No cyborgs in Kindleland

So I have had a response from Kindle Singles about The Weight of Reason. No surprise in that it was rejected. I didn’t expect to have it accepted a their work is very high quality and though I believe this is the best piece of work I have ever produced, I was pleased that they even considered it. At least it wasn’t rejected within a matter of hours!

So now I start another adventure where I investigate the precarious world of self-publishing. Do I release it on KDP and similar methods for other book readers? Do I set it to free download for a limited time? Or do I list it on here and believe in the power of the human race in requesting donations and have a link to a PayPal account? What about cover art? Do I purchase a royalty free photograph and manipulate it so it looks vaguely like a scene from the story? Or do I spend a day looking at Deviant Art until I find an artist whose style speaks to me as being suitable for it?

I have many questions to ponder… any advice would be appreciated at this stage!

11 thoughts on “No cyborgs in Kindleland

  1. Matt

    You really have to get a high quality personalised cover art. Most self published books look awful. It’s true. It’s well worth putting in the effort to find an artist you gel with. I was lucky enough to get in touch with a girl who draws a very cool but slightly comic book style for my books because that’s the kind of story I write. I can’t really speak for the other things as I am appallingly unsuccessful but is go for KDP. At least it increases your exposure. Relying on just your website means all the footwork is yours. It probably won’t make much difference anyway.

    1. Thanks. I did purchase your book some months ago – can’t promise when I’ll get around to reading it but hopefully my (eventual) review will give you some more exposure. I thought your cover art was pretty cool and by the sound of it, fit with the tone of the novel.

  2. cjmoseley

    That’s a real shame, did they give you any good reasons or is this simply the old genre author issue?

    Personally I would never spend money on a royalty free photograph. There’s only so many stock photo websites, and so many authors grabbing at the most evocative pics means that you see a lot of reused images on book covers. Deviant Art may be a better option if you are feeling flush, but if you’re not then take a (phone if that’s what you’ve got) shot yourself, if you are going to have to manipulate it yourself, you might as well get as close to a scene as possible before you break out the Gimp or Photoshop. I always keep my phone with me and if I see a sight I might be able to use on my blog or as a book cover I snap a picture. I’d recommend every indie author did the same.

    If it were me I’d go with a seascape image, with an industrial plant (think Blakes’ 7) or maybe a close up of something suitable (motherboard from a CRT tv?) dropped over it as the city. If the kids weren’t off school I’d knock one up for you to see what I mean.

    Personally, I’m thinking about doing this with some shorts myself, I’ll probably just stick them on Kindle- the rigmarol of registering for American Tax codes to get on Nook and Kobo just isn’t worth the hassle to me yet. If you’ve already been through that palaver though then you should get on every platform you can, its the only way to maximise sales.

    1. I don’t think it had anything to do with the genre – they do not limit what they will publish and I think the only required feature is that the work could be read in a single sitting in less than a couple of hours. At 12,500 words it is about the right length and it was on the sort of theme that would have appealed.

      You’ve made a good suggestion and I was thinking along those terms, though perhaps manipulating the image of an oil rig, reducing the brightness to give it an ominous night-time shot, add a few lights and lightning strikes. But I’m not great with Adobe Photoshop – but now is the time to learn I suppose. I’ll have to go through my own photo collection to see if anything is suitable.

      The other idea (and this would be if I commissioned somebody at Deviant Art) is to have the character of Trant (the cyborg) kneeling over the corpse of the dead Otter. I’m not even going to begin to do that myself because I am not an artist.

      Hmmm… ok, thanks for that about Kobo and Nook. As I’m not expecting big sales it may not be worth it in the long run. What I could do is just create a pdf file and put it on here with a request for donations. You’ve given me food for thought, thanks very much!

      1. cjmoseley

        I had discounted an oil rig as the pics of them tend to be tricky to source… I guess I could model one in CGI – but that’s a weeks work compared to overlaying some chimneys and struts that have been cut to the right shape.

        I guess any photo’s of piers or docks might be manipulated to look that way too…

        If you want to have (or commission) a specific image, get some friends to pose for it. Then you can add to the shapes and use the filters to alter the look, without having to get in there and really push pixels… at the very least it shows you Deviant Artist what you are after (it always helps any designer or artist to not be fishing in the dark for the idea you’ve got)

        I wouldn’t give it away free all the time, which is what asking for donations amounts to. You will make some money with Kindle, (and it protects your copyright with the might of amazon’s lawyers behind you), you can always offer the PDF (or ePub) as a Promotion from time to time. Also getting that ASIN let’s you add to GoodReads as well as getting you amazon reviews (and the communities are merging).

        Sticking a story on kdp is completely free, and relatively painless. I just wish Kobo and Nook (and iBooks too) would wake up to the fact the rest of the world exists not just to consume American content…

      2. I’m currently manipulating an image of the Toronto skyline I took about 11 years ago, playing with overlays, selecting areas and adjusting colours, darkening areas and adding clouds. Looking ok so far and I think I’ll create several versions before deciding what I am happy with (if I go with any of them or simply send them as examples to an artist)

        Though the major problem is relying on people’s honesty, I never thought about copyright issues.

  3. Matt

    The key thing to remember is that most indie authors make their cover too busy. The professional covers are basically just one item, on symbol, on character or one very simple scene. Less is definitely better.

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