Friday, March 27, 2020

Publishing With IngramSpark.

To my dearest friends and followers,

I hope this finds you well. I know the world is a little bit of a scary place right now, but we'll make it through. Thank you again for taking the time to come here and read what I have written. I suppose I just wanted to update you on my misadventures of the week.

What happened this week.
To start, my husband finished reading my book, I finished reading my book, and I finished going through all the edits and changed what needed fixing!!
All I have left to do is format my book and then upload it for publication (I even have my ISBN purchased).
So, a several months back, I was pretty set on thinking I would publish my book through Amazon. However, after spending a day with my husband and visiting a number of local bookstores, I decided against them. More recently I've been set on publishing with IngramSpark and uploading my book before the 31st of this month in order to use their promo code.
In order to use their services, I found out I should format my book using InDesign. I was hesitant because it is NOT free and I'm trying to keep the spending at a minimum. In the end, it kind of seemed like I needed to get it, so I did. 
The problem? Once I payed for it and downloaded it, I can't actually use it because my computer's operating system is so outdated. Basically, I need a new laptop. Long story short, all the stores nearby are sold out (I guess people decided to update all their electronics when they bought all the toilet paper), and if I order one, it won't arrive before my deadline of the 31st. I ended up ordering one anyway because my options were limited. I'm hoping for the best.

Why I chose IngramSpark.
After speaking with several small bookstores, my husband and I learned that if I want my book in stores, Amazon wouldn't be a good option for me because most of those stores will not order from them since they see them as competition. That made a lot of sense. Then we heard from one person in particular who told us about IS (IngramSpark). What she said seemed promising, so we looked in to it.
IS is a self-publishing platform and one of the largest book distributors. It is not free to publish through them, but the cost is pretty cheap in terms of self-publishing (only 49usd).
The thing that decided it for me though, is that they advertise "Global distribution to over 40,000 retailers and libraries, including availability to Amazon and Barnes & Noble." There is still a lot of marketing that needs to happen on my end, but the one thing I really want will be accomplished: being in bookstores. We do plan to go to independent bookstores and see if they will carry my book, maybe donate some to libraries, possibly do book signings at local stores, etc.

I just want to clarify something...I realize keep saying "we" a lot. My husband has been a huge help to me through this journey the last few months and will no doubt continue to do so. XD

Anyhow, that's what my experience has been so far. Amazon is still a great way to go, and it's a bit cheaper than using IS. If you want your book to be in stores though, there are a lot of other options out there.
I will do my best to keep you updated on my progress, but right now, I'm thinking my book will be available for purchase by the end of April.
Stay safe!!
Stay inside, read more books and support indie or local authors. XD

Yours truly,

Here are a few suggested books:
(some of these books I personally recommend because I have read or want to read them. The others were provided by the authors after I opened the question on Twitter for anyone to share their books to my blog.)

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
The Changeling And The Cupboard (The complications of Being Lucy book 1) by Gus Kenney
Phantom (Dark Musicals book 1) by Laura DeLuca
Dylap by A.C. Salter
I: (Chronicles of Darkness book 1) by Charles Reed
Severus: The Black Caesar by Steve Exeter

What is InDesign?
Why use IngramSpark?

Friday, March 20, 2020

What's in a name...

What's in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
~ William Shakespeare

To my dearest friends and followers,

This last week has been absolutely insane. But it's been good too. My husband and I are getting to enjoy a lot of time with each other. We've spent more time working in the yard, more time watching movies and shows that we've wanted to see, we've been getting to enjoy meals together, and we've been making more art.

I've actually spent a lot of time working on a cover for my book!!
I wanted to show the evolution of book covers here, the first one being the most recent, the last one being the oldest. I decided not to show every single cover I've created, just a few of the better looking ones...
At first, I didn't really know what I wanted on the cover, I just created possible ideas. It wasn't until recently that I became interested in having someone else design my cover, particularly Toni Burt or Jane Davenport. When both of them declined, I decided to do a study of Jane Davenport's art so that I could design my own book cover in her style.
I really like the most recent cover and how much it's changed over time!!

I've also worked on a title change.
It was brought to my attention by one of my beta readers that the title of my book, Beyond the Veil, was actually the title of another book, several actually, which I was aware of. However, her suggestion of changing the title sort of stuck with me. I hadn't really considered it before. I just thought I would add yet one more book to the world with that title.
It was really hard to think of my book with a different name than the one I gave it five years ago. But I think I've gotten past that and still found a way to keep a piece of it. As shown in the picture, this is what I've come up with so far and I'm excited about it!! It's still the book I wrote, the title still reflects the story. I like the way it sounds. It's just different. But different doesn't have to be a bad thing. XD

With everything going on, I still hope to upload my book for publication by the 31st of this month, but I may push the actual publication date at least until some of this has cleared up and I can leave my house and market my book as desired.
Stay safe and thank you for reading.

Yours truly,

Friday, March 13, 2020

Curious and Curiouser!

To my dearest friends and followers,

This week I began to paint on the large watercolor paper I have, measuring 9"x12", rather than the 9"x6" journal I've been using. The texture of the paper is quite different than what I got used to using. At first, I was pretty hesitant about the new paper. As I've used it twice now, I actually kind of like it.

Just yesterday, I made this painting of Alice which was inspired by Jane Davenport's own interpretation of Alice from Jane's Watercolor Wonderland workshop. This is a course (workshop) on Jane Davenport's website that I only recently found out about through her work on Pinterest, though it seems to me that the course initially came out in 2016. It costs 138.27usd. I'm thinking about purchasing it, but probably not until the end of the month. I love Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, but I'm not sure if the class is essential to me creating my book cover and therefore, I probably shouldn't spend my time on it just yet.
I did really enjoy creating this piece though. I like using the pen for the lines in the face, as opposed to the color pencils I've been using. I also really like the wispy nature of the hair. This was created by painting the background the color I wanted, then adding the pen lines on top, rather than painting the hair my desired color ON TOP of the background which was laid prior to doing the hair.

This coming week, I am setting my goal to actually make the cover for my book. I have made a lot of different paintings, created 13 beautiful faces, tried several different ideas, and now I need to actually make the cover. I'm excited and nervous all at once!! 

I have also finished going through my manuscript with my husband's edits. Tomorrow I plan to print the manuscript again and read through it myself for what I think will be the last time. If all goes according to plan, I have just over two weeks to finish everything before I'm ready to upload my book for publication. Wish me luck. XD
Thank you for reading!!

Yours truly,

Watercolor Wonderland workshop by Jane Davenport
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Friday, March 6, 2020

Studying Jane Davenport.

To my dearest friends and followers,

This month is THE month!! It's the month I have set in my goals to begin publishing my book!! The exact goal is before March 31st, and I'm getting there!! As I shared last week, I have begun working on a character reference that will go in the front of my book. Also, my husband has finished reading my manuscript, so it is now my turn to go over it yet again. After that, I'll probably give the entire book another go-over just to polish it up. I am also thinking of a title change, and have been playing with a few different ideas. I'll share more on that another time...

I am still working towards designing my book cover, but I've been making progress. As most of you probably know, I have been doing a study of Jane Davenport's art style for a few weeks now with the intent of designing a "Jane-style" cover. I think her whimsical techniques would match the story exceptionally well.
A few weeks ago, I shared a few faces I had drawn in her style. I've been working through her book Beautiful Faces and think I've made immense progress since I started. Besides just trying to imitate her work exactly, I began making some notes on what she says about her work in addition to some things I've noticed. All my notes are as follows:

- Head/face starts as an oval. Shape of head added by color pencil and shading.
- Distance between the eyes is same as the length of the eyes.
- Eyes are positioned halfway between the head.
- Nose is positioned halfway between the eyes and chin.
- Mouth is positioned halfway between the nose and chin.
- Far edges of the mouth should exceed the "points" of the eyes only slightly, if at all.

- Smaller/rounder chin = a more childlike or whimsical face.

- Lips are rounded, rather than being pointed on top. Middle line has lots of shape too and is a similar shape to the top lip.

- Don't erase until paper is 100% dry...XD
- First time doing natural colored lips. Nice "innocent" effect.
- Made manga character Touka Kirishima (created by Sui Ishida) into a Jane-style drawing. Really pleased with how this turned out!!

**Something I've been really enjoying is combining different mediums like Jane does, such as watercolor, graphite sticks, color pencil, and pens (a uni-ball Signo 207 gel pen, and a Sharpie pen in fine). I recently got a few more supplies to try out, such as a spray bottle to wet my paper and art tape, an art sponge for moving and soaking up water, three Gelly Roll pens, and a Uni-ball Signo broad white pen. 
I've still been working in an art journal, but my husband recently pulled out an old board which will serve as a surface to tape my large watercolor sheets onto to work on. The board still needs to be cleaned, but I'm almost ready to begin working on larger surfaces to make the book cover on.
Thank you so much for reading!!

Yours truly,

Jane Davenport 

Related Posts:
Five Manuscripts
Painting With Watercolor 
Working On Beautiful Faces