Cover design and internal layout

I got the first proofs back today for the cover design and internal layout of ‘The Tattered Banner’, which made it feel a little bit like Christmas!

The internal layout is pretty much exactly how I want it, which I’m pleased about; one or two minor alterations will have it perfect.

The cover design is always going to be the big thing, judging books by covers and all. Of the two alternatives suggested, one was really not what I’m after, while the other is pretty close to what I want. Again, a couple of what I hope will be only minor changes will be enough to get it where I want it. I really don’t have a clue when it comes to graphic design and artwork, I started to fall behind the curve in this regard shortly after we progressed beyond finger painting so I’m pretty reliant on others for this type of thing. It’s always interesting to see what someone else comes up with in terms of visual presentation, based on what must have been pretty confusing and jumbled directions supplied by me!

Happily, as evidenced by the second of the two options provided, I must have conveyed my ideas clearly enough to get close to the mark! It’s definitely one of those things that I don’t want to let out of the bag until it is finalised though, so I’m afraid it will be another ten days or so before I’ll be able to post a cover preview!

Incidentally, I’m still aiming for a mid January 2013 release…

Updates

Cover design has been in motion for a little while now, and I am expecting some initial designs very soon. Needless to say I’m quite eager to see what the designer has come up with.

I’m nearing the end of another proof read myself, and also awaiting another batch of feedback from the very kind individuals who beta read for me, who are also ruthlessly blunt when it comes to their criticism! This is something that I really wasn’t sure how I’d feel about. In a sense I suppose it’s like having someone tell you they think your kids are ugly, but I found that I really wasn’t bothered by any of the criticisms levelled at my work.

The only reason I can come up with for this is in two parts. First, I was extremely keen to make my book as good as it possibly could be, so I was open to hearing about things that others felt could be improved upon. Secondly, all of the feedback that was given was extremely constructive. When they said they thought something didn’t work, they said (in one case at great length!) why they thought it didn’t work.

While it is still my book and I have no intention of changing every single thing that anyone raises a query over, what was particularly useful was that it made me really think about different aspects of what I had written. I may not have changed the things in the way they  suggested, but I certainly spent quite a bit of time thinking about each of the areas that they flagged, and this allowed me to tweak things in a way that I felt improved the overall book. They raised thought points, and also questions that I had to answer, and this was of enormous assistance in making my final edit as polished as I can.

New beginnings

It’s off to the beta readers with the latest (and hopefully last) draft. All being well, the heavy reviewing/editing is done with. I’m happy with it and feel that it’s better than the previous draft, which I was also pretty happy with!

Now its back to the new book that I started working on while waiting for my last batch of feedback. While I find the reviewing process does get a little tedious at times, it is enjoyable in that it reacquaints you with your work and imbues you with an in depth familiarity with it. For me though, it does not come to close to the enjoyment I get from writing something entirely new.

With editing, when you get up from your desk at the end of the day, you haven’t really created anything new, just something a little bit different. With a new work, each evening when you quit, there are new stories and characters that just didn’t exist before and that is thing that I love so much about writing. You get to breath life into a new world and everything in it, which is a dream come true for someone with an overactive imagination!

And so that brings me to my next book. I’ve been so eager to get back to this story that I didn’t take the break I had planned after the last edit and I’m really enjoying where its going. I feel pretty much the same way about the next book in the queue though, and the one after that…

Updates

By way of update, it would now appear that it will be early in the new year before I will have the book out on the market. Despite having what I consider to be pretty close to the finished article, there is quite a bit more that needs to be done to get the book into a digestible form, cover art, print layout, ebook layout etc etc. If I’m going to be happy to stand over it, it has to be done right, and to ensure that it’s done right means a little more time.

I do feel awkward putting up posts on a blog about a book that isn’t available, but I suppose it’s necessary to start trying to generate some kind of momentum, awareness and interest. As such, I will continue to post to keep a little continuity going, and while all the heavy lifting is being done with my first book, the next couple following it up will be getting plenty of attention!

Introductions

First things first, my name is Duncan Hamilton, and I’ve set up this blog to serve as a contact point for what I hope will be a series of fantasy novels. The first of these novels, ‘The Tattered Banner’, will, if all goes to plan, be available from the Amazon kindle site from mid-December and perhaps other venues also.

I’ll post more of a blurb on what it is about closer to the time of release, but for the time being all that needs to be said that it is set in a fantasy world with a flavour of Renaissance Europe. Sword fights, intrigue and adventure with just a little bit of magic thrown in.

I’ve been writing stories set in this world for some time now, so if the first one goes down well, there is quite a bit more at advanced stages of completion to follow it up with! I started writing in this genre and in this world because I wanted to write the type of stories that I would like to read. I feel I’ve succeeded in this, and I hope others enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them!