Cover Reveal – Lost Dogs #1

Lost Dogs - Ebook cover - alignedHere we go, I finally have the cover image for my next book: Lost Dogs #1: Last Fight of the Old Hound.

Big thanks to Jess for the art. I’m really happy with how it turned out in the end.

As I’m looking at it now it strikes me as odd that I didn’t include the secondary title of the book on the front of cover. It’s not that I forgot about it (seriously, I didn’t). It just didn’t seem all that important.

It’s a series, and the name of the series feels more important than the names of the individual parts. As I recall, many TV series has a name for each episode, but few of them stick with me for longer than they appear on the screen. Then again, maybe that’s just me?

It also seemed like it might be tricky fitting that many words onto the cover. I’m sure I could have, and I actually tried (a little), but I didn’t work out (and I gave up pretty quickly). Instead it just says “Part 1” now, and like I mentioned, the title is written on the spine, and it says inside as well. It’ll be grand, as they say here in Cork.

Lost Dogs #1 - Back Cover
With a little bit of good will, the blurry shape in the background looks kind of like a human heart, doesn’t it?

I used the same image, but significantly faded, for the back cover too. What mostly stressed me out about that was the blurb – again.

I thought I had a good blurb this time. I shared it in a previous post. Then, today, as I sat looking at it, I begun to feel like there was something off about it, and I began tinkering, and tinkering, and tinkering…

The idea is the same, and the first part is very similar, but the second part has been expanded upon. It’s a little bit clearer what the story is about, which is probably a good thing. Hopefully potential readers will find it interesting enough they’ll want to have a closer look.

Hopefully they’ll find it interesting enough to read the whole thing, and the next part, and the next one after that, and so on. This first book is a self contained story, but it’s also the start of something much bigger. After all, it does say Part 1, and I have a lot more parts planned.

So, when can you read the story?

Well, I pressed the Publish button for the paperback version about an hour and a half ago, and it’s currently in review. The review period can take up to 72 hours, meaning you should be able to order the book on Sunday by the latest. That is, if you want the paperback version. I’ll make sure to share the link once it’s available.

The e-book version is still scheduled for release on the 5th of July. You can pre-order it here (UK), or here (US).

 

Advertisements
Cover Reveal – Lost Dogs #1

My First Interview

That’s a lie.

It’s not my first interview, but it’s the first ever interview of me as a writer. You can read it here. The interview was done by Amanda J Evans for her blog where she does a series of weekly interviews of Irish indie authors, and this week it was my turn.

Reading through it, I can’t help but feel there are things I should have answered differently, or things I forgot to mention that are more important than what I did say. Then again, I guess that’s normal.

Most of all, I’m a bit embarrassed about the question about who my favourite Irish author is. I’ve lived here for eleven years, and I’ve called myself a writer for almost half that time, but I know next to nothing about current local writers. I also don’t know much about current Swedish authors either, so I guess that evens it out a little.

I probably should try and read more Irish writers though. There seems to be plenty of them around, and I’m sure I’ll find something to suit me. It’s more a question of taking the time to pick out a book really – once that’s done, the rest will come easily, I’m sure.

My First Interview

Last Fight of the Old Hound

Copy of Lost Dogs #1 - PreviewThe first book in the Lost Dogs series is now available for pre-order. It’s called Last Fight of the Old Hound, and you can pre-order it here (US) or here (UK). The cover image is a temporary one, and the real cover will be revealed once it’s done – in about two weeks.

Also, if you’re interested in checking out a sample of the story, you can download the first four chapters for free, here.

I’m going to try and not rant too much about this release, but rather focus my energy on making sure the next few parts come out in time. I’m still excited to publish a book, but all the advice I’ve heard about advertising suggests that the best way to promote a book is to write a sequel.

Once I have a few books out I’ll start looking into promoting the first one more carefully, and then I’ll have to start figuring advertising and suchlike.

For now though, there’s just the one book. Next one to be released Soon<tm>.

Last Fight of the Old Hound

Free Book Weekend

This weekend the e-book version of Emma’s Story will be available for free on Amazon.

IMAG1396.jpgThe book will be free on the 2nd and 3rd of June, Pacific Time. Over here in Europe that’s from 8am in Ireland and the UK, and from 9am in Western Europe. Similarly, the promotion will end at 8/9am on Monday morning over here.

This is one of the promotional options that Amazon provides, and after a friend of mine tried it out I decided to give it a go as well. The theory is that if you’re releasing a new part in a series, you make the first part available for free to try and encourage new readers to check it out.

Emma’s Story is a standalone novella, so there’s no sequel to it, and in that regard there’s not much point in making it free. It’ll be interesting for myself though – to see what it’s like, and perhaps get some interest in the story.

Alos, there will be more books released, and they’ll more than likely be in a series.

If you’re curious to learn more about my story, you can check it out here.

Free Book Weekend

Getting Closer

It’s not quite time yet, but it’s also not far off. The deadline I set myself for my next book is June first. By then I want it to be ready enough that I can start the publishing process.

I’m pretty sure I’ll make it.

I have a few test readers still reading the story and they’ve promised to have it done by June 1. If they’re not done, it’s not the end of the world. I’m confident the story is in a good enough shape I can publish it without making any major changes, and I should be able to iron out the majority of the spelling mistakes myself.

Sure, I’ll miss some, but for now I can live with that. The goal isn’t perfect – it’s good enough.

Also, June first isn’t when I’m publishing. The paperback will be out in mid-June, and the ebook in early July. Even then, I still have time to fix things. This book is the first part of a longer series, and I won’t start advertising it until the third part is out, which will be in September some time if all goes to plan. By then, I expect to have tracked down and located all of the spelling errors I missed on my own.

After that, further errors will have to be fixed as they are discovered. That’s part of the beauty with ebooks. If there’s a spelling error I can correct it and upload a new version of the book. Supposedly, everyone who’ve bought it will get the new version pushed to them, but I’m not sure how well that really works in practice. Perhaps they need to request it – or there may some other requirement before it gets done.

Anyway – it’s not much further, and soon Lost Dogs #1 will be available. I’m starting to get excited.

Getting Closer

Canned Wisdom #8

Good morning, it’s Monday once more. Time for some questionable writing advice:

20180319_113829_0001.png
For last week’s Canned Wisdom, click here.

A story, or a book, is a promise. The book promises to tell an entertaining story, and the reader promises to stick with it until the end.

If the book breaks its promise, the reader is okay to do the same. If the book isn’t what it promised to be, why continue reading it – and why read anything else by the writer? Time is, by and far, the most valuable thing we have, so why give it to an inanimate object, like a book, that doesn’t keep its promises? (thanks for reading btw).

However, a book, in and of itself, can’t make any promises of its own.

2018-03-25 08.40.58
A mysterious morning fog. What promise does that make?

The promises are understood by the reader based on their impression of the book. The cover image, the title, the blurb on the back, and whatever they see inside when they open it up for a look. In other words, you as the writer are responsible for making the book give the right kind of promise.

Pick a cover image that gives the right impression. Write a blurb that’s relevant to the story.

Write a story that lives up to the expectations it creates.

The promises don’t stop outside the book, but keep being made within. Whatever happens throughout the story sets an expectation in the reader’s mind for something that will happen later. It’s a promise of what’s to come.

2018-03-25 08.21.52
The promise of a rising sun and a beautiful day to come. If it rains the morning breaks its promise.

Did I go on about this last week too?

Yes, I’m pretty sure I did, but I’m doing it again, because I think this is important. If you make someone a promise you have to keep it – even if it’s to a person you’ve never met and who only knows you from picking up your book.

So how do you know what kind of promise you make to the reader?

Simple answer: you don’t know.

You’ll just have to guess. You have to figure it out yourself based on the story you’re writing. With some parts of it it’s easy, and with other parts it’s not.  This is one of the reason it’s a good idea to ask someone else to test read your stories and give you feedback before you release them into the wild.

Since you already know what’s going to happen, it’ll be hard for you to expect anything else.

 

Canned Wisdom #8

Canned Wisdom #7

Monday again. Time for another little commentary on writing:

20180319_113918_0001.png
For last week’s Canned Wisdom, click here.

This is about expectations and about how they affect our impressions.

The picture above is of a cup of coffee. Except, it’s in a mug made of glass, and there’s a candle behind the mug, so the light plays around in the shapes in the bottom of the mug.

It’s a black coffee, because there’s no milk and no sugar in it. But it’s also not super strong, so the light from the candle comes through on the sides and tints the coffee red. It could also be the coffee isn’t actually black, but really a very dark red.

2018-03-18 17.53.41When you read the phrase a cup of black coffee, you probably won’t picture anything like what you see in the image above. Right? You already have an expectation of what a cup of black coffee looks like.

Black coffee comes in white porcelain cups, and it’s proper black – perhaps with a few bubbles from the pour on top. Put the term into a google image search. You know what you’ll see – or, well, you won’t be surprised at least.

What does this mean for us as writers?

I get two things.

The first is that readers already know what a lot of things look like, so there’s no need to describe them. It’s enough just to mention what they are.

Time for examples. Picture the following:

  • A woman hurrying to work on Monday morning with a cup of coffee in her hand.
  • A woman looking out her window on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee in her hand.
2018-03-14 09.41.04
A rubbish bin with two umbrellas sticking out of it. That’s also a story.

The two sentences are quite similar, but they paint very different pictures. There’s no information at all about what the woman looks like, and nothing at all about her cup of coffee, or how she’s dressed, but still we get an image.

Sure, the image might be vague and indistinct, but there’s something there, and there’s a vibe to it too.

We all have expectations of what things look like, and if you play to that, you can use it to great effect in your writing.

The second thing I’m getting is that things aren’t always what they seem. We all know that coffee is black, and we all know that snow is white and the sky is blue and the good guys always win in the end – right?

Except maybe that’s not always how it is. Sometimes black coffee is red, and sometimes white snow is blue, and sometimes the sky is all kinds of weird colours when the sun is setting and the clouds are on fire.

As for the good guys, well, life’s tough sometimes.

Keep this in mind when you’re creating your stories. Your readers will have expectations, and you can choose to live up to them, or to try and circumvent them. Either is fine, just try and make sure to pay attention to what expectations you’re setting for your reader.

Canned Wisdom #7