Friday, September 28, 2012

Prossia Prequel, Operation. . . Sand Gnat?

click on image to enlarge
No, no. That’s not what it’s going to be called.
Over the past two years, I keep getting asked if there is going to be a sequel to Prossia. For those that have read it, the ending would imply to such a hope. However, I wanted to see how successful my novel was going to be, so I decided to sit and wait if there was enough of a demand for another book. . .  annnnnd after attending a much needed writing seminar this year, let me be the first to admit that such a logic was a mistake. Another book should have been out last year! Hmm, I think I might need to cover that in my D3MW series. :P
Anyways, while I’m busy hacking away at my writing with other sci-fi stories like Operation Pirate Bee (announced last week), it’s only fair that I give something back in return for everyone having to wait too long, and it's coming in the form of a free prequel. I don’t have a title for it just yet, so I’m still calling the project Operation: Sand Gnat for the moment being. You all know how I love dubbing my books as Operations! ^_^
This novel is a prequel to Prossia, focusing on the upbringing of Aly and Catty. It will cover how these two developed such a friendship–and rivalry– along with dwelling into Goolian culture and why this race of people are the way they are. Oh, and you’ll also see how Aly’s people deal with her little. . . um. . . .situation (Spoilers from Prossia).
The manuscript is currently in its pre-editing stage and will be in the hands of an editor by the end of the year. I’ll continue to keep you updated on the progress of Sand Gnat from here on out. 
. . . 
"Sand Gnat." Time to brainstorm some better sounding titles. . . 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DM3W: Never Pay To Publish Your Book- Part 2

In the 1st part of this discussion, I mentioned the basic misunderstandings I had when looking at self-publishing houses. We're going to dwell a little deeper into exactly what these sort of publishers are, what they do, and the reasons why they may not be the best idea for authors that want to make writing a career.

What I call self-publishing houses is what people generally refer to as vanity publishers or vanity press. I personally don't like using that term since "vanity" can have some negative implications behind it, and I believe in a "you get what you pay for" way of thinking. And as I tried to stress before, I'm not trying to make these companies seem like "the bad guys" for us authors. There's simply a misunderstanding between what some of us expect out of them, and I'm hoping to redirect some people's ideas before they make the same misconceptions I did.

So, a "vanity press" is a company that a person can pay to print their books along with other services. If one pays the certain amount, one can also have some marketing items like bookmarks, post cards, a press release and business cards. Other services could also include copy editing, copyrighting, an ISBN, the inclusion of one's book on various websites, and just about any marketing idea one can possibly think of. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, that's because it is, for the most part. ^_^

However, self publishing houses tend to be more effective toward people that might be looking for a smaller audience. A person who wants to give books out to family, friends, and maybe some coworkers would probably be pretty content with paying someone for all this work. However, call it a hunch, but I'm guessing you want to share your books with a broader audience if you're reading this article, right? ^_^

I'm going to break off this segment into 4 parts.

  1. Cover
  2. Editing
  3. Pricing
  4. Marketing
We'll discuss the first two items that vanity press does for an indie author, and why one might want to reconsider going strictly solo.

Cover- While self-publishing/vanity houses offer so many items in their packages, quality may not be included in the criteria. Many people might be able to decipher a "vanity press" author just by the look of a cover. While these companies have an arsenal of designers, they may not necessarily put their best foot forward with effort, and yes, people still do judge a book by its cover. I got my degree as a graphic designer, so I'd like to think I have a basic idea on what a good design is or isn't ;). Now, I'm not the best designer by any means, which is why  "Prossia" is getting a cover redo.

Still,In many cases, many of the cover designs seen from vanity press companies are considered hit or miss. I've seen some covers that are just downright awesome while others arrrrrrre. . . not so much. >_> One's best bet is to simply go out and find a designer that you know will get the job done right. Besides, it'll save you some money. ;)

Editing- Another issue is the editing. Most of these presses provide copy editing, which is very important, but not nearly as effective as having a a full fledged editor. For those that don't know the difference, copy editors can correct grammar issues in one's story. No one likes typos! However, a regular editor goes beyond the mere grammar issues. He/she will offer insight on how to make a story stronger. In most cases, an editor is more expensive, but if you've been following my posts, you should know by now that I consider editors one of the best financial investments an author should be willing to make for his/her book. A finely edited story can be the difference between a 3 star or five star review. Don't believe me? Read a review I got on "Prossia" that could've been more positive if I invested more. So, instead of saving that money for all of the packages self-publishing houses offer, one might be better off saving that money for a solid editor.


I will say it again. DO NOT. DO NOT. DO NOT PAY TO HAVE YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED. Patience is the key. We need to do our research in regards to making sure our stories get the quality attention they deserve. Besides, we've been too reckless by skipping meals, staying up late, and having family and friends get angry at us for suddenly becoming "antisocial." And by the way, none of those are really necessary either, but that's a whole 'nuther story. ;) 'Til then, keep those creative juices flowing, and stay tuned for the next segment! Pricing and marketing are some of the more important reasons why a self-publishing house may not be the best fit for you. More on that later!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Operation: Pirate Bee

(Click Image for full view)

I always like to name my current projects with interesting surnames. Prossia was originally called Operation: Spanish Moss, paying homage to the place where I wrote it, Savannah, Georgia. And here we are with Pirate Bee, another project I spoke very little of while I was writing it during my college years. The bee is in reverence to the first college I went to, Savannah College of Art & Design, while the pirate is a shot out to Armstrong Atlantic State University, where I spent most of my college career.

Since it's still early, I can't really discuss a great deal about Pirate Bee. What I can say is that it's another science fiction novel, and it's a little maturer than my first novel. A lot of the social issues mankind is facing today has played a very influential role with it as well. That's all I can leave with you for now. ^_^

More news about this will be very casual since I got another project that's closer to being ready. As a matter of fact, you'll be hearing about it pretty soon. How soon? Well, why don't you come back next week? ;)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pick A Cover

After having the pleasure of meeting James A. Owen and getting some insight on how to make a better cover for "Prossia," I found myself in a bit of a pickle after finishing the designs: I like them all! So, I figured I'd let you good folks decide the best cover for me instead. Be forewarned though, the cover you pick will determine the theme of future covers in the series. No pressure :P. In the meantime, have at it!


Pick A Cover

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't Make My Mistake, Writers: Never Pay To Publish Your Book- Part 1

Geez, if there was only someone that phrase to me years ago. Now, this DM3W hits VERY close to home for me, which is why it's taken me so long to post this one. (I wanted to make sure I got it right.)

When I first looked into self-publishing my book, I researched, just like we all should do, but I was apparently researching the wrong thing. I wasn't too familiar with the ways people went about making their books a reality on their own, so I figured I'd start simple: Googling self-publishing companies. 
. . . 

And some of you guys and gals are already saying "Oh noooo." So, after the searches came up, I was given a list of sites that compared various companies, what their services included, and giving some pretty solid insight on how where one's money is going.

  • Outskirts Press
  • Xlibris
  • Publish America
  • IUniverse
  • Author House 
These were a few of the names I came across, with all of their services and prices varying. Some were around $200.00 while others were in the $1,000+ ballpark! Ooh, unless you came across the company during a special sales time where you got a special deal. I "fortunately" came across Xlibris around such a time, so I went with them.

Now, let me start off by saying that I am VERY grateful for what Xlibris did for me. "Prossia" was printed beautifully, they always followed up with me to see how my book was coming along, and I even had a consultant that knew me by name since I called them so much. And for that reason alone, it's really hard to speak ill of them in this regards. I sincerely believe that self-publishing companies like them are seriously trying to help authors with their careers. Thing is, there's a better and far more economic way if one knows where to look.

After I self-published "Prossia," I figured now would be a good time to learn how to market it. And that thought was a mistake in itself. Know how to market your book BEFORE you publish it. But in regards to me wanting to learn how to market my book, I decided to attend the writing panels and seminars they had at DragonCon. Surely enough, the issue of paying to have one's books printed came up with successful authors during some panels. Every single one of them thought the concept to be blasphemy, and for good reason.

Consider this: Writing is a career, and people get paid for their careers, right? Now, if you went into a job interview, and the employee said you had to pay x amount of dollars to get started, what would you say? Yeah, I probably wouldn't have much to say either since I was getting out of my chair and leaving too. :P

But here's why some of us, me included, thought needing a self publishing house was necessary if we want to go the way of the indie/self published author. There's so much more to a book than just getting it printed, right? We need bookmarks, posters, postcards, maybe even a website. Or how about a press release, an actual ISBN code, and at the very least a copy-editor to get the grammar kinks out of the way? We're ogled by all of these amazing offers included in bundles that these self publishing houses present to us. . . not realizing the sum of all of the items in these "packages" do not add up as far as pricing is concerned.

It seems authors go to these sort of companies just because we don't know any better, at least it was for me. That's one of the reasons why it's vital we build a network of fellow writers that have gone to the places we've gone before, looked at the same things we've seen, and thought the very same thoughts. Be sure to read my previous article about our comrades in arms for more insight.

But here's the rule, plain and simple. DO NOT. DO NOT. DO NOT PAY TO HAVE YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED. We should never have to give some sort of down payment for our works. Authors get paid to get their books published, traditional and indies alike. 

Since this is a hefty subject, I'm afraid I'll have to break it down into parts. Don't worry though. You won't have to wait long for the other increments. In the meantime, I'll leave a link to a site my author peers, both traditional and indies, have recommended. I really hopes this helps. I'm sure there are other companies like this one

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Interview With Team Nerds

***Here's part of my AMAZING interview with Team Nerd's Annabell.

Annabell: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Raphyel Jordan: I'm just a guy who likes to let his inner dorkism show through the story he writes. :P

Annabell: What are some attributes that would qualify you as a nerd?

Raphyel Jordan: Hmm, lemme see. Video games? Check. Comics? Check. Anime? Check. Why, I even played old school RPGs here and there! You know, the one where you have a notebook and a dice? Yep. That serious. :P

Annabell: Describe the plot behind Prossia.

Raphyel Jordan: Prossia is the tale of a young alien girl named Aly. There's a danger lurking among the friends she's sworn to protect when she gets drafted into a galactic war with them. This danger is worse than any enemy weaponry, any being known in the galaxy, and it has the potential of crumbling both hostile and allied forces. The worst part is this: That danger is Aly, herself, and she doesn't even know it. I'd like to think of Prossia as being that classic coming-of-age story we can all relate to since many of us had our perspective of the world turned completely upside down when we left the "bird's nest."

Annabell: You essentially went to school for your first passion, Graphic Design then jumped into the world of writing. How did Graphic Design inspire you into writing your debut novel, Prossia?

Raphyel Jordan: Actually, I wanted to be an animator for the majority of my life, but that never came to fruition. I've been drawing since I was three years old, if not younger. Since the animation thing didn't work out, I figured graphic design was the next best thing since I could implement my life-long passion of drawing with it. When I was a kid, I used to do "graphic novels." So, in a sense, what I did with Prossia really wasn't anything new to me. It just involved a lot more words and thought! :P

Annabell: Prossia is centered around aliens without any human characters. Why did you decide to create a story absent of humans?

Raphyel Jordan: For starters, I knew the things I wanted these characters be capable of doing was going to be impossible by human standards unless I went the way of the genetically enhanced super human soldier, or something like that. Those stories have been done countless of times, and done so well that I needed to do something different. I also thought it would be cool to see how advanced sentient life would conduct itself. Oddly enough, the way they govern one another is very human-like in my story, but a lot of their customs are different due to their natural habitats and biochemistry. On top of that, it was just a blast being able to do all of this world building from scratch.

Annabell: The cover to Prossiais pretty cool! How did you approach creating it?
Raphyel Jordan: Uh oh. You just asked me a good art question! LOL! Thank you so much for the compliment, btw! The cover is actually inspired by an older illustration I did of Aly, called "A Soldier's Burden." In the original pic, I wanted to show Aly being weighed down by putting on the heavy toil of war. Soldiers give up so much of their, well, humanity, so the rest of us can keep ours.

So, with the cover, I wanted to convey a similar message, but put more emphasis on what Aly's protecting. . . and absolutely how terrified she is. She's only a seventeen-year old whose only main concern was making it pass high school. She didn't volunteer for the war, but was drafted! Who wouldn't be scared?! In the image, she almost has a "What am I doing here?" expression on her face. I also "cheated" with her armor a little bit for the same purpose, making it seem slightly bulkier than her form can manage. And, I hate to break it to ya, but I have plans on the cover's getting revised in the future. Sorry. :P But I promise, it's gonna be for the better.

***Thanks so much, Annabell. To read the rest of the interview, just click on over to Team Nerd Reviews

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Cy Pic

Cyleroa is such a challenge to draw for me since his facial features are so complex. Still, it's rewarding when you execute some things on him accurately. Going off of what I was trying to do with my previous Aly pic, I was looking for some good textures to use.

Prossia Birthday Month

My goodness, is this a month to remember. :P Hey everyone! I just got back from DragonCon, so it's time to get back to work! :P

Prossia's Birthday Month officially started with the launch of the "Prossia Giveaway" on Goodreads. If you look at the top of the blog, you'll see that there's already a bunch of people ready to snag a free copy!

Be sure to be on the lookout for other announcements going on for my book throughout September. Thanks for your support, everyone! Now, time to get to work so I can watch some football tonight. Ahhh, football. This is the best time of the year. :P