Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cover Conundrum - Some Feedback Please

I've found a little time lately to work on my much neglected, much abused work in progress. Druid Derrick is coming along. Still four years of story line to cover, I'm fast approaching 1000 pages at the moment. So, at a very rough guess, I figure this MS just might reach 2000 pages by the time I reach the planned end.

This is what I did to construct this book. I created an outline based on the Dungeons and Dragons rules creating a timeline around spell levels to give me a clock to follow. This timeline covered ten years, short a month at the beginning.

Since this story is about a druid, and since one of the more important rituals is observed on the full moon, I took my years and divided them up by the phases of the moon. Full moon, first quarter, new moon, and last quarter. Going back to the D&D rules for wandering monsters, I rolled for wondering monsters once for each phase of the moon. I made some adjustments there too. I figured over the centuries since the days of D&D a good many of the nastier monsters had been successfully wiped out, leaving only a few of the more peaceful sentient species, the assortment of normal creatures and of course the different groups of humans. Now, according to the game rules, I should be rolling for wandering monsters twice during the day and at least once at night, but I figured, for this project, four times a month was more than enough to give me something to write about. And as you can see. It certainly has.

Since this book has grown to be so long, I am left with a bit of a conundrum. Books this long are rather hard to publish all in one piece, and books twice this long, even harder. I knew this by the time I reached 500 pages but I wasn't sure what to do about it. Over time, as opportunity presented itself, I've asked more than one publisher about this, and I have been advised to break this book up into several short eBooks. But where to break? I could break it at the beginning of each year, but that's not really a breaking point. It looks like this book will be broken at each rise in level, even though such an event isn't much of a break in the story; I suppose it can be though, with a minimum of sculpting.

So with that decision mostly made, that leaves me with 16 planned eBooks. Now comes the cover issue. I'm fairly certain I can't use pictures of the main character, because it would be next to impossible to find different pictures of the same person spanning ten years, with enough variety to use on 16 different books. Recently I had the idea to use some druidic symbols. I spend all day yesterday looking for symbols with the help of a recent friend and druid. I finally came up with enough symbols, all black-and-white line jobs. Most of them will need to be redrawn to standardize line thickness and size, but it's a starting point.

Okay, so now I have this symbol that will dominate the center of the cover - what about the rest? Do I put a title on the books at all? How about just a number?

Here is what each section is called at the moment, and you can see my problem:

  • Crossing the Boundary
  • Aspirant
  • Ovate
  • Initiate of the 1st Circle
  • Initiate of the 2nd Circle
  • Initiate of the 3rd Circle
  • Initiate of the 4th Circle
  • Initiate of the 5th Circle
  • Initiate of the 6th Circle
  • Initiate of the 7th Circle
  • Initiate of the 8th Circle
  • Initiate of the 9th Circle
  • Druid
  • Archdruid
  • Great Druid
  • The Grand Druid

Would these titles be okay as they stand? Your opinion please. Maybe written to fit across the top of the book? Or just down the spine? I'm open to any suggestions.

And this discussion brings us to other details regarding the covers. Appearance. Color. At this point I'm seeing something like an aged leather cover with gold lettering. If you Google 'leather bound books' there's many nice looking choices.

Okay now, lets imagine for a moment we have all these eBooks published. I'd still like to have the entire thing published as a paperback - all in one piece. I'm not sure CreateSpace can handle such a thing. I'll cross that issue when I get that far, but the idea once again brings up the cover issue. What should I use for this cover? The title of the manuscript? Druid Derrick (unless that changes between now and then)? Same leather style cover? What do you think?

I'm looking for a little feedback on this issue.


William Kendall said...

I might suggest subtle shifts in the colour of the covers from each. And go with the symbol idea.

As to the text, maybe the book series at the top, and the specific chapter section below it in smaller letters, with your name at the bottom of the cover?

Anna L. Walls said...

Thanks, William. Good ideas.