Iron Tribune Updates Plus a Kickstarter Illustration Reveal!
Sorry for the delay in posting but I wanted to have a lot to share! Below you’ll find a sample illustration and the final cover and back cover illustration/artwork. I’m really excited to share these with you. Kickstarter backers have access to almost all of the illustrations as well, which come as a perk of being a backer!
With these done, and the maps being finalized, all that remains is for me to double check all the formatting and illustration locations, receive the final files and upload them to the Amazon, B+N, and Smashwords book sites. With that done, I can order proof and final copy print books and prepare to send them out to all my backers and then place them up for general sale! Without further ado, here’s the illustrations.
Can’t wait to share the entire book with you!
Oh, and did I mention there’s a good chance I’ll be getting The Steam Empire Chronicles translated into a different language? I’m in negotiation with a company to license and distribute my book in Portuguese. We’ll see where it goes, but I’m excited to explore this opportunity!
Check out some advance sketches of illustrations from Iron Tribune!
The Kickstarter is now done and I can begin to present the first looks at the illustrations for Iron Tribune!
As you can see, we’ve got some awesome ideas. You’ll just have to wait until you see more 🙂 As a reminder, if you haven’t already checked out my novellas – Antioch Burns and Roma Aeronautica, they’re great quick reads for less than $3 for both!
Take part in a poll to determine my next Illustration! Propaganda, most wanted poster, or something new!
Just wanted to tell everyone that I’ve been busy, not gone! I’m a quarter or so into Iron Tribune, and I and really moving fast now. I’m also looking at hiring a graphic designer to do another propaganda poster for the series, or perhaps a most wanted poster. I’ve attached a poll to see what you’d like to see! Write additional ideas in the comments as well!
Remember, what you vote for will affect my choice! And while you’re at it, have you read Antioch Burns yet? Or better yet, left me a review? Go ahead and do both today! You can check out my latest novella on kindle, nook, or any other ebook reader. Back to writing now, ciao!
So as a reader, I’m a big fan of separating your author blog from your book website. Since I’m planning a series, I put together a website for my series over at brasslegionnaire.com so that people who were interested in the book could check it out. I envision this site growing as each book gets its own ‘branch’ so to speak from the main page. I used Wix to design and host my website
When you first go to the site, you start at a pretty empty page, where you can click on one of two pictures or on the enter button. All the options take you to the same place. As I publish more books, I’ll be able to expand the options and add pages to purchase the book.
Well, to be honest I stumbled across them and started using their website for fun. It’s very intuitive and simple to use. You don’t have to know about HTML code or anything like that. It’s more like Powerpoint, where you drag pictures around the page and you can upload things to post as well. Although I consider myself a relatively technology capable person, I didn’t want to waste my limited funds hiring someone to make my page, when I had a site like this that I could play with enough to make it myself!
You do have to spend some money to register your site for your own domain name and to eliminate their ads, but you also get some nice vouchers for facebook and google ads that you can use to offset some of the cost (What you spend here, you won’t have to spend there)
Would I recommend Wix?
Yes, I would recommend them based on their simple, easy to use site and the way most people can figure out how to do it if you have a basic knowledge of Powerpoint or Word. They have helpful videos to show you how to set up your site and format things. They offer enough different price packages to give you options for most budgets.That being said, if you’ve got a friend or relative who is really handy with HTML code, it might be better for them to do it for you. But being a finicky person myself, I liked the control I had over every step of the process.
The book’s illustrations are now complete! I’ve sent the book and all the other odds and ends back to my format/illustration team and they are hard at work putting it all together for the final event. I’m very excited for you to have the opportunity to read the novel I’ve spent so long in making. It’s been an intense experience these past couple of months. I’ve set a personal goal to publish Brass Legionnaire by mid-May.
If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, follow me to get more updates and sneak peeks!
Rough Draft Illustrations are here! Check out the mid book scene and end book scene rough drafts! Plus another teaser from inside the book
Good Evening all!
Just got word from the illustrator that all the illustrations have been conceptualized and they are now hard at work putting the recommendations I asked for in place. I figured I’d share the rough drafts since you’ll have to buy the book to see the final ones 🙂
I’m really liking where these illustrations are going. My illustrators suggested a random edge effect on the final draft (which I’ve seen, and think you’ll like) that breaks up the ‘too neat’ border of the picture. Here’s the end of scene book.
Hope you enjoyed those! Just as a reminder, be sure to follow me here, on twitter or facebook to get the most recent updates and fun previews!
Speaking of that, here’s a sneak peek inside the world of Brass Legionnaire.
It was often said that even the fog feared to tread in the depths of Sludge Bottom. Only the brave, the foolhardy, the desperate, or the conniving dared to venture into that economically stagnant and most run-down sector of Brittenburg, where seedy gambling halls, dank, smoke-filled bars, and automaton-fighting pits in abandoned warehouses were the chief attractions. The operators of these businesses, always tight-fisted and tight-lipped, had tightened their vigilance as well, with the auxilia more active recently. Anyone who seemed a bit out of place or a tad too eager to learn more about their companions at the gambling table was “taken care of,” right along with anyone who happened to develop an exceptionally strong winning streak at the dice tables or during a rigged card game.
Here, Domino Grex ran the notorious Atrium, five stories of every kind of disreputable entertainment imaginable. The building stank of desperation and ill-gotten gains. The fact that it was neither as well-lit nor as well-ventilated as its name implied appealed to the con artists, runaway peasants, prostitutes, loan sharks, and the city’s assorted riff-raff who frequented the establishment. And no one crossed Grex. The survival rate for those who did was zero. Even the auxilia dared not raid the place. Domino Grex had so many illicit connections that his complex was untouchable; any officer who tried to impose the law soon found himself transferred to the city’s Sanitary Division.
Though the private rooms on the fifth floor could provide for any vice or perversion, they seemed to exude the evil, hatred, anger, and violence they’d witnessed over the years. No member of Grex’s staff was assigned up there for any length of time. Too many seemed to disappear, go mad, or simply see things that . . . shouldn’t . . . be there.
One of the largest of these rooms had been booked for the evening. Two muscular street toughs stood on either side of a dented copper door, the verdigris of age belying its well-oiled mechanisms. The men leaned on heavy clubs, and short swords and daggers were sheathed at their belts. The toughs stepped together in front of the door as three cloaked figures approached, blocking their passage.
The cloaked figures each withdrew necklaces from within their cowls to display small medallions with intricately geared moving components. Newly alert eyes lighting up their dull expressions, the thugs nodded to one another and moved aside to let the strangers pass. The leader inserted his medallion into an opening in the wall as if it were a key; after an audible hum, the door hissed open, sliding slowly into the wall. The figures passed between the two toughs, who ignored them—their job was to guard the door; what happened inside was not their business.
With another hiss, the door squealed shut behind the last cloaked figure to enter, and the gaslights blazed in their wall sconces, casting a yellowish haze throughout the room. Two of the figures moved to the last remaining high-backed chairs surrounding a massive brass table, designed in the shape of a gear, in the center of the room. The third figure stood between and slightly behind the two chairs, keeping his face in shadow. Anticipation weighted the air, seeming to make movement a challenge…
A sneak peak inside Brass Legionnaire, a look at my promotion plan, plus major updates!
Looks like I’ve finally set a publish date – May/June 2012.
Just to get you in the mood:
A clattering sound drew Julius’s attention back to the tower in time to see the tribune hastening down the metal ladder. He waited for Constantine to join them before asking nonchalantly, “So, Tribune, sir, how did reason fare over violence and anger?”
The tribune grimaced. “We’ll just have to reinforce the lesson with a bit of old-fashioned corporal punishment.” A thousand-throat scream of fury and belligerence interrupted him.
He ran back to grab the discarded speaking trumpet. This time he addressed the defenders. “Ready, boys—remember your training! Keep your thrusts short and cover your brothers. Repeaters, I want as much fire as you can place on those rebels. Aim for the leaders if you can!”
The guttural screams rose in pitch. “Here they come!”
The rush to publish is on! Here’s a quick update of the comings and goings during the last few days.
1.) The edited files are being read through as we speak (3/4 of the way through now, making notes to return it to the editor!)
2.) Illustrations are in progress (Saw the first one – looks awesome!) The readers will definitely be in for a treat!
3.) Super top secret awesomeness for the Kickstart Supporters (and later the newsletter sign-uppers) is completely finished! I’ll post the very first draft of it on here to give you a baby clue as to what it may look like.
4.) Finished the book series website, but holding off on publishing it until the book is almost ready.
5.) Upgraded my wordpress to change Modern Papyrus to danielottalini.com – This is now more my blog and author site, rather than the review and thoughts blog it was originally!
Wow, so much done, and yet still so much to do! It’s early April now, and my goal was to have the book published by June, so now that is a very reasonable goal (in my mind at least). Still have an array of things to do before then though. I’ve taken some time to sit down and set up a plan to promote my book.
1. Talk to friends, family, etc. (Short and sweet – they’ll probably get sick of me)
2. Build an online presence on Goodreads (Add me as a friend!) Twitter, Facebook (Coming soon!), and my blog. This is in progress now! For example, the folks over at Indie Book Collective had some great promotional things going down. I’d want to join in on that!
3. Set up and finalize book-website with cross-linking between it and here.
4. Set up a newsletter service through Mail Chimp or Adweber.
5. Get bookmarks, stamps, and business cards through Zazzle so that I can do low-level promoting (leaving bookmarks in books at library, business cards when paying tabs at restaurants, shamelessly self promoting myself in all areas 🙂
6. Set up giveaways on Goodreads and send books to be reviewed by several self-publishing blogs/steampunk blogs. One I’ll definitely be contacting is IndieBookSpot for their author interviews and reviews.
I’m sure I’ll think of more in the meantime, but that’s it for right now. Anything else I missed that should be included!?
To Illustrate or not to Illustrate, that is the (expensive) question!
To begin, I’ve always loved chapter books with illustrations. They breathe life and culture and feeling into a story. Sometimes, I wish to high heavens that Harry Potter books had come with full page illustrations every couple of pages. Not every page mind you, even just one per chapter would have been awesome. Obviously, the style of your book has to lend itself to illustrations. Personally, I think all books could use them in one form or another.
But Wait! You cry. “I have my own created image of what this world looks like, why should someone else make it for me?”
Someone else already has, if the book you are reading has cover art. From the moment you open a book, your mind is building the world that you are reading. The cover (to me) is like the section in a library – Does it have dragons on the cover? Trigger the fantasy imagination component of your mind. Man waving a french flag with a musket? Activate the Three Musketeers and Napoleon memory centers! Illustrations in a book are a way of guiding the reader’s imagination, like mileposts or markers on an old trail. The trail is laid out for you, but you are making the journey. The markers guide you, even shape some of the world for you. But illustrations are expensive, and only the most well paid authors or those with a great amount of extra money to use, those who have won the family/friend lottery (Hey, wanna illustrate my book? I’ll pay you in pizza!) can truly fill a novel book with illustrations. Even Scott Westerfeld of steampunk fame doesn’t have illustrations on every page.
So what is a new/upcoming author to do if they want illustrations. There are a few options.
1.) Sell your firstborn (Just kidding!)
2.) Compromise – Have only a few illustrations that are super critical.
3.) Never have any illustrations and pour that extra money into cover art or extra promotional things.
Of these, option two is the best, and really the only option, that makes the best sense if you have the money for illustrations. As a visual person myself, I love having maps in my book. If your story is going somewhere, have a map! They make great interior covers, and can break up a story neatly into chunks if that is what you need. In my book, I have plans for two maps – one of the entire continent of Europe, and the other of my semi-fictional city of Brittenburg.
My plan for Brass Legionnaire is to have two illustrations that are critical to the story and really tie into the theme and idea of my world. Not only can I have them in the book, but I can get enlarged ones as posters and other things to use as freebies and contest prizes. Theoretically I could sell them eventually too, but I like the idea of having control of a limited number of them in really nice form. Those in the book would be black and white, while the promo ones would be full color.
I suppose I could lay down a pretty penny for one illustration per chapter, but maybe I’ll save that for the omnibus (in the far, far future!) Of course, if you want to make it happen, check out my Kickstarter project and donate. I don’t have much time left on it, and I’m sort of sad that it won’t likely happen, but I’m excited to still have the chance to share the book with you guys regardless!
So in case you didn’t know, I’ve been using the company Streetlight Graphics for my book’s cover art. I decided to splurge on their Ultimate Pro Package, which includes the following (Those people new to self-publishing may find this really cool!)
Ultimate Pro-Package: (Taken directly from their website)
Print (Createspace only)
Book Cover Interior Print (Createspace only)
Formatting E-Book Cover
Formatting for Kindle
Formatting for Nook
Formatting for Smashwords
A written tutorial explaining how to upload your e-book
All this for only $265!* (Since increased to $285)
(It also used to include banner ads for wherever you wanted them, but they claimed that most people didn’t want them. I asked nicely and got them included 🙂 )
To me, this was an awesome deal. I mean, I know I could spend some of my own time formatting them for all the different sites, or just pay someone $50 to do it, but the fact that I get a print cover, an e-book cover, and someone to do my formatting all at the same time is really cool. Also, its the convenience factor. It’s only one person to talk to, handle, and work with, instead of several different ones. Although I’m pretty technologically savvy, I’ll take all the help I can get on this first go around.
How did I find them, you ask? Actually, it was courtesy of Lindsey Buroker, (Encrypted) someone who I admire and have been following for the last few months. She puts out great comments, tips, tricks, and really useful stuff for us self-publishing people out there. She used these guys earlier to update her cover art for her novels. I have to say my experience with them has been awesome. No complaints at all! They are very communicative, open and helpful. They are able to change the smallest things to fit your wishes. They knew how to deliver what I hadn’t even known I had wanted (If that makes sense?).
Anyways, on to the actual point of this post. I asked for and got two different advertisements that I can use on my YouTube page (not much there now, much more planned in the future). In addition, I’ll see if I can somehow adapt it for my twitter (@dOttalini – Add me!) I figure that I can use these cool advertisements to point people watching my videos or tweets in the direction of my book once it is published. So here, I’ll post them below.
This one is a 728 x 90, which is a perfect size for a youtube video. They can be made on photoshop if you’ve got the time and desire (I’ve done it before, even though I’m a poor hand at it!)
The second one is simply 468 x 90. It’s a bit smaller and may be a pop-up ad in a video, rather than the header of a video or posting. Let me know what you think of them. Like I said earlier, It’s important to keep the theme simple, but also demonstrate the concept of your book.
I’ll take this last moment to plug my kickstarter project. PLEASE consider donating any amount of money, there are some pretty cool rewards you can earn (For those of you with lots of disposable income, You can not only name a character, but decide if, and how, you want them to die!) Here’s the link again, talk to you all soon! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/187272667/brass-legionnaire