Special: Cover Design Process

Friends,

Welcome to a new week and a new post. The topic for this one is in response to a reader’s question regarding my book cover design process. There’s also some other news as well. Let’s get started!

My Process

I usually brainstorm ideas for my book cover early on the writing process, after I am certain of the plot of the book – or at least the basic gist of it and who the character is. For example, in the roughly six months it took me to produce my first book, Resistant, I probably started work on the cover around month 3. For my second book, Unguarded, it was probably around the same time or a tad earlier. sometimes the process gets a little drawn out. For my third book, Imminent, I think I had the cover done about a month and a half before release. It just depends.

Cover_front

As for the actual ideas for my covers, that comes from my own creativity based on events in the story. The idea for Resistant came early on; I basically knew what the cover would look like from the beginning. I just didn’t start its production until halfway through writing. The main character is female and the initial setting is Paris (something identifiable with most people), so that’s where I started. Some of the designer’s own take on my desired cover description shows up in the covers – it’s almost impossible to have everything look exactly like you want it. I basically give him a run-down of what I want in the cover, and I use photos from the internet to help give inspiration and clarification on what I’m saying; then it’s up to him from there…I simply give feedback for revisions until it’s what I’m satisfied with.

Cover - Round 2

 

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to covers is that having a collection or series look uniform and similar is very helpful in marketing and getting (potential) readers to make the correlation that there are multiple titles to read, and they’re all related. Plus, having the same designer make the covers allows for some continuity and consistency, which is something I personally prefer.

cover_6

That’s basically how I come to a final book cover: brainstorm ideas, finalize them in a list for the designer (and include some pictures), then give feedback on the revisions until it’s ready. Having done it a few times by now, it’s gotten pretty simple!

As for other news…

I’d say things are finally into a rhythm now with the new house, and I think being back to normal teaching (since testing is over with) helps with that. It’s the last week of April, which is crazy to think about, so I’ll get things done this week to prep for next week: resuming a regular writing schedule. The story is coming together, and I’m excited to get back to work on it. Who knows what kind of progress the summer holds ahead!

Until next time,

-Eli

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The Book and The Move

Friends,

I hope this post finds you in a good place with your goals and passions, and that you’re well on your way to achieving all you’re setting out to do! A great deal has gone on since last week’s post, so why don’t I get right to it…

The Faces of the War Collection

Progress on the story is coming along, granted not as well as I’d like. I originally aimed to pump out at least a few thousand words last week, but sadly I only got about 1,000 typed. There was a stretch of time that was taken up by research and reading; there was also the move to our new house (and other errands) that occupied my time for most of the week. But it’s all good, because my lack of writing is due to something greater happening in my life at the moment. Once we’re settled and back into a normal routine, my writing will resume as usual. I anticipate receiving the final cover files for the book this week. It’s taken on a great look, and one that encapsulates the story.

If you’re new to my blog, or perhaps haven’t had the chance to check out my work, you can find my first three books Resistant, Unguarded, and Imminent on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats!

On the Move

It’s kind of surreal, moving out of our current house. I’ve moved before, but I didn’t leave the house empty – my parents still live there. But this time it’s different…we’re cleaning out all of our stuff and taking things away from where they’ve been for so long. The house is looking weird. But the end product is what’s important: we’ll have a house that’s our own, with a roof over our heads and a space to start making memories and building our family. It’s an exciting time and I can’t wait to see how things unfold heading into the summer!

That’s it for this week. I’ll try to take some pictures of the move this coming weekend and include them in next week’s post. Thank you for supporting my passion and for your continued encouragement along the way.

Until next time,

-Eli

And We’re Off!

Friends,

Welcome to a new week! My hope is that it will be a week filled with productivity and accomplished goals, for me as well as for you. Let’s get to this week’s content…

The Faces of the War Collection

Since last week’s post, there have been a few developments regarding my WWII collection. First, the details for Book Four’s cover have been sent, and I’m essentially awaiting my designer’s confirmation that he received it, as well as a quote for the design service. Hopefully within a week or so, work will begin on the next cover. Second, I spent some time this weekend (as well as time today after I write this) chipping away at the Prologue of Book Four. I’m just over 250 words into it, and I’m hoping for another 1,000 by the end of the week. I was a little anxious that I wouldn’t be able to start off this story strong, but so far things are proving otherwise!

If you’re new to my work and are interested in my WWII historical fiction, you can check out my books Resistant, Unguarded, and Imminent on Amazon in print and on the Kindle.

The Short Story Collection

Minor progress is being made on this project, but progress nonetheless. I think we’re getting into that part of the writing on this project where I will only update every so often about it, considering that its progress won’t be as quick to come as with Faces. Fear not, for I will keep you informed of this project’s details, especially when release draws near!

If you’re new to my work and are interested in my short stories, you can check out Volume 1 and Volume 2 on the Kindle.

Writing Tip: If you encounter a rut in the road of writing, be open to considering courses of action your character(s) can take that surprise you – if it surprises you, maybe it’ll surprise your readers.

That’s all I have for this week. If you’re new, welcome to my post and my website. Please feel free to browse around and see what I’m up to, and don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list (click the Contact tab) so you don’t miss the inside scoop on my work. Thank you for reading this post and for supporting me in my passion. It means a great deal!

Until next time,

-Eli

Getting Back to It

Friends,

I hope this week has much in store for you, and that you’re getting closer to achieving your own brand of success and happiness! Let’s get to this week’s news…

The Faces of the War Collection

This week has seen some minor progress in writing for the final two books of the collection. I plan on working ahead in my school tasks so that over the weekend and into Monday (Presidents Day) I can write more. I’m excited for the new challenge these last two plots will offer me! Being that it’s early on in the process, it’s hard to give you any real report on my progress, but the coming months will certainly be interesting.

If you haven’t check out my first three books – Resistant, Unguarded, and Imminent – you can find them on Amazon in print and on the Kindle.

The Short Story Collection

I’m slowly piecing together the first story of three in my next volume. I’ll give you a little hint as to story detail: the time setting is the late 1600s. I’ve slowly accumulated research material that I intend to apply where I can to help improve the storytelling. The other two stories are planned…I just won’t divulge any details yet!

YouTube

For a couple of weeks, I had inadvertently taken some time away from posting new videos. I explained in the most recent vlog as to why, and you can check it out here if you’re interested. I am making it my goal over the coming weeks to be better about recording, despite my reasons for not doing it. After all, what would vlogging my experience be without showing the experience, right?

You can subscribe to my channel – where I talk about my writing life as well as teaching and travel – here.

Writing Tip: When editing your manuscript, reading aloud (to yourself or anyone willing to listen) really helps you identify typos, cadence, and tone, which can help improve or remove parts of the story that need it.

That about does it for news this week. It’s not much, but I thank you for reading it and keeping up with me anyway. Thank you for taking this time to do so, and please – pass the word along to a friend about my work. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and it’s something authors truly and genuinely appreciate.

Until next time,

-Eli

Back to Writing

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well! I have a few bits of information for you today, so let’s get started…

The Faces of the War Collection

I finished my post-release read-through of Imminent and updated the ebook file with current links and amended formatting errors. Like I said in my last post, a few more errors than I would have liked slipped by me, but all have since been fixed. It was nice to read through the story again after letting some time go by; this was the first time I’d read through the story when I wasn’t focused on any major writing or editing. Along with the amended file came the aforementioned price change: the Kindle book is now up to $3.99 to match the others in the collection. The print remains at $8.99. If you haven’t yet checked out my new book and would like to, you can find it on Amazon!

I haven’t moved forward to much with the new book because I wanted to complete this read-through and update the Kindle file, but in the coming weeks I hope to see more consistent writing on my new project.

Writing Tip: Writing a little every day, even if it’s a few sentences here and there, can truly work wonders for your long-term writing habits and repertoire. 

The Short Story Collection

This past week, I worked a little on one of the three stories in the upcoming volume. It’s an interesting premise, I think, and has led me to do some research of a topic I normally wouldn’t research. But that’s part of the process – to sometimes do what you normally wouldn’t, and to see where writing can take you! If I can chip away at these short stories at a good pace, then my intended release of summer will be the time of release. However, the Faces project comes first, so I will play this project by ear. If you haven’t yet checked out my short stories – Volume 1 and Volume 2 – you can find them both on Amazon exclusively for the Kindle!

That’s all I have for this week. My teaching job has taken up some time that I would otherwise use to write, but making adjustments like that is part of being a writer. I thank you all for your continued support, encouragement, and patience as I pursue one of my passions. I’d really love to connect with you, whether you’re new or have been around for some time, and the best way to do that is through my mailing list. I send a monthly newsletter out with the inside scoop on my work – which means more details than I give away in the normal weekly blogs. Hope to connect with you!

Until next time,

-Eli

In Imminent’s Wake

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well and ready for a new week ahead! There is very little this week in terms of writing news, but there are some other cool things going on, so let’s get to it…

The Faces of the War Collection

When I published Resistant, and then again with Unguarded, I downloaded the ebook to my Kindle app and read through the story. The purpose of this type of read-through was to make sure the formatting looked how I wanted it and also to find any typos or other errors of the kind. I did the same thing with Imminent since its release on January 8th, and I have to say there were a few more errors (both formatting and spelling/grammar/diction) than I would’ve liked to have upon release.

Even after a handful of read-throughs, which I normally do every time, there still managed to be some things that slipped through the cracks. It just goes to show that even when you think you’re careful as a writer, you can’t be too careful. But I’m not taking this as a negative; rather, it’s a positive thing that’s resulted from my devotion to the storytelling and desire to produce a sharp book. Could I have waited a few more weeks to release the book? Perhaps. But at your core, when do you really know for certain when your story is “ready” as opposed to when you think it is?

Currently sitting at around 60% of the way through the story, I can say that I should soon finish my post-publication read-through in the coming week or so. The good news for you, my readers, is that the ebook price will remain at $2.99 until that time comes. For when I finish the read-through and edit the manuscript file in order to re-upload it, that will be when I up the price to the normal $3.99 (which is the price of the other ebooks, except for Resistant which is $0.99).

Aside from the fact that this read-through seems mostly focused on finding errors, another reason I do it is for the sake of improving my craft. If you’ve watched some of my YouTube vlogs before, you’ve heard me talk about this and how important it is. I may not take copious notes during this read-through, but I do take stock of issues that I can try to amend through writing habit in projects yet to come. That’s part of why I enjoy writing, because it gives me something to work on, results to strive toward, something that’s more than a hobby to be passionate about.

In the meantime, I’m also working on the beginnings of my other two books in this collection. I’m honestly focusing more on the read-through of Imminent for the time being until it’s done, but I’m also going over my story notes and ideas to see what can be developed and how the story can go. This is another exciting aspect of the writing process!

Writing Tip: If you release an ebook (no matter the platform), it’s good to download a copy in order to check the formatting. Even when it looks good before you hit that Publish button, it might look differently when it comes down the pipe on an actual e-reader with the actual book file others will download. Plus if you purchase a copy, you get royalties. It’s a win-win!

Other News

As part of my teaching occupation, I recently was asked if I’d like to spend a day at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH for a school event that’s coming up. I’ll be just one of many staff members there who will not only help run a program for current students, but I’ll also be available to answer questions of prospective students and parents. If you’ve been with me since at least last April, you’ll know that I went to the same base after completing a book fair in Dayton the previous day. It was an awesome sight, to see planes and other pieces of history on display there. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted on that visit, so hopefully I’ll catch what I missed this time around.

That about does it for this post. Thank you so much for reading and following my work. If you’re new, please feel free to browse around my website to see what I’m up to. You can also join my mailing list so you can receive my monthly e-newsletter; it’s where I give more of an inside look at what I’m doing – more details than what you see in the blog posts, essentially. I hope you have a great week, and thanks again!

Until next time,

-Eli

On to the Next Project!

Friends,

First off, I’d like to say that on this day of celebration in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. I hope that we can keep in mind our past and the struggles that many faced to bring about change in our world. Things can get pretty dark at times, and the civil rights era was just one of those times. The fight against racial discrimination continues today, but in different ways than before. Whatever your stance is on politics or religion or simply the proper way to act toward others, I hope that you can push yourself toward being kind and considerate and (perhaps to some degree) tolerant of those different than you. Life is a precious thing; it would be a shame to waste it by hating others. It’s not important that Martin Luther King was black – it’s simply because he was human that made his struggle so great.

As 2016 continues to unravel and reveal what’s in store for us, I hope that you’re finding yourself striving toward achieving your goals and reaching for your dreams and aspirations, as well as being the best version of yourself that you can be. I have only a few items to talk about today, so let’s get down to it…

The Faces of the War Collection

With the release of Imminent in its second week, I am pleased to say that so far it has been received well. It was fun to research and write, and I’m glad that it went off virtually without any major hitch. The pre-order price of this book was $2.99 and I ended up deciding to leave it as such since the book went live. But that won’t last too much longer, so pick up your Kindle copy before the price goes up! The print price, of course, is still $8.99. Now that that story is behind me in terms of new writing, my focus now shifts to the next project.

I’ve mentioned in my YouTube vlogs before that I plan on writing the final two books in the collection simultaneously, testing my boundaries and experimenting with new things. And I think that doing it this way might lend to keeping the content I write fresh in my mind so I’m not sticking to the same project for such a long time. So today marks the beginning of the next stretch of my writing journey, but this time I’ll be tackling two books.

The tentative release details for Book Four include a date sometime in late 2017, with Book Five releasing sometime in 2018. This, again, is because I’d like to have some uniformity and a streamlined look to the books and their details. Here’s what it will look like when it’s all over:

Resistant (2014)
Unguarded (2015)
Imminent (2016)
Book Four (2017)
Book Five (2018)

You can see how my OCD and attention to detail really kick in here! So that’s where things currently sit with my WWII historical fiction work, and I hope that I can produce two more stories with the same feel yet explore new or unique perspectives and challenges for my characters. Most important of all – I hope that you will join me on this journey (or stay with me if you’ve been a part of it for a while) and we can see how it ends, together.

Writing Tip: When writing action tags for your characters, try to picture yourself in their shoes in order to get an idea of sensory details in any given moment, especially during an action sequence. 

The Short Story Collection

At the moment, I am working toward completing the next volume in the collection. The tentative release date is sometime this summer. I’ll have more details as winter turns to spring and progress is made on the stories.

As for my most recent volume (#2), there will be a free promotion all next week! You can find the Kindle ebook on Amazon and pick up your free copy if you don’t already have it. This volume was the follow-up volume to my first, which released in the fall of 2014. I hope you enjoy it, and would appreciate a review or direct feedback to me via email or social media. I like to know how I’m doing and where I can improve!

That’s about all the news for this week. I am very excited to get things rolling on these new WWII books, and I hope you’re excited to read them when the time comes. Thanks to all who have offered me encouragement and support, and to my readers – for without all of you, my work would be nearly impossible!

Until next time,

-Eli

Reflection: Writing Imminent

Friends,

I hope the New Year continues to go well for you in these first weeks, and that this post finds you in good health and spirits! What I write to you today is my reflection on the writing and publishing process of my newest book, Imminent.

The planning was first completed in the early fall of 2014 with the writing beginning in earnest in that December. I completed the Prologue and Epilogue first before moving to the body of the book; this was mostly because the story that takes place in these parts envelops the story that comprises the book’s body, so it made sense to write it this way. I completed these bookend story parts before New Years Day 2015.

cover_6

Cover of Imminent, designed by Ilian Georgiev

I then spent time writing and re-planning, then rewriting, the main body of the book, where the meat of the story takes place. There were a few major changes that took place in the first 6-8 months of 2015, most of them the result of my attempts to refine the story that came from my initial planning. I wanted to make this one unique in its own right yet familiar and relatable to the others before it, in a way to link the stories together in an abstract manner. This is one of the primary challenges with each book because it’s something that I want to get right, but can at times seem rather difficult to accomplish.

Once July had come and gone – a month where no new writing had taken place – I found myself refreshed and recharged to continue chipping away at my desired word count. Keep in mind, I advise that it’s not good to let a desired word count dictate the creation of the story in the strictest sense, but that it’s good to have a word count for which to aim when writing. The books in the WWII historical fiction collection are considered novellas, so I want them to not exceed 50K words. As a point of reference, my first book (Resistant) was just shy of 38K words, my second book (Unguarded) came in at just under 48K words, and Imminent is just under 47K.

As the process drew to its closing in the late fall and early winter of 2015, I finalized the cover design based on ideas I had from 2014. Most of the final covers that you see are very close to my original design ideas, if not the actual designs themselves. After a handful of revisions, we landed on what you saw above in this post. There is reason behind how the cover was designed, which I’ll detail in another post in the near future. I then finalized my manuscript and submitted it to Amazon with a few days to spare before my pre-order deadline of December 28.

I’d like to give special mention to one of my writing friends who edited the story for me, and who also gave me some great insight into writing and editing, as well as some much needed tips. At her request, I came up with a ghost name for her: Bella Migliorare. Here’s a little fun fact – in Italian, bella means good or nice, and migliorare is the root form of the word improvement. Since she made a “good improvement” to the story, the name made itself. So to my editor, I thank you!

As of this post, the Kindle and print versions of the book are available, so if you’re interested in this story or in my work in general, I encourage you to check it out on Amazon – the Kindle version is currently $2.99 and the print is $8.99. Don’t tarry in picking up your Kindle copy, for the price will go to the normal price of $3.99 soon. And I’d very much appreciate a review when you’ve finished, if you’d be so kind. With this project completed, it is time to move forward with the next one: Book Four in this collection should be started in the coming week or two, and I’ll continue to post details of its progress in the coming months.

I thank you for taking time out of your day to read this post. Your encouragement and support mean a great deal to me. If you aren’t yet on my mailing list, I encourage you to subscribe to get the inside scoop on my work and my writing life. I’d love to connect with you and share my journey and experiences with you.

Until next time,

-Eli

Imminent Launch Week

Friends,

Welcome to a new year! I hope everyone’s holidays were fun and safe, and that you got to spend time doing things you enjoy with the ones you love. This is a big week for me, so let’s get on to this post’s content…

The Faces of the War Collection

We’re in the final days of the Imminent pre-order, with the book releasing this Friday, January 8. If you haven’t yet picked up your discounted Kindle copy of my third WWII historical fiction book, you can do so here.

cover_6

I am very excited to get this book off the ground and into the hands of readers, and am even more excited to hear what you think of the story. So if you do get your hands on a copy, I’d be delighted if you left a review on the Amazon sales page telling me your thoughts on the book.

In addition to the release of Imminent, this week also marked the highest volume of downloads of any of my books to date – over 500! The book in question is my debut story, Resistant, which was free this past week. In one day alone there were over two hundred downloads, so I thank you all who took part in this promotion. It truly made my week!

As for Unguarded, the second book in this collection, there will be a Kindle Countdown Deal from January 13-19. You can go to the book’s Amazon page to get your Kindle copy if you haven’t done so already. This whole month is a great way to kick off the New Year, so come along with me for the ride!

YouTube

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, if you are a regular viewer, that I haven’t posted any new videos since before Christmas. This is mostly because I wanted to focus on time with family. I’m sure you can understand how important family is around the holidays. That being said, I intend on picking back up with my vlogs this week, posting the first video of the New Year on Friday alongside the release of Imminent. If you haven’t yet checked out my channel, you can find me on YouTube here.

That about does it for news this week, so be sure to pre-order Imminent this week, or at least check it out in the coming weeks, and let me know what you think. And as always, you can subscribe to my mailing list to keep as up-to-date on my work as possible. Thank you for your encouragement and support!

Until next time,

-Eli

A New Year, A New Chance

Friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your family and friends!

If you’ve read my blog for some time, you know that I usually start off each post with something to the extent of “welcome to a new week – where we have a new opportunity to accomplish our goals.” I say this because I truly believe that just because you don’t achieve your idea of success one week, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be worked toward or achieved the following week. With the New Year coming this week, I figured I’d expand upon some of my thoughts for another chance at success!

First, I’ll start off by touching on my WWII historical fiction work. My new book, Imminent, is available for pre-order right now and will  release January 8. I am very excited to get this project off the ground and into the hands of readers. This book presented me with some new challenges as well as some familiar ones, and I can’t wait to see what you think of it! Also my first book, Resistant, is FREE all this week, so pick up your Kindle copy today!

With that being said, I’ll kick off 2016 by beginning the writing of the next book. I am anxious for what the year will bring for my writing, but I’m also optimistic and excited. I thoroughly enjoy writing – creating – these stories, and I don’t want to stop. I want to make it a part of my life, and a big one at that. And that’s part of the whole idea of “a new opportunity” of which I so often speak: the excitement and wonder of what lies ahead, and having the courage and passion to find out.

Second, I’d like to say that whether you’re new to writing or have been doing it for years, I hope that you’ll take this transition in time to reflect on what you’re craft is, how you approach writing, and where you see yourself taking that passion. It’s good to every once in a while sit and think about the writing, rather than write write write without a second thought.

So as the New Year approaches and begins, I encourage you to take stock of what you currently do and how you can improve it. Yes, writing is an art, and art should be partially spontaneous and free-flowing, but a portion of it must also be structured, developed, and ever improved. That is something I’m going to strive for this year.

And lastly, not having to do so much with writing, is the idea of striving to achieve success in life. I don’t mean seek out ways to become rich – that’s not what this is about, nor should it be a focus in this type of conversation. What I speak of is far more precious and valuable: the state of happiness and contentment that results from hard work and focused energy.

It’s so easy to get off-topic or become distracted in today’s world, something that makes me envy my childhood, when times were simpler. Not so much because children lack adult responsibilities, but simpler because the physical world was our oyster, not the technological one. When you think about your life in a general sense (not putting more weight toward one thing or the other), what comes to mind that would make you happy? What would bring you contentment? This answer will be different for us all, as it should be.

So as I leave you with this post, ask yourself what can be done in the New Year to help achieve your goals. Don’t think of this as a New Year’s resolution, for it should be something of an everyday thought. It just so happens that our minds make us think that a change in the year means something. In this context, it doesn’t. You are always able to strive for greatness and success; it’s just a matter of when and how you do it for yourself.

Until next time,

-Eli