Tag Archives: SBibb’s Photographic Illustration

Thoughts on Publishing ‚Äď Infinitas Publishing Status Report

First day of the new year, and time for a status report. ūüôā

Magic’s Stealing: I’m currently working on promoting¬†Magic’s Stealing. Primarily, I’ve been looking to get this book into local bookstores (Three¬†nearby stores currently carry copies of the book. Woot!) The next step is holding book signings¬†to raise awareness of the book’s existence. I’m also planning to hold a Goodreads give-away, so look for that to come soon. Isaac and I intend to get a P.O. Box so we don’t have to use our personal address when sending out copies. We may also start a newsletter once we get the P.O. Box address¬†(since newsletters require a mailing¬†address be included).

The Shadow War: While I haven’t made much progress writing the second book of The Wishing Blade series, I have gotten quite a bit plotted for both the second and third books. My hope is to finish editing what I already have written, then write both the end of book two, and the parts I already know of book three (or at least create a detailed outline).

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel:¬†Our beta-reader has given us¬†comments on the first six episodes, so I’m ready to make the polishing edits to those episodes. I’m almost finished editing episode seven. Once we release Battle Decks, we’ll also start releasing this series. In the meantime, I’m trying to get ahead with writing these episodes. Isaac and I have discussed releasing each episodes on Friday (on their own separate blog page), thus taking place of these Friday blog posts. The goal is to give¬†me more time to get an episode edited each week.

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: Isaac and I recently reviewed our proof copies of the basic and deluxe editions. We’ve sent a few questions to¬†The Game Crafter¬†regarding printing, and in the meantime, we’ve got a few ideas about improving the rules document for clarity. We also decided to go ahead and make the rules document a booklet after shuffling through six separate pages, which was proving to be a real pain. It may still be a while before we release the game for sale, but we want this game to be polished as possible. Also, if all goes well, we’re hoping to demo this game at a new, local convention in February. More on that later, once we’ve solidified the details. ūüėČ

SBibb‚Äôs Photographic Illustration:¬†I’m plugging away on covers as usual, and I’m going to start writing the due dates in a planner to keep track of when I need to start each proof to get them completed by the preferred time.

Beta-reading:¬†I have a book I’m beta-reading for a friend in the writing group I attend, and this is going much slower than I expected (partially due to all the recent holiday activity). On the bright side, I’m taking a few vacation days in January, so that should give me more time to read and make notes, and I plan to include reading time in my planner as well.

Distant Horizon:¬†At this point, Isaac and I feel that the basic story is complete. It’s been through many different beta-readers, and we’ve let it sit while working on other projects. I’ve recently started working on basic formatting for this particular story, with the intent of looking for typos and minor grammatical issues. We don’t expect to release Distant Horizon¬†just yet, and we don’t currently have a projected release date. However I want to start working on proofing, since I know that takes awhile. Depending on how well that goes, the release date may be sooner or later. The front cover¬†is¬†complete, however, with only a few minor changes expected.

Video Blogging: Back in October, Isaac and I started doing video blogs with readings from my stories. If you haven’t already, check out the Infinitas Publishing Youtube channel¬†to listen to chapters of Magic’s Stealing and various short stories.

That’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed this post. ūüôā

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Thoughts on Publishing ‚Äď Infinitas Publishing Status Report

It’s that time again! Time to evaluate the current status of Infinitas Publishing. ūüôā

The Wishing Blade: Magic‚Äôs Stealing:¬†As of Monday, the first book is complete. Done. Finis. I’ve finished proofing the print edition and approved it through Createspace. I’ve also uploaded the updated versions to Smashwords and Kindle. If it has the Cirenan map in the preview, then it should be the updated edition.

Magic’s Stealing is now available in paperback! ūüėÄ

The Wishing Blade: The Shadow War (Book Two): My NaNoWriMo goal of fully revising the first half of this book fell through, but I did get a bit further in on the edits. I’ve also been plotting a bit of backstory that may or may not make it into the final version. This book may take a bit longer to work through than its predecessor (It’s longer, for one thing. The rough draft is currently the same length as the first book), but now that my time is starting to free up again (Finished several book covers, just about finished with a surprise bit of dental work, and releasing the print edition of Magic’s Stealing) I should have more time now to actually proceed with writing.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel:¬†I haven’t made a whole lot of progress here, either. Our beta reader has read the first four episodes, and I recently sent her the fifth episode. I’m hoping to work on the sixth episode in the next few days, and go from there. Our plan is still to release the first six episodes around the same time that we release¬†Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel, and then¬†an¬†episode a week after that.

Isaac has been making good progress on the rough draft of the second season, though. He’s currently on episode 19, and once all the episodes are complete, he plans to go back and do basic edits before handing them off to me. ūüôā

Battle Decks - Steam Tank Preview Card

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel:¬†We’re off our target schedule for this, but we have made progress. We’ve updated all the cards, updated the rules and glossary (which need to be proofread… one of our weekend plans) and¬†we’ve¬†finished the new Steam Tank card, which replaced an older¬†card. (I’ve included a¬†sneak peak of the game card… minus the rounded corners and general trimming). This weekend, our goal is to refit the box art to the smaller boxes, finalize the last few tweaks, and order a proof¬†of the updated game.

SBibb‚Äôs Photographic Illustration:¬†I’m finishing up the last of a string of covers I was working on last month, and I only have a couple covers slated for this month, which gives me time to catch up on some of my other projects. Of course, I’ll be posting the behind-the-scenes info as the publishers and authors release their covers to the public. ūüôā

In the meantime, I have a manuscript that I need to beta-read for a friend. I’m hoping to finish my read-through in the next two weeks, in order to give her time for her own personal deadlines.

That’s all for now. I have a book cover to finalize tonight, and tomorrow I have a new cover proof to start before I get back to work editing The Multiverse Chronicles.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this status report. ūüôā

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Thoughts on Publishing – Starting a Publishing Imprint

A couple days ago I was talking with an author friend, and they asked about the process of how my husband and I started Infinitas Publishing. I typed up a response, then realized that other people might also find this information useful. So here it is… the basics of how my husband and I started a business.

IMPORTANT: I am not a lawyer nor am I certified in taxes, so please do not take this as legal advice. These are just my experiences thus far, and are meant to be useful in figuring out what steps you may need to take.

Also note that this process varies depending on your location and the kind of business you want to start. This particular post is tailored to my experiences starting a publishing imprint in Missouri, in the United States of America. (Business law varies from state to state).

Choosing a Name

First off, my husband and I chose the name of our business. We chose Infinitas Publishing. We did a Google and Bing search, since the results are different, to see if there was anything too similar to the name already.

We found a few similar names, but we decided that our specific product (speculative fiction and games) and branding was different enough that the two companies wouldn’t easily be confused.

Once we found that we were in the clear for general terms, we did a trademark search. Since trademark law tends to be a pain and I still don’t feel like I have a good grasp on it, I figured we’d be best off avoiding anything too close to something that already existed.

As a side note, if the trademarks can’t easily be mistaken for each other, and they involve unrelated products, they should be¬†free for use. (For example, if two trademark names were similar, but one related to a brand of vacuums and the other to a doggy day care. Completely different uses, so the companies can have similar trademarks.)

As an example, at one point Isaac and I¬†called¬†Battle Decks “Beastie Wars”… only to discover that “Beast Wars” was already in use by Transformers. Since both products involve entertainment and games, we decided to steer clear of the name. Not only that, but renaming the game Battle Decks gives us more versatility in future game expansions… never mind that there’s a PowerPoint slide competition of the same name. The game and event shouldn’t be easily be mistaken, however, so that shouldn’t cause any mix-ups.

To look up a trademark, I used the Basic Search Database¬†(Under TESS, click “Search Trademark Database”), and told it to search “all” words.

Fictitious Name Registration / DBA
After we¬†chose the¬†name, we¬†registered for a fictitious name / Doing Business As (DBA) license. For Missouri, this cost $7.00 and lasts for five years (which reminds me that I’ll need to renew my SBibb’s Photographic Illustration DBA soon). This allows you to legally use the business name instead of your own.

Determine the Business Type
You also need to decide what kind of business you’re starting. There are four major structures, including Corporations, but a Sole-proprietorship, Partnership, and Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) are the ones you’re most likely to run into at this stage.

Nolo has some great information in regards to business practices.

An LLC has the benefit of protecting your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit, but it does have a higher start-up cost. There are also certain tax benefits, and the salary structure is different but I’m not as familiar with this business structure, so I can’t say what those benefits are off the top of my head. If you are if you are publishing multiple authors or publishing materials that could result in a lawsuit, you may want to go the route of an LLC.

EDIT: Check out Raistlin212’s comments below for a better explanation of the benefits of the¬†LLC business structure.

A sole-proprietorship is by far the easiest business to start, as all money coming into the business flows directly to you. Technically, once you have the DBA and EIN, you have the basics you need to start the business online. (This is the structure I use for SBibb’s Photographic Illustration).

A partnership is like a sole-proprietorship, except you have multiple people involved and there’s an extra form you need to fill out for income taxes (Form 1065 and the resulting K-1, which I’m not looking forward to figuring out next year, but I know a couple people I can ask for assistance). This is the structure my husband and I chose for Infinitas Publishing.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Once you have the DBA, you can apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number)¬†through the IRS (so many acronyms, I know). This number is handy because it identifies your business on tax forms. The EIN is registered on the federal level. You apply online and you get the number immediately upon completing the form. Doesn’t cost anything either, and you have a different number for each business (Infinitas Publishing has a different EIN than SBibb’s Photographic Illustration).

If you have any questions about filling out the form, your local bank may be able to help. I had a bit of trouble trying to call the IRS help line (I felt like I was playing a Choose Your Own Adventure game, phone style), but the people at the bank were able to answer my questions in regards to start dates and such.

If you are doing freelance work, having this number is nice because it gives you a number to give contractors for the Form 1099-Misc without having to give them your social security number.

Business Bank Account
It is usually recommended that you have a separate banking account for your business to keep your income and expenses organized. This may especially be helpful if you’re ever asked to produce records for tax purposes.

Check with your bank to see what they require to start an account. I went to US Bank, since I was familiar with them and they had a basic package that suited our needs and wouldn’t cost us money to use. This was important since we didn’t expect a high inflow of money to start with. For a partnership, our local branch required a General Partnership Agreement (an LLC needed an Operating Agreement). They also needed the EIN, and I think they needed proof of the registered DBA. It took a couple weeks for this to show up in their system, so be sure to plan ample time between getting everything registered and actually starting the business.

If you need assistance with the General Partnership Agreement or Operating Agreement, there are several sites online that offer free templates. Once you find a suitable template, you can tweak it to fit your needs.

If nothing else, this agreement acts as a guide to each partner’s responsibilities in the case of misunderstandings or if anything gets rough. Now, if you want to be sure that everything is legally correct, you may¬†want¬†to hire a lawyer to look over your forms.

Since Infinitas Publishing is between my husband and I, we didn’t do¬†this, though we did make sure that we understood everything in our agreement and that it suited our needs.

For SBibb’s Photographic Illustration, I don’t use a separate bank account. Due to the nature of my work, I have very few expenses that I apply to that business. However, I do keep a ledger of all income, and it is still advisable to have a separate account, even if you’re a sole-proprietor.

Online Payments
Once the business bank account was set up, I created a business Paypal account and input the new information into my Kindle, Createspace, Smashwords, and The Game Crafter settings. Now when we¬†receive royalty payments or purchase proofs, they’ll be linked to the business, rather than our¬†personal accounts.

Smashwords Publisher Account
Smashwords has a “publisher” account option, which I upgraded to so that my works would show up as published by Infinitas Publishing. Then I created “ghost” author accounts for my Stephanie Flint and Stephanie Bibb names, and I’ll add Isaac’s name once we start publishing our co-authored works.

Sales Tax
Our¬†next step will be to fill out the Missouri Sales Tax form. During the time that¬†we¬†only had ebooks, we¬†didn’t need to worry about sales tax, but once we¬†get print books made, which we¬†plan to offer to bookstores and try selling at a local holiday market, we’ll need to collect Missouri sales tax.

As a side note, I’m not sure about what differences we’ll see when I get to selling wholesale (to bookstores) versus retail (holiday market). I’m still researching this, so I’m a bit sketchy on this. However, when emailing the Missouri Department of Revenue, I’ve been able to get some very helpful information on what forms we’ll need to fill out (Form 2643 and 53-1), along with details about the form.

Give yourself a bit of time to get through it all, but definitely ask if you have questions.

Important: Check with whichever state(s) you’re doing business in, because the requirements vary.

Final Notes
Of course, all of this information is for if you plan to self-publish rather than seek representation through a trade publisher. Be sure to research both sides thoroughly, as there are pros and cons to each.

Granted, this doesn’t even cover creating a logo, a website, buying ISBNs, approaching book stores, and everything else I’ve forgotten at this point. But hopefully it will give you a starting point, and maybe I’ll talk about the “branding” and marketing side of things at a later date.

Also, If you’re curious to read more about the business side of publishing, take a look at Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Freelancer’s Survival Guide.”

I picked up a copy through a StoryBundle offer, and while I’m still in the process, it has been immensely helpful in considering what steps to take to start the business. Plus, some of the articles are on her website for free, so you can read through whichever ones you need. ūüôā

I hope you find this post useful. Do you have any tips for starting a publishing business?

***

By the way, Carissa Taylor was awesome and agreed to host a give-away of one free, ebook copy of Magic’s Stealing, so if you’re interested in winning a copy, head over to her blog.

She also has some really useful information on Twitter pitching and a list of literary agencies that accept YA science fiction and fantasy, so be sure to check those out as well. ūüėÄ

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Behind the Scenes – Hide and Seek

A cover for Melange Books. For this one, the publisher wanted a cover that conveyed the romance of the two novellas in this book, as well as the suspense and western themes. So we stuck with a silhouette, darker (but still romantic) colors, and softer imagery. For the back cover, I simply used part of the desert landscape imagery I hadn’t used from the front, then applied a similar treatment.

This is the result:

SBibb - Hide and Seek - Book Cover

SBibb - Hide and Seek - Back Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-black-tailed-jackrabbit-sniffing-southern-california-image38700799
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-coyote-image7507496
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-arizona-desert-image9382933
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-cowboy-couple-her-try-to-leave-silhouette-image36627786

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Behind the Scenes – Rogue

This cover (for Melange Books) one was an example of where having masked layers and the auto-align tool in Photoshop CS6 can be useful. This particular cover was comprised of 13 stock images in total, with a few of them being used more than once in various places across the manipulation (the explosion was made larger/smaller, flipped, and masked in different portions to create the multiple explosion effects). Not only that, but the two people were comprised of seven images, in order to create the pose that was requested. Made it really handy to have all the pieces in place, so all I had to do was replace the stock proof images with the full-sized ones (adjusted with auto-align, of course). My proofs tend to look fairly close to the final image, but not as smooth/retouched.

One part of this particular cover I wasn’t looking forward to finalizing was replacing all the little bullet holes with their full-sized stock image. However, once I got to looking closely (and tested placing the full-sized image), I realized I didn’t need to. The small size and texture affects rendered the slight watermark running through the particular bullet hole unnoticeable. So while the publisher picked up the stock for licencing reasons, I didn’t actually replace that particular stock image. Something handy to keep in mind when finalizing parts of covers that have a strong illustrated tendency to them (just don’t forget to purchase the original stock image).

This is the result:

SBibb - Rogue - Book Cover

SBibb - Rogue - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-giant-explosion-image11961605

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-miami-skyline-image18771783

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-office-building-image37590020

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-woman-soldier-beautiful-young-gun-image45220857

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-woman-military-clothes-army-girl-full-length-gray-background-image31818118

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-elegant-young-handsome-bodybuilder-image23014601

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-young-man-gun-image19881447

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-handsome-man-sexy-outdoors-playful-smile-image33633873

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-couple-photographing-themselves-beach-young-ocean-image33893019

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-beautiful-woman-military-clothes-isolated-sexy-fit-army-girl-full-length-white-image46894231

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-lone-hiker-brick-sidewalk-image939658

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-blue-fire-flames-image7329188

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-bullet-hole-image8175422

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Behind the Scenes – The Anthropologist’s Daughter

This is a cover for Barking Rain Press. For this cover, we wanted a clear connection to its related series cover (¬†The Revolving Year ), so we used the same background, same position of the lead character, and same placement of text. Since this is a prequel, this cover has a younger character. However, while the stock image we chose for the field (we wanted to change the seasons to match the story)¬†has a young girl in the image, her hair was too long for the main character. Normally I’ll just photoshop the hair, but it turned out she needed more of a pixie/elfin cut. Now, the story of this goes that I was heading out of town to go visit friends at an anime convention (Naka-Kon… wonderful convention for those of you who like Japanese anime and culture), and while there, I noticed one of my friends had the same hairstyle that I was looking for. I asked if she’d mind me taking a picture of the back of her head for the cover, got permission, and voila! One pixie cut ready to go! I photoshopped the cover to include the new image, thinned the neck a bit to make it fit better for a child’s, and this is the result. Sometimes you’ll find the image you need around you. And it’s helpful to have a camera on hand when you do. ūüôā

SBibb - The Anthropologist's Daughter -  Book Cover

 

SBibb - The Anthropologist's Daughter - Wrap-Around Book Cover
Stock images from Shutterstock and from my own personal stock.

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=105630767
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=99948338

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Behind the Scenes – The Curse of the Fairfield Witch

A cover for Melange Books.

For this one, the author and publisher already had a few of the stock images chosen that they wanted to use for the cover. I took what they had, tweaked the placement, added the title information, tinkered with coloring to give it the spooky graveyard look, then did the retouching.

Since they already had the model chosen, and already had the full-sized stock image, I went ahead and did the major retouches on the proof image. It saved time in the long run, especially since I made that image into a smart object so that I could easily move it around.

The author later found the background he liked, which I retouched and manipulated (removing the lampposts) to fit better with the graveyard in the story. We played with the idea of adding headstones in the background, but they proved to be too distracting on the near-final, so we removed those. Sometimes less is better, especially when you’re trying to design a cover that will catch the eye and not make the potential reader sit there trying to figure out what a particular element is. (Unless you want that particular surreal effect, then go for it).

For the back cover, the author requested we use one of my first proofs for the background, only edited to work as the back.

This is the result:

SBibb - The Curse of the Fairfield Witch - Book Cover

SBibb - The Curse of the Fairfield Witch - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-portrait-beautiful-gothic-girl-wearing-halloween-costume-studio-shot-black-background-image34206917

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-old-misty-graveyard-night-mystery-group-tombstones-image34053926

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-gothic-graveyard-3-image12561567

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-blue-fog-dark-forest-fog-night-image37184209

 

See the¬†previous books in this series:¬†Spirits of the Pirate House¬†and¬†Roberto’s Return

 

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Behind the Scenes – Shadows of the Night

A cover¬†for Melange Books. For this¬†cover, we tinkered with a few ideas before finally settling on the current design. While I initially searched out models on Dreamstime, the publisher suggested that Romance Novel Covers might have the particular type of character we were looking for. ¬†I went through the site, selected a few I thought fit the art form’s description of the character best, and tested them in the proof until we decided this one worked best. I gave the city a night glow, and this is the result:

SBibb - Shadows of the Night  - Book Cover

And the back cover option, including the text provided for the spine and the ISBN/publisher information:

SBibb - Shadows of the Night  - Book Cover
Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-towering-skyscrapers-image20897660
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-red-smoke-abstract-background-image13422380

Model image from : http://www.romancenovelcovers.com

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Behind the Scenes – The Great Forest of Shee

This is a cover for Melange Books. I’ve done covers for this author before, but in the previous cases, they were contemporary stories, not fantasy. The author mentioned in the provided art form of the possibility of having the unicorn on the cover, so that’s the direction I went. At first I tried a unicorn running toward the reader, but upon learning that the unicorns in this story where primarily passive, I tried a different route. The calm, resting creature. Originally I had the unicorn as a smaller piece of the cover, but since it didn’t really stand out (the cover lacked a focal point), I brought it forward and made it larger, thus drawing more attention to the unicorn. To add to the magical feel of the place, I increased the yellow and green color tone for the forest, as well as added a leafy texture to the edges of the cover.

This is the result:

SBibb - The Great Forest of Shee - Book Cover

SBibb - The Great Forest of Shee - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-white-lying-horse-green-grass-spring-image42596458
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-african-oryx-image15187054
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-morning-deep-forest-foggy-image33124894
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-huge-old-tree-washington-olympic-peninsula-forest-theme-nature-photo-collection-image32432337
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-ancient-castle-door-image22839459
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-shaded-blue-swirls-background-image12615609
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-giraffe-underbrush-image27233341
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-dappled-morning-light-shines-though-elm-tree-image11383183

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Behind the Scenes – Murder In Her Mind

This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover, I wanted to retain the series appearance of the previous two books (Murder in her Dreams and Murder in the Cards) while still focusing on the symbolism in this particular book. Based on the prompt from the author, I searched out the resulting images from Dreamstime, then blended them together to create a surreal image that would work as the cover. This is an example of using texturing to enhance a picture, while still making sure that the main images are individually distinguishable. This is the result:

SBibb - Murder In Her Mind - Book Cover

SBibb - Murder In Her Mind - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-swirly-grunge-image7347354
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-crows-flying-image1181651
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-raven-dance-image1850963
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-swirly-grunge-image6807470
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-mystical-face-image11042411
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-cliffs-moher-under-cloudy-sky-ireland-image18387274

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