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Strengthening your writing with truth: an analysis of Harry Potter

We’ve all heard that lies are stronger when they have traces of truth. Well, the same mindset applies to writing too. Readers get more immersed and grounded in stories that contain traces of what they already know. Consider Harry Potter: a world that JK Rowling imagined into our existing world. When talking about imagination in writing, we have to give Rowling a lot of credit. The world she concocted sparks the imagination of all ages, multiple generations, and inspired some of the most popular tourist experiences in the world. Yet, did she imagine it all herself? For the most part, yes. However, Rowling built on a lot of pre-existing concepts. In fact, many of these concepts actually ground her story to make it believable. Let’s look at a few. The basilisk Originally, in Greek mythology, the basilisk was a north african serpent whose breath withered plants and killed whatever it touched. In the middle ages, the basilisk was described as a rooster with a snake’s tail . Another middle a

Designing your own covers with Adobe Photoshop

 When I first started self publishing, I figured there was no way I'd ever design my own covers. Cover artists know so many things including: The size of cover your book will need depending on which publisher you use (KDP, Ingram, Barnes and Noble, Blurb, etc.) The colour edits and variants you'll need to get your colours printing right How to make sure the text on the back of your book is legible And so many other things. I'd swore I'd never design my own cover, until... Perusing Adobe stock images, I came across the perfect image that was exactly what I wanted for my book cover. Now, consider this: I'd already spent $350USD per book cover for the three books in my series; hired a professional designer and everything. People enjoyed them, they showed my characters well... but something was never quite right. My fault, not the artist's; she gave me exactly what I asked for. Was it crazy to re-start on my own and scrap that $1,000+ I'd spent on cover art? Ini

Preparing your paperback manuscript for Ingramspark with Indesign

Oh my gosh, writers. Could there please please please be one page that tells you the settings to use in InDesign to get your files approved in Ingramspark? At least, that's what I begged Google while tugging out my hair. After hours of trial and error, here are the freaking settings for InDesign exports to Ingramspark. (With details for converting your cover image with Adobe Acrobat at the end!) Your content Document units First, before you give yourself a headache looking up picas conversions online and everything, set your document's units to inches. Go to Indesign > Preferences > Units & Increments . Set the Width and height to use inches. Document bleed Go to File > Document setup . Set your bleed to the following: Bleed Top: 0.125 in Bottom: 0.125 in Inside: 0 in Outside: 0.125 in Document export Now, to the simple juice of this article: exporting your document. Go to File > Export (or [control/command]+[E]). Set the Adobe PDF Preset to [PDF/X-3:2002] . Le

Author Twitter Tips: The Magical 1,000

Getting to 1,000 Oh my gosh, what a journey. Before you get to 1,000 followers, don't bother tweeting on your own page; no one will see it.  To start off, I casually set a goal for me to follow ten people per day. This goal was nowhere near good enough for me to take off, but at least I was growing slowly. Then COVID-19 happened and my husband returned from his military course. That's when I actually had time to push for my magical 1,000. Not only did I have time, but I enlisted my husband. Yes, I cheated... sorry guys. I swear, my Twitter tweets are 100% authentic these days. My point is; he and I searched for all #WritingCommunity, #fantasy, #YAfantasy, and similar tweets. We checked them out, followed everyone who responded on there, were personable, showed that we enjoyed their comments... we engaged with people around the world who wrote all kinds of genres of books, blogs, and papers. What really made me love Twitter that i could ask for help. T

Converting Your Book Into an eBook

To you, aspiring self-publishers, I have three words for you: Dont. Use. Calibre. Sorry Calibre developers; your software is amazing and I love it so so much. You're all so generous to offer it to us struggling people and I respect that more than I can express. Unfortunately, the amount of time I spent trying to make graphics, headers, TOCs, and everything to work on all three major book platforms (Kindle, Kobo, Nook)... I spent 40+ hours in agony trying to make it all work. Over Christmas at my in-laws. I was on Google, I looked in blogs, I went into the coding of the books and tried to edit the HTML... all to no avail. Finally someone responded to one of my desperate pleas in a forum and told me what I was looking for just wasn't ideal. Thank you, whoever you are. In walks Vellum . Oh my gosh. One of the few pieces of software that I don't  have a love-hate relationship with. Naw; it's all love for Vellum. The down side is that, Vellum is only avail

Self Publishing: Mastering Your Social Front

Here are some marketing tips to get you ahead of the game when you're promoting yourself as a published author. I've left the juiciest tip until the end. Read on. Pick a style. Do you use primary colours or do you use secondary or tertiary colours? Are your graphics dark, are they light? Are they faded or are they harsh? Are you modern or rustic? Have a look at my Instagram feed for an example: The answers for me are: tertiary colours, light graphics, faded, and rustic. Partially because that's my natural style, and doing something forced long-term isn't ideal. But partially because my books are set in a medieval setting, and old wood, rusty nails, and faded photos speak of the past. Edit these graphics from your phone. Get good at lowering and increasing your black point: it's what makes your images more harsh vs. more faded. Toggle the contrast and brightness to, again, make the image more harsh vs. more faded. Play with the shadows to add depth and int

Marketing Your Self-Published Fiction Book

Well, here I am, one year after publishing my first book. What's changed? I'm going throw you the candy and then the broccoli in the next two paragraphs; hold onto your seatbelt. What makes me feel qualified for writing this blog is that, since publishing my book, I've gotten a full-time job in marketing. I've been getting on-on-one, customised advice from my colleagues. Since publishing my first book, Elemental Links, I've read dozens of blogs on how to market my book. In this blog, I'm putting that information together for you. As for the broccoli, my book hasn't taken off yet. The reviews are promising. One professional reviewer loved my sequel so much that she asked if she could let her thirteen-year-old son read it. Out of all the books she's read, she wanted to pass along mine. It was very flattering. However, publishing your book is a three-year haul. At least. Be prepared. I've given out hundreds of free copies of my books. Some blo