There's some changes going on with all my current releases! New covers, new edits, new interior design! Lots of changes!!
Recently, I asked Laya Rose to illustrate and design new covers for The Resignation Letter and A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams. And I can honestly say the whole process was amazing! Laya is incredibly thorough, detailed, and attententive and I could not be happier. She went above and beyond what I could have even hoped for. My expectations: exceeded. I loved working with Laya! I'd seen her other covers, I'd loved her Mangoverse and Earthside art, I knew I wanted her to do these covers and I do not regret that at all!
Laya drew up a few different concepts for each, and let me pick component parts from what I liked and combine them into something beautiful. She sent me plenty of drafts at each step. Due to timezone differences, I would often wake up, check my email before even getting out of bed, and squeal loud enough to wake up my cats as I opened up an email from her. I would then text these WIPs to my friends and partners with "OH MY GOSH LOOK AT THIS." (Thank you, Mike, Kat, Hunter, and Liz, for helping me pick from some of the original concepts she sent me! Those were such tough decisions!) She was incredibly receptive to feedback, and was able to translate my vague descriptions of what I was looking for into amazing realizations. I couldn't be happier!
I would give feedback like "I like the positioning of the characters in #\7 but the background of #\2 and the swirls from #\5" and she would get back to me a few days later with something that was even better than I could even have imagined. I was constantly overwhelmed with how gorgeous everything was even at the early sketch stages.
I asked her if she could do the design and typography, too, in addition to the illustration, and she said she would give it a shot. She did AMAZING. I would give vague direction like "can there be curlies or embellishments?" or "can the space between letters be bigger?" She had no problem making these changes and sending me updated files.
Something I was most concerned about was Alexis in A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams. I really wanted them to come across as blantantly not cis and not binary. I was really scared of them coming across as too masculine or too feminine and people making assumptions from that. I did not have to worry at all! I did not even have to give any feedback on that front! The detailed draft came back and I was like "uhhh, she nailed them. She absolutely nailed them. That's Alexis, epaualets and skirt and all." I think I cried. I was half awake, so memory fuzzy on the exact extent to which I physically expressed joy. I was seriously stunned and overwhelmed at just how amazing the art was and how perfectly it was all coming together.
When I got the final files for A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams today, I just wanted to shout. But I couldn't, cause I was in public. But I definitely used about a million exclaimation marks in all the texts I sent to my close confidants. The universal reaction from friends and partners was WOW! PRETTY! AMAZING! AHH!!!
Seriously, If you are looking for someone to illustrate your cover, please please please reach out to Laya! She does other commissions, too! Portraits, OTPs, and has her own comic series!
The new cover for The Resignation Letter is LIVE on Amazon. I've uploaded the new cover for A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams to Amazon and IngramSpark and it should be live for both ebook and print by the end of the week!
NEW INTERIOR DESIGN
Along with the new cover a whole new beautiful interior design for A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams by Aurelia Fray! The digital edition has simple chapter art at the beginning and the paperback has very detailed and striking chapter art!
Working with Aurelia was an absolute joy. She blew me away, I was not prepared for how amazing the art was. I'd seen her gallery and knew I needed her full art package, but she exceeded even my wildest dreams. I don't know how she did it, but the feel of the forest she evoked in the printed version was almost detail for detail what I always visualized in my head when I imagined how the movie version might pan into the forest at the start of the reel. She knew the medium so well.
Additionally, when I told her I wanted drop caps, she let me know that drop caps don't work on a lot of e-readers, and helped find a nice solution for the ebook to still ave nice text start of the chapter. She did an amazing job of selecting possible fonts and lettting me know why she chose those fonts for the print version. She knows her stuff!
I also asked for a black-background title page so that I could use fancy metallic silver sharpies for singing (a trick I saw Natalie C. Parker use to much awe when I was at Madcap Retreat this past winter). She nailed it, absolutely nailed it. "How hard can it be to put a swan on a lake under moonlight?" you may ask. BUT. Can you do it and make it feel MAGICAL and MYSTICAL and MYSTERIOUS? Cause that's what Aurelia did.
I ran into trouble getting the final printed version on Kindle. There's not a lot of good documentation out there about bleed settings on KDP, but apparently if you want to change from "no bleed" to "bleed" you have to make a whole new edition. Which involves starting the whole process all over again. Like unpublishing your current paperback and making a whole new one. All I saw was an error message with vague "Something Is Wrong" when I tried to upload the now full bleed file to what was previously a no-bleed paperback. KDP support was less than helpful. So for a full day, Aurelia sent me multiple different versions of the print edition trying to get KDP to accept it and reached out to some of her other colleagues trying to figure out why KDP was rejecting the MS. When I finally got a KDP support person who sorta explained this to me, I let Aurelia know so that if she runs into this with another client, she knows what to do! LUCKILY I was planning on jumping ship to IngramSpark soon I just ended up doing that sooner than I expected! The files she gave me all worked for IngramSpark with no problems! I remain completely grateful and wowed by her dedication, though. She was truly amazing as I was slowly sinking into despair.
Seriously, if you need interior design for you ebook and/or print book, book her! She also makes covers and branding materials and finds time to write her own books! I don't know where she is getting all this time to do so many amazing things? Is she a time mage????
Additionally, "A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams" has a whole new edit! I went back and fixed some things that had been been bugging me, I added in some more chapters, and I cleaned up some of the typos I had noticed only months afterwards. The story is still the same, but there is definitely some elaboration into things I had only really skimmed. You want to know what Alexis is up to during the battle? You got it now. You want a cute wedding scene? You got it.
Why? Aside from the typos that made my eye twitch, I started working on other projects, and I realized I had leveled up in a lot of ways as a writer. A trad pub author kinda has to deal with mistakes they make in their first novel being there forever. I saw an opportunity to polish. I'd reached out to another indie author and asked them to assess my strengths and weaknesses just looking at my Amazon sales page. He came back with suggesstions for better interior design, new covers, new blurb, and to maybe fix some typos. I saw this typo fix as an opportunity to do another full edit.
I don't regret it. It took a little time away from my other writing projects, but I feel a lot more confident promoting this novel as I look to the October release of Birthing Orion.
(What is Birthing Orion, you ask? My lesbian space goddess novel in verse. Please look foward to it. There's excerpts from it in the backmatter of A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams.)
I also went back and did some fix-up formatting on "The Resignation Letter" so it has a TOC now, too, and clearer section breaks. Both of them will be having ebook releases on non-Amazon platforms by the end of August. While both are on Amazon DRM-free, and hence, able to be converted to other platforms, I would like to broaden distribution for both. "A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams" print is on IngramSpark now, so you should be able to request it at your local bookstore, on BN's online store, and many other places. I'll be at ReaderCon with signed copies, so look for me!