Publishing Update

When Cat’s Eyes was published in December 2010, there was an indication at the back of the book that Cat’s Paw would be published three months later – in March 2011. It’s obvious that hasn’t happened. Why, you may be asking.

The printer used for Cat’s Eyes used to be quite good. The first time I used them, for Speculative Realms, the service was great. My lack of experience meant I had to seek help several times and I always received it within 24 hours, and the instructions were clear and concise. Two years later, when I was ready to publish Cat’s Eyes, I returned to them and noticed a definite change straight away. All indications showed a plummet in service level, to almost non-existent. There were so many bad stories going around and ignored pleas for help, that it made me wonder if I were doing the right thing using the company again. However, for various reasons, I decided to forge ahead and, luckily, do not have to add my name to the list of people who needed help and didn’t get it.

Yet, my gut tells me not to take such a risk again. And I’ve decided to listen to my gut as it usually (but not always) serves me well.

At the beginning of this year, I started looking for another printer. I would have preferred one in Australia but every quote I received (and there were a lot) was VERY expensive. In truth, not even close in comparison to the printer I had already been using. This made me feel a little concerned, but I chose to continue looking.

Then I discovered Lightning Source. I researched the company, what people were saying about them, their prices and whatever else I could find out about them and discovered a possible replacement. Their offices were overseas, which wasn’t a problem, but the one recurring comment I kept seeing was their postal fees were high. I decided to start an account with them so that I could do some comparative research, but I kept getting this niggling feeling about the whole thing, which made me hesitant. That’s when I discovered they would be setting up shop in Australia. At that point, I made the decision to put everything on hold.

Today I found out the Australian office is open for business. At the news, I went straight to Lightning Source and asked some questions. It’s the weekend, so I don’t expect a response until Monday but my gut is telling me to follow this through to the end. When the account is set up and the comparative research done, I’ll decide what I’m going to do next.

At this stage, I believe I might have a new printer in Australia, but let’s not count our horses too soon.

Indie Author Community

I must be a glutton for punishment. Honestly, I cannot believe I’ve done this…but I have. I’ve reopened the old Scribe’s board. However, Scribe’s will never return. I’ve changed in the last 14 months. My outlook and goals have changed too. Now, I want to be a part of a community. I miss being with people who care about the things I care about. Hence, the birth of…

Indie Author Community Message Board {link removed as the board has since been closed down again}

Yes, there’s a section for writing, but the main focus of this board is indie publishing. As I learn the ropes, I’ll share my experiences. If you want to learn with me, then feel free to join the board and share your experiences too. If you’ve already travelled the indie road and have information we might be interested in, then please join the board and share. And, yes, if you’re a writer and haven’t even thought about publication yet but want to mingle with other writers, then join the board…ok, I won’t say it again. Anyway, the more the merrier.

I don’t want the community to be swamped with rules and regulations. Not like last time. Use common sense and respect and everything should be fine.

I hope to see you at the board soon. 😀

Walking the Indie Publishing Road

No, I have not fallen into a black hole. Yes, I am still writing (even though the progress bars in the sidebar are not moving). So what have I been doing? The last few months have seen me more focused on writing than I have been in some time.

My progress with Whispering Caves was going quite well. However, writing in first person presented a problem where I couldn’t present vital information as the main character had no way of knowing about it (or finding out about it). I came up with a solution, but am not convinced it is working that well. Having written 15,000 words, I must admit that the manuscript has been placed on the back burner, once again. I’m not entirely happy with this decision, but feel I should be moving forward on other completed projects before finishing this one.

The reason I’ve put the manuscript on the back burner is due to another decision I’ve made about my Cat’s Series (for young readers). There are four books in the series. Two have been written and edited. The other two have been planned, but need writing. As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided to publish this series of books myself.

At present, I’m trying to decide if I want to set up a publishing company (small press) or find out if there are other options that would be more suitable for my situation. I’m usually quite resourceful, but have had little luck finding any good information on what options are available to me. This may mean the options are limited, but I want to make an informed decision so I’ll keep searching.

Ideally, setting up a business would be great except I have no knowledge how to go about it or what it entails afterwards and this scares me…a lot! In fact, my own fear is holding me back from taking further steps and this not only annoys me, but frustrates me too.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on covers for the four books. As I’m not an artist, I’ve decided to go with a theme that will cover (excuse the pun) the entire series. The background colours will be bright, the main image will promote the essence of the series and then there will be another image that will be unique to each book. Books 2 and 3 are done, but I’m having a devil of a time with the cover of book 1 – Cat’s Eyes. I’ve been to many royalty free websites and have not found anything suitable. I have used family photos of my own cats to try and achieve a pair of cat’s eyes that would be right, but haven’t come up with the right look yet. A simple pair of black eyes on a transparent background, at a size suitable for cover artwork, will not defeat me!

That’s what I’ve been doing – artwork, editing, refining plans for the unwritten books, writing blurbs, researching and reading websites regarding indie authors, thinking about formats and publication. All these things are writing related.

If you know of any resources that may help me, please let me know. I need all the help I can get.

Setting Stories Free

I’ve discovered another informative website – Publetariat.

If you click on the “Publish” tab, you’ll find a long list of articles that could steal several hours of your time. I read a few of them and intend to read more. But this post is related to one of the articles Setting Stories Free…For Free.

If you read the article, you’ll discover the author has been giving away free stories for nine years and she intends to continue doing so. Over the years she received a lot of flack over it, but that made no difference. Then, near the end of the article, she tells how she also has seven best sellers since 2005. No wonder she didn’t/doesn’t listen to the flack. What she’s doing is working in her favour, why should she stop doing it?

This is a great example of someone who made a decision and stuck with it. It’s also an example of how giving something away for free can lead to a readership that will support you when you publish too. But what I liked best about the article is that it gives a clear message of determination wins through, which is encouraging as we sometimes get disillusioned on this long journey.

Indie Author: Avast Ye Lubbers, And Hear Ye Me Pirate Tale of Two Clicks!

Originally posted on another site on 25 February 2010.

I was doing the rounds of my blog roll (found at the bottom of this page) to catch up on other people’s news, when I came across Indie Author: Avast Ye Lubbers, And Hear Ye Me Pirate Tale of Two Clicks!.

The words not only rang true for me, I felt like climbing the tallest building in my area and shouting out my agreeance. Greed! It’s going to be the downfall of the publication industry.

Isn’t it better to sell a lot of books at a small cost than hardly to sell any books at a high price? The more people who read the books, the more people will talk about the books and the more people who will buy the books. This, long term, will be more beneficial for all concerned.

How can a publisher justify selling a printed book for $14 and an electronic version of the same book for $13? How can they sleep at night knowing they are ripping people off? Why do readers pay the price? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, an ebook should be at least half the price of the printed version.

Then again…perhaps this “ebook war” is intentional. Perhaps the publishers are deliberately sabotaging epublishing because they want it to “go away”. Or, perhaps greed is the only motivation behind their actions. If so, the industry is doomed.

I don’t like piracy. There will always be those who will never pay for anything if they can get it for free, I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about the people like me who would prefer to do the right thing. I write and I know the effort and sweat that goes into one manuscript. I want the creator of that manuscript to get what is due to them, but I understand why people turn to piracy when the asking price is set much too high.

What makes me angry is that the solution is simple. Stop being greedy and lower the prices! Again, this will be more beneficial for everyone.

The E-book Price War Isn’t Over Yet

Originally posted on another site on 19 February 2010.

Why does there have to be a war? If printed books are $18 (as they generally are in Australia), then an ebook should be at least half that price (in my opinion) as there is no paper, shipping, etc.

It seems to me that as ebooks become more popular, the book sellers are beginning to get greedier, which is pushing the prices of all books up, up, up. When will it stop? When people stop reading because they can’t afford to any more?

Read this article to find out the latest – The E-book Price War Isn’t Over Yet.

The Road Divides and I Must Go Astray

Originally posted on another site on 15 January 2010.

The return to work has seen me fall behind in my blogging as it means I, once again, am getting up very early and doing a lot of travelling. This week, being my first week back, has left me feeling tired, too tired to write or even think about writing…much! And I’m even having trouble keeping my eyes open enough to read. Strangely, I don’t seem to have the same trouble with Bejeweled 2 on my iPod Touch. 😉

Next week will be different. It has to be because I stand at a place where the road divides. I already know which road I must take. Unfortunately, it will take me away from Whispering Caves, but only for a short time. In fact, the road is quite short and if I don’t hurry to do what needs to be done I’ll find myself falling over a cliff at the end of the road. Sounds bad, doesn’t it, but I’m dramatising the situation for your benefit.

This road is a necessity. It’s for the anthology and I’m very excited about the new direction we are going in. However, that grand news will be announced on another day so be sure to return here in a week or so to find out what the fuss is all about – you might even get yourself a bargain!

Designing A Cover For Your Book- A guide for self publishers

by Anthony P. Palmieri

In these days of computers, the internet, digital cameras, and on-line publishing companies, individuals can more easily express their creativity through writing and publishing their own written works. Whether it is a novel, a short story, or a how to guide, having a creative cover is important to help capture the attention of your audience. There is that old saying, “You can’t tell a book by its cover” is so true, but your job as an author is to make sure that the cover best reflects your written works. With the growth of E-books and on-line books, having a well designed cover is even more important. The web surfer can quickly have tens if not hundreds of books at their fingertips, but why should they select your book over another? Without spending many dollars in marketing, one of the best tools at your disposal is a cover that will get their attention and hopefully pique their interest to make a purchase. If you are writing on a topic that already has many similar topics, such as “Vegetable Gardening”, you have to compete even more for the consumers dollars.

You could purchase the different graphics tools of go off to a company to design your cover for you. Most of the covers that you are familiar with in a book store cost hundreds of dollars to design, and in some cases thousands. Now whether you are writing 10 pages or 5000 pages, this article will give you some basic ideas that will help you design your next book cover into one that is different, unique and personal. Remember that a well done book cover will boost your sales.

Designing A Cover For Your Book – A guide for self publishers

You have already expressed your creative side by writing a book, now lets express your artistic side. By using a collection of clip art, or a low cost digital camera coupled with some imagination can open the door for you to create unique cover that portrays your writings. Even with that saying, “You can’t tell a book by its cover”, the cover definitely gets attention. Think of the book cover as a marketing tool that promotes not only your book, but you as the author.

Software packages like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have many capabilities that allow you to customize your pictures and illustrations. The question often asked is; “What should I do?” The intent of this article is to give you a few ideas to spark your creativity and see what fits your personality. Our focus at has been on pet and automotive art, so we will use an automotive car show judging guide as an example, although these ideas can be applied to many other topics.

With E-Books and on-line publications, having an elaborate cover is a one time upfront cost since there is no printing involved, so it is worth it to do it right since the book revenue in part will be dependent upon the cover.

Publishers for hard copied books have the ability to use different papers, and cover media such as foil, and other eye catching materials. On-line publishing has to leverage the graphics appeal to grab the readers eye and entice them to read further. A brief list of tips to consider when designing your book cover is as follows:

Always try to use high resolution images (clear and crisp) for any initial artwork. You can always lower the resolution later on. 2. As an author, if you expect to have multiple books you may wish to have a common theme where there may be a similar layout or border between books. Define your own brand identity. 3. Design your a layout with layers giving a three dimensional effect. For example the palm tree in the background of the “Pet Photography Book Example”. 4. Some customers will also print out their book, so you want a design that is printable, and will still look good. Make sure that what ever resolution you use is sufficient for printing. Typically 150 DPI will work unless there is intricate details that may require higher resolution. 5. For best versatility and color representation use RGB color specifications versus CMYK. 6. Hard copied books use different cover effects to catch the readers eyes, such as fabrics, and embossing. You want to obtain a similar visual effect, so use different background textures to give a feel like cloth, diamond plate, fabric with out them being too pronounced. Select something that relates to the content. One example we used was a diamond plate border for an automotive engine book. The rugged diamond plate linked nicely to the bold metal engines. 7. Remember your target audience. If it is children, select clip art that they can relate to. For hobbyist, try to incorporate some aspect of the hobby on the cover. 8. Do not clutter the cover too much with images or text. It can make it difficult to read on line.

Use visual effects that reflect the contents and the value it brings to the reader. A consumer is more likely to purchase a book f they perceive the value more than the cost. Your cover needs to reflect the value, but it is equally important that the contents justify the cover. Do not mislead the reader. The judging book example has a trophy in the background implying if you follow the advice in the book, you could have a trophy on your shelf. Or the pet photography example where it tells he reader it will help them create a picture like the one on the cover. These are things that have a tangible feel to them that reflects value. Many of the books we sold were purchased as a gift. The giver wants to make the receiver happy, and wants confirmation that it’s a great gift and often looks for a smile. When someone sees your cover you want them to smile.

This value in a cover that gets attention is dependent upon how well the design is done, and what message it gets across.

Marketing studies have show that having a catchy box or cover for a product sells more products, so take the ideas presented here and sell some books.

Final Remarks On Designing Your Book Cover

Even though we are only presetting a few examples and ideas, you should realize that like the words you have written on the pages, the book cover is an extension of the writers personality. As long as basic principles are adhered to, there is no right or wrong way, as long as the message gets across. Accurate representation of the books contents along with a cover that is memorable are two of the keys to make your book stand out.

Competition for consumers will continue to increase as more titles compete with yours. Look at what other authors have done and open your imagination and embark on the first step to create yours. By utilizing the tips here you are one step closer.

So to get started, take what you have learned here, finish your book and get a cover designed.

About the Author:
Anthony Palmieri founded Palmieri Concepts after 20 years of creating custom artwork for his own pleasure and enjoyment along with 30 years as a car enthusiast. This business initially grew out of a love for motor vehicles and was started to share with others what began as a hobby. For additional information on how to designing book covers or having a custom cover designed for you, visit Palmieri Concepts at There are many examples that have helped authors like you have a great cover.