Tag Archives: editing

Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Hello there! I’ve been super quiet for the past month, but don’t worry, that just means there are plans in progress! (And holidays… that took up a bit of blogging time, too).

So,  here’s the latest news, plus a bit of catch up on the previous month. I’ll keep it short, since I’ve got to get back to editing The Shadow War.

UCM Holiday Market (November 2016): This event went well. We sold a few of our Phalanx boards and a couple of books. It’s a local, one-day event that took place at the University of Central Missouri. It’s a lot of fun, and best of all, the booths are free. A current faculty/staff/student has to sponsor the booth, though, and since Isaac and I have both graduated, we want to give a shout out to Scott for sponsoring us. Thank you! 🙂

Distant Horizon: Distant Horizon has been gathering quite a few good reviews over at Goodreads. Thank you to everyone who has read the book and reviewed it. 🙂

Glitch: This is a spin-off novel from Distant Horizon (it follows Tim as he deals with the Legion Spore… a vessel made from a merging of shapeshifters and technology). Glitch is in the editing phase–tightening up the prose, fixing continuity from the earlier drafts of Distant Horizon… etc. It’s on temporary hold while I finish up The Shadow War.

The Shadow War: Isaac finished reading the The Shadow War and found several plot holes and mix-matched motivations I thought I’d fixed, plus pointed out issues that weren’t flowing along with the plot as I had described it to him. So I went back through and did some major edits, tweaking character motivation and reworking the ending. This is the main reason I haven’t been very active on the blog lately. I’m still making a few changes to the last chapters, but it feels considerably stronger than before. Overall, I’m pleased with how it’s coming along.

The downside of this is that I may be pushing back the ebook pre-orders to mid-March. I’m going to see where I’m at in my edits by the end of this weekend, and then I plan to post an update as to what the updated release date will be. I’ve been debating on whether to keep to the original date or push it back, and as much as I want to release on the original date, I’d rather wait a few more weeks and have time to do the fine-tuning and proofreading that will make for a smoother reading experience. The Shadow War is my major writing/editing focus at the moment.

Stone and String: Stone and String is now available on multiple platforms, so you aren’t stuck reading it on Kindle if you prefer a different format. Enjoy!

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: Still on hold, but I’m planning on returning to edits once The Shadow War is complete. I’d like to edit one episode a week until all of the remaining episodes have gone through a basic polish, and then I’ll send them to our beta-reader before continuing the release of the series online. In the meantime, the first fifteen episodes are up.

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: Isaac and I have been working towards a special edition of the game that we can have available at local events and conventions. We’ve started moving forward with that project, and we’ve got a surprise planned for that as well. I’m really excited about it, and I look forward to revealing more about that as we get closer to Stealth Con.

WIP Game: Isaac has been hard at work creating the art for a prototype version of our next game we plan to release. It’s still in the beta-phase, however. More information on that once we’ve ironed out a few more of the details.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration:  Working on finalizing a book cover before creating a proof for another.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Now… back to editing The Shadow War!

That’s all for now, and I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂


Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Writing – Transitions and Adding Emotion to a Scene

Every couple of weeks, my husband and I meet with the local writing critique group. While there, everyone shares relevant announcements, and we usually critique a small section of each other’s work.

Last week I brought in an episode of The Multiverse Chronicles. My husband plots and writes the first draft, which I then polish. Most of the other episodes haven’t been too problematic, but this particular episode was giving me issues. I’d already tried editing it a few different times, but it still sounded… flat. I knew the transitions weren’t quite working, but something else was missing, too.

Once I read the piece aloud, the group pointed out that it lacked the usual description and emotion I tried to invoke. Thus, having someone who is familiar with our work can be helpful.

Critique partners can see the things which usually embody our work, even if we can’t.

So, after applying the basic suggestions the group made, I went back and sought ways to deepen the emotions of the main character, along with boosting the imagery in each of her “flashbacks” so that the reader would feel better grounded in the reality of the story.

For example, this is what one section looked like while I was still having difficulties editing it:

Trish had been at camp for seven days now, and thus far her training had consisted of textbooks, tests, practicing basic commands with her pterosaur (which, she noted as she stared at the starry sky, still remained nameless), and meeting with Colonel Pearson.


The meetings were the worst.


“Ivers, you seem to be making good progress,” the colonel would say, trailing his finger along a clipboard of notes, “but—” Always, that annoying ‘but.’ “—you need to work on your skills. Have you remembered to meditate with your drake?”


She flexed her shoulders. Maybe he never mentioned meditating with the pterosaur, but he usually gave her some unimportant task that she needed to complete.


“Ah-ha! Now here is a test that will measure your skills on meditating. Don’t forget to read chapters seven through nine of The Honor of Tactical Flying.”


Trish sighed and bit off another chunk of her granola.


The camp had only one copy of each book, which meant Trish had to go to the quartermaster to check them out.

Not only does the scene need a bit of tweaking in regards to transitioning the flashbacks, it also lacks a sense of the surroundings, and the emotion behind it feels dull.

This is what the section looks like now that I’ve added more description and focused on the emotion:

This was her seventh day at camp, and thus far her training consisted of textbooks, tests, practicing basic commands with her pterosaur—which, she noted as she stared at the starry sky, still remained nameless—and meeting with Colonel Pearson.

(Note that using em dashes instead of parentheses have improved the flow of her thoughts)


She inhaled the brisk air at let it out slowly, counting down from ten to relax her thoughts.


The meetings were the worst thing about being here.

(We’re starting to get a sense of her impatience)


The colonel would trail his finger along a clipboard of notes, tap his chin thoughtfully, then meet her gaze with his piercing blue eyes. “Ivers, you seem to be making good progress, but—”Always that annoying ‘but’ “—you need to work on your skills. Have you been meditating with your drake? Surely you haven’t forgotten.”

(The use of ‘would’ following colonel suggests that she’s thinking about this, not that it’s happening right now. Plus, ‘piercing’ eyes (however cliche) denote that she’s uncomfortable). Adding ‘Surely you haven’t forgotten’ gives her that feeling of being put on the spot. Already, we’ve got a lot more emotional details and descriptors to ground us in the scene)


Trish flexed her shoulders. Maybe Pearson had never mentioned meditating with her pterosaur, but he usually gave her some unimportant task that she needed to complete. Like checking the feed levels of the other pterosaurs, or cleaning the cages while the riders were out, or reading.

(By saying ‘Maybe Pearson had‘ shows that we’re back in the present. And the list of complaints continues to show mounting agitation)


So much incessant reading.


“Ah-ha!” Pearson had exclaimed upon skimming through a tiny red booklet that Trish was fairly certain should have been titled A Thousand Ways to Torture Private Ivers. “Now here is a test that will measure your skills! Read chapters seven through nine of The Honour of Tactical Flying, then report back for your next assignment.”

(By having the line ‘So much incessant reading’ on it’s own line, and then going to ‘ “Ah-ha!” Pearson had…’, we make room for another flashback. The choice of ‘incessant’ further shows Trish’s annoyance. And then we have ‘A Thousand Ways to Torture Private Ivers.’ She feels she’s being treated harshly.)


Colonel Pearson had grinned, tossed his clipboard on a stack of papers, then dismissed her to her chores.

(I’m debating on the phrasing of this, but currently, saying that Pearson ‘had’ done this cues that we’re coming back to the present)


Trish sighed and bit off another chunk of her granola.

(Yay, monotony…)


On the bright side, she didn’t have to go through all the same physical drills as the other riders. She got her exercise from running tent-to-tent, trying to locate the miscellaneous items she needed to please her superior officer. The camp had only one copy of each of the primary textbooks, which meant Trish had to go Corporal Smith, the quartermaster, to check them out.

(Adding the bits about her having to run from tent-to-tent and locating miscelleneous items adds to the feeling that she doesn’t think this is important… especially since she doesn’t bother to consider what those miscellaneous items are)

Overall, I think the edited section reads more like the other scenes now. The flashback transitions read smoother, and there’s enough detail to ground me as a reader in what is happening. Plus, we now have a sense that Trish is genuinely annoyed and impatient, rather than just ‘ho-hum’ about her daily life at camp.

I’m still in the process of editing the rest of the episode, but now that I know where to go with it, I think editing will go much smoother.

If you’re in a problem spot, see if you can find a trusty beta reader or critique partner to take a look, even if it’s just a small scene. They may be able to see what you’re missing, especially if they’re familiar with your work.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you found any tricks to adding emotions to a scene or transitioning flashbacks?


By the way, author Jordan Elizabeth was kind enough to feature my book on her blog, Kissed by Literature. Check it out to find another sneak peak of Magic’s Stealing, and to see what other books she has featured. 😀

Also, Cathleen Townsend has written the first review of Magic’s Stealing! Find it (and other reviews) at her blog, The Beauty of Words. 😀


Filed under Writing

Thoughts On Writing – The Revision Process

I recently finished the major revisions on Magic’s Stealing, and though I’m still in the process of making a few tweaks (trying to give the end just a bit more ‘oomph’ and trying to make sure that the antagonist has a clear motive while maintaining her mysterious persona) I thought I’d spend today’s blog post talking about my revision process.

First off, the difference between editing and revising. Honestly, I confuse the two and tend to use the terms interchangeably. But for the purpose of this post, I wanted to make sure I was talking about the right thing. So I did a quick web search, and this is what I found:

Editing is when you focus on a manuscript’s grammatical conventions. You’re looking for typos, words that like to get flip-flopped (my offenders were rein/reign and lose/loose), and grammatical issues. The story looks better when you edit.

Revising is when you focus on the big picture. You’re checking that the reader understands what you mean, that the story is clear, and the plot makes sense. The story sounds better when you revise.

Sometimes the two might clash, depending on whether you’re going for how something sounds, or how something looks. I’m fairly certain I drove one of my beta readers up the wall for my tendency to have ‘ , then ‘ in the middle of a sentence. For example: The owl sighed, best an owl could, then tapped the window with his beak. To be grammatically correct, the sentence should read: The owl sighed, best an owl could, and then tapped the window with his beak.

To be fair, I was doing this quite a bit, and I did go through and fix a number of those issues. However, as I was revising, I chose to keep certain instances because I liked how the sentence sounded, especially when compared to other sentences in the paragraph.

Here’s a breakdown of my revision process:

Step 1: Write rough draft. I don’t usually do much editing/revising at this stage. I just want to see the story completed.

Step 2: Examine rough draft. Tighten the writing, cut/add scenes as needed, now that I know how the story flows, and look for loose ends. Mostly revision.

Step 3: Polish the draft. Repeat Step 2 as necessary until I can’t find anything left to polish. I both edit and revise at this point. In some cases, this only takes one or two passes. In others… many, many more. (I really don’t want to think about how many times I’ve read through Distant Horizon. I feel like it’s fairly polished now, but it took several years to figure out this whole writing thing).

Step 4: Send polished draft to beta readers. Step away from manuscript and work on something else while waiting for a response.

Step 5: Ask beta readers questions. Once I have responses from my beta readers, I look through their comments and ask them questions to clarify anything I don’t understand. If one beta reader brings up a question that I think I should ask others, I send them those questions. For Magic’s Stealing, I did this in regards to what age they saw the characters as, as well as the readers’ theories regarding the antagonist. By doing this, I got a broader understanding of problems in the manuscript.

Step 6: Examine beta comments as a whole. Since it has been a while since I last looked at the manuscript, I read through all the comments to jog my memory.

Step 7: Apply critique to one chunk of the manuscript at a time. I examine what all the beta readers said about a particular section (in case there were conflicting opinions), and then applied the appropriate changes as necessary.

Step 8: Read the manuscript aloud. Once a couple sections were completed, I read the revised sections aloud, looking for any areas where I tripped over myself. Since I’m hoping to eventually do an audio edition of Magic’s Stealing, this is especially important. But even if you don’t plan to do an audiobook, reading aloud can help you catch errors or plot holes you wouldn’t catch if you are simply scanning the page. Plus, it’s kind of fun. (My Speech and Debate background likes to kick in here).

Step 9: Make any final adjustments that you know need to be made. For example, I know that the ending of Magic’s Stealing needs a little bit more ‘oomph,’ possibly in the form of one final confrontation with the antagonist. So I’ve been re-examining the rest of the manuscript to see if there are any loose strings there that I can use in that confrontation.

Step 10: Divide story into chapters. If you haven’t done this already, now’s the time to do it. Unfortunately, this is the part I don’t really like. Do I stick with a specific word count? Do I end at a really dramatic scene and have some really long or really short chapters? Should I cut before or after the antagonist view point? Eh… I much prefer revising.

Step 11: Read the full manuscript. If the story is truly polished, you’re only going to be making small changes or adjusting a word here or there. Nit-picking. If you see a major plot hole or flaw, you may want to go back and do further revisions. Each story is different. Like I said earlier, Distant Horizon went through a lot of revisions, and now when I look at it, I mostly nit-pick.

Step 12: Set the manuscript aside. Hand it over to any remaining proof-readers/beta readers. Read through it again after it’s been out of your thoughts for a little while. If readers say you’re good to go, proceed to the next step.

Step 13: Proceed with querying for trade publication or with self-publishing, depending on your goals. For Magic’s Stealing, I’ll be self-publishing, and I intend to print out the manuscript so I can look through it for typos. For Distant Horizon, I’ll intend to hire an editor before self-publishing, since it has been through so many changes that I’m bound to be missing something. The story is also considerably longer than Magic’s Stealing, and has a lot more room for plot holes (Distant Horizon is almost 100,000 words vs Magic’s Stealing’s 31,000 words).

There you have it: my revision process.

I hope you found this post useful. Have you had any revision techniques you found to be particularly helpful? 🙂

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NaNoWriMo 2013

Hello everybody! We interrupt this week’s usual cover reveal (Next week I’ll be revealing the details behind a new cover, don’t worry), to remind all you writerly-inclined folks out there that NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. A couple days away. As in, I really should finish reading through my current manuscript (Distant Horizon, book 3, part 1) so I can be ready to start writing part 2 of book 3. Anyways.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, it’s National Novel Writing Month, which just so happens to be set in the busy month of November. You set out to write 50,000 words in one month, racing against yourself to crank out the rough draft of a short novel. (Or, if your like me and some of the other rebels out there, starting your word count as of November 1st to finish a current manuscript). The goal isn’t to have a complete, polished manuscript, it’s more to motivate yourself to keep writing, not get hung up on going back and re-editing, and simply get that idea that’s in your head down on paper… or in computer hard drive space.  The computer works a lot easier for that word count check in the end.

There’s no punishment for failure, it’s all in good fun. I’ve participated in one year previously (2008, that nice, reasonably quiet freshman year of college). Though I ended up trunking that particular novel, a few of its characters have snuck their personas into my other works. As have a few ideas. Even if you don’t use your story later (I didn’t even try editing that one), you may still find some good from it. Plus, it’s fun to watch your word count slowly heading for the 50,000 mark, and if you want a writerly community there to cheer you on, they’ve got the forums, too.

So, what are you waiting for? Got a novel in mind? Always wanted to write but never had the excuse? Want to get that pesky first draft done? Then check out NaNoWriMo’s website to get started. 🙂


So, anyone else out there participating this year? 🙂

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“Research That Makes Good Fiction” – Guest Blog – Natascha N. Jaffa

We have a guest blogger with us today, Natascha N. Jaffa. Hopefully you’ll find her advice helpful, whether you’re considering trade publishing or self-publishing. 🙂


Natascha Jaffa dedicates her experience to helping writers grow through her editing firm, http://www.spjediting.com/, which she considers the best job in the world. When she isn’t editing, you can catch her snowboarding, rock climbing, or training for her first Ragnar Relay. She’s an active PRO member of Romance Writers of America, an editor for SoCal’s Mystery Writers of America chapter and is published in suspense and romance as Nichole Severn. Writers can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.





“Research That Makes Good Fiction”

Natascha N. Jaffa

No matter what genre you write, accurate research pulls your readers into your story. Plotting, formatting, world-building and character research are just four items on a list of many that make your reader unable to put that book down.

Plotting research. A lot of writers write by the “seat of their pants” and that works for them. Others plan every detail of their work, following a close outline, but, no matter how you plot (or don’t), there is a basic guide to follow in fiction.

This includes A) introducing your reader to your character’s ordinary world, B) diving into adventure, C) accumulation of bad things happening, D) answering the call to adventure, E) gathering friends and allies, F) the point of no return G) things falling apart H) your crisis or “black moment”, I) resolution, and J) your happy ever after.

In all actuality, your plot should look something like this: 


Larry Brooks has an excellent book you may want to check out called Story Structure Demystified or you may want to look into Martha Alderson’s The Plot Whisperer for more info. Her site http://www.blockbusterplots.com/index.html has actual video of her lessons if you don’t want to read!

Formatting research. It’s a simple idea, but there is a lot of information to sift through in regards to what should be included in the header of your MS, where page numbers should start, the actual font of your MS, and what the title page should look like and include. Authors use their own formatting in a lot of cases, but that’s because they’re allowed to. They’ve become accustomed to what their editor is expecting. Therefore, we must research. Find a copy of Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino. It will answer those questions whether you’re submitting a short story, a full novel, or an article to an agent or editor. Remember, the more professional your MS looks, the more professional you look.

World-building research. I’ve read so many manuscripts, especially paranormal, in which the writer doesn’t take the time to actually build the world they’ve created in their book. Readers want to know an era’s/world’s clothing, language, mannerisms, government, architecture, atmosphere, customs/traditions, and culture. Nailing down the details is what keeps your reader engrossed in the story and believing they are right there with your character.

Regency is a huge in the market right now and it requires a lot of research. This means reading history books, watching films in which the era is correctly portrayed, finding other novels in the same time period as your book and learning new words. Unless you’ve done your research, readers will see exactly how much time you took to get it right.

A word of warning: world-building research can become addicting. Never research more than you need to write about or you’ll never finish the book!

Character research. Characters make the book. This is the reason readers will pick up yours, so make them believe your characters are real. This includes setting your character’s goal, motivation, and conflict and not just for your protagonist and antagonist. Every character has an agenda. This is what drives your plot. Tell the reader what, why and why not. A great resource I recommend for every fiction writer is Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Her tips will make your character multi-layered and believable.

You also need to paint a picture of your characters for your readers. A lot of writers actually find a photo that best suits their purposes and refer to it often to keep their descriptions clear throughout the book.

You as the writer need to know your character inside and out. Their job, their likes, dislikes, relationships with family and friends, favorite foods and everything else you can think of. Some are a little easier than others to construct, but either way, it must be done. Maybe you have a protagonist who is a cop. The best way to learn about your character and step into their shoes is to interview a cop. Find out how that officer spends his day, how many years of training he had to go through before he was allowed on the force, what tests he had to take. When it comes to the simpler things, Leigh Michaels has a great list of questions to ask your character in her book On Writing Romance.


There is a similar warning here as with world-building research. Don’t get too into your interviews or studying. Learn just enough that you can confidently portray your characters to your readers and not have to stress about inaccurate details.

Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, Carolyn Jewel’s historical romances and even Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series are all great examples of well-researched fiction. These authors have taken the time to get the details right in their plotting, formatting, world-building and character development, drawing readers into the story and not pushing them out by focusing on incorrect information.


Well, there you have it! That’s all for today, but hopefully you found something useful. Thanks, Natasha, for joining in. 🙂


Filed under Writing

Self-Publishing and Marketing: Guest Interview – Matthew Selznick

Today I have a special treat: the first blog interview. 🙂

When it comes to self-publishing, we’ve all heard about the importance of editing and beta readers, and how good cover art is important to catching potential readers’ eyes. However, one thing I have not heard a lot about is the actual marketing of your book. Of course, word-of-mouth is an important starting point, and word-of-mouth is what will keep sales flowing long after your book has been available to the public.

However, some of us need a little extra push to get that book out on the shelves in the first place. You can have the most awesome book in the world, but if no one knows it exists, how will it be read?

That’s why some authors hire marketing and public relation consultants. Each one has a variety of services, and what the author needs will depend on their book and how well they can market it themselves.

Since this isn’t a topic I’m particularly familiar with, I decided to ask around and see if anyone who offers their services would mind answering a few questions.

For this interview I’ll be talking with Matthew Wayne Selznick, a creator working with words, music, pictures and people. Through MWS Media, he helps other creators bring their endeavors to fruition. He lives in Long Beach, California and is available at: http://www.mattselznick.com.

Read his resume here: http://www.mattselznick.com/about-matthew-wayne-selznick/matthew-wayne-selznick-resume/


Matthew: I provide marketing consultation, and I’ve occasionally done public relations work. I have experience as an author (self-published and traditionally published), a former bookseller, and an interactive marketing producer.

How should an author go about marketing their book?

By going where your audience is, being an engaged member of the community, and building relationships with people who become fans, supporters and evangelists. By seeking out new fans by looking for opportunities and areas of overlap. By establishing yourself as a writer worth reading, which means both writing a good book and presenting yourself well.

You mentioned being an engaged member of the community, and building a fan base. How do you go about doing that?

No matter the genre or niche (for non-fiction), there are people talking about it on the Internet and, very possibly, in your local community. Since you’re focused on YA fantasy / science fiction, there are probably hundreds of like-minded forums, Facebook groups, Yahoo! groups, fan websites, and even real-life meetup groups available to you.  Use Google to find them… join them… and be an active member there.  It’s all about building relationships and establishing connections *before* you even mention that you’re an author, or that you have a book for sale.  Build relationships and become known… people who “know” you will be much more willing to support your book when it’s time to unleash it on the world.

The same thing goes with Twitter — follow people in your genre, and watch their tweets and conversations. For example, if you’re writing young adult fantasy, you could do worse than follow Neil Gaiman. Follow their conversations, and follow their followers — engage with them when appropriate.  Contribute useful information when you can.

What do you expect of the author your working with?

To be available, to be open, and to be willing to be the brand. Authors who are not prepared to be marketers of their own work are at a tremendous disadvantage. Nothing sells a book like an engaging, involved and passionate author.

You’ve mentioned branding, and being a passionate author. Do you have suggestions regarding branding? How do you go about determining an author’s brand?

The author’s personal brand is built by the author through their public voice — which should be their *real* voice.  Brand isn’t something that’s determined… it’s something that is developed.

For example, Wil Wheaton’s “brand” could be “super-smart, really nice author, actor and gamer who feels like every geek’s older brother.” That’s not something he deliberately created… that’s who he *is.*


What do you charge?

It depends greatly on the project, the niche, and the author’s willingness to get their hands dirty. It also depends on whether I’m engaged on a project-based level, or as an hourly consultant. My base rate is $50.00 / hour, but project-level work usually results in a lower “hourly” rate overall.

How do you go about determining project level prices? You’ve mentioned the $50.00 base rate hourly. What all does that entail? How long do you typically spend with an author on this sort of project?

My primary role is mentor, trainer and advisor. Since the best spokesperson for an author is the author, I encourage them to manage their own Twitter stream, their own Facebook page, and so on.  It’s my job to make sure they’re handling their social media in the most ethical and most effective means possible.  I will also research opportunities like guest blog posts, online magazine articles, anthologies (a short story in an anthology is a way to promote an upcoming book!) and reviewers.

Because the tasks and level of involvement vary with each author client, this kind of work is usually billed on an hourly basis, although I do occasionally work under a retainer.  Project-based tasks would be creating a website, doing a book cover, editing, e-book conversion, and other services.

When do you suggest that an author begin looking into a hiring a marketing consultant, if they plan on doing so?

It’s good to get some advice tailored to your specific book early on… and by “early on,” I mean once you’ve completed your first draft.  The time to begin building a personal brand and an author platform is well before your book is to be released.  You want to have an audience to promote to on release day!

For authors who would like to get their feet wet planning their marking and social media, I recently added virtual and, when
practical, in-person consultation services. There’s more information at http://bit.ly/mwsmedia-consultation.  Folks who “Like” my MWS Media Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mws.media.us can also use a coupon code for 50% off their first appointment, so that might be an inexpensive way to be introduced to these concepts as they apply to a new writer’s specific situation.


So there you have it! I’d like to thank Matthew Selznick for being our first interviewed guest, and I appreciate his taking the time to answer a few questions. Hopefully this has been helpful for you readers. 🙂


Filed under Writing

Graduation – Where To Go From Here

Wow, it’s been a busy week. One of the (many) reasons for this is graduation. That’s right, I can now say I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Photography, with a minor in creative writing. What does that mean? Makes it easier for me write my credentials on website. And I  now have an actual album portfolio (a metal cover with leather binding and metallic pages, if you’re curious to know the details). I also have my Honor’s College Project, the “1000 Words” book.

But the real reason I wanted to bring this up was because of a few important things that I took from college. One thing is the importance of passing on knowledge. In an ideal world, education would be free, and passed on without having to pay for it. One great thing about the internet. It’s also a reason that I’m trying to keep my blog updated. I’m trying to focus on the self-publishing business and book cover design, as well as photo illustration. And I’m trying to post something useful when I do, so that there’s at least some tidbit of helpful information to pass on.

Which is why, if you have a question, feel free to ask. I may not know the answer, but if I do, or if I have ideas, I’ll try to help out. It’s why I’ve posted a list of blogs on the side of this blog that may proove useful to you. Yes, I’m trying to promote my business, but I also do want to be helpful.

Anyways, for my little note about promotion today, this is the flier I made to promote “1000 Words.” I don’t really expect it to bring much notice, but then, I didn’t write “1000 Words” to be a popular book. It started out as a portfolio to showcase my book cover designs, but hopefully it’s entertaining, too. But I included the picture in the flier, for recognition, listed  where it could be found and the prices, and said a little bit about it, both genres and what it is. I tried to make it bold and readable. We’ll see if it gets noticed or not. 🙂

SBibb's Photographic Illustration - 1000 Words Flier


Up Next:

1. Try to find a “real” job (that is, something to pay rent until I get this book cover business going)

2. Edit Distant Horizon, my YA novel I’m hoping to traditionally publish

3. Write novella one of the “Socks” novellas (more on that soon)

4. Work on premade covers to offer (more on that soon)

5. See about doing interviews with various self-published author to get the other side of the publishing business.

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Self-Publishing “1000 Words” – Ebook Anthology Now Available

Well, the good news is in! “1000 Words: A Collection of Short Stories” is now available as an ebook on Smashwords, and soon to be available on Kindle. 🙂


Here’s the cover reveal (went through a couple transformations, but this is by far the one I like best. Yay for a “Twilight Zone” feeling):

SBibb - 1000 Words Cover

Overall, converting it into an ebook wasn’t so hard. Mostly just time consuming, and tweaking things here and there (I’m pretty sure there’s still a couple issues with the Smashwords format, but I’m not sure what). Once I had the Smashwords one done, converting it to a Kindle ebook didn’t take long. Unfortunately, you don’t get all the neat layout designs of  a print book, but the content and images are the same.

It’s available for $2.99, and comes with one additional short story not available for free (unlike the other nine stories in it). I will soon be making a print edition available through Createspace, and the price is to be determined.

I’m considering offering formatting services for both print and ebook editions for self-published authors if this goes well, so let me know what you think. 🙂


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Self-Publishing “1000 Words” – Socks

The last “1000 Words” short story, Socks, is now available on Smashwords. It’s young adult themed, mostly sci-fi romance with a hint of a dystopian background. I say a hint because they’re never actually in a dystopian society, but it was in the back of my mind when I wrote it. Needless to say, I had an interesting time working on the cover. It didn’t like me.

First of all, I wanted a pair of socks on the cover, one of the elements in the story. So I decided to make it plain and simple, aiming for something like the cover of Matched. Only, if you think about it, that cover isn’t really simple. Clean, yes. Not simple. (Awesome book, by the way, if you like dystopias and romance).

So I did up a pair of socks to look like the ones in the story, threw it on a white background, used a grungy text in watermelon pink to match the coloring. Too plain (as you can see below).

 SBibb - Socks Cover In-Progress

So then I decide to do a soft background, one with an industrial or city look and a grungy texture over it. Ah-ha! Awesome! I showed it to a few people… who pointed out that socks would do nothing to sell the story, especially considering that it was pink… and looked nothing like a dystopia. (Nevermind that at this point I realized the story isn’t dystopia. It’s sci-fi, maybe post-apocalyptic, but not dystopia). I was disappointed, since I thought the cover was well done… until someone else pointed out that it looked like a children’s book.

Well… rats.

As you can see below… it doesn’t fit the market.

 SBibb - Socks Cover In-Progress

So I tried again. Borrowed from the background, grabbed a couple pictures of people, did some more tweaking… and hated the cover. Didn’t look right, wasn’t going well at all, and I needed to be formatting the print version of “1000 Words,” not fiddling with covers.

 SBibb - Socks Cover In-Progress

Finally, I tried again. I borrowed the original background and softened it. Found a picture of a girl in my stock, tried to give it that sci-fi dystopia look. Made it kind of ambiguous. Image was kind of soft, so I played with that more in my favor. Added text… no socks this time, and didn’t make it pink. Played on the gray, grungy look. Liked the title being center, and added a bar running behind it.

 SBibb - Socks Cover

I actually like this cover. Now the only problem is that it looks military sci-fi/dystopian… when the story is sci-fi romance (in a post-apocalyptic world). *Sigh.* Well, it works for the point of showing cover art, but if I had more time, I’d try again. Maybe a couple teens laying back on a grassy hill, overlooking the destruction of the city. A nice, opening scene. And in the gray sky, “Socks” would be written in the clouds.

Why didn’t I think of this three days ago? Now I know I need to get more couple stock photos.

So there you have it. The process behind the cover art for Socks. What did I learn? You can make a cover you like, but if it doesn’t look the genre, you’re still going to have problems.

Read Sockfor free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/154150

Up next: I’m working on revamping sbibbphoto.com, where I’ll split it into two sections. One will be for “real world” photography, while the other will be for book covers and illustrations. Also, I’ll soon be announcing the release date for the print version of “1000 Words,” and I’m currently in the process of formatting it for an eBook.

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Self-Publishing 1000 Words – Four-Way Stop

Originally titled “Stuck at Twilight,” Four-Way Stop was supposed to be about a guy who comes to a stoplight, then realizes all four lights are red. He waits around, then finally decides to run the lights… only to find himself stuck in the crossway of another dimension.


Instead, Four-Way Stop turned into some literary/horror mix, about a man whose choices lead him directly to a four-way stop. Maybe later I’ll write the original idea as a short story, or maybe not. Now that I’ve completed the short stories for 1000 Words (and I have the print book formatted, too!), I’m going to be quite happy to return my focus to my young adult novel I’m working on, Distant Horizon (you’ll probably hear more about that in future posts, when I run out of things to say about 1000 Words).


The cover for Four-Way Stop was probably one of the easiest for me to complete, even though it was one of the fastest I had to finish. I knew from the start that I wanted to have a red stoplight play a prominent feature in the image. Better yet, it needed to be gray, and preferably have rows of corn or wheat, as well as a road running through it.


So I searched through my personal stock imagery, and found an amalgamation of images to put together. A road, tall grass, a red stop-light (knew I had to have that picture somewhere…) and a weird tire-texture that I motioned blurred for the rain. Put it together, and by itself, it looked horrible. This is where textures came in handy. Since it was supposed to be rainy, I added a bit of cloud texture to give it a foggy look. Blurred the background, since who can see in heavy rain? Added the rain texture and tinkered with the effect. Finally chose the image of the girl, and blurred out the side of the face as part of the story. Made it look ghostly, changed the color to a stormy green.


Gotta admit, I was pretty happy with the result.


Anyways, I then worked on adding the text. I wanted to play with text placement, and conveying the idea of a stoplight. I also wanted “Stop” to be in red, and play a prominent feature. Thus I placed the texture into the corner, all nice and small. It did show the background, but it didn’t really look like a title. So I made it larger, and while I’m not happy that it obscured the background as much as it did, I am happy about the placement, now.


Below is the background image, as well as the final book cover.

SBibb - Four-Way Stop Background Image

 SBibb - Four-Way Stop Cover

You can find Four-Way Stop, a literary/horror short story, for free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/153784


In the meantime, if you’re curious about the statistics for the project as a whole, Dreamkeeper is in the lead with 122 downloads, easily surpassing The Carrier, which has been up a week longer, and stands at 102 downloads. It’s possible that people are downloading in multiple versions, or not reading them, but still, I found it interesting to see. I’ve gotten a couple more reviews on the stories (mostly good, yay!), but Dreamkeeper has none at this point in time.


Aside from the short I just did upload, Shafted Dreams has a measly 19 downloads, and no reviews. I do wonder whether this is because of the cover or the blurb, since everything else is between 30-70 downloads.


After this, I only have one more 1000 Words short story to upload, Socks, and I’ll have a little bit to talk about its cover, as well. The final short story, dubbed “1000 Words” for the title of the anthology, will only be available in the eBook and print anthology versions. I’m not quite sure what I’ll sell the print version at, but the eBook version will likely cost $2.99. I don’t expect a lot of sells, especially since I don’t have any marketing plans in place for it, however, I think it’s nice to offer something for those who want to “contribute to the author.”


Meanwhile, the print version of 1000 Words is in the proofing stage (to be printed as soon as possible, in order to get in turned in on time), but I’m fairly happy with it. Reminds me that I actually enjoy formatting print books. Of course, the next step is the eBook, which means seeing how to implement special text as well as embedding images into the file.


Let me know if you have questions, I’d be happy to answer them. 🙂

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