Over the past decade Peter Sinclair has produced a series of droll murder-mysteries featuring the spry and perceptive retiree Edgar Hodgkiss, bane of corrupt politicians and greedy developers. We have kept the same basic design, varying the main image and colour scheme. One can only hope this well-written series will soon receive the kind of attention it deserves. New postings of the print and ebook files will be uploaded shortly, and we will post links when they go ‘live’.
Have registered with Reedsy, a service designed to ”connect and collaborate with a worldwide network of authors. “ Reedsy allows designers to apply to become service providers. As all the designers and other service providers have been carefully vetted, the theory is that users will receive professional quality assistance with their book, in contrast to mediocre crowdsourced design interfaces such as Fiver.
Women Who Draw attempts to redress a perceived imbalance of female/male illustrators. According to their website:
Whatever the politics of the site, it showcases many excellent designers working in a wide range of styles.
Pawel has illustrated several books with us now, with a range of subject matter. He has adapted well to every request and produces illustrations with personality and energy. Here's an introduction from Pawel:
"My name is Pawel (the Polish cognate of Paul) and I’m a freelance illustrator based in Poznań, Poland. When I was a small boy, my father showed me a ballpen-made portrait — I've been drawing ever since. Being self-taught, I barely ever leave my pencil behind, wanting to be a better artist. Working almost my entire life in IT business has given me an interesting perspective on art, and at the same time equipped me with some skills that are helping me out with my art work. Coming from two such distant worlds is both advantage and a challenge which I take happily, having a great motivation from my family, especially from my beautiful wife Joanna.
I really enjoy black and white drawings. Book illustrations, comics and graphic novels were always something special for me. Being able to actually create book illustrations is like fulfilling my childhood dreams. This is also why I really enjoy working with Luke, for he is a professional, honest and friendly person, giving me the opportunity to do what I really love:)
If you are a book author and want to decorate your book with any kind of illustration I'm more than happy to help you. I always like to research the subject of the illustration to fit it best for authors idea. I usually do hand-drawn, pencil to paper sketches then scan and add some processing work on the computer with use of a graphic tablet. I always like to leave a hand-drawn feeling to the final effect. I can create book illustrations, portraits, caricatures, etc. but I stay open for any kind of drawing / art idea you might have!
Experienced traffic engineer Rob Morgan has written a scathing critique of the current road safety paradigm, the so-called "Safe System". He sums up his argument with the following excoriation: "the Safe System’s demand to abolish the old order of evidence-based road safety and speed management has been a clarion call to action and — unless we put a stop to it — its continuation will put us on an inexorable path to the creation of an unchecked state.
The cover incorporates surveillance, Victorian roads, an image of Stalin and is set in Proxima Nova.
Born and bred in the bush, nineteen-year-old Daryl Bishop's number came up in the tenth National Service Ballot in 1969, and he shipped out to Vietnam in 1971. Killing Babies is his unvarnished account of his training and war experiences. Fortunately, no babies were harmed in the making of his book, but the stigma and after-effects of serving in that unpopular war is honestly related. Published by Sid Harta, and written in an authentic, engaging and very Australian voice. Our cover features Darryl's own necklace of cartridges, jungle foliage and a helicopter used by both US and Australian forces. The title typeface is Eveleth.
Samantha Grosser writes psychologically compelling and sensitive stories of men and women, bringing the eras in which they lived to vivid life. Another Time and Place is set in World War Two and depicts two lovers separated by war, with no news of each other. Our cover design focused on the female protagonist, with a night-time colour palette and a transition from an interior setting to a broader landscape.
Deceit is a political thriller set in Australia. It depicts a parliament dominated by a deeply shady prime minister and surrounded by ambitious and ruthless supplicants. We wanted the cover to convey an air of foreboding and menace, and also of critical decisions to be made.
Girl Over the Edge is an honest account of one woman's experience of mental illness. We wanted the cover to look raw and unfiltered, but not melodramatic. The typeface is Gilroy and the image was sourced from www.unsplash.com
Anura Amarasena and Sisira Colombage have written a practical guide to trading with the rapidly expanding Asian economies, using Australia-Sri Lankan trade as a case study. We opted for a bold, colourful design with type conforming to the angles of the image. Typeface used: Proxima Sans.
To get an idea of the quality of illustration in modern children's books, check out these two non-fiction titles: Tiny, by Nicola Davies and The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha. Both tackle big, complex topics and do so with humour, sophistication and amazing graphic impact. There has been an explosion of beautiful large format children's books in recent years, perhaps driven in part by parents keen to provide their children with an alternative to small glowing screens.
The Silver is Mine is an edgy psychological thriller published by Impact Press. Our client wanted a stark and high-contrast design. We used Akrobat Sans for the title type and a monochromatic starscape with enigmatic figure. The author's name provided the only splash of colour.
An Egyptian man leaves his homeland for a better life in Europe, but must navigate his way through different cultural mores and expectations, and enter the minefield of a cross-cultural romance. Our cover blends the two worlds, with a muted colour scheme to match the era covered in the story.
Combining several city skylines, a contemplative Chinese woman and Matteo Ricci's beautiful world map was an interesting challenge. Trevor Hay's book (in the process of being published by Arcadia, an imprint of Australian Scholarly Press) is a fascinating examination of cross-cultural contact and emotional connection.
Cleo Lynch, author of "Careering Into Corrections" has documented her own promotional activities in the hope that some of them might come in useful for other writers. Hear more about Cleo here and buy her book here.
- Publisher provided package of book covers
- Author biography
- Updated photo of author (perhaps holding the book)
- Updated list of previous talks
- Business card
- Pamphlets (rudimentary, as befits the technologically and financially challenged or more professional)
How did I start this ball rolling?
- Friends, rellies: Cousin worked for charity — gave talk for their IWD luncheon; some coverage in their local press. Sold some books (book sales are never staggering – just a steady trickle).
- Contacted Service Clubs and Social Clubs via email addresses and websites along with promotional material outlets — Senior publications (my age group), radio stations, newspapers (need to be innovative with covering letter — try to think of a catchy opening sentence). Did get one radio interview with Radio National). Not sure what book sales resulted from these initiatives.
- Sent promotional material to libraries – this has had very limited response, but am a friend of my local library, which resulted in an author presentation for which they did the promotional work, with leaflets, posters, on-line bookings etc. (From this I was asked to do two more talks, one at the Friends’ AGM on my volunteer work, and another at a local writers’ group on the pitfalls of publication).
- Always carry a package of book cover with business card and promo pamphlet inserted, and a copy of book. Learnt from experience that sales can result in the most unlikely places, e.g. conversations on a bus, functions etc.
In any event, the most successful of these initiatives has been from service clubs.
- Rewards and outcomes vary, e.g some expect the talk to be free and may offer wine, chocolates, free lunch/dinner, however many pay varying amounts for travel expenses and your time.
- If they enjoyed the talk, they tell others.
- Usually sell a trickle of books
- Opportunity to distribute promotional packages to interested persons and so tap into potential future engagements
However, as much of my modest fame depends on my interaction with the audience I ensure that my delivery is as professional as possible. So I offer the following:
- Prepare your talk, i.e. compose it, type it out, go over it, rehearse it.
- Ensure that your talk will not go over the allotted time (many of these clubs have gratis use of community rooms and have to vacate by a certain time),
- Ask for a microphone (and any other technology you might require), lectern for your prepared talk and small table on which to display your book (I take a plate stand) and promo material.
- Don’t read your talk – but keep it handy for reference
- Be aware of your target audience, i.e. if elderly, many will be hearing impaired, many will be inclined to nod off, (yes even mid-morning!), may have posture problems that compromise their comfort (One compliment I often receive is ‘I looked around the room and no one was nodding off!)
- Introduce yourself, thank people for attending, give brief overview of your book, why you wrote it etc. and if possible, try a little humour (e.g. I say ‘I wrote this memoir originally for my children and grandchildren, who I might say, are completely underwhelmed by it’).
- Speak slowly, use microphone, engage all audience (while some speakers recommend you focus on one spot, it is good to try to sweep your gaze around the room to try to engage as many as possible).
- By all means include readings from your book in your presentation, but I’ve found it more useful to limit fumbling for pages, by identifying one passage to read from the book, and then to include others in my typed out presentation, and introduce such passages as excerpts from my book.
- If you use power point, don’t use it as a passive tool – you are the speaker, power point is an accessory. Some of the most boring talks I’ve attended have been when speakers spoke indistinctly, leaving power point to do the work.
While compiling this, I received a phone call for another booking. I took details, i.e. date contact name, name of Club, email address of contact so I can forward promo material (or postal address). I gave my address for confirmation and details of talk. This takes my bookings up to August.
Geoffrey A. Sandy has just published the third volume of his History of St Margaret's Church in Eltham, Victoria. Extremely comprehensive and well-researched, the history covers every possible aspect of that particular place of worship. The author has been a parishioner for several decades. Published by Busybird, who also published Volume 1 of this history (Volume 2 has yet to be published). Our design was in keeping with Volume 1, this time emphasising the interior spaces of the Church.
Deb Campbell is a passionate advocate for voluntary euthanasia. She believes that risk averse politicians have quietly kept the issue out of the public debate, despite broad public support for greater patient control over the end of one's life. We used a bold, highly visible sans typeface with a touch of personality for the title and author name (Sinkin Sans) and used Impact Label Reversed for the subtitle. The delicately shaded background artwork was supplied by the author.
Joe Reich's latest book is an enjoyable journey through the vanished world of 1970s Melbourne — focusing on the intersecting lives of a doctor at a major urban hospital and an engineer working on the doomed first attempt to build the Westgate bridge. It is a masculine world of prejudice, misconceptions and cigarette smoke. This draft of the cover features an inverted image of the bridge in its incomplete stage and a troubled Melbourne sky.
Author Natalie Gretton recovered from the recent bankruptcy of her publisher by holding a very successful book launch. Here is her account of the event:
My young adult medieval adventure novel was due for release five weeks after the publisher went into liquidation. After negotiation with the printers, I purchased the 1500 copies of The Healer of Marchmont. Neither my husband Mike of I had much idea of how to market the book to sell so listened to anyone who had advice for us.
I was offered our local Neighbourhood Centre to have a book launch and chose a date some weeks from that. Flyers went out to the whole town and outlying areas of Trentham through the postal service advertising the launch using the cover of the book, part of the blurb and a little about me. I also placed books in the local Trentham bookstore, Aesop’s Attic in Kyneton, New Leaves bookshop in Woodend, Stoneman’s Bookroom in Castlemaine and Paradise Books in Daylesford. These are on a commission basis. Friends were contacted by email, on Facebook, through my new website set up by my IT guru son, and word of mouth. A visit by friends who live in Canberra was good, because they took a box of 64 books back with them to sell for me. At present there are 5 books in Harry Hartog book shop in Woden, Canberra and more are being advertised by the friends. Other people took 10 books and sold those as well.
The book launch went very well. The day was lovely, sunny, still and warm. People came from many different places and were old and new friends we have known for short times and long times. We had some local people attend as well. Fifty people were here altogether. Some people had bought the book earlier and came to give comments about it or to get it signed for their children and grandchildren. Diane Parsons, a local retired secondary school teacher launched the book for me and after that, a critique was given by Charlie Wells. Charlie’s mother is the manager at the Trentham Neighbourhood Centre and had asked Charlie to read the book. His comments were very interesting and insightful for a ten year old young man. All the comments we had on the day and in emails since have been very positive. The day of the launch we sold $500 worth of books which did not include more that were sold prior to the launch.
There are still very many books to sell but at least I have more than some other writers who were left in the lurch. I think I was more fortunate than some other writers as I now have my book in print. Others were left with nothing to show for all their hard work and will now have to negotiate with another publisher.
So with a bit of advice and some energetic emailing, phoning, flyer producing and a launch with a good afternoon, good friends, some lovely snacks and a few drinks, one can recover from what could have been a total disaster.
I must say here that Julie Athanasiou, my editor and Luke Harris, my designer, have been most helpful. Luke has been in contact regularly and is most supportive of everything I have done. Thank you, Luke.
Natalie's website can be found here.