I have another story coming out in the February issue of Fantasia Divinity Magazine. More details when the release date approaches.

A lot of this might sound like just an advertisement, but I assure you my words are genuine. I have always been a very grateful person. I guess I was raised that way. Whether it’s the guy doing my oil-change, or Fiction Vortex contracting me to write an epic fantasy serial, I always feel deep gratitude towards those who do things I cannot or simply will not do myself. That sense is probably responsible, in part, for me joining the military–a deep sense of debt to society and everyone around me for all they do that contributes to my own well-being. From roads to simple repairs, to clean air, to fighting sexism and racism, I feel like I have received far more in my life than I could ever try to give back.

Perhaps it is a sentiment that is being lost in the modern age.

I cannot possibly thank all the publishers, editors, followers, and other folks who have helped me–even if that amounted to tiny comments in rejection letters, or even blatantly negative feedback–on my journey to become a professional author. I only stand at the place I am now because of all these little actions. Cause and effect, as the Buddha taught.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey to professional author-dom. I hope to hear your stories someday, too!

~J.M.

My Story Submission Process

Dec
04

It feels like I haven’t written about my current writing process in quite some time, but a recent comment from the wonderful Joy Pixley has me thinking about it again. She is not the first to comment to me that I seem to have had a lot of success in publishing.

I posted long ago about my story submission tracker. This is my method of keeping notes on all my submissions, which is necessary since my basic strategy is to write and submit a lot. The tracker is based on spreadsheets I use all the time in the Army.

Here’s part of the tracker as it looks now:

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The tracker is now much too large to try to share in full. It has more than 60 rows and 28 columns. I have extended the submission attempts for a single piece out to 13, though in practice, the most times I have submitted a single story is still only 11. I have two stories currently on their 11th attempt, stories I like to think are particularly good.

If I were to sum up my submission strategy in once picture, it would be this:

2

My current acceptance ratio is around 1 in 5. Is that good or bad? I cannot say. I’ve also submitted almost 60 stories in total. At least 30 of these were first sent out by the middle of February. I am slowing down now as larger projects (and real work) take more of my time.

I think success is highly subjective. I’ve have 33 stories accepted for publication (also a novella and a fantasy series). Is that success?

I have not yet been published in a pro-rated magazine (SFWA defines pro rate as 6c/word). For a 5000-word story, a pro-rated sale would be over $300US. Currently my best sale is only around $50, though I did win $300 in a contest. Of course, I want a pro-rated sale. That would make all this work feel like it accomplished what was intended. Does that mean I am not yet a success?

To be brutally honest, I am not sure. I feel good about my writing and publishing so far, but I know I have a long way to go.

If I could offer any advice, it would be to not give up. Don’t send your story to a single publisher and give up if it is rejected. After a rejection, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. At first, I was always feeling on tenterhooks, waiting for a response, only to be devastated when the form letter came. I’ve come now to expect rejection. This makes it easy when rejection does come, and a delightful surprise with each acceptance.

Also, don’t read too much into a publisher before submitting. A lot of places will suggest to read a copy of the mag before sending, but this is often A) a ploy to get sales and B) an arbitrary restriction on the content of submissions. Editors often don’t know what they like until they see it. If the publication is in the same genre as your work, and doesn’t have a blanked rejection on some aspect of it (for example, some speculative fiction publishers won’t take certain subgenres and others have specific content such as sex or gore that they won’t accept), send it in.

Think about it. What’s the worst, and best, thing that could happen? Worst, you get a form rejection. Let me tell you, you’re going to get a whole lot of those no matter what you do. But the best thing would be getting a sale! It seems entirely worth the risk, doesn’t it?

The review process is completely subjective. A certain editor might just not like your style or voice, no matter the content. And many places have only one or two people doing initial reads, that first step that gets your work from the slush pile into the hands of someone who will actually give it the time and attention it deserves.

I learned over the past year that the editors of Daily Science Fiction don’t like my style. Each one of the stories I have sent to them–which varied significantly in style and content and even structure–got form rejections, despite being clearly better written, at least technically, than much of what they do end up publishing. On the flip side, the editor of Bards and Sages seems to enjoy my style, as she has accepted three of my pieces so far, currently my best sales.

While I am now more inclined to send my stuff to Bards and Sages, since I know the editor likes my work and have enjoyed working with her, I still continue to try new places. Most of my submissions in the past month were to new publishers.

That’s really it. Submit often and submit a lot. Not much of a strategy.

Of course, you must read each publisher’s submission guidelines carefully, often necessitating substantial formatting changes to your manuscripts. And you want to be sure you are submitting to places that publish your genre. But other than that, just write a whole lot and don’t let rejections discourage you.

What comes along with submitting often is a deeper understanding of the publishing process. My experience with other publishers, and in reading many publishing contracts, allowed me to quickly identify a sketchy publisher who offered me a contract for my book In the Valley of Magic. I was quickly able to not only identify behaviors the editors and other members were demonstrating that were not right, but also quickly see a dozen significant problems with the contract. That deal was dead before it even started.

All of the writing has also helped me develop my skills and personal style. The stories I write now are clearly better than the ones I wrote even 6 months ago. After 4 or 5 submissions to the Writer’s of the Future Contest, I finally earned an Honorable Mention. My writing is getting better with each story, so maybe that pro-rate sale will come eventually.

That’s about it. No magic. No special rituals. I don’t have the chance to do any networking, as I live in Asia and do not have access to conferences and conventions. I just spam my work to anywhere I think it might fit. Maybe it was inevitable to find some being accepted.

Thanks for reading. If you have any specific questions, drop them in the comments.

Good luck with your writing!

~J.M.

 

My First Book is Finally For Sale!

Nov
20

I just got the news from Amazon that my book is now for sale. It’s been a long road getting to this point. I hadn’t intended my first book to be a self-published one. Perhaps a bit of that was concern about the complexity of the publishing process, perhaps it was due to certain views I held–and still hold–about self-publishing. But I feel like I’ve put the effort into this book to make it stand out, whether that be the nice cover, or the hours I spent tweaking and formatting.

I definitely feel like this experience has changed me. I’ve even updated my Facebook Page to look like a more established author’s page! I feel like an author now, for sure. I am not so intimidated by the publishing process. So little anxiety do I have that I might have shot down the first positive reaction to my first manuscript, In the Valley of Magic, the book that started this whole thing, the book that 50-plus agents have passed on so far. I didn’t feel good about the contract and asked for some pretty significant changes. My demands are so severe, I am almost certain the publisher is going to deny them.

But that doesn’t scare me anymore. I know now, that if I need to, I can publish the book myself. I know how it’s done. I know where to get a good cover, and what it should look like. I know how to format the manuscript for ebooks and print. I know that, this being my primary book (and my pride and joy) that I will need pay the extra money to get on IngramSpark rather than just going through Amazon, like I did with the Iric book.

If I have to go it alone, I know I can, and that is an incredibly empowering feeling.

But I am not alone. I have worked with many great indie publishers–such as Fiction Vortex, Fantasia Divinity, Bards and Sages, Roane Publishing–that have shown real concern for my success. I am sure they would be more than willing to offer me advice.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good. Got my first book out and two more on the way. This thing is starting to happen!

Thanks for joining me on this journey. I wish you all the same success that I have found. And if you ever have any questions or are in need of advice, don’t hesitate to look me up!

~J.M.

The Were-Traveler Open Call: Tribute to Douglas Adams

Nov
19

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Do you write humor stories on your blog? Do they sometimes have a speculative twist, even outright sci-fi roots?

I’m looking at you Shawn Cowling, E.A. Wicklund, and Biff!

The Were-Traveler has, among their Calls for Submissions, an issue they are calling “Mostly Harmful, Sort Of, Something Something 42 : A Science Fiction/Fantasy Humor Tribute to Douglas Adams.” Who doesn’t love Douglas Adams?

While this publisher doesn’t pay, they do accept reprints. You can send them a story from your blog, which is what I did. What you get is the added exposure of their site and social media. And, of course, you get to sit in the issue alongside moi!

Yeah, it’s not the fanciest or most well-known publishing site. But you probably weren’t sending that story anywhere anyway, right? The deadline for the Douglas Adams tribute is January 15th.

You can find Were-Traveler’s submission guidelines HERE.

Pre-orders Now Open

Nov
17

The PRE-ORDER PAGE for The Adventures of Iric is now live on Amazon. I’d like to think it will be the same page for regular sales, once the release date arrives, but I’m not sure.

Justin Cover

Thanks to everyone for all the support you’ve given me over the past year here on the blog, on Facebook, and all the places I’ve been published. Finally things are starting to take shape in the way I had expected when I started on this writing adventure over a year ago.

~JM