Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mac Wheeler And The Release of Book 24!


This is not the first time I have featured Mac Wheeler here. The first time was for his visually lush blog featuring his photographs of his walk-abouts in Florida.  

This time, however, I'm focusing on the release of his 24th book. That's right, 24th! 

Amazingly, besides penning 24 books, Mac designs all his own covers. I know he's very particular about the design and font used, so I asked him to share with all of us who might be, or who have ever self-published, to talk about his cover design process. Thanks, Mac!

Available here!

One Indie's Cover Process

One Indie's Cover Process

If you can afford it…find someone with a good record putting together stellar covers for your genre. 'Cause DIY covers ain't for everybody.

I'm an Indie who has transitioned from using the services of designers to doing it all myself. Hey, there ain't much money in authorin', so I can't spend a ton on covers, and after penning 24 novels, my wallet would be flatter than it is already if I didn't start studying. So, if you're really cheap like me:

Stock: Expect to spend a lot of time scouring the ether for art and photos. Dependent upon the genre, not just the tone, theme of your writing, and the age of your reader. I think
http://www.deviantart.com/ and canstockphoto.com open by themselves when I start my browser. There are actually shutter bugs out there that will allow you to use their photos for free. There are tons of sites…I've found connections on Flickr. The good news, if you write a genre that requires more dynamic covers like horror or SF…there are artists you can commission for about two hundred bucks. That's a deal.

Tool Set: If you don't have some graphics/art savvy to start with, this will be your biggest hurdle. Because of my technical background, I rely on Visio a lot. I've been doing photography for a while, so I've had an excuse to play with the photo tools out there. I prefer Corel's PaintShop Pro. I've tried Adobe's Elements. I find the X6 version of Corel's product the easiest to use. Getting to a point where these work for you takes loads of time.

Typography: This isn't as easy as you'd think. You'll need some studying…take a lot of time comparing fonts, sizes, bold, italic, serif, sans…all tied to the genre. (I'll refer you to
CreativeIndie blog on the topic) Get familiar with http://www.dafont.com/. Typography is as hard as finding the right stock. It takes time to find what combinations work together, for the particular genre and mood. I have seen so many bad combinations I can't even tell you. (My earliest were probably the worst put on an e-book.)

Composition: Simply stated, it is all art. Not as much science as I wish to this element. Do you have an artistic eye? Position. Color schemes. White space. Color bleed. Making it work in thumbnail. I could blather on. My earliest attempts were so stinking campy…I can't even tell you. Find stock and art that fits as-is in the space. Most of the collages I've seen did not sell the piece. Keep the composition as clean as possible. The first glimpse a possible reader will have of your book will likely be as a thumbnail.

A real designer could expound upon these four elements and add a dozen more. I frankly don't recommend DIY. Being cheap like me is bad. You wouldn't want your house to burn down because of your poor wiring skills…so it ain't great to step in as your own cover designer. But if you're independently minded…expect to spend months putting together the skills to make it work.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

R. Mac Wheeler lives in Florida where there are sane winters. He writes speculative fiction, fantasy, SF, suspense, and paranormal with a twist, including eight series from YA with ogres and trolls, grittier vampire and werewolf noir, and a traditional family saga. Two stand-alone novels are screaming for their own series, with outlines waiting to be fleshed out. Visit him here:






22 comments:

  1. Julie, that was a great shoutout. Thanks. Tell your readers they can have a free mobi or epub copy of NOA 1 if they drop me a note (contact link on my blog...and I promise not to keep their email address for anything evil or otherwise)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you just did and so good to know! Thanks Mac for sharing your expertise with us.

      Delete
  2. I saw this on another blog. Very prolific!
    Best of luck, Mac.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congrats, Mac! I salute you in your cover endeavors. I decided early on it's not for me. I don't have the interest required to spend the huge quantities of time necessary to learn the software and search for the right photos. It's an enormous commitment...on top of the enormous commitment to write the book. I need a nap just thinking about it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right. It all comes down to being cheap, for me :)

      Delete
  4. Lots of food for thought here. Links are great starting points too. Amazing how much talent lies out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did I mention...great to know a great cover artist, too :)

      Delete
  5. All good to know. I have little talent in this area, but I do have a great cover designer!

    Hi, Julie!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Way to go Mac! So good to see the hermit out and about.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks all for stopping by and supporting Mac!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congrats on penning 24 novels, Mac. I definitely want to jump into the indie publishing arena this year so thank you for the tips on covers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, Mac! What an incredible achievement. That is so encouraging and definitely inspirational. :) And thanks for the tips and tricks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the tips, Mac, very informative. And congrats on your new release.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 24th! Sweet. I'll be lucky to ever get that far. Good going, Mac! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Morning back atcha (uh...it's afternoon here). It's all one step at a time.

      Delete
  12. HI Julie,

    Mac is one prolific, multi-talented dude. Kudos for number 24. And kudos for all that info about the covers. My last cover reveal was a duvet cover. I have plenty to learn :)

    All the best,

    Gary

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for being a part of the conversation. I love reading your thoughts and feedback.