Saturday, May 24, 2014

Can You Survive Book Two?

Or should I say, can I survive book two of the Can You Survive series?

I'm hard at work on a second "Choose Your Own Ending" book for adults and this time it's a much crazier scenario than The Zombie Apocalypse. I don't want to say too much about it yet, but let's just say that your escape options are limited this time around and there will be more chances for interaction with a bunch of secondary characters.

Writing one of these type of books has been very challenging in a creative sense and in an organizational way as well. I might try to document my strategy and write some posts about it if anyone's interested.

Until then, look for more updates coming soon! There may be a synopsis reveal in the near future...

Photo Credit:
Ben Earwicker
Garrison Photography, Boise, ID

Friday, May 23, 2014

3 Things I've Learned About CreateSpace Paperbacks

I recently put the finishing touches on my physical edition of The Zombie Apocalypse using CreateSpace and I've come away a little wiser than my first outing in November of 2013. A lot has changed, and I think there are some things that anyone going the physical route with their novel or book should know before diving in.

Are you ready? Here we go.

  • Choose matte over gloss cover finish.

Since the entire reason you're designing a physical printed book is to have something you can hold in your hands, you want that book to feel as professional and elegant as possible. No joke - I bought the 15th Anniversary Edition of the Harry Potter series in paperback because of the new cover art and the matted finish. They just feel wonderful to hold.

You want your reader to have the same reaction when they hold your own literary baby. You want them to show off your book to others and have them reaching for it the same way they do for someone's infant. It needs to be irresistible.

  • Choose cream paper over white.

Again, you're creating a physical printed book because someone wants to hold it in their hands (even if it's just your mom!) and the cream paper is thicker and therefore sturdier than the white paper. Especially for my game book where the reader will be constantly flipping the pages back and forth, I wanted something sturdy. This type of paper was just the ticket. (I also remember the guys over at the Self Publishing Podcast saying that they always go with cream paper instead of white after their own experiences.)

  • Lastly, don't choose the default size dimensions.

I went with the suggested book dimensions my first go-round with CreateSpace when I designed Macyntire & Hough. Although the book looks nice, it is pretty bulky to hold. I used the 9x6in size for that book and it felt strange, like it was a little too big to carry around comfortably.

I became enlightened when I walked into my local Bullmoose store and saw Morgan Rice's A Quest of Heroes sitting on the shelf - and it looked so good I had to pick it up. Compared to the bulky oversized paperbacks that I saw, this one was smaller and more appealing. The dimensions were 5x8in and it was a pleasure to hold. And so, I went with that trim size. Making it a little bit smaller complemented the cover finish and the paper weight. It just felt like it was better quality.

So there you have it. Those are the three things I've learned on my second printed book. Doing all this stuff yourself is hard work - but when you have a real copy to hand to someone technologically challenged, it makes it all worth it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Diving Into Your Imagination

Well, it's been quite a while since I've posted on my blog, and I promise you that the reason is mainly because I have been very busy working on writing and reading!

What's interesting to me is the reading part since when, as a writer, you consider sitting down to spend an hour or two reading, it seems to be counter-intuitive. Why should I waste an hour reading for pleasure when I should be creating content? Do more work, damn it!

That is what my brain has been telling me. And it's basically screwed with my imagination for the better part of a week. Writer's block is basically the fear that you have run out of ideas. Essentially with my brain telling me to constantly produce, produce, produce, I was backing myself into a corner, afraid that I had run out of ideas.

This is not the truth. If you are struggling with this, don't let your brain do this to you! Our realistic and pessimistic side loves to tell us that we only finished that first book because we were lucky. I'm here to say that it wasn't because I was lucky - it was because I was inspired and my creative juices were flowing. When I was stuck a few weeks back, it was because my creative juices were too terrified to flow, and a drought was happening.

To continue to write inspired fiction or any type of writing, we need to feed our imaginations. This includes reading for pleasure and, in my case, forcing myself to enjoy reading for pleasure again.

And, wouldn't you know it - reading for pleasure also forced me to do something else that I haven't done in a long time, and something that is essential to being inspired - I read some books and authors that I've never heard of! It was so exciting! After being transported to some new fictional vistas, I wondered why I was so scared to create more of my own in the first place.

Then I sat down and started to write.

It feels good.

If you're checking out the blog, you will see that I've posted a widget to enter into my Goodreads giveaway for an autographed paperback edition of my latest book, (Can You Survive) The Zombie Apocalypse. It will be open for entries for a month, but if you don't want to wait that long, you can pick up a copy here. The Kindle version is available for the low price of $0.99 so that you can use that extra penny for something else!

In short, summer weather is here, and that means time to read, explore, and above all, write.