My book has arrived. When I say my book, I do actually mean, my book – the one I wrote. I am talking about Splidge, the Cragflinger – a children’s fantasy story that I have been working no this year. It is set in the land of Gud where it always rains. Sounds terribly dull doesn’t it? It’s not!
I have had a few copies run off to give to a couple of friends to proof read. I have already spotted errors in the text myself while flicking through – that is a good thing – it is probably riddled with typos, grammatical mistakes and erroneous spaces. The point of these printed editions are to make them similar in feel and texture to the real thing so that it is easier for the readers to go through. And I have instructed them to take a red pen and mark in the books! Sacrilegious! I will be doing this myself.
The other point about having such an early edition printed is to examine the look and feel of the thing; how the typeface works, the size of the text and the number of pages produced – not to mention getting an idea of the cost to the customer.
It also legitimizes the book. All the time the text is on my computer or printed out on ordinary A4 copier paper it is just some nonsense that I have bashed out . There is no sense that the work is really a book, a story yes, but not a professionally produced thing you might buy in a shop; a something to be proud of real book. With the ability to self-publish and print-on-demand as few copies as you like, it makes it so simple to run off samples to see how it is looking. Now I can think better about the overall design, the layout of the chapters, the fly sheets and so on.
The cover is one of the most important things to give consideration to. The book is aimed at the 9-12 audience, although hopefully open to anyone who wishes to read my nonsense. I want to reflect the fun, the setting and the type of book it is (adventure/fantasy/humorous) by the cover – usually the only thing you have to catch people’s eye/attention online or in a store. To that end I have decided to try to illustrate it myself in pen and ink with a watercolour wash. Now, I am no artist and so this is probably a big risk, but like all things in life, I like a challenge and to push myself to see if I can do it. I certainly think at this stage, where I don’t have the budget to pay for a professional, that it is worth giving it a go – I can always revise it if and when it sells and I have a few pennies to give it thorough make-over.
I have a lot to learn about art, but I have been experimenting. I have mocked up a cover – this is far from the real thing, but it gives me enough of a glimmer that I might be able to achieve it reasonably well. I also has the right feel and tone about it. I also have plans to include additional drawings, and more interestingly Guddian advertisements, in-between the chapters – even a recipe or two. This will increase the page count by a little and consequently the price, but I shall release an e-book version (where it won’t) – but I would like this first foray into publishing (vanity or self) a special thing.
I am sure my writing and drawing skills have plenty of room for improvement, but you have to start somewhere, don’t you? Meanwhile, it is all a bit of fun!