Waiting for the Author’s Proof

I submitted my book cover and interior to createspace.com. They will send me the printed author’s proof (first copy of the book for my review). I already know it will be perfect (from the electronic proof) so I expect to click the “Publish” button. My book should be on Amazon in a couple weeks. It’s exciting.

Last week I told you I would include the first chapter page from the interior of an earlier book (Baktu in this case) which I formatted myself using default Microsoft fonts and styles (BaktuInterior6x9.paperBW.FirstPage), and the first chapter of this new one that I paid to have it professionally formatted (Claymore_Proof_Interior_FirstPage). I am real happy with the professional one. It is clean and stylish.

As I mentioned, the cover is done (by Tiziana of Freelancer.com) and I will feature it in another blog. It’s beautiful.

It’s always a relief to me to have finished a novel. But getting it on Amazon is when it will really be finished. However, in this case, I still need to submit the color version to createspace.com, so it won’t really really be finished until that one is also on Amazon. Color is so expensive on createspace.com that it is hard to recommend buying the color version of a book to friends with a straight face. But Tiziana’s color illustrations are so beautiful that I must publish it.

The featured picture this week is the illustration for chapter 49, the last illustration. This is a moment of suspense when Claymore is injured and fading. One of is nemeses is about to kill his friends that are chained to the wheelchairs.

Chapter 49

 

Book Interior Formatting

I sent my final manuscript to the createspace.com “custom interior” service. This service includes formatting the document to the book’s 6″ x 9″ page size, selecting the ideal fonts and style for my story (influenced by my selected preferences) and placing my 10 illustrations.

I usually do this myself. It’s not that hard, especially since I tend to keep Microsoft Word’s default fonts and header styles. This time my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to try the mysterious service. It costs about $349, so I am hoping for a noticeable improvement from my own simple format. I will show a sample of my chapter one page from a previous novel to their chapter one page after they finish.

Meanwhile, it was a bit of a rocky start since they rejected my manuscript a couple of times for things I thought were trivial, and that they should of been capable of fixing. First, there was a change left from the Microsoft track changes feature, and their rule is all track changes must be accepted or rejected and turned off. It took me a while to find that a space had been added or deleted, or some invisible thing I am still not sure of, and I had not accepted it. Sigh.

The second time they sent it back, they said the title page had a subtitle: “Book Three in the Tomek Universe”, while in the form I filled out I indicated there was no subtitle. In the createspace.com requirements, it listed all the things that could be on the title page, including a subtitle and the book number in the series, which I assumed were two different things. Sigh.

I found it annoying at the time because it delayed the project two days. But I’m still optimistic and excited to see the result. It is due April 26. I will report on the results in two weeks.

This week’s featured illustration is for chapter 41. Here Tiziana shows almost the whole crew of the significant characters. On the wall screen is Tomek and Spri telecommuting to the conference. Tomek and Spri can’t be there in person because they are busy making my next book’s plot happen. The plots overlap. I was hoping for a scene that showed them all, even the tentacled Scod, and Tiziana made it happen. I see paper is still used in the far future, but it’s probably electronic paper, like a flexible and superthin Kindle tablet.

Chapter 45

Sequels as Standalone Novels

Some of the feedback that I got back from an editor on my sequel sci-fi manuscript was that I did not explain particular things, such as various sentient races and what they looked like. This is a sequel, and I did go over those details in my previous books. That means readers of my previous books would not need those explanations again. So it did not occur to me to explain them again. Right?

I suppose the decision is whether the author wants to require the reader to read each book in the series, and in order. I’ve read some first-of-a-series books that ended on a cliffhanger such that none of the major plot lines were resolved. You had to buy the next book to get any resolution. I decided against this. I did design in a series plot line that would require reading all five books to resolve. However, I wanted each book to be a satisfying novel all by itself. So I made special efforts to have a special plot for each book, with the series plot being secondary. This may be an old concept to experienced writers.

Anyway, since I want the Claymore novel to be good and satisfying without reading the previous ones, I took the editors concerns seriously. But then I was still concerned about boring the readers that already know what the races (or other things) look like. So I tried to either be concise, or to explain it in a way that added insight that previous readers wouldn’t already know, or “show, not tell” in a way that was an important to moving the scene or story forward or to show the particular character’s unique personality compared to others of her race. I think I was able to address most of the issues that the editor brought up in a good way.

On another front, the appendix short story for the minor character Jak is almost finished. The guest author just needs to review some editing that was done to his story. It is a backstory that explains some of Jak’s motives and dilemmas. I am excited to include it in my novel.

Tiziana created the illustration below for chapter 23. Here, Claymore, the lawyer accustomed to wealth and power, is penniless and homeless. With help, he has escaped from prison. But the bad guys are monitoring all his accounts. If he spends anything, they will know where he is. The picture shows this scary new experience as he and Phee try to find a place to sleep in a strange city.

Chapter 23 Final version

Short Stories in the Appendices are Fun

I have recruited two authors to write short stories for my next novel ‘Claymore’ (one of them is a maybe). I also sent an invitation to Gavin Parish but it is too soon to know if he accepts.

With my last novel ‘Baktu’, I had three short stories added to the book’s appendices, written by independent authors. These stories focused on back stories for minor characters. I gave the credit to the author at the top of each story. It was a lot of fun for me and I thought the stories were great and added a valuable dimension to the book. So I decided to do the same with ‘Claymore’.

I expect it to take four to six weeks for all my planned illustrations and short stories to be done (by freelancers). The novel itself is done except for grammar edits. In parallel, I need to start planning the book cover.

The second chapter to have an illustration is Chapter five. I plan to post on this blog each Monday or Tuesday until Claymore is published and include a chapter illustration with each post.

chapter-5

In this illustration, Claymore is presenting his bill to the legislature of the Azten Empire. He is pushing for more resources for government law enforcement agencies to take the pressure off citizen vigilante work and to create reliable justice. Good luck with that Claymore.

Navinos and Claymore

I am on my last rounds of editing my next book ‘Claymore’ (except for purely grammar edits). I am focusing on minor details like plot details, characterization and descriptions.

While I am at it, I hired tizianafruiu from Freelancer.com to illustrate some of the chapters. I am not illustrating all 49 chapters, just one-fifth of them. I already have three of the planned ten completed. Here is the illustration for chapter one: chapter1

Claymore is the one wearing blue (or is it purple?). His race is ‘navino’. Claymore is eating with his niece and her friend.

Claymore has had subtle connections with Tomek in the Negative Zero and Baktu novels and now he gets his own book.  The novel, Claymore, will start before the Negative Zero novel and end after the Baktu novel and investigate some background mysteries from both of those books.

Below is a previous illustration I had drawn for the same chapter one, except a misunderstanding made it a landscape orientation instead of the portrait orientation I wanted. This was a different artist and you will see her opinion on the chapter 1 meal and what a navino looks like.navito-7

Just for another opinion on what navinos are from another artist, below is the published illustration from my first novel ‘Negative Zero’ of a navino:

Navino 1b Tint z

Claymore and Content Editing

Hello. It has been a while since my last blog post. I have been working on my next novel, tentatively titled Claymore.

A preliminary bit of news is that my published book ‘Baktu’ is now available in audio format.

In my last post I claimed that my last book in the Tomek series was all planned. Well, things change. I decided the plans were too big to fit comfortably in one book, so I planned three books. With the current plan there will be a total of five novels in the series. I have finished the first (sharable) draft of Claymore last Saturday. That does not mean I am ready to publish it. However I am excited by this milestone because it means I can start dragging in help in the form of content editors.

I have been noticing fiverr.com, and decided to try a sample of the service from two specific content editors that are sellers there. For a sample I submitted my first chapter of Claymore to each of them.  The chapter is between 1500 and 2000 words. One cost me $10 and the other was $20. Both of the editors turned out to be good. I want to share one of the results here, in case you want to see what a good content editor does to your draft. Click here: ClaymoreChapter1_developmental_edit_CateHogan

Now I want to sent in my full manuscript for content editing, but I need to fix my chapter 1 first, based on the editor’s input.

When I send in one of my precious documents for editing, I usually go through stages. I don’t know if these stages are typical of all authors (who use content or developmental editing) but I will list mine anyway:

  1. Almost immediately after I submit it, I am impatient to get the results. I monitor my email  several times a day. I am tempted to contact the neighbor girl (when I hire her) or check guru.com, freelancer.com or fiverr.com (if I hired services from there) several time a day, and sometimes I give in to the temptation.
  2. I get the manuscript back and read all the comments and notes the editor made, with feverish anticipation.
  3. And then I feel crushed, deflated. The evil editor found flaws. They have implied that my precious words, that I worked so many months on, of are  defective. You won’t feel that when you read mine because you haven’t given birth those darling  words. I even start feeling rebellious. What to editors know anyway? What is so special about their opinion? I am exaggerating. The editor is usually polite about it, and they do sprinkle in compliments.
  4. I think about it. For a full book manuscript I ponder a whole day on it. I start to understand what they are talking about, and understand why those flaws weaken the story. I start seeing how the book could be so much better if I make specific adjustments to address the various issues they pointed out.
  5. And now I am excited. I can’t want to add all those improvements.

In the specific content editor’s notes attached to this blog, some things you will see are where the editor simply misunderstood. And that is good information too. I don’t want the reader to misunderstand. For example, the editor complained that I had Ramos (the human) looked down to talk to Claymore. Since Claymore has four arms he should be taller, right? No. Navinos have always been shorter than humans in the series. So I need to clarify that somehow in chapter 1. There was another item that was a simple misunderstanding.

Another specific item, and this one is a big deal, is that Claymore is not properly motivated. The reader does not have a sense of why Claymore would take risks, or why helping Phee would interest him enough to make sacrifices. This, I decided was deadly important. Sure Claymore wants law and justice for all (like I do in real life, so I automatically assume the reader has the same feelings). But is that enough? Even if is  a valid motivation, it is not specific enough. (Like she pointed out, there are lots of injustices in the news. What is so special about Phee’s situation?) And even that were his only motivation, I have not properly shown enough of Claymore’s background to show why. I am not sure all of this motivation needs to be established in chapter one, but I think I will try to do it in a prologue + chapter 1.

In any case I am planning on giving this serious attention. I now have planned something very specific about Claymore’s background that I want to write as an exciting prologue, where he loses someone dear to him. And it’s something that not only motivates him to help Phee, but goes beyond that and has specific repercussions in the remainder of the book and the plot. I won’t tell you the specifics of my plan, but I am excited to implement this new idea. The bad news is now I have to write a prologue, rewrite chapter 1, and make adjustments throughout the book. Probably before I submit the whole book for content editing. My schedule slides again, but that’s normal.

Final Tomek Novel Planned

Last week I created an outline for the final novel in the Tomek series. I created an outline of each chapter even. I even wrote a polished draft of two chapters. I will now start writing in earnest. It may take a year to finish the manuscript, and a another couple months to get illustrations and a final round of grammar checking.

The story usually changes from the plan by the time I finish the manuscript, so I don’t want to give too many details about it since they may not happen as originally planned. I have planned three intertwining plots that resolve the dangling series issues:

  • The Golantan Invasion: What happens when the big Golantan fleet arrives at Baktu? Does Baktu recover from local civil unrest in time to be prepared?  Are the Azten forces successful at repelling them? Does the homespun Baktu navy make any difference at all? Does Baktu survive the new overlords?
  • Claymore: What has Claymore been up to all this time? Does he solve the case of  of Tomek’s parents’ murder? How did he get special insight about Baktu? Does Trident kill him? Does he save the Trident kazimons? Does he survive the Trident kazimons? How does he find Trident’s secrets?
  • The Trident Conspiracy: Does Trident survive the Golantans? Do they take over Azten? Do they ever kill or recapture Tomek? Do they attack Baktu? Can they be stopped? Can the planet Zimvia survive their backlash?

I currently hope to make each of the three threads a worthwhile story on their own and make them combine in a way to create a spectacular novel. I am excited about this. I just hope I can make it all work.

Prepare for the Visual Feast!

BaktuIllustrationsFrontCoverSmall

Baktu Illustrations Newly Released as FULL COLOR Special Edition!

Welcome back friends!

Happily, there is even more great news to share about Baktu! Cass here at the blog helm again, checking to inform you of the latest developments about the printing of the book and distribution on Amazon.

As those who purchased early copies of book two in the Tomek series will know, the novel contains beautiful illustrations from contest winning artists, sourced from around the world. As he shared the novel with others Jimm learned personally of Baktu collaborators and fans of the written word who wanted to badly to see the original versions, that he pulled the trigger on an accompanying printed graphic which is just now available to the public, also on Amazon.

Due to the cost of full color publication of the entire epic, the artwork had to be printed in black and white throughout. As you experience the image in only the form of light and shadow, it gives the drawings within the full length novel a nostalgic and dream like quality. Each visual likeness leaves your imagination to explore and envision the colors, hues, and contrast of every depicted scene. This difficult choice to remove color from the pages was done with the purpose to make the book more economically priced and therefore accessible to more readers.

After seeing full novel in print, Jimm knew he wasn’t quite done sharing the diversity of talented artists who had contributed to the novel. It then also became of high importance to Jimm, as he progressed through the project, that the audience be given the opportunity to enjoy the full beauty of the different graphic styles of the artwork in high resolution full color.

Personally, it is such a treat to see both the black and white, as well as the full color side by side as I read the novel again. Sometimes my imagination closely matched the artist’s rendering, and other times I was delighted to see that the artist had chosen nearly the opposite colors to what sprang from my imagination.

In the full novel your imagination really makes the drawings your own as your mind’s eye fills in the details between light and dark – whereas the stunning high-resolution drawings provide every detail and some surprises as to the artist’s interpretation of the story. The full novel and the special edition collection of color illustrations are complimentary books, and make a beautiful set for avid readers and science fiction fans of all ages! In this newest release of the drawings accompanied by a short blurb about each artist, you may find yourself lost in the soulful pictures, and dreaming up the prequel as well as back story for Wra, Spri, and the other natives of Baktu.

After you’ve enjoyed them both, please feel free to leave your comments or questions for the author about both the story and illustrations here! I’ll be back with you to share the next developments for the Tomek series! Thank you again to all the fans for your support and interest. Your continued curiosity and compliments have been a joy for everyone who contributed to the project, and especially for those artists who thanks to Jimm are able to bring the adventures of Tomek to both the digital and print world in black and white and brilliant color! Thank you!

Amazon: Illustrations in Baktu (54 pages): collected by Jimm Grogan

Amazon: Baktu: Book Two in the Tomek Series, By Jimm Grogan (356 pages, black and white)

For more information: https://jimmgrogan.com/

Contact: https://jimmgrogan.com/contacts/

Baktu Finally

After what what seemed like forever to me, I have finally published the kindle edition of my book Baktu. It took a while to have all the illustrations created. Now, it is available on Amazon.com here.

The two paper editions will be available this week. There will be a cheaper black and white edition, and a color edition.

Illustrators

All 33 chapters except two have illustrations, and two of the appendixes also have illustrations. See the small thumbnails of the illustrations in above excerpt from the acknowledgments page. I hired eight different illustrators, each with a different style. It was fun having different visual interpretations of the chapters from each of them, and hopefully it won’t be too confusing to the reader. I am excited to show their work. After the fact, I see I forgot to acknowledge one important illustrator: GrayCactus, who illustrated chapters 8, 12, 13, 15 & 33. I don’t know how I missed that. I will need to update the kindle edition of the book to mention Gray Cactus in the acknowledgements in a couple weeks, and hopefully add the two new in-progress illustrations while I am at it.

Also, I really like the short stories in the appendixes of the book. These were written by other writers (not me) and they did an excellent job for me. Each of the three short stories revolves around a different minor character in my book. I think each add some depth to the Baktu world. I am thankful for these writers participation.

It is nice to have this project unleashed into the world so I can finally show it to those who have been waiting, and I can turn my attention to the future big thing.

Baktu Accepted Into Amazon’s Scout Program and Publishing Competition

Amazon Approved Baktu to Move Forward – Includes First Sneak Peek For Readers!

Baktu Novel Cover

Baktu, the second science fiction novella in the Tomek series.

Great news fans! You’re invited to a private sneak peek of Baktu hosted by Amazon Kindle!

Hi Everyone! Cass here again, guest blogger, with the pleasure of sharing the first official flames of attention for Baktu! As you know Jim’s book is complete, has now also gone through the sometimes complex editing process, and as the publishing date approaches, more and more good news for fans of the series keeps coming out!

Just this week Baktu was awarded admittance into Amazon’s Kindle Scout competition for unpublished manuscripts. You the reader directly benefit in this unique competition, because as part of the program, Amazon allows you to check out the first few chapters and nominate Baktu for publishing through the competition, for free. As well as another benefit after the competition concludes.

Starting today you will have a full month to check out Baktu’s opening section, nominate it for publishing, and share it with anyone – for free!

After that, and with the most nominations in this competition group, their program additionally rewards those readers who nominated Baktu by providing each of you a complimentary Kindle eBook edition of the entire book to keep!

Please do support the continuation of this fun sci-fi series by enjoying Amazon’s advance preview and offering Baktu your publication nomination after you have taken pleasure in the exhilarating opening scenes and developing story! When Baktu moved onto the next stage your participation at this early stage guarantees you a complimentary copy of the full novel as soon as it’s released by Amazon!

The anticipation of Tomek’s landing, at the outset of Baktu, and escape from the dangerous powers in the previous novel, Negative Zero, are only the first mysteries revealed to readers who take advantage of Amazon Kindle’s sneak peak. You will soon be lost in this fascinating world that is both totally alien and not all that much unlike our own world. If only we had the intergalactic travel, Baktu would definitely be a must see destination.

It has been noted that along with the book’s cover, a large part of Tomek’s journey includes the mysterious illustrations always intended for inclusions the final print publication. Amazon’s Scout competition, however, only allows for the novel’s cover and text to be reviewed and nominated. But, we are glad to report that after winning, when published and sent by Amazon to all those who nominated it, we can confirm that Baktu’s eBook will definitely include the full set of color illustrations!

This is a really great opportunity and deeply appreciated honor for Baktu to have met their standards for publication and to have gained immediate admittance into the active competition. We invite you to please visit Baktu on Amazon’s contest page, enjoy the sneak peek, and give Baktu your nomination! Please do also share the experience of your reading it with everyone you know and also with Jim directly here on the site!

Amazon’s Scout Competition: Kindle Scout Amazon: Baktu

URL Link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3KSTIP7RAU1QL

 

For more information

https://jimmgrogan.com/

Contact: https://jimmgrogan.com/contacts/