Quarterly progress report and a #WIPpet snippet

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get to this today. I’m flying to Spain tomorrow for the next Villa Diodati workshop. But I’m almost done packing now, so my head is free for a blog post after all.

I’ll start with the final update for this Round of Words. If you’re here only for WIPpet Wednesday, feel free to skip. :)

Here are my goals from the beginning of the quarter:

Writing:

– Write an average of 4000 words a week – MADE IT! 53,300 words in 12 weeks. The weekly output was up and down quite a bit, but it managed to average out to more than my initial goal. Nice when that happens. :)

– Finish Facets of Glass – First draft complete!

– Write 5 new short stories – Not quite – I wrote 3.

Blog:

– Write a report of the Villa Diodati workshop (finally!)- Never got around to this, and now it just seems silly, so long after the workshop. :/

– Write a new installment of “Starting out as an indie author” every other week – YES!

– Update my book page (LONG overdue!) – Ooops, ‘fraid not …

Writing business:

– Write New Year newsletter for my subscribers – Didn’t get around to this one either …

– Schedule upcoming promotions for my books – Did a lot of these! And it’s paying off. :)

– List books with Babelcube & Noisetrade – Nope

– Publish last episode of Yseult – DONE!

– Publish “The Shadow Artist” as ebook – Nope

– Publish Chameleon in a Mirror to Createspace – DONE!

– Find reviewers for CIAM and Island of Glass – DONE!

I’m pretty happy with my progress this round. :)

On to WIPpet Wednesday! For today, 2+5 = 7 short paragraphs from Facets of Glass. This scene comes right after the one I gave you last week:

By the next day, all of Venice knew of Minerva’s mysterious fainting spell, and how she still had not regained consciousness. When Anastacia declared her intention to visit her sister, Gaetano was considering bribing one of the Foscari guards assigned to go with her when he was called into the dowager princess’s presence again.
“Gaetano, I would like you to go with the princess to Murano. While you are there, I need you to try and find the apple for me and bring it back. Do you think you can do that?”
Seeing as it was exactly what he’d been intending to do, he certainly hoped so. But if he did find it, he was not bringing it back to Palazzo Foscari. He did not know what magic the apple held, he only knew he did not want Princess Zilia to have it.
He bowed. “I will do my best, Your Grace.”
She gave him one of her most charming smiles. “Thank you, Gaetano. I will give you command of the house guard for the trip. That should allow you more freedom of movement.”
“Very good, Your Grace.”
He wondered how long he would be in her favor when he failed to find the apple.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

Because of the travel, I’m afraid I won’t be getting to other folks’ blog for several days — just a little “sorry” in advance. :) But I’ll be “seeing” you all again soon!

What became of the apple? A #WIPpet Wednesday snippet.

Before I get back to Facets of Glass, a brief update on my progress for the week. I continue to move forward steadily on the translation. It certainly helps that the first book in the series, Ein Krieger der Wikinger, is selling like gangbusters. Since Jud and I have a translation model where I am paid much less up front for a much higher percentage of the royalties, that means it probably won’t be too much longer before I’ve earned out on my advance for the translation and will start earning from the first book. In addition, most of the reviews so far express eagerness to read the next book in the series. :)

Despite the translation work, I’m maintaining a much better balance between that and my own writing than I did while working on the first book. Last week, I got 3500 new words written, in a addition to the formatting of Chameleon in a Mirror for Createspace. So far this week, I got the wraparound cover made and uploaded and have gotten about 1200 words on my own stuff written. Not breaking any records, but as long as I can continue to make consistent progress in the face of translation, I’ll be happy.

Chameleon in a Mirror cover

With the update out of the way, let’s move on to Facets of Glass, shall we? Gaetano just reported back to the Dowager Princess after taking the glass apple to Minerva. Today I will continue the scene right where we left off last week, with 18 sentences for the day of the month — plus one to finish the scene:

“And the apple?” the princess asked — much too casually.
He pretended innocence. “The apple?”
“What became of it? The gift?”
Gaetano shrugged. “I fear I do not know, Your Grace. When the prince’s sister-in-law lost consciousness, I was only concerned for her well-being.”
“As of course you should.” To his ears, it sounded as if the words were recited by rote. A brief pause. “So you have no idea what became of it?”
“Of what, Your Grace?” he said, although he knew exactly what she referred to.
“The apple.” Now there was a hint of impatience in her voice.
“When the signorina lost consciousness, it must have rolled away. I did not see it after that.” Now he was almost certain that the apple had something to do with Minerva’s mishap. But what could the dowager princess possibly have against the young woman?

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

Starting out as an indie author: Creating a wraparound cover for your print book

Last week, I provided some tips on how to format the interior of your book for print on demand. This week I will finish the POD publishing lesson by showing you a little on how to make the wraparound cover that you need for a print book.

The first thing you will need is a template in the size you want with the spine the correct width for the length of your book. You can either create this yourself using the instructions on your publishing site (here for CreateSpace), or download the template built by CreateSpace when you enter the details for your book, which you can do here:

https://www.createspace.com/Help/Book/Artwork.do

Createspace now also has a Cover Creator that you can use as well, but of course it’s more limited than creating your own, and it assumes that you do not yet have an ebook cover already designed. I have not used it, so I can’t say much about it. I only glanced through the designs available and didn’t see any for pre-designed front covers.

The formatted interior of Chameleon in a Mirror came out to 383 pages, and I want to use cream paper rather than white, which to me looks more professional. This is what the template looks like that CS built for the book:
CreateSpace Cover template

Once I have the template, I open it in Photoshop and change the resolution to 300 dpi. I make a copy of the layer, and change one of the two to the background.

Then I drag my ebook cover image into Photoshop, create a layer from it, and drag that onto my paperback cover template, like so:

I make another copy of the layer based on the template. Using the eyedrop tool, I take a color on the edge of my ebook cover and fill this new layer with the chosen color. This is to make sure that I will not end up with any white edges when the paperback book is created — besides having a color on the spine and back that fits with the color scheme of the front cover image. My PSD file now looks like this:

Next I create the text layers for the spine, the title and the author name. Choosing the text layers one at a time, I rotate them and move them to where I want them on the spine. (In my ancient version of Photoshop, this is in the Edit menu under Transform / Rotate 90°.) Of course, if you don’t use different fonts for the author name and title, this would be only a one step process. Here is how my cover looks after this step:

Here you see that after creating the base color layer, I made the template visible again to assist me in placing elements on my cover.

If you have a logo for your book imprint, you could also put that on the bottom of the spine.

The back cover usually has a description of the book, and sometimes an excerpt, some quotes from reviews, or a short bio of the author. You also need to create the necessary white space for the bar code. So going to my solid brown layer, I use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to mark a square the same size as the bar code box. In the edit menu, I choose fill, and fill the box with white.

For the rest of the back cover, I decided on a short version of the book description and a repetition of the mirror motif from the front cover. In order to make the text stand out more, I set the opacity of the mirror image at 30%.

Anyway, here is what the cover looks like now:

Chameleon in a Mirror cover

It also would have been possible to have a simple description above on the back cover, and a bio with a pic of me below, with no further design elements. That is the layout of the cover template that Joel Friedlander sells on his site for $57 — and here I’ve pretty much told you how to do the same thing for free. :) As you can see, if you already have a front cover — as well as some knowledge of a good graphics program like Photoshop or Gimp — it’s not all that hard to create your own wraparound cover for print publication.

And as an added benefit for me, I have finally put together the files for the POD version of Chameleon in a Mirror. According to Create Space, the print version should be available on Amazon in the next 3-5 days. :)

eBooks and DMCA Abuse: A Few Suggestions Based on My Experience

Ruth Nestvold:

I’m a bit late in reblogging the follow-up, but I’m glad to hear (and share!) that Becca’s DMCA case got cleared up so quickly! And now she has some interesting thoughts on how such scams might be avoided.

Originally posted on The Active Voice:

Thanks to the fine people of the indie-publishing community, Nolander has recovered wonderfully from its week’s vacation. Folks on The Passive Voice blog and the Kboards Writers’ Cafe urged downloads, and a number of discounted/free book sites spontaneously advertised the book: big thanks to OHFB, Pixel of Ink, Flurries of Words, eBookDaily, and Free Kindle Books for your generous help. With so many people in its corner, Nolander got a couple thousand downloads and bounced up into the top two hundred free books on Amazon. It was an amazing and moving thing to see. The self-publishing community is strikingly diverse, and we don’t always agree on stuff. But we’re there for each other at the big moments, and that tendency to act together — fostered by those sites that give us places to gather — gives us some leverage. Thank you all so much for using that leverage on my behalf.

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Gaetano’s suspicions confirmed for #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s WIP snippet day again! And I am just marching right along through the first draft of Facets of Glass, not worrying about spoiling anything for anybody. *g* This excerpt comes immediately after the one I gave you last week. Gaetano has reported back to the Evil Dowager Princess after delivering the glass apple to Minerva. Math today 11-3 = 8 for 8 short paragraphs — plus one, just because I want to give you Gaetano’s reaction to what the DP says:

Gaetano returned to the palazzo on the Grand Canal, confused, sad almost, and reported to the Dowager princess in her audience chamber.
“You delivered the gift successfully?” she asked.
“I did, Your Grace.”
“And?” she prompted. “How did Minerva like it?”
“I had no opportunity to ask her,” he said, watching the Dowager Princess carefully. “After she opened the package, she fainted. By the time I left, they still had not been able to revive her.”
There, the barest hint of a smile, a faint light in her eyes. If he had not been looking for it, he would have missed it. “How unfortunate,” she said. “I hope she is herself again soon.”
“I am sure she will be,” he lied. “Young women have a penchant for fainting.”
She nodded. “That they do, Gaetano. My physicians tell me it is because in their vanity, they truss their corsets too tight.”
Gaetano gazed at her perfectly preserved beauty, wondering how she could accuse others of vanity and exclude herself.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

As to the weekly update, I’m quite happy with my progress. I finished the first chapter of the translation on Monday, and I rewarded myself with some extra time for my own projects. Tuesday I got another installment of “Starting Out as an Indie Author” written — and while doing so finally got the interior of Chameleon in a Mirror formatted for CreateSpace, seeing as that was the subject of the blog post. :) I am also making steady progress on Shards of Glass. I’m still not sure how the big showdown will play out, but I am inexorably moving towards it!

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