Tag Archives: publishing

The Future of This Blog and More

Have you noticed how quiet I’ve been? I think I lost my way. But never fear, I am coming back and stronger than ever. There are going to be some changes around here, some streamlining, and a much stronger focus.

I started I Read Encyclopedias for Fun to review books and use as a means to launch my writing career. Somewhere along the way, I started talking about other things, stopped writing, and even stopped reviewing books. The only thing that really kept going was Authors Answer, which I haven’t updated in quite a while.

The last three months have been a trying period. So many things have happened that took priority. Surgery (not me), health issues (not me), employment issues (me!), a new puppy, and a complete reassessment of what I want for myself and my family in terms of business and creative endeavours. I haven’t been very active in the blogosphere, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. That will change.

This blog is very important to me, and important to my future in writing. But this goes back to early 2012, and the whole reason I started this blog. As a platform for me to showcase my writing, talk about the publishing industry, and, this is extremely important, make like-minded friends. I feel I did the friend thing, and I am happy for all the people who have helped out and contributed to this blog in Authors Answer.

But I should get to the point. What’s going to happen?

The Blog

The blog will be given a mild makeover. Actually, the theme will stay the same, I’ll just redo the banner. I want it to focus more on the book and writing aspect of things. The topics I write about will change. Actually, they’ll be more focused on the core of this blog: writing and books. I’m going to take the time and actually write fiction. I will talk about the writing process. I will talk about my writing progress. I will give little insights into what I’m doing in my writing. I will talk about world building once again. This is a very important and interesting topic to me.

Authors Answer is going to go on an indefinite hiatus. It’s become increasingly difficult to think of topics to talk about every month. It may come back in the future. Actually, I want it to come back in the future, as it’s been a staple on this blog for three years. I think it needs new and fresh ideas, though. There are three posts I still have to make, and I’ll be doing them on every Friday for the rest of this month. Unfortunately, due to all of the events that have happened since summer ended, I didn’t take the time to get my traditional “big authors” to contribute to the anniversary question. This time, it’s only focusing on the core contributors of Authors Answer, and to be honest, they deserve the spotlight. I can’t thank the contributors to Authors Answer enough. You don’t know how much I’ve appreciated you all.

Expect to see a bit of an integration between my main YouTube channel and this blog, as well. But it’s nothing new. I plan to post each of my book-related videos to this blog, but I will have a lot of things to say, as well. I won’t just post the videos. They’ll be a part of a blog post, not the purpose of the blog post.


That takes me to my other creative outlet, YouTube. I’ve been focusing a lot on my channels, especially in the past couple weeks. I have three channels that I will be uploading to regularly. Only one of those channels will be talked about on this blog regularly, though. In case you don’t know about them, here’s your chance to discover them.

Jay Dee Archer is my self-named channel, and it is my book/writing/scifi/fantasy channel. I do talk a lot about Star Trek and things like that, but that’s my main non-bookish series (except the Japan videos). This is the channel that I will be posting videos of, but only the book-related videos (except Star Trek). That is actually my “official” author’s channel, so it is highly relevant to what I talk about on this blog. The reason I will continue posting my Star Trek videos here is because that series is a huge influence on my science fiction writing. It’s been an important part of my life since I was a kid, and I will not stop talking about it. Anyway, click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to go to my channel and subscribe.

Science: Not Just a Theory is my second channel, and the one that requires the most resources and time to produce videos. As a result, I’ll only be doing one video a week for now. I don’t want to take too much time away from my writing, but this channel requires a lot of research and plenty of editing. The main focus is space, but I will talk about other sciences, as well. It’s also the channel that has the largest potential for growth on YouTube, and as a result, could be a major source of income for me. While the prospect of it becoming an actual business for me is quite possible, I do this channel because I love science and want to promote the importance of it to people, as well as show how it can be very interesting.

Tommy and Dad is my third channel, and this is a more relaxed family vlog featuring my daughter and I. I’ve started vlogging on it just this past week, and hope to maintain regular uploads at a pace of around videos per week. This channel requires the least amount of time to edit and produce videos, so I can do them more frequently. I don’t do anything fancy. Just record, edit the clips together, and post to YouTube. It’s more of a fun thing for my daughter and I, but it also has a lot of potential. If you’re interested in seeing a bit about my life with my daughter, then check it out!


I am taking a business-like approach to a lot of things now, because I want to provide a secure future for my family. But it’s also important to enjoy doing what I do. I don’t write or make YouTube videos for money, but if I can focus and make it into a business, then I will. Over the past year, I’ve been doing a lot of research on SEO (search engine optimization), marketing, and promoting. I need to do a lot more to become good at it, though. The promotion of this blog, my writing, and my YouTube channels is important, and I will do my best to get them out there for people to discover. At least I won’t be spammy about it.

There are other avenues I’m looking at. For my science channel, I’m using Patreon, which I have yet to promote. I’m going into Patreon not as a way for me to ask people for money. No way. Wrong approach, and I definitely don’t like that way. It’s a business platform, as well as a community I want to develop. I’ll be offering value to it. There will be perks for Patrons, and depending on how much a Patron contributes, the perks increase. It will also allow me to improve the videos and devote more time to both making videos and writing. As the channel is educational, I believe it has a lot of value for people. There are exclusive benefits to being a Patron, such as behind-the-scenes videos, input into the production of the videos, private discussions about science, and opportunities for discounted merchandise.

And that brings us to merchandise! I’ll be opening a Cafe Press store to sell science, education, and literary themed merchandise. You might want a mug, or maybe you want a t-shirt. I’ll have those and more. I hope to launch the store in the next couple months.

What do you think?

So, what are your thoughts about this? What kind of merchandise are you interested in? Do you have any video ideas for any of my channels? And what kind of bookish/writingish (I made that up) blog posts would you like to see in 2018? Leave me a comment! All the feedback you have is greatly appreciated.

Authors Answer 149 – eBook Piracy

Pretty much everything that’s been copyrighted or patented has been copied. There are bootleg copies of Rolex watches, bootlegged and pirated movies, sharing of music with peer-to-peer sharing software, and eBook piracy. It’s the last one we’re concerned about. This week’s question was asked by Gregory S. Close.

Question 149 – What are your thoughts on ebook piracy – is it a terrible scourge, a necessary evil, or potentially great viral exposure?

C E Aylett

That’s a tricky one. I mean, before ebooks were around how many times did you lend or were lent a book? We didn’t recognise it back then as piracy, but it amounts to the same thing — sharing a work you didn’t have the right to distribute. Of course, that’s small scale compared to how things are shared nowadays.

I came across one of my Kindle stories on a reading site the other day, actually. I thought I’d investigate further and hit the ‘read online’ button to see what happened. It asked me to register and give my credit card details, even though they promised they wouldn’t take any money from the card. Obviously, alarm bells were clanging and I declined, but it did make me wonder how it worked. If I had given my card number, would I have been able to access the story for free, and if so, how can that be when it’s a story solely on Kindle and should be behind a paywall? If they had scammed me and taken money from my card, would I have had access to the story for free and who the hell is making money on the back of my work and not paying me? Because Amazon are the only ones who pay me for those stories. It’s one thing having stuff out there for free because you want to share your work or gain readership but it’s something else entirely if people have access to unlimited content for a small fee that isn’t being paid to the authors of the material the hosts are profiting from. That is noxious. But it seems the life of an author, sadly. Most short fiction publications want you to donate your work to them for nothing, too. It’s attack on the author from all sides!

D. T. Nova

A mildly annoying scourge, maybe? It’s bad and should be discouraged, but I think the scale of it isn’t sufficient to be as big a concern as some people make it to be.

Paul B. Spence

*Shrug* I don’t feel like it affects me. I could see it being a strategy for viral marketing, if anyone wanted the book. The way I see it, people who want to buy my book will buy my book. If they are pirating lots of books, they probably won’t ever read mine anyway.

Cyrus Keith

Any kind of intellectual piracy is the kind of arrogance I’d relegate to someone with the mentality and moral compass of a fly. The worst part is, they don’t respect anyone else’s privacy and property, and think nothing of stealing from others, justifying their theft through entitlement thinking. They don’t care how much blood, sweat and tears we have to pour out to create our work, they just want a free ride on our coattails. My blood pressure goes up even thinking about these cretins, these leeches, taking food from my table, stealing from my pocket, not caring that I struggle to meet my own bills. They may as well be coming through my window and making off with my wallet. There is no excuse, no good reason for what they do, and I wish I could implant something in every one of my books that could detect a piracy attempt and fry out their hard drive. I believe I’ve answered the question.

Gregory S. Close

I think piracy sucks, and there’s (generally) no excuse for it. I have no problem with friends sharing individual copies of paperback or ebooks, but actual piracy, where the book is taken and distributed to millions upon millions with one click – no. I don’t buy the “it gets you more exposure” or “there’s nothing you can do about it” arguments. It’s stealing. You are taking something that an author worked very hard to create and produce in a qualify way, and you’re not compensating the artist. That sucks. It’s also a bad way to ensure ever getting further creative content from that artist. If someone really wanted a free copy of my book, for example, they might try ASKING me for it vs. torrenting it.

Eric Wood

At first, my initial thought is that it’s a terrible scourge. I wouldn’t walk into a bookstore and walk out with a (or many) book without paying for it. Why I would I do that online? I might as well take the money right from the author’s pockets. However, with the internet being the internet, it’s going to happen. So perhaps it’s more a necessary evil? It will help word of your work spread when one reads it (for free or otherwise) and tells others that they read it and liked it and encourage others to read it who then go out and buy it.

Jean Davis

As much as it might potentially be great exposure, I work for months, sometimes years on a book. Giving that effort away for free doesn’t pay my bills. It’s not like I’m working for some giant book making company that pays me regardless and can absorb the losses piracy creates. When you don’t purchase the book in one way or another, that’s lunch money for my kid, my electric bill, etc, that falls short.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

That’s a tough one. I don’t know if I’d call it a “scourge” any more than I’d use the same word to describe the thousands of people who pirate each episode of Game of Thrones (hey, if HBO is going to make it effectively impossible to legally obtain episodes in Canada, I’m calling the piracy fair game!). A necessary evil? Perhaps, because it’s simply one of those things that’s nearly impossible to avoid, so why bother worrying too much about it? Potentially great viral exposure? I guess that depends on a number of factors. All in all, I can personally say that, as an indie author with little-to-no royalty income to her name, I do find the idea that people might be passing around pirated copies of my book to be very vexing. But then again, these pirates who are reading the book probably wouldn’t have ever read the book if they hadn’t been able to pirate it. So it’s one of those situations in which you almost have to just be happy with the less crappy option; either way I’m not getting paid, but at least someone is reading the book. Was my thought process bouncy enough for you on that one?

H. Anthe Davis

As someone who doesn’t write for the money, it doesn’t really mean anything to me. So long as people are reading it, I’m happy. Though I’d like it if they’d leave a review somewhere…

Jay Dee Archer

Necessary evil? No, it’s not necessary at all. Scourge? Probably not as bad as people may think, but it would be incredibly irritating for me to find that one of my (future) books is pirated. Potentially great viral exposure? Exactly how is it going to go viral? Thousands of people download the pirated copy, and I don’t see a single penny? No. Absolutely not. I’ve been working on this for years. I want my money. Am I greedy? No. Any artist who works on something for a long time, putting so much time and energy into something, would want a return in their investment. While I don’t expect to be a bestseller, I want to be able to pay bills. I have a family to support. Just like I’m not going to write for someone for free just for the exposure. I write for you, you pay me. Same thing if I was doing photography. You want me to take pictures for you, you pay me. You want me to paint a picture for you, you pay me. I write a book and spend a large amount of time and effort on it, I expect to be paid for it. So, eBook piracy is stealing. It’s that simple.

How about you?

Are you an author? How do you feel about eBook piracy? If you’re not an author, but you’re a reader, how do you feel about obtaining books through questionable means without giving compensation to the author? Let us know in the comments below.

Authors Answer 147 – Considering Economic Factors When Writing

Creativity is probably the leading reason authors write. They want to create stories that people enjoy. But how much does economics factor into writing books? There are several factors that may figure into how a person writes, including book length and more. This week’s question comes from Gregory S. Close.

Question 147 – Do you write purely creatively, or do you consider economic factors, such as how long the book will be, and how that would effect production/distribution costs?

C E Aylett

Purely creatively. If you approach it from the other direction you are boxing in your muse. And there’s nothing worse than a story that feels contrived to fit size (think of TV series Game of Thrones — wouldn’t we have liked a little more time to develop the Jon/ Dany relationship? Now it feels inauthentic because it wasn’t afforded the proper amount of time to develop, unlike him and Ygritte.)

D. T. Nova

I’ve paid attention to the length, but with more focus on pacing and tension than on economics.

Paul B. Spence

A little of both, of course. I write the book as creatively as you could wish. I do, however, keep in mind a certain size for the book. I try for ninety thousand to one hundred-fifty thousand words per book. So far so good…

Cyrus Keith

Word count is a factor. Many publishers today don’t want to even look at works less than 75,000 words for a novel. After that, I write what I want to write.

Gregory S. Close

Once upon a time I wrote purely creatively, and assumed that the merit of the work would drive how it was published, rather than things like page count, trim, how much shelf-space it would take up, etc. I thought that I was being economically responsible, but I really didn’t know how things worked until my first experience self-publishing. After surviving that, and realizing how much the size of a book effects the production cost, and thus the potential profit for the publisher and/or author (I only get pennies for every paperback of In Siege of Daylight that I sell, because of the print/production costs of a 600+ page, 240k word beast of a tome that it is), I changed my tune.

Now, I’m a lot more practical in how I consider my writing. I know that the sequel to Daylight will probably be equally huge. I can’t afford to invest the time in another epic and the money in the editing, cover art, trim etc. for another economically doomed novel. So, to be strategic, I have decided that if/when I write at all now, it is to be focused on the shorter, more contained, and potentially more profitable books (Greyspace, short stories and a couple of other ideas I’ve got kicking around). In theory, strategically marketing those more profitable works should allow for me to then pivot back to the GIANT TOTALLY EPIC SERIES. Back and forth I must go, if I ever want to make this work. It takes some of the fun out of it, but ultimately, planning ahead might make the difference between getting a chance to write full time or continuing to write part time, part of the time.

Eric Wood

Seeing as how I’m not published yet, I write solely creatively. I write for free right now, so if someone were to offer to pay me double I’d still make nothing. Perhaps one day I’ll have keep those factors in mind.

Jean Davis

When I set out to write a book, I just write the book. The story is how long it is. However, when it comes to editing that story, I then consider the overall length and what publishing goal would be the best for that particular project. I find it’s easier to focus on embellishing or streamlining after the initial creative process has had its way with the story. Too much pressure to meet a specific word goal makes it more difficult to get that first draft out. I get too hung up on specific word choices, efficient sentence structures or adding sufficient wordy depth to the plot, description, and characters.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

For the overwhelming part, I write purely creatively. I consider small factors, such as ensuring that the book is at least a certain length, but in general I don’t really let that affect my writing. Some would probably say that I should, because it might make my books more attractive to readers/publishers/etc, but for the most part I write because I love it and because I have stories to tell, and I don’t feel like obsessing over those “economic factors” do anything toward writing a good story. Creating something that is enjoyed by the people who read it is more important to me than creating something that checks off all the proper boxes as far as “proper” creation of a book.

H. Anthe Davis

While I’m aware of length and production issues (being an Amazon CreateSpace self-publisher in the print version, and therefore able to see what it costs per unit at certain sizes), I believe a book has to be the length it deserves to be. Can’t shortchange the plot or the characters just for space considerations. That said, there are always tweaks that can be made and extraneous bits that can be trimmed to keep the page count more manageable. I do what I can.

Jay Dee Archer

At the moment, I’m writing purely creatively. I’m not at the point where I’m considering economic factors, such as length of the book. I believe it’s more important to write what I think is a great story. Of course, I have the length of the book in the back of my mind, but also things like cover art. But if I’m thinking about economic factors, it will interfere with my creative process. Write first, worry about the other things later. But once I am considering economic factors, then I will look at what’s best in terms of being published, both independently and traditionally.

How about you?

If you’re an author, do you consider economic aspects while writing, or do you focus on it entirely creatively? Let us know in the comments section below.

Authors Answer 104 – Best Advice for Authors

Welcome to a very special Authors Answer! This is our 104th edition, which means it’s the end of our second year. And just like last year, we have some guest authors giving their answer to this very important question. I’d like to thank authors Mark Lawrence, Michael J. Sullivan, Django Wexler, and Andrew Rowe for agreeing to participate. They were very gracious when I asked them to participate. And thank you to Jacqueline Carey for her response. Unfortunately, she has her hands full at the moment, so was unable to participate. I love authors who take the time to respond when they can!

This week’s topic is an important one. Authors sometimes need a bit of help, so we’re talking about the best advice we have received in our quest for being published.

Celebrating our 2nd anniversary!

Question 104 – What is the most important piece of writing advice anyone has given you?

Mark Lawrence

It’s been a very long time since someone has given me writing advice. I did seek some out more recently when I read Stephen King’s “On Writing” but all I remember from that were the excellent anecdotes and being urged to never use adverbs in dialogue tags. And whilst that is advice I agree with, it is also advice that JK Rowling wholly ignored whilst selling hundreds of millions of books.

I guess I would have to go back to the creative writing course I took at night school in my 30s to find actual advice that was given to me. The most useful piece handed out to me in those sessions concerned the use of pinpoint detail. Readers’ imaginations are straining at the leash to do the heavy lifting for a writer. So descriptions need not be exhaustive and laboured. You just need the right seeds and the reader will grow the rest. Just the odd detail here and there can bring a scene to life. A scattering of points, dots the reader will join. Don’t describe the whole garden. Describe the rusty catch on the gate, the smell of the heaped cuttings, the rustle of dead flowers in the autumn wind. Move on.

Michael J. Sullivan

When I was starting out I didn’t know any authors, so I can’t say I had any personal advice from one. But there were writers who I followed online, and I was inspired by many of them. Joe Konrath said, “There’s a word for a writer who never gives up: published.”  I think that kind of persistence was instrumental to my own success. There are so many options in today’s publishing environment that when one path doesn’t work, an author should try another. And above all, keep writing, improving, and perfecting their craft. If the first book isn’t a success, maybe the second will be.  The only way to guarantee failure is to stop trying.

Django Wexler

It’s more career advice than writing advice, honestly, but while I was in college a writing teacher told me: “Never write a sequel to a book you haven’t sold yet.”

I totally forget the context, since we didn’t usually talk about writing careers in class.  On one level, it’s solid career advice.  If for whatever reason your first book turns out to be unsellable, then if you write a sequel you’re just stuck with two unsellable books.  That’s not really *writing* advice, though, and some people might say the business of being an author is a different thing entirely.

*But*, as I’ve thought about it in later years, I actually think there’s another piece to this.  It encouraged me to think of myself as a *writer*, rather than *a person who writes a particular story*.  In the decade or so since then, I’ve met many, many writers, some successful and some less so.  One thing many (not all, there are exceptions to everything!) of the successful ones had in common was that they could start a project, *finish* that project, and then *move on*, so they had a string of completed pieces under their belts rather than a single, endlessly-tinkered-with magnum opus.  This is obviously better career-wise, since you get more shots, but I think it has a lot to recommend it craft-wise as well.  You learn things from finishing a story that can be hard to incorporate into that story, but only taken into account when you start up the *next* piece.  Completing a work and calling it done has its own reward and its own lessons.

Is it true for everyone?  Of course not, no writing advice is.  (Process is personal, as I am quick to remind anyone.)  But it came at a good time for me.  I was high on fantasy epics like THE WHEEL OF TIME, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN, and at one point I was plotting out a grandiose ten-book scheme covering the creation of the universe to the end of days.  I ended up writing some more modest single-book projects, and I’m very glad I did, because my skill has (I hope) improved quite a bit since then.  The book I finally sold was my eighth or ninth overall; it’s hard to imagine it would have done as well as Book 8 of a series.

Andrew Rowe

If you love writing, don’t let anything discourage you from doing more of it.

If your beta readers don’t like your work, keep writing. Polish, improve, repeat.

If you query literary agents and they aren’t interested? Keep writing. Look at other agents. Look at other publishing options – self-publishing is getting more viable every year.

If you publish and your first book isn’t a hit? Keep writing. Focus on doing better next time. It might not even be your writing that’s the issue; sometimes it’s just bad timing or marketing.

This doesn’t mean to ignore constructive criticism; it’s great to get feedback that helps you improve. But never let the idea that you’re not perfect slow you down – no writer is going to appeal to every audience. Even the absolute top authors out there, the Tolkiens and the Martins of the world, have vast numbers of people who don’t enjoy their work.

Never let self-doubt keep you from doing what you love.

Cyrus Keith

I can’t quote her exactly. But after my thirty-oddth rejection from a publisher, I wanted to quit, to give up on my dream of being a published author. When I said this to my best friend, she shouted at me (paraphrased for family-friendly fare), “Don’t you freaking DARE quit!!!”

So I’ll pass that on to anyone else who questions their role as a writer, who sees an end to their work, who is balancing the option of burying their dream among the dust of a mundane, safe routine: Don’t you freaking DARE quit. Don’t strangle that dream out of your soul and kill it. You’re a writer. You sweat blood to make people come to life on a page, to tell your story, to drag readers by the eyeballs into your world and make them live with you until the last word on the last page, and close the book with a wistful sigh.

Don’t. You. Freaking DARE. Quit.

Elizabeth Rhodes

“Keep writing.”

I can’t give anyone credit for this because you hear it from just about everyone. It’s the only advice one really can give for getting words on the page and making them into stories of quality.

D. T. Nova

This applies to more than just writing, but “It’s never too late”.

Paul B. Spence

Read. I think the most important thing that any author can do is read. Not just in the genre they are writing in, although that is necessary, but also other genres, just to get a feel for how the craft of writing is done. I have elements of thrillers and horror in my science fiction. I also spend a lot of time reading science journals. Keeping up with the latest advances.

Gregory S. Close

Probably “write the crap first and polish the turd later.”  Agonizing over what you’re going to write is ultimately a waste of time.  Get something on the page and then FIX it later.  Getting the thoughts going and words flowing is the only way to from start to finish.

Eric Wood

The most important piece of advice I received is show not tell. I could tell you a character is shy or I could you show you. Showing you allows you to discover it on your own. Discovering it on your own pulls you into the story a bit further because you are getting to know the character as you would a friend.

C E Aylett

That writing fiction is about contrast at every level. Contrast breeds tension.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I’ve been given my fair share of writing advice over the years, but I think the most important piece is the one that I have consistently failed to follow, and that is this: Just Write. Write as much and as often as you can. Write anything and everything. Just write, write, write. Everything else can come afterward. You can figure out the editing, revisions, publishing, and everything else as it comes, but first you have to write. If you don’t actually put pen to paper and write, the game is over before it even began.

Beth Aman

I have a distinct memory of a particular critique from CC that allowed me to finally understand “Show, Don’t Tell.”  I felt like my eyes had been opened to a whole new world.  But here’s one of my favorite pieces of advice to give to new writers (I don’t remember who originally said it): Remember that the rough draft of a novel is just shoveling sand into a sandbox so later you can build sandcastles.

Jean Davis

You’ll never publish anything if you don’t finish it and then submit it. This, as someone who had fussed over a single novel for twenty-some years, rather hit home in a big way. That novel, my third to be published (because I eventually followed this advice), will be out in the Spring of 2017.

H. Anthe Davis

Just keep doing it.  Writing isn’t so much about inspiration as it is about work, and anything you practice at enough, you’ll get better at.  There is no guarantee that you’ll get published, but if you only daydream about your stories and never write them, nothing can ever happen.

Jay Dee Archer

I think a common answer would be to just write, and keep writing. Never stop. However, I’d like to take this a bit further. One thing I’ve been told that I completely agree with is to write what you would like to read. If there’s a story idea that you keep thinking, “I wish someone wrote a book about this,” then write it! It’s your idea, so create that story. And if you like it, there’s a very good chance that there are other people who will like it. Don’t just sit there, either. Once you have that idea, flesh it out and write it. It may not be the best written book, but just get it written, then worry about editing later on to make it that book that you want to read.

How about you?

If you’re an author or aspiring author, what is the best piece of advice you’ve received? Let us know in the comments section below.

Authors Answer 82 – Cover Art

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But really, people do judge books by their covers. A great cover can sell a book. It’s important to have well done cover art. Authors who are traditionally published usually have it done for them by the publisher. But a self-published author has to commission the artwork from an artist themselves and pay for it. Or maybe some authors do it themselves. So, how did we get it done?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 82 – How did you get your cover art done?

Linda G. Hill

So far that’s a secret. The artist who has agreed to work on my cover art doesn’t want anyone to know until the novels are out. Stay tuned!

Gregory S. Close

I spent a lot of time researching this, and months browsing DeviantArt and other sites for a quality freelance artist.  I finally settled on Mike Nash.  He had an impressive portfolio, had done artwork for Star Wars and Magic the Gathering, and he was accepting new commissions.  It’s more expensive to go with an artist like Mike, but I loved the result and I believe that you generally get what you pay for.  The cheaper options often look very much like cheaper options.

I felt pretty vindicated when I got an “excellent cover” compliment from Brandon Sanderson at WorldCon.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I bought pre-made cover art from an online shop that specializes in book covers. Not the most glamorous way to go, but if you can get lucky and find a good fit for your story there’s nothing wrong with that.

Eric Wood

Unfortunately, I don’t have any cover art, yet.

Allen Tiffany

Great question because there is a lot of talk about cover art. Unfortunately, a lot of it is really bad.

In my case, for my first novel, I did it myself. I knew exactly what I wanted – an iconic picture  of US infantryman getting out of a “Huey” helicopter in the jungles of Vietnam – and quickly found a high res photo in the Gov’t  archives.

For my upcoming novel, which I have not yet revealed, I sort of had an idea for what I wanted and scanned a lot of book cover designer’s websites. At long last I found a cover I loved. Totally in love. Thought it was brilliant. I wrote the creator and told her what I was after, and sent her $50 for the first pass.

As luck would have it, when the proof came in, one of my daughters was sitting beside me. She is an award-winning artist and has read the novel and the sequel. I called her over to the computer before I opened it. I told her this was a big moment in my writing career. “Just open it, dad.” When I did, we both stared in silence.  Finally, I said, “Holy crap.” She said, “That’s terrible.”

After that, I spent a lot of time on DeviantArt looking for what I wanted, and eventually I found it. I really liked it, so this time I wrote the artist and sent him a contract. We agreed on a price, and I secured the art I wanted.

Going forward, I think I’m just going to keep going back to DA and finding cool stuff from up and coming artists. It means my covers won’t be similar, but it will be fun to get aspiring artists a bit more publicity.

D. T. Nova

As of writing this answer, I haven’t yet, but I really can’t keep putting it off much longer.

Paul B. Spence

I hired an artist whose work I liked.

S. R. Carrillo

Initially, I purchased a pre-made cover that fit the book perfectly. For the sequel, I commissioned the same artist to create a similar cover as the first. This was an artist I found through another writer friend of mine.

For the latest set of covers I’ve commissioned, I found another writer friend whose covers I admired and visited the artist’s website to ask some questions and request a few covers. To make the search a little easier, I compiled a list of resources for writers looking for cover artists.

In the future, I plan to use artists I know personally to draw up my covers and use my own photography as the covers I need. I’m working very hard on that, actually.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

For Nowhere to Hide I created the cover art myself with a bit of Photoshop magic. I took a photo my father had taken of an old apartment building, darkened it, played with the colors to make the moonlit sky appear red, and then I transferred in a picture of a guy in a trench coat that I’d turned into a black silhouette with red eyes. Add the title and author bits and ta-da! Mind you it is far from the most professional-looking cover, but I wasn’t looking to spend any money since I didn’t know if the book would ever sell a single copy, therefore I was determined to create it myself. Overall I’m actually quite pleased with it, although I do know that it doesn’t quite look right in previews and thumbnails. With all that in mind, I’m definitely seriously considering commissioning an artist for The Other World.

H. Anthe Davis

All my covers are produced through cooperation between me (concept) and my friend D. D. Phillips (art).  I provide all the reference material I can find, and recently have begun compositing mock-ups for her to better see what I mean — since we’ve had communication issues before, with me not knowing some terms or having a hard time expressing just what I want.  I’m really nitpicky.  Thankfully she’s in another state so can’t just teleport over here and strangle me!  We’re working on the Book 4 cover now.

Jean Davis

I said to my editor, I want something dark and simple. A week later he sent me an image and I said, yep, that’s it.

Jay Dee Archer

I actually have a cover for my first novel, Knights of Ariadne, even though the first draft isn’t done. It’s a simple story, actually. Another author decided to whip up a cover for me, and what she showed me was great. In fact, it’s pretty much what I was imagining in my mind for the cover. Great minds think alike! She’s also an INTJ, which is how she discovered this blog. Once I’ve written enough, as in finished the first draft and edited it, I’ll probably reveal the cover. Well, we’ll see about the timing. Must write it!

How about you?

If you’ve published a book or are going to publish a book, how did you get your cover done? Let us know in the comments below.

A Little Thing Called Writing – My Plans

It’s about time I talk about writing, right? Especially my writing. Well, some things are being done:

  • Got myself an office… though I need to make it usable.
  • Got myself a Patreon. Please support my work at my Patreon page! Also, video here. For information about the rewards of being a patron, check out my Patreon page for levels of support.

The time I have to write depends on these things:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Interruptions

So, with that out of the way, here are my plans. There’s a lot to do.

Journey to Ariadne

Get back to work on this. I have some parts already finished, which means I still need to get them edited. That’ll be up to the nice people over at Critique Circle. Once they’ve been edited, they’ll be up on my official author’s page. I’ll also give early access to them for anyone who is a Patreon patron.

The first Ariadne novel

Outlining will begin! I’ll be spending more time on the novel than on Journey to Ariadne. Why? Well, the novel is bigger and each part of Journey is quite short and requires far less time to write. Simple, isn’t it?

Artwork and sketches

I’ll be doing a lot of concept artwork and sketches, especially maps. These will be available on my author’s page. However, early access to them will be available to some of my Patrons.


I will resume my worldbuilding posts, and there will be many. I hope for a couple a month, as they are very involved and complex posts to write. Here’s what’s to come.

And that is about it. There’s a lot to do, and with the privacy of my own office, I can finally achieve it. Some things to consider for the future are beta readers, editors (Patreon should help out), cover art (actually, the first book’s already got a cover artist, and I love the way it looks!), and making sure I figure out how to publish on Kindle, Smashwords, and Createspace.

Any comments and questions are appreciated!

Blogging Versus Writing Books

I blog. I write books. I haven’t finished a book. I don’t think I know what finishing a blog is like. Finishing a blog post, yes. But a blog? I don’t think they really have a conclusion.

There are differences, but there are some similarities. Of course, the biggest differences are that blogs tend to be informal, lack editors, don’t require any publishers, and can be updated at any time. Books are more permanent, are sold through vendors, have a story, and actually have a conclusion.

But there are similarities, too. They can both be non-fiction or fiction. They can both have pictures. They both allow writers to express themselves. And they can both make you money.

These are just some similarities and differences. There are many. And sometimes they complement each other. You can use a blog to sell books. You can publish excerpts on your blog. You can advertise your blog or website in your books, which can allow readers to see what else you write.

How do you think writing books and blogging are different or similar? Let’s talk about it in the comments (on this blog about books)!

Changes Coming to Amazon’s Kindle

Publishing to Amazon’s Kindle has been easy for anyone to do, and has flooded the market with self-published eBooks. They range from professionally well-done to amateurishly horrible. Amazon wants to solve the problem of substandard eBooks.

eNovel Authors at Work posted a great article about the changes and what they mean to the average indie author. To get yourself familiar with what’s happening, I suggest you read it. It may make life easier for you.

The changes come into effect in February and will affect indie authors, small publishers, online publishers, and boutique publishers. This does not affect traditional publishers who concentrate on print books. When there are errors in the book, such as spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, formatting issues, and just plain poor quality, the book will be flagged and taken offline. The author is then notified and asked to fix the problems before it can be published again. Even one complaint by a reader can result in a book being pulled. Thankfully, fixing the issues is easy, especially if it’s just a spelling or grammar mistake. In fact, Amazon will tell you exactly where the errors are. Sometimes, they’ll be foreign words. Fair enough, those don’t need to be changed. Before publishing, you can even use Kindle’s online proofer to find the mistakes. If there are no problems, publish away!

My worries are probably minor, but what if a book is constantly being tagged as poor quality because of technobabble, magic words, or unique names that the author has made up? I’d hope that wouldn’t be an issue.

On the positive side, this will force authors to make sure their books are good quality. It may discourage the lazy or unmotivated authors from publishing substandard books. They may try anyway, and get frustrated. I could see the number of books published this year decreasing because they’re prevented from publishing their error-riddled novels.

As always, I’m a wait and see kind of person. I’m interesting in seeing how this goes. What do you think? Do you agree with the new rules? Or do you have any worries? Let me know in the comments.

Authors Answer 61 – A Look at 2016

Happy New Year everyone! It is now 2016, and this is the first Authors Answer of the year. 2016 is a big year for me personally, and it should have some surprises in store from many of us. Let’s find out what we’re doing in 2016.

003Question 61 – What are your goals for 2016?

S. R. Carrillo

My primary goals are to continue reading quality indie books, re-release the first two books of my debut series, travel a bunch, love, laugh, deep condition every week and drink lots of water… :D!

Gregory S. Close

Publish.  I’d been invited to contribute a short story to a small press anthology, and due to poor work and life circumstances this year, I wasn’t even able to complete it.  Really frustrating.  I need to figure out a writing schedule that will work so that I can get some closure on works in progress.  I’d like to finish Greyspace, and either publish traditionally (still being reviewed by a publisher – they haven’t said no yet) or Kickstart it if that fails.  Secondly, I need to get my first draft of The End of Dreams to my editor (sequel to In Siege of Daylight).  I would love to do both and build back some momentum for my writing!

Jean Davis

Write another batch of short stories that I can get into submissions and try to get another novel published.

Elizabeth Rhodes

My writing goal for 2016 is to get the first draft of a new novel down.  This is tricky, because right now I’m trying to figure out what that next novel will be.

I’m also planning to take a second crack at the 52 books reading challenge.  I’ve never been a fast reader, and reading one book a week will be hard for me.  On the other hand there are so many books on my shelves that I want to read and never got around to.  That changes in 2016.

Eric Wood

My goals for 2016 will be to be successful completing the goals I set in 2015. This will be a do over. Blog wise, I don’t really have any goals other than to keep on writing material others want to read. Healthy wise, I’m going to attempt my 1,000 mile challenge again. Perhaps this will be the year I write some children’s books. Or try to get into production the stories I’ve already written.

H. Anthe Davis

Finish and publish my fourth book, hopefully by mid-year, and get started on the fifth.  Well — get a good way through the fifth!  I’ve been trying to reduce my required writing time, but it’s a war between motivation and my desire to lay on the floor and do nothing now and then.  I should also get some short stories done, even though I hate short stories; there are certain side characters’ tales to either fill in or wrap up, so I have many ideas, I’m just not fond of the format.  Must push myself.  Beyond my writing-work, I really don’t have other goals…I just go along with my schedule.  I’m dull!  😀

Paul B. Spence

Survive? LOL… My writing goal is to finish the three books I’m working on right now. I’ll be happy if I finish one of them, to be honest.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

My main goal for 2016? To somehow get a handle on myself. 2015 seemed to fly by mainly because I seemed to be constantly head-to-the-wall busy at all times. Part of this was because of the nature of my job (which has me stuck on a work camp for 14 days at a time and thus unable to get much done during the shifts), and part of it is because I’ve been spreading myself a little thinner with all my YouTube videos and the like, but a good chunk is also just that I’m terrible at time management. I’m hoping to work on that.

But another big goal is to get the first book of “The Other World” set up for publication. I had intended to have it in the hands of my beta-reader several months ago, but I somehow managed to never actually finish the last two chapters, so things got put on hold. I’m hoping to have a completed (revised and edited) manuscript sometime within the first third or so of 2016, and I’m going to submit to a few traditional publishers as soon as I can. I’m really hoping to possibly publish in this manner, but if things aren’t looking good by the end of the year I’m going to go ahead and self-publish this one as well, because I don’t want to wait too long before having a second book available.

Finally, I’d like to work through the mess of half-stories that I created during NaNoWriMo this past year and try to get a few of my erotic fairy tales up for availability on Kindle, mostly as an experiment to see whether or not they would actually sell. I’m very interested in the results.

There are other things that I’d like to accomplish in 2016, but those are the major ones. 🙂

D. T. Nova

My biggest one is the goal I planned but didn’t accomplish for 2015: to publish my first novel.

Allen Tiffany

Historically I’ve never set goals on 1 Jan, but this year is going to be different. I’m feeling like there is too much to do regarding my writing, and my work life has gotten more complicated and demanding. So I’m going to prioritize and focus more than I ever have:

1) Though it may not sound like it is directly related to writing, workout at least 5 times a week again. I got religion on this about 4 years ago, and got into great shape by riding my roadbike more than 4K miles a year, but over the last year, I lost it… 😦 Time spent working out feels like a time suck (it is), but I just feel better and think better – to include all aspects of my writing – so I need to get back to it.

2) Publish Lonely Hunter. It has now been two years in the making. The last year has been tweaking and tuning as I’ve gone on to write the second book (Vicious Harvest) in the 5-book series and most of the third and important parts of the fourth and fifth. Working on all five has been distracting in one sense, but it has also been hugely helpful – I fully understand the entire story, where it is going, how the characters develop, etc. Knowing that informs the writing of LH down to very subtle details. But at some point I have to get on with it. I am putting it through an online workshop one more time (about 1/3rd of the way done with that), then I’m going to dig through it a few more times, and then hopefully send it off to my editor by ~end of March. She is going to need at least a month with it, if not two. So…all considered, I might get LH published in the June timeframe. …I hope.

3) Get Vicious Harvest through CritiqueCircle and to my editor by the end of the year. You can see an excerpt of VH at http://www.allentiffany.com/end-war-scifi-novel-excerpts/end-war-book-2-vicious-harvest/. Though it has been through 4 beta readers already, it is really exciting to get this one in front of objective, thoughtful reviewers.

Linda G. Hill

My main goal – in fact, my only resolution – for 2016 is to get a novel published, whether traditionally or self-published. I started my major epic, The Great Dagmaru, as my NaNoWriMo project in 2011, though it took me 18 months to finish the first draft. Since then I’ve been editing it. I’d like to get it out there before I edit it to death.

Jay Dee Archer

This is a huge year for me. I think the biggest thing is moving back to Canada with my family. There is so much to do between now and then, I’ll have no time for writing. I’ll keep reading, though. After arriving in Canada, I’ll be busy with getting all the various IDs, addresses, bank accounts, etc, set up, as well as finding a job, if I haven’t done so already. Also, get a car.

On the writing front, once everything’s settled, I’ll be focusing a lot of Journey To Ariadne, while also working on the first book of Ariadne. I’m going to do some work on short stories and flash fiction, as well.

As for reading, I’ll probably continue as usual for the first three months, then after moving, I may have more time to read. 2015 was a slow year for reading, so I hope 2016 is far better.

How about you?

What are your plans for 2016? Share what’s in store for you in the comments below.

What Would You Like to Ask Authors?

Authors Answer has been going for 58 weeks now, so we’ve done 58 questions. Now it’s your chance to ask some questions. I’ve done this before and had a great response. Now I’m looking for you to step up again and ask some great new questions.

You can check the questions index page for past questions just so you don’t duplicate any. It hasn’t been updated with the last few questions, though. I must get that done.

So, since you have a few authors with varying experience, different genres, and plenty of personality, you’ll get some very interesting answers. I would like you to go down to the comments section and ask your questions. Ask as many as you like. The first ones may actually be asked in January, so you don’t have to wait long. To get as many questions as possible, I have a request for everyone. Can you share this post on social media, as well as with friends? Reblog if you like, too. The more the merrier.

I look forward to your questions!