Wednesday, 18 October 2017

(vol 4) PART SEVEN: "Creating Brisk Worlds - part 3"


Brisk Worlds have been out in the wild for 37 days now, (first review here) and it has already taken on a new form.

As of October 13th it can be purchased in paperback form!!!!!


Now, the more astute of you might notice that the cover looks completely different from the eBook version that I released back in September. Well, that's because it is. By quite a bit.



THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT

Publishing a book was my dream since starting this blog (and for many years before too). In September I accomplished that with an eBook collection of my Flash Fiction entitled BRISK WORLDS

It was a fun learning curve and got me over the hump I'd been stuck behind for quite sometime. And while it does count as 'me being published', like many writers out there, your book just doesn't feel like it counts until you can hold a real copy in the palm of your hand.

Putting together an eBook is the easier of the two options by far. The formatting is simpler due to the settings on most devices taking care of font size, justification, etc. You don't have to worry about headings, page numbers, or blank pages. So, so simple.

I put the eBook out to cross the milestone, accomplish my goal, tick the box, scratch that itch. 

And then I set straight to work on the paperback.

It got stressful at times. You want every chapter to start on the right hand page. Blank pages creep in but you don't want the page number or the header on them. It becomes a digital nightmare and MS Word fought me every step of the way. When that's all figured out (hours of formatting later) your book needs a back cover to match the front-

-which is where I was led astray.


BLANK CANVA

Although I worked my ass off creating the cover myself (see post vol 4 part 3), because I was using such basic tools, I had issues with KDP not liking the DPI of my finished piece. It turned out that, although it looked good on my laptop, the process of putting my design from MS PowerPoint to MS Word and back again caused quality issues. 

I pushed through with the paperback version at the time and ordered a proof copy from Createspace. It looked . . . good . . . but not great. And while others couldn't see it, the image and the text had a certain . . . 'blur' to them.

I figured it would have to do but I knew that I would want better for any future project. So I looked around to see what else was available on a budget. 

A few fellow writer friends offered up the programs they use. I still wanted free, because I just can't spare enough on this yet. And then I was reminded of CANVA (see post vol 1 part 27).

Wanting to know what I could accomplish by just playing around, I got to work on a cover. With no ideas at the time for the cover of my upcoming project, I figured it would be easier to just try something alternate for BRISK WORLDS instead.

The original cover, with the trial and error, the restarts, the formatting, and the reader voting blog post must have hit six or seven hours of work (at least).

The grey cover above took about 25 minutes.

And I fell in love with it immediately.

I couldn't put my finger on it, but the image of the world, the font, and how it all went together (front and back) just looked a hell of a lot more professional than the original.



A TALE OF TWO COVERS

Torn was the best way to describe me after that. At first I kept it to myself (and fellow writer Liz Hedgecock because I had to share my creation with someone!). 

But then I showed a few people at work and a few family members and a few friends and . . . well they all liked the new one. And I liked it more and more as the days passed. 

It just left me with a big choice to make.

Of course, we know how it ended, don't we. Last week I received my own paperback copy of the new cover and it looked perfect. So I approved the proof and released the paperback version of BRISK WORLDS into the wilds of Amazon.

That's almost it now (Kobo version coming December 2017). With one project behind me, I'm busy at work on Project Rage, before I settle down and spend my November diving into NaNoWriMo.

I'm over the hurdle of publishing and my hope now is that momentum carries me onward, project after project, release after release.

I'm actually looking forward to 2018.

See you in . . . seven.





Wednesday, 4 October 2017

(vol 4) PART SIX: "Author Interview - Craig Anderson"


In 2012 I was given a Kobo e-reader as a gift. That first day, while browsing the online bookstore, I came across GETTING LUCKY by Craig Anderson. I’d never heard of him and didn’t know what ‘indie authors’ were back in the day, but it was free, and I honestly just wanted to test downloading something.

Five years later and I’m happy to introduce Craig as the first author I’ve ever interviewed.

Since publishing GETTING LUCKY back in 2013, Craig has produced a hoard of Flash Fiction, finished the Lucky Beggar trilogy with LUCKY SHOT and LUCKY BREAK, dipped his toe into future sci-fi with COLONY, and this month turned his hand to writing a Cyber thriller with the release of TROJAN.

I’ve invited Craig along today to talk to us about where his ideas come from, creating his covers, and where he’s headed next.


Hello Craig. Hope you’re well. Congratulations on your latest release, TROJAN. Tell us a little about it.

I'm a huge nerd and love gadgets and tech. I've always wanted to write a book that dealt with technology, particularly hackers, as I feel like it's a skill that is going to be increasingly in demand as the world becomes more connected. As with most of my books it started as a short story and just kind of grew from there. It was really fun to write a thriller, something fast paced with lots of car chases and explosions.

It wasn't all plain sailing, there were a lot of challenges I had to overcome. It was my first attempt at a full length book in third person, which was a lot harder than I anticipated. I never appreciated how much exposition I could get away with by being inside a character's head, and then all of a sudden I had walls of text as my characters blurted out key plot points. Obviously that all had to go. It required a lot of fine-tuning!

I also struggled because it's not a comedy. My default mode is humour and there were plenty of times where the characters were laughing and joking when the scene called for something more sombre. One of my beta readers gave feedback along the lines of 'wow, they are taking this tragedy extremely lightly...' and I knew it was time to go back and trim 90% of the puns. 

Overall I am really happy with how it has turned out and early feedback has been v positive, which is always a relief when you're trying something new!



How has it’s first month in the wild been; kind or cruel?

This is a hard question to answer! I sold a lot more copies of Trojan in its first month than I did for any previous book I have released, so in this regard I would consider it a success.

However, I had high expectations going in as I spent far more time planning this launch than I have in the past. Despite all these efforts the sales haven't really taken off in the way that I had hoped, at least not yet.

The hardest part of selling books is the waiting. It takes a long time for people to read your book and then hopefully review it or maybe even tell their friends about it. After the flurry of sales in the initial launch there is always this lull while you're waiting for the next wave to hit. I'm trying to fill the time productively by writing another book.



TROJAN is a change in direction for you (less laughs but more action). Did you choose this shift in genre, or did the story do it for you?

A little bit of both. I had the idea for TROJAN a long time ago, but I left it on the back burner to focus on other stories. I love to write humour. I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan and he is a huge inspiration for my writing, so naturally a lot of the stories I tell are satirical.

Unfortunately the humour market is a bit of a tough nut to crack. It is so subjective that what one person finds hilarious is dull as dishwater to someone else. Reviews and recommendations are therefore all over the map. It's not that there aren't readers for humour, they just seem to be harder to find. 

At the start of this year I made the conscious decision to take my writing more seriously (I don't mean less funny, I mean more money!) We have two little ones and the daycare bills are eye watering, it's like having another mortgage. I started listening to indie author podcasts and reading books and taking courses to try to learn more about the business side of things. One of the first lessons was to learn a genre and write a book that readers in that genre will enjoy. With humour being so eclectic that was hard to do, so I started thinking about some of the other stories I'd jotted down over the years. It was a conscious choice to try something new, but TROJAN still took on a life of its own. It was only supposed to be a novella!



Have you found the process of writing and publication getting easier with each new book you put out?

Yes and no.

I've gotten much better at the writing part. It took me a looooong time to actually finish a story, but once I did then I knew that I could. I'm slowly internalizing all the story structure rules and how best to make stories flow, so every time I get a little bit better at that stuff. TROJAN was slower because I was outside my comfort zone for a while, but I'm hoping when it comes to writing the sequel I'll be much quicker.

The publishing side of things is a whole different animal. When I released my previous 4 books I barely even told anyone, i hit publish, threw up a facebook post and moved on to something else. I didn't even know what I didn't know, I just hoped that somehow readers would magically find my books, fall in love with them and tell all their friends. I've learned a lot since my last launch, so TROJAN is my first attempt at doing it 'properly'. There's still going to be lots of things I miss the mark on, but I already sold more copies in pre-order than some of my other books have sold outright, so it certainly feels like I'm heading in the right direction.


You’ve lived on three continents, have two children, three pets, and still managed to write five novellas to date. Magic?

Haha - I wish, how cool would that be! Unfortunately I'm pure muggle. 

Counter intuitively having kids allowed me to write more. Sounds crazy I know. My wife and I used to go out for dinner, go to the movies, have dates, you know, spend time together. That didn't leave a whole lot of time for writing. Then when we moved to Canada I found myself jobless for a few months and to pass the time I wrote. I'd always enjoyed it but since being a 'grown up' I hadn't spent time doing it. Something about it really clicked with me. I slogged away on a novel for a while but just couldn't finish it, and in frustration I wrote Getting Lucky just so I could finish something. I put it out there with no expectations. 

Shortly afterwards we had our daughter, and for a year my free time went out the window again because I was so engrossed in learning to be a dad. I also learned to survive on basically zero sleep. I have always been a night owl and detested getting up in the morning, but an infant gives zero poops how you're feeling at 5am, so I just learned to suck it up and figured out how to function on 5-6 hours sleep. 

Then something odd happened. At the end of a busy day my wife and daughter would both be asleep by 9pm, but I was still wide awake. I remembered how much I had enjoyed writing in my down time and I just kind of picked it up again. Our son switched things up again, but by then my writing habit was already established. I have the occasional dip between projects to recharge my batteries, but otherwise I try to put out 500 words a day, which adds up to a novella pretty quickly. Now if I could only learn to edit a little quicker!



Despite the warnings not too (which I myself ignored) you have taken a stab at your own covers in the past with pretty good results. Was this just a monetary decision or is it something you enjoy?

A little bit of both. I usually have a pretty good sense of the overall theme I am going for with the cover. I often create the cover before I write the book, and then I set it as my desktop background. It's a great way to remind me of what I am working towards. Sometimes I use these covers and other times I scrap them. It depends how well I'm able to capture the picture of the story I have formed in my head. 

My original cover for Getting Lucky was pretty bad, it wasn't until I made it into a series that I re-did it. Here's my first stab at it (get ready to cringe)


Yeah, that's me pretending to be homeless. I still have the cardboard sign in my basement. It doesn't exactly scream this book is hilarious does it!

That's not my only misstep. I remember being in a group giveaway with The Colony and there my book was amongst dozens of other sci-fi stories, and all I could see was how my cover stood out for all the wrong reasons. There were these stunning spaceships, aliens, robots and monsters, and then my poorly sketched beehive. It looked like a home made cover. I ended up finding some artwork online that captured the spirit of the book so much better than I ever could and I bought the image rights from this amazing indie artist. It was great to support someone else that was doing what they love and the results were immediate. Now The Colony looks like a sci-fi book and sales have improved. 

I should also point out that I am borderline OCD. I spent 15 hours making the paperback cover for the Lucky Beggar Trilogy. I flipped the cover image so that the dogcatchers pole didn't disappear into the spine, which meant reworking every single layer. I redid the background colouring to make it work in print. I tried twenty different fonts for the back cover text. I measured and remeasured every element to make sure it was all lined up. 

That's time I could have spent writing. I could have paid someone to do a much better job than I did in a third of the time. Still, it was my first paperback release and there was definitely a sense of satisfaction knowing that every single thing from front to back was something I had created.



When you published Getting lucky, did your mind turn to sequels then, or was that something that came later?

Getting Lucky was always meant to be a standalone book. I wrote it out of frustration as I was stuck on my current project for several months and wasn't making any progress. It started as a short story and just kind of kept going. I released it more to test the process of uploading to Amazon. 

The problem with Getting Lucky was that I was so determined to finish it that I ended it too soon. It doesn't wrap things up in a neat little bow, it kind of just...ends. I always found myself thinking back to Luke and Lucky and wondering what they might be up to. Then one day a fan of Getting Lucky that shall remain nameless (but rhymes with Fryin Greek) wrote to me and asked if I would ever write a sequel. The timing could not have been better, it was just as I was getting my free time back, and next thing I knew I was up to my eyeballs in concentrated karma! I actually planned out books 2 and 3 at the same time, so I knew how the trilogy was going to end when I wrote book 2, at least at a high level. That made the whole process a lot smoother. 



Do you think you’ll ever return to the Lucky Beggar universe?

I've certainly toyed with the idea and have a couple of threads I could tug on (hint, Luke retrieved more than one vial of concentrated karma from the fridge in Getting Lucky...) but for now I'm going to let them have their happy ending. 

I did try writing a prequel story from Lucky's point of view, but let me tell you, writing in first-canine perspective is tough to wrap your head around. After a paragraph long description of another dog's butt smell I gave up on that idea!



You’ve mentioned before about a ‘Project Christmas’ which you feel you’ve edited to death. Can you tell us what it's about and do you think it will ever see the light of day?

Project Christmas is about a guy called Barry Black who accidentally applies to a job at a magical consulting company. His first project is working for Santa Claus, who has run his company (Christmas Inc) into the ground and needs help to stay afloat. Hilarity ensues. 

I love the book and hope to one day release it, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to make the middle interesting. The first 3rd of the book is some of my favorite writing, and the ending is solid, but the middle is eye gouge-ingly awful. Despite a dozen attempts to bridge the gap, I have yet to find one that works. I'm going to keep trying though, because I have learned a lot since I wrote Project Christmas 10 years ago and I keep hoping that I have inadvertently unlocked the key to finishing it and getting it off my darn to do list. 



What do you have in the pipeline?

Next up on my docket is the sequel to The Colony, which is called The Collapse. It's going to take a closer look at what happened to the world when 3.5 billion men died all at once. I've been spending a lot of my time contemplating what a world without men would look like, and I've come to the conclusion that women would be just fine! Some might even argue it would be an improvement :)

I've only just started The Collapse, but I'm hoping to have that one out by the end of the year!



I know that you like video games. If you could write a fanfic story set in any game universe, what game would it be and why?

I am disturbingly obsessed with Titanfall 2 at the moment - like 250 hours of playtime obsessed. I don't normally play games for any great length of time, normally I fizzle out and move on to something else. I keep meaning to write a fan fic in this universe, maybe focusing on the lighter side of the war, like from the point of view of a titan mechanic or someone else who doesn't get to do the awesome robot on robot fighting. I think it would be kind of funny to be the guy that fixes the titans and 10 seconds after you're done it gets jettisoned off for some ungrateful pilot to charge into a 4 on 1 battle with!



Well, that's all from Craig (for now). I'd like to thank him big time for being my first victim interview.

You can find out a whole heap more about The Man, The Legend on his website, or follow him on twitter.

And don't forget to head over to your local Amazon website and check out his recent release; TROJAN!




and of course . . . Canada

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

(vol 4) PART FIVE: "Creating Brisk Worlds - part 2"



Last Monday something amazing happened. 

I released my first ever self published book.

Check me out.



THE CLIMB

It's been a tough journey and, if I'm totally honest, it's been mostly my own fault that it's taken this long.

I've wanted to be a writer for many, many years. I wrote stories as a kid. I wrote screenplays while in college. And finally, in February 2014 I put it all out there and started a blog that would follow my process from zero to getting a book self published.

So many projects have been labelled 'the one' over the last forty three months. So many projects were talked about, promoted, started, restarted, all before finally being binned.

And then, as I mentioned in the last post, I realised that three years of Flash Fiction had given me a lot of material to work with without worrying about plot and characters across a 100k word count.



THE FIRST TIME ACROSS THE LINE

The release of BRISK WORLDS ended up satisfying two goals. The first was having a finished book out the in the wild with my name on, all a solo project. The second was to learn the process of self publishing.

Putting an e-book up on Amazon is equal parts simple and horrifically daunting. When I was growing up, I always knew that it was a tough door to get through and thus very few people did.

And then e-books appeared, and Amazon called to all of us wannabes and showed us that there would be no gate keepers. The readers would be the ones that decided. 

The only difference was that now a writers journey didn't stop at handing in that final draft word doc and signing off on the cover a few months later. Now, the author was on the train all the way until the final station.



NEW SKILLS

I spent a good couple of weeks going over my draft with a fine toothed comb (though I still missed a few spelling errors). 

I was starting to get sick of the words on the page. 

I was hating all of my stupid stories. 

The deadline I'd given myself was unrealistic. 

The cover was rubbish. 

I was going to fail. 

It was all a little . . . 

And then one Saturday afternoon, things unexpectedly snowballed. In a good way.

Frustrated with the project, I had popped over to Amazon just to have a look. To get away from the cover and the manuscript I thought I'd just see what the next step in the process was, get a little heads up, maybe see how bad the next part was going to be.

Suddenly I found myself creating a KDP profile. It was all very exciting. I was just window shopping. I thought that I'd just go as far as I could without putting the book up.

But before I knew it I had uploaded the manuscript and was checking it in the Kindle viewer (it's exciting seeing it on a mock up Kindle device). I clicked next page, and next page, and next page, all the way to the end. This thing I had created actually looked pretty damned good. And complete.

Later that afternoon I jumped ahead further. I'd given KDP my bank details and Tax info. I'd set a price and entered a PreOrder date. Before I could put on the brakes I was waiting for confirmation from Amazon to say my book was available.

I was buzzing (while the wife was getting sick of words like 'book', 'kindle', and 'I did it!'). It was early evening by then and time for my son to have a bath and go to bed. I left the laptop alone and headed upstairs.



SO MUCH TO DO

A little over an hour later my phone alert went off; fellow author Liz Hedgecock (who I had been bothering all afternoon with KDP chat) had sent me a link; my book was available to PreOrder on Amazon! 

I may have let out a little scream.

I was over the moon. It was such a good feeling that something I had created was available for people to read. I'd finally done it.

I should have closed down the laptop and stuck a movie on. I mean, I'd worked my butt off all afternoon. I'd earned a break, right?

Instead, I spent the next couple of hours doing more to prepare my books launch by setting up a couple of other things.

My Amazon Author's Page - here.

The books Goodreads page - here.

And I may even have popped over to CreateSpace. Because, let's be honest, a paperback version would be nice too.

Sure, the work of writing and editing and cover design are time intensive if you want to get it right. But once you have a product, I was so impressed at how simple it was to release it into the wild.

Now we have to see if people read it and, more importantly if they like it. 

And of course, my next book is snarling in it's cage, wanting to be released too.



FIRST JOURNEY COMPLETE

Thank you to anyone who has picked up a copy (hello mum). If you haven't had a chance yet, the links are below. And if you could leave a review, that would be equally appreciated.

And let me know what you think of BRISK WORLDS in the comments or on twitter @BrianSCreek (or use #BriskWorlds).

Next post I'm hoping to have an interview with an awesome Indie author.

Until then, go write.





Wednesday, 6 September 2017

(vol 4) PART FOUR: "Creating Brisk Worlds - part 1"


Well, it's a day I've been working toward for some time and it's nearly here.

This coming Monday (September 11th) will see the release of my first solo project; a Flash Fiction collection titled BRISK WORLDS.


IT WAS THERE ALL ALONG

The last couple of years have seen me struggle to complete a solo project and release it into the wilds. Despite heavy denial, I've come to realise that I was irking over what my first release was to be, thinking it had to be 'super special' and 'absolutely amazing'. But that was holding me back.

I was constantly struggling to meet my own high standards every time I held a different first draft in front of me. That's the hurdle I've been stuck at for so long; the first f***ing draft. It's one of the toughest stages, but it's also still quite far from the finish line. 

So I would constantly give up on a project which held even the smallest of flaws, seeing the whole book as 'broken' and not worth the effort. Then I'd come up with a better project which would have a reason why it should be easier to complete or be received by more readers.


COMPLETE WHAT IS ALREADY COMPLETED

And then one day, not that long ago, while another project started to scare me off, when dark thoughts of complete failure were looming and I thought that this would be my last attempt, I looked up on my FlashDogs bookshelf. On that shelf are several impressive novels and novellas.

And in among these self-published works sat two small books that showed me another way.



These fellow authors had put together little collections of their Flash Fiction writing. When I read these collections, I recognised several stories from the various Flash Fiction contests I'd taken part in . These stories I was reading in a paperback book held by my very hands, hadn't I competed with these stories weeks, months, and years ago in the online contests. And here they were. In real life.

Why couldn't I do that?

And so I stopped everything else and got to work.




THE BACK-CATALOGUE

Over the last four years I have accrued many, many stories, but I knew immediately that I wouldn't be able to use them all; some of them are real stinkers.

I proceeded to upload everything I had written since THE LADY IN THE WOODS into a single Scrivener file. And then . . . then I began culling. I read the stories over and over, day after day. 

I then printed the book out (400+ pages) and carried on, trimming, pruning, destroying. Smaller and smaller the project got, with a  little editing here and there (some of it was typos, other bits were improvements). 

When I had my final contenders I began working on a cover (a process covered here). It was all coming together.




THE LITTLE BOOK THAT COULD

And that's all there is. BRISK WORLDS, a collection of my Flash Fiction written over the last three years. Some of those sites are gone now (Flash Friday!, Angry Hourglass, Micro Bookends), others are still going (Microcosms, Paragraph Planet). But without any of them, these little gems would not exist.

This project is a way to get my writing out there, but more importantly, it's a way to get over those first hurdles, and to learn what I can about the process of self publishing by doing it and not just reading about it. Its been educational, and everything I've picked up, all the tips and tricks, will go into the next project, and the next, and so on.

So, below are the links. I will appreciate every purchase and every review (the good and the bad - it's all part of the job). Thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you pick up a copy of BRISK WORLDS, thank you even more so.

Next week I go into more detail about the actual process from finished Scrivener file to seeing the book up on Amazon.

Until then, get writing.




We live in one world . . . 

. . . but inside all our minds are thousands more.






Wednesday, 23 August 2017

(vol 4) PART THREE: "Collection Needs A Cover"



Hello readers. I need your help.



HOME MADE COVERS ARE EVIL?

While I'm not ready to shout about this yet, I'm planning to release a collection of Flash Fiction soon. It's coming along nicely and I'm learning all kinds of stuff regarding formatting. Seriously; I have watched a lot of YouTube videos recently just for learning purposes.

But that's not my problem. You see, along side said project, I've been working on its cover. I know a lot of people say you shouldn't attempt your own covers unless you've got the skills (I do not), but at this early stage in my 'career' I am aware of two important factors.

1) I really can't afford to pay someone to do a much better job than me. 

2) It's a learning process first and a product second. I need to do this so that my skills can grow. My next book will have a homemade cover, and the one after that. But I plan to get to a point where I can afford covers to be redone.



IT STARTED WITH A BANG

So, like I said, I've been working on this cover for a while. The basic original design has remained the same, but a title change and a lot of tweaking has got me close to being done.

Because this is a collection, a mix of fantasy, thriller, horror, sci-fi and more, I knew I didn't want anything specific on the cover like a location or a character; nothing to shout a specific genre. I pictured an explosion, a flash if you will, and set about building my idea using very primitive tools (also known as Microsoft Office).

Step one was opening up Powerpoint (the best program I currently own for manipulating and layering text and images). I set the slide to portrait and, because I'm planning to eventually print this collection too and I'm a fan of the 5x8 sized books as opposed to the 6x9, I set the slide size to this these dimensions.

Next was to 'build' the flash. I used the shapes function in Powerpoint and pulled out two; 'Explosion 1' and 'Explosion 2'. Alternating them, rotating them, and reducing the size per layer, I then added the colours before putting a banner along the bottom that would later hold my name.


While the image goes over the edge of the slide, 
the thumbnail on the left only shows the contents of the 5x8 

Next I added my name along the bottom and the working title, FLASHTASTIC FICTION using font OCR A Extended. You can see that I made the 'tastic' lower case and the 'Flash' a different color to help the mostly made up word stand out and read better. The wife talked me out of this.


The next stage was the important one. Using the thumbnail, I copied the 5x8 image into Word and then utilised the Artistic Effects option. Below is the effect called 'Glass'. I liked it immediately because it destroyed the perfect edges and gave the explosion a more chaotic and natural look.

And that's where I left it for a few weeks. At the time I thought it was the best my skills could accomplish.




30 VERSIONS LATER

While working on the book itself one day, I took another look at the cover and felt a lot more unhappy with it. While I knew going in that I was only going to get a basic looking design, I thought I could do better. And instead of tweaking, I decided to start again.


Losing the blue background worked straight away. I also made the explosion a little better, took out a yellow level, and added white and red outlines to the shapes.

And then I changed the title. 

FLASHTASTIC FICTION was originally called FLASHTASTIC 500, but having that many stories I was happy with turned out to be more than optimistic. Then, the more I looked at the cover, the more I realised I didn't even want the words FLASH or FICTION in the title. I don't know why. 

It wasn't until I looked on my FlashDogs book shelf and spotted Liz Hedgecocks 'Bitesize' and Tamara Rogers' 'Double Vision', that I figured out what direction I wanted to go for the title instead.

So I sat and stared into space, mulling it over, for about 40 minutes (I'm not joking), trying to think of words that would make a good title until . . .




THE TITLE SAYS IT ALL

BRISK WORLDS does exactly what is says on the tin. Each story is its own new world and the stories are super quick reads. Read one, read many. Doesn't matter. But it will be a roller-coaster ride through universe after universe, each one stranger than the last.

So I entered the new title and played around with layout, fonts, and colours. 

I tried ERAS Bold ITC. I tried TW CEN IT. I went back to OCR A Extended. Finally settled on Gungsuh. This I can't tell you why. I scrolled up and down that list, trying every font Microsoft Office had to offer and Gungsuh just felt right.


I carried on tweaking; little things here and there. The title font went black then blue then white and then, finally, clear.

I added a border, raised the title bar, enlarged the explosion once more. I went back to Artistic Effects and saw what else I could do.

It turned out that I liked a lot of the effects as a finished piece. From the twenty-three effects on offer, I found nine that worked. A couple of friends narrowed this down to four.




WHEN TO STOP

That's where it should have stopped. The final four looked good. They each make a fine cover.

But, as I sat down last Saturday, my wife out for the evening and my son heading off to dreamy dream land, I went through the covers again and again. Something still wasn't right.

It would have been a waste of an evening if the idea hadn't eventually reared it's ugly head. It was the title font itself that looked so out of place. The effects were beautiful, but the title looked false, stale, just laid over the top like it was.

And the lines of the explosion were still too clean.

So I went at it again. This time I did two things different. 

First I changed the template version to 'glass' effect and THEN I changed it to another effect. This made the explosion look wild and natural, more so that any other version I'd done so far. 

And then I made the second artist change WITH the title involved. 

I really couldn't be happier. And I'm glad I didn't give up. I know there has to eventually come a moment when the product is complete. But you also have to be 100% happy with it. If something irks you, even a little, if something is gnawing at the back of your mind, it's probably a good idea to listen to it. You'll only regret it later. 

I'm glad I kept going. I have liked each step better than the last. But the irking has stopped now so I know I'm finished. I've done all I can with the limited tools and skills I own.

I now have four designs that I really like.

And that's where I need you help.



YOUR OPINION COUNTS

Below are the final four designs. I would be happy with any one of them being the final cover for my Flash Fiction collection. And as I stated at the beginning of this artical, it's not professional, but I've done the best I can with limited tools. Down the line it'll get a revamp. But what ever the result, I'm happy for my first ever published work to go out dressed in one of the below outfits.

So, use the comments, tweet me @BrianSCreek, or use #BriskWorlds or #BriskWorldsCover and let me know which one you favour. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you comment, thank you for your opinion and assistance.

So, without further ado, the four finalists vying to be the cover of BRISK WORLDS.



A



B



C



D