Making my own rules

Recently, I tweeted some pics of my printed book which included the start of chapter 6, and one of my maps.

The tweet was very well received by Twitter and the writing community.

I had one chap compliment me, but then proceed to inform me that it’s against the ‘rules’ to have the first paragraph of a chapter, especially with a drop cap (the large letter at the start) indented. He called it a beginner mistake.

Of course this made me panic – launch day is just over a week away – so I turned to Google to try and find this rule.

Typesetters have been doing drop caps with no indents since the beginning of printed text. In the medieval times, this was very common.

Basically, there is no set rule that says “drop caps may not be indented.” Rather, it’s “drop caps may not be indented, because no one else ever did, and we’re stuck in the medieval way of doing things.”

Personally, I love the look of my indented drop caps. To hell with anyone who calls it a ‘beginners mistake’, it’s my book, my rules!

Where have I been?

I must admit my posting schedule has slipped a bit. Between now and February, my work gets hectic with the Christmas rush, and as the boss, I tend to get swamped. Therefore I may not be posting as much as before.

So what have I been doing book-wise?

I received the second print copy last week, and must say I’m super proud. The margins are much better, the book titles and section titles at the top of the page are in the correct order, and the maps line up / are set up properly.

You can imagine my chagrin when I read a random scene in the good copy, to find…..a typo!!

I flipped back to the start, and right there, I used the wrong word – bellowed instead of billowed when referring to smoke *facepalm*. I feel like my editor made my ms worse than the state I finished in.

And so I have been reading my own book from start to finish, doing one final proofread, and boy did I find a lot of errors!

Last night I started transferring the changes to the InDesign files, and I will hopefully have them finished by lunch time so I can re-upload the file to IngramSpark. I had planned to do this yesterday, but I had to go into work on my day off. Not happy.

This is my last chance to make any changes before I do my bulk order, so I’m kinda scared that I’ll break something and the final product will come out wrong.

The other thing I’ve been working on is building my platform. I have almost 3,000 followers on Twitter, mostly other writers and readers. The #WritingCommunity has been nothing but amazing, and I have found some great support there 🙂

Twitter has become the platform I use the most, and is where I tweet a lot of updates and interact with other writers. If you don’t follow me already, look me up 🙂

Don’t forget, launch date is 9th November. You can preorder from this site, or preorder the ebook on Amazon.

Angus & Robertson may also be distributing my book, much to my surprise. I googled ‘Amy-Alex Campbell reviews’ and saw the listing for A&R. I was like…WTF are they doing with my book?? Then I found out that they are one of IngramSpark’s distribution partners.

12 days to go folks. May you forever hold Am in your hearts.

Another Road Trip

Today we headed down to Wollongong so that fave human could do a photo shoot for his book. His project captures tasteful nude photos of participants doing what they do to help their depression.

I’ve been dabbling in opening scenes for book 2. I destroyed a city and slaughtered an entire army, and it still doesn’t feel quite right. I’ll get there though.

Todays trip hopefully gave me some good inspiration to help get over that first chapter hurdle.

It was a 3 hour drive each way, but worth it. Wollongong is a beautiful place, and great to recharge my inspo batteries.

I found a few of these washed up in the sand. Bluebottle jellyfish – not deadly, but stings like buggery. One of the many reasons I don’t swim at the beach.

The countdown is on, not long until launch day. I flicked through my printed copy and found 2 typos, so I’ve decided to read it one more time and correct any boo boos before I get the books printed.

I’m a bit frustrated. I paid a lot for the editing, which was to include proofreading, but they missed way too much. I think that’s the last time I use editing services on Fiverr.

November 9th = launch day, watch this space!

The Cover Reveal

So yesterday I received the first print copy of my book. To say I was excited was an understatement.

I had planned a Facebook reveal with a classy photo of yours truly holding the book. However, my favorite human was so excited and proud, he jumped the gun….and posted a horrid photo of me holding the book…. in work uniform – hot, sweaty, messy hair and anything but classy 🤦🏻‍♀️

But still, the amount of congratulations and support from my Facebook friends has been nothing less than amazing. I already sold 2 x signed copies (pre-orders) which I wasn’t expecting!

Family drama aside, I must say I am really happy with the quality of my book. There were a few paging errors which I have (hopefully) fixed, and I am now waiting on yet another proof from IngramSpark to ensure it’s ok.

The cover of the book feels amazing to touch. I chose the matte finish, and am really happy with it. It feels almost waxy, unlike any other books that I’ve come across.

The pages are an off-white creme, and the new book smell did not disappoint – yes I stood in the middle of a busy food court sniffing the pages like a weirdo.

The maps and chapter art all worked perfectly, much better than I anticipated. I am really impressed with IngramSpark, and will endeavor to say that they are worth the time, money and patience.

And finally…

I finally received a response with one of the places I dreamed on celebrating my launch. As fave human and I were having lunch after just receiving the package, I received this message from the Ampersand in Paddington:

So now I have another conundrum…stick with the plan of inviting my 10 fave humans, or opening it up so anyone who wants to drop by can. Urgh, this has got to be the hardest part of the entire journey!!

Thankyou everyone for your support along the way: Twitter, Facebook, work colleagues, and bloggers. But most of all, my family and friends ❤

New look website

Now that the publishing stage is complete, and the print book is on its way to my front door (ETA Tuesday), I have been sitting here pondering, ‘what now?’

Of course I’ll be working on book two while actively promoting book one and my brand, but I also need to work on actually selling the book.

And so I set about changing the look and theme of the website. I have added a quick payment option for pre-ordering the print book (which I will happily sign!) on the right-hand side of the page.

I have also added in the page titled ‘Books’, which enables you to pre-order the eBook off Amazon and once again, the print book directly from me. I’m still not completely happy with it, but I’ll keep experimenting until I get it right.

Meanwhile….finding a venue for my launch has been difficult. The place I had my heart set on were super rude and didn’t even read the information i sent them about my book. The second place I wanted is booked out for some time. Most of the other places didn’t even respond to my emails.

The libraries have been helpful, but to book their meeting rooms I need to have public liability insurance, which of course I don’t have.

I have not yet admitted defeat. I have tentatively placed a booking with a book-cafe for a table of 10, and I’m hoping my dearest and nearest friends will come and celebrate the launch over coffee and cake.

It is done…

I’m writing this somewhat bleary-eyed from lack of sleep. 2 x nights of getting to bed after midnight with 6am starts is a bit much for this writer. With the added pain of daylight savings….yeah.

But it is done! I rushed out of bed this morning about 20 mins early so I could upload my book files to IngramSpark.

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I now have a 1 -2 day wait for the eProof to be generated, then I can finally order a paper proof.

I have booked a release blitz blog tour through a promotions blog which includes ARC reviews (advanced reader copies). Scary but exciting.

And now I must put my head down, take a deep breath, and work on my uni assignment that is due tomorrow 😬 Eep!

Evolution of my Maps

I’ve been asked to show some fellow writers my hand drawn maps, so I thought I would post the evolution of The Lowest Realm’s maps.

I started writing TLR about 17 years ago, and at the time I was good at drawing maps, but only on a basic level.

To counter this, I painstakingly used paint with an ordinary mouse to recrate the outline of my maps. I had in my mind that it would look amazing, but in all honesty it was quite crap.

My first attempt at digitising my map

I also made a mockup with terrain for some reason. At the time I thought they were cool.

The Roman numerals indicate that I hadn’t thought of names for regions. A lot of the place names for things are Dutch words as I was learning Dutch at the time. A lot of these names have since changed.

Coloured terrains

When I revisited the work 17 years later, I knew I needed to fix the maps and bring them up to date. I signed up to Inkarnate and once again recreated the maps.

I love the look of Inkarnate, but they are impractical for my book. The bright colours make it look very dark when printed in black and white.

And so I bought Wonderdraft, and dabbled in their software. I like the platform, but wasn’t happy with the look. Plus I couldn’t get the sizing of the assets right.

I think at this point I threw my hands up in despair and said ‘fk this!’

In my world, there are no computers or digital maps, so it made sense to go back to the start and redraw them.

Makeshift light box

To do this, I traced the printed maps to preserve the coastline, using 0.2mm fine liners on high quality art paper.

I liked this a lot, it just needs some edits. This I did in paint.

This was my test piece so I didn’t destroy the good copy.

Here is the Isle Bar’Am. It was almost ready to publish….but still not 100% happy with it. So I’ll be adding some coastlines.

I plan to erase the inside content, and overlay the coastlines onto the edited copy.

Since I am now working on book 2, I needed to expand my world map. I enlarged one of the continents using word and a printer, and pencilled in some basic details. This continent is half a world, so the details will be very basic. I will do zoomed-in higher detailed maps for each area later on.