18 September 2011

Lessons Learned: Working With Artists, E-Junkie, and Upcoming Story

To begin: Yes, more content IS coming. In fact, it will be up for sale THIS WEEK! Keep an eye out on the PRODUCTS section of the site for a new short story in the same universe as Der Sternvolker. Short stories will be released with more regularity in the weeks to come.

Which allows me to jump into the first topic.

Lessons Learned: Working With Artists
As you all know the talented Alessandro "Ganassa" Mazzetti has done a lot of amazing artwork for the site and for the book. And in the upcoming short story Alexis Kimble will be doing the cover art. I am appreciative to both artists for their help and the fantastic work they are doing and have done for me.

But sometimes the wait can be painful, especially if not planned right.

I began writing the upcoming short story at the beginning of this month. As I wrote I created an idea in my mind of what I wanted the cover image to look like. Finally, with the story completed (before three consecutive rounds of editing), I contacted Alexis to commission her to do the cover image.

But note, fellow authors: your artists have lives, too. 

Alexis has her day job and has been busy with other commissions she is scrambling to complete for their respective commissioners (part of the reason the short story will be released this week and instead of last week). Alessandro is a very famous artist on the internet in his own right, and is working overtime to complete a flood of projects and commissions. Three pictures I commissioned from him (pictures of Balder, Borge, and Eyolf from Der Sternvolker) are waiting in his ever growing queue.

The lesson here is to plan. Something I will be doing in the future is to create definite outlines of the story before I write so I can have the artist work on the image while I'm writing, so that image completion and story completion coincide and I can release on schedule. Usually I'm what's called a "Marvel writer" (correct me if that term is wrong): I write without any sort of outline or structure and the story flows from my fingers, to be refined in subsequent rounds of editing.

Most authors create an outline. The book Writing the Breakout Novel: Workbook (associated with the book Writing the Breakout Novel) has a very good structure to help you outline your stories. I used that outline structure to write Der Sternvolker (for the most part), and I think I'm going to start going back to it, at least to aid in rough outlines so I can get artwork and advertisement going at the same time.

As you noticed on the Renegade Data Core site I've linked Der Sternvolker to the Amazon and Barnes and Noble sites so you can purchase the book. It worked out better this way because the sites were already available and so many people already have Amazon and B&N accounts.

For short stories and (most) novellas I will be using E-Junkie. With E-Junkie you can either build your own store or connect your account to your Google Checkout or PayPal account and sell goods online. It's $5 a month, and they even have space to load and store digital content. The upcoming short story will be sold via this method in PDF format. And, instead of direct DRM which blocks you from sharing digital content, E-Junkie merely puts the name and basic info of the purchaser on the front cover of the PDF. So you and your friends can enjoy it without troublesome restrictions.

And yes, I am against DRM. Does that mean I may lose money on some of my stuff? Yes, it might. But more people can enjoy my work, which ultimately is more important to me. :)

But I digest. . .

Upcoming Story
Finally, the good stuff. I know this is what EVERYONE was waiting for.

The upcoming short story will be titled A Cruel Solar System, and will be up the night of Thursday, September 22, 2011. It has a trip to Venus, advanced technology, and the meddlesome Technocrats we all know and love. . .or love to hate. This short story will be referenced in the next full length novel coming out next year.

Keep checking back throughout the week for the cover image and a video book trailer.

And let me know what you thought of Der Sternvolker! I know a lot of people have gotten their hands on it and have read most or all of it and I'm excited to discover what everyone thought about it, the good and the bad.

Until next time. . .

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