The Alliance: Bloodlines 2nd Edition Cover Reveal

Two years ago, I released my very first self-published novel, The Alliance: Bloodlines. Bloodlines was scheduled to be the first in a series of YA Urban Fantasy novels, but the debut novel generated little buzz. Rookie mistakes were made including my cover design choice, and a list of my lessons learned can be found here on my blog. I created an Indiegogo campaign to improve the quality of my novel, which was fully funded and assisted with costs of the cover designed by Ida at Amygdala Design.

Bloodlines v2

Bloodlines Blurb:

In Jefferson City, things really do go bump in the night. The city is plagued with supernatural elements, but most of the citizens are unaware. Jaysk McLeod is the owner of The Four Aces—the central hub of all things evil—where gamblers often disappear and demons usually flock.

Kristen Bailey is a bullied teen from a broken home, until one day she loses control of her emotions and her special abilities appear. She gains super strength she can’t always control and unnatural healing abilities. Jameson Brown is just a young man with an addiction and no purpose, until he meets his first demon. Sheila and Star are both survivors of demon attacks. These four random citizens—troubled outcasts—meet with one common goal, to purge the monsters from their city.

Funded by Pryce, a former government scientist, they form a demon hunter team known as The Alliance. With the help of some unlikely allies, they must take back their city from Jaysk and the other supernatural elements that plague it.

The Alliance: Bloodlines will be re-released on Amazon in late November with the sequel, Drakon. Stay tuned for Drakon’s upcoming cover reveal.

Ballin’ on a Budget: Author Edition

Self-publishing can be a great freedom, but also an unfortunate strike on your piggy bank. You can easily find yourself dumping thousands of your hard earned dollars into the process. There’s a need to publish quality content, but let’s be honest here, not every writer has thousands of dollars available to funnel into a publishing adventure. So what do you do when the budget is tight? There are ways to publish without breaking the bank. The tips I am providing below are what I like to call “Ballin’ on a Budget: Author Edition” so take notes.

I’ll discuss publishing in both ebook and print formats, but obviously you’ll find the ebook only approach being the cheaper route. You should be able to publish both formats together for anywhere between $500-$800 depending mostly on your choices for editing and covers.

First, let’s start with the hefty chunk of the self-publishing costs. I’ve seen full editing packages exceed $2,000. It’s not a secret that you shouldn’t skimp on your editing. Too many errors inside your book will have readers discarding before they finish the story. You can’t handle all the editing alone and expect to catch everything. Your friends don’t make good options either, but you don’t have to pay thousands to get your book edited. Here are some editing options for your budget.

  • Option one: Find a teacher/professor who can offer the right editing for your project. No friends! Not even if the friend is strict with their grammar! I’ve been there, done that. Just don’t. English majors who do a lot of reading and writing of their own will have much better eye for editing your manuscript than someone who just understands grammar. My Alliance series is being edited by a local English teacher who has similar tastes in reading. Appreciation of your genre is not required, but could be an added bonus. You might find a local teacher who has experience in editing and can offer you a better rate than a professional online. You might be able to negotiate a flat fee or a discount for a multiple book commitment.
  • Option two: Professional editors are going to be the more costly option, and the price can very well depend on your manuscript. Rates usually are calculated per word or page, but I’ve seen some quote a flat fee for certain word counts. The industry standard seems to be 250 words per page. I’ve seen people charge $1 per page and some $0.ooo7 per word (which translates to $1.75 per page) There’s also different types of editing. I recommend polishing your manuscript to the best of your ability and then getting a quote and sample edits. If your manuscript averages 60-180k you should be fine here. I feel confident you can find editing and proofreading costs to be under $500 for an average size manuscript. If your manuscript is more like 300k behemoth, well then the budget might be a little tighter.

Professional editors will usually offer a sample edit for so many words or pages. After applying some research time, request sample edits of the editors you found in your price range. You might be able to make a more educated decision based off of the quality of the edits you receive.

Second, you must understand the cover is also vital to your book’s success. Regardless of the classic phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” people will still unfortunately judge your book by the cover. Don’t Photoshop your own images unless you really know what you’re doing. Hey, I won’t assume you aren’t a skilled graphic designer, but if you’re not a savvy art professional who knows how to design book covers, don’t.  Leave this task to a professional who understands design and layout. For this you’ll have two options.

  • Option one: Premade covers aren’t always the best decision, especially if you’re working on a series, but can work well for small budgets. For ebook you can get a premade cover for about $50, but keep in mind the price will increase to about $75-$100 if you add on the print option. Don’t be hasty, make sure you read the fine print and do your research on the designer.
  • Option two: Custom covers are the best option with an obviously larger price point. This allows a cover to be created to 100% fit your story and add cohesion if it’s for a series. For this option, you’re looking at about $100 minimum for ebook. I’ve seen low print and ebook packages run around $150-$200.

Formatting can range $50-$100 per average size manuscript. Remember you’ll need different file formats for ebook and print, so make sure you get a price quote for everything you need.

Copyright and ISBNs are a relatively low cost, but also aren’t 100% required, especially if you’re publishing through Amazon’s Createspace. Createspace will provide the ISBNs for you, so you shouldn’t need to purchase an ISBN if you’re working exclusively with them. I personally haven’t purchased the ISBNs because I do publish exclusively through Amazon. Copyright costs can add that extra security and peace of mind. I did go through the copyright process for the first novel in my Alliance series, but have not for the second novel in the series. If you can include this in your budget , the copyright fee should start at $35 for a single manuscript.

Remember, if you are working on a series, don’t forget to ask if they offer discounts for multiple books. I mentioned this in a previous blog post, but there’s a chance a formatter, editor or designer will offer a discount for multiple projects. Not everyone will advertise a discount, but I’ve found many who were willing to offer me one when I inquired.

Also remember to research and read all the fine print when building your budget plan and choosing who to work with. Don’t be hasty, be smart. I learned all of this the hard way, and I hope to save some other writers from making the same mistakes.

Publishing costs for my second novel, Drakon, totals at $475 by using the tips I provided. The $475 includes the print and ebook covers, editing and formatting, so the budgeting route is indeed possible.

Writing a novel takes a lot of heart and hard work, so make sure to take the same care with your self-publishing choices.

Five Books I’d Love to See Adapted for Television

I’m sure many people who follow me on Twitter or heard one of my podcast appearances for Nerds Against the World know I rant and rave about how much I love Brian K. Vaughan comics and Urban Fantasy books.

Here are my top five suggestions for series that would make great adaptations for TV.

BOOK cover Y The Last man

Y: The Last Man is a dystopian sci-fi adventure created by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. The sudden death of almost all male mammals spins the world into chaos. The protagonist, Yorrick Brown, finds himself as the lone male human survivor along with his male Capuchin monkey, Ampersand.

It’s apparent throughout the series that BKV put so much thought into what life would be like if we suddenly lost the entire male population. Important jobs fields dominated by male employees suddenly come to a screeching halt, and every woman is coping in her own way. Yorrick doesn’t give you the male stereotype who would be happy to repopulate with any eager women he meets, but instead wants nothing more than to travel across the world to find his girlfriend, Beth.

At once time this was set to be a movie, which became stuck in development hell somewhere. The rights to the story have reverted back to Vaughan, and it’s unlikely if we’ll ever see any adaptations of this amazing story. However, I feel this would be better suited as an ongoing series. There’s way too many story-lines and unique characters that intertwine with Yorrick’s journey and those would most likely get snubbed out with a film adaptation.

BOOK cover Runaways

Runaways comic book series is another fantastic Brian K. Vaughan comic book creation. BKV and Adrian Alphona deliver a fantastic tale of teenagers who find out their parents are members of an evil crime organization known as “The Pride”. The Pride consists of mob bosses, time travelers, wizards, mad scientists, aliens and telepathic mutants.  Some of the kids use the weapons or gadgets created by their parents and others inherit their own super abilities which are used to try and stop their evil parents.

The kids come together like a dysfunctional family much like you would see in a Joss Whedon show. In fact, Whedon wrote for the series after BKV departed from the second volume. The teenage team even has some pretty memorable moments with other members of the Marvel universe, including Wolverine. This would add to the many great Marvel television shows currently in production and offer life as a superhero from a teenage perspective.

BOOK cover Hollows

The Hollows/Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison would also make a good urban fantasy world for a television series.  Harrison’s alternate Chicago setting offers an interesting aspect of how the supernatural world gets outed to the humans and the history of a genetically altered tomato that wipes out a huge chunk of the human population. It’s quite funny to see humans so afraid to eat ketchup.

The series follows bounty hunter witch, Rachel Morgan, who has the unfortunate luck of finding trouble around every corner. Her roommates and bounty hunter/detective team include the odd pairing with a pixie and living vampire. Fans of Being Human might like this as a show because it’s another interesting pairing of supernatural roommates trying to make their job and living situation work, all while Rachel Morgan becomes the target of many supernatural communities.

BOOK cover Janet Evanovich

The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich could still be considered for a television show. The first book, One for the Money, was adapted into a completely underwhelming movie. This is one of the funniest series I’ve ever read, and the show has so much charm and wit that managed to be drained from the film version. The Mortal Instruments series would’ve made this list even after the poor movie, but now the television show reboot is in the works. Why not give the same treatment to the Plum series?

Stephanie Plum is a fun and quirky bounty hunter who finds herself in the most ridiculous situations while trying to capture fugitives. Stephanie surrounds herself with a wild cast of characters including her partner, Lula, who is a former hooker turned wanna-be bounty hunter. Sandra Bullock has long been a fan favorite for the role of Stephanie, so can someone call Bullock and convince her to do television? Please?

BOOK cover Anita Blake

The Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton is a gritty urban fantasy series which seems best suited as a Netflix original or HBO type show due to the amount of violence and sex. Anita Blake boasts many talents including necromancy, professional vampire executioner and acts as a supernatural consultant for the police in St Louis, Missouri. Supernatural creatures and elements coexist with humans in Anita Blake’s world, and she develops strong relationships with many different factions. The books usually follow Anita as she uncovers mysteries in the supernatural community while getting tangled up in politics and complex relationships with vampires and shifters.

What adaptations would you like to see on television? I’ll cover my top five books that should be movies in next week’s post.

Project Updates for February 2015

I recently finished a short story that will be released later this year in both text and audio book format. This was a commissioned project, so I don’t have any release dates yet. I can’t really give any details either, but I will make an announcement once I have information to offer. I’m really anxious to share this new story with you all.

I’m currently working on final revisions for the Bloodlines sequel before I put the novel in the hands of the editor. I’m feeling hopeful for a November or December release date. I’m working on some concept sketches for possible cover designs, and I’m researching possible artists to work with. I’ll be releasing a second edition of Bloodlines featuring a new cover design to offer cohesion with the sequel.

I’m still submitting Sacrifice to literary agents and publishers, but self-publishing is my back up plan.

As if I haven’t been busy enough, I decided to work on another story to release chapters online. I’m going to adapt my unpublished comic, Extinction, into to an ongoing series. I haven’t worked out all the details, but I’m thinking of maybe doing a weekly or bi-weekly release. I’m working on a draft for the project, so it might be a few weeks before I have some worthy content.

Stay tuned for upcoming fiction.

Publishing Update

The Alliance: Bloodlines was formatted and submitted to CreateSpace.  Now I must wait on the proof copy to be shipped so we can check for any issues. I’ve had several people asking questions so I thought I’d address those here too.

I’ve had a lot of people asking about autographed copies, but I don’t have that detail worked out yet. I’ll make a post once I figure it all out. This is my first adventure into self-publishing (any publishing ha!) so everything is a learning process.

The release date will be sometime in December, but I don’t have a specific date yet. The book will be available in both paperback and eBook through Amazon & CreateSpace.

Bloodlines will be available for North America and Europe, but I will look into expanding that after the release.

The site is currently under construction, but some amazing art is coming so stay tuned! Hope I covered all of your questions and thanks again for your support! ❤