Saturday, 21 July 2012

Cover Designer - Guest Post

When I heard J D Field had started writing a series of novels I hoped to get the chance to design the covers, so when the opportunity came about I jumped at it! It was always going to be an interesting project seeing as we live in different continents, but the initial brief soon set my mind at rest. Reading a snippet from the preface I could see that these were going to be exciting books. 

The brief asked for an image of a lake or pond, at night in the countryside with the water being a rich blue colour. And to have the moon and stars reflected in it, and possibly the title. The image was to be centrally located on the cover and possibly vignetted so that it faded out to black. 

I am a walking enthusiast and photographer as well as a graphic designer, so this project was perfect as I set about looking for the ideal lake near to me to photograph an adapt to fit the brief. There are 2 reservoirs nearby. Arlington and Bewl water. I chose Bewl as it is more natural looking and is also close to Bedgbury Woods which also contains a few lakes so there should be plenty of opportunities. Here's some of the original photographs. The chosen one is in the background. The others were lovely shots but contained too much detail. In the end we cropped in on the horizon of the chosen one:

The typeface to be used was also very important and if possible to try and do something a little different with it. I knew of one called Plantagenet Cherokee that had many alternate versions of each letter plus some glyphs of old letter forms and symbols. These could be used to add some character and a sense of history to the covers. This typeface would also be a defining link  and 'brand' between covers in the series. 

After doing some ideas for typographical arrangements of the title, I chose a photograph to work on and emailed JD Field some initial designs.  

It was decided that the vignette idea wasn't really working, instead we opted to extend the image to the edges of the cover but add in a rocky silhouette to the front to keep the shape. After some more to-ing and fro-ing of the design to perfect the balance of the elements and colours, the first e-book cover of The Levels Series was finished. A similar process was followed for Rock anthem and now it is time to start thinking about part 3. What will it be? Well you will have to wait and see... Here's a selection of the changing designs clockwise around the finished printed book

Read more about my walks,  (some of which I do to support the charity Hope for Children), kung fu training and photography at or follow me on Twitter @ollyeast

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A Dream Come True

Last week I had a dream come true.

It's not often you can say that. It was a dream I've had since - probably - age seven.
Yes. I can fly.

No. It's a different dream. It's the one I've had since I learned 'Roger Hargreaves' on the Front of the Mr. Men books was the name of a person, not a company, like Ford.
The dream was too have a book in print. Of course, back then, I had no idea it would look like this (massive thanks to the creative genius of Mr Oliver Prentice).

The first long story I wrote was more or less a rip off of parts of the Green Grass of Wyoming and Silver Brumby books (you can find them HERE  and HERE). I think the plagiarism is forgiveable. I was ten.

In the last twenty years I've completed three novels, three screenplays, two TV pilots, two radio plays, and written the first halves of five different novels. I've sent a couple of hundred submissions to agents and publishers.

Nothing stuck.

Then I heard about Amanda Hocking's success, thought 'I can do that' and last September published SONG TO WAKE TO as an eBook. I never planned to self publish in paperback, in fact, for years I've felt a little bit sneery towards self-publishers. However, once I released the eBook, it became the natural next step.

Though it was only natural thanks to Createspace, Amazon's astonishing one stop shop. You upload your text and they tell you what to do to turn it into a book. They tell you how to create a cover (or in my case they tell Olly how to make a cover). You decide how much you're going to charge for it, and BANG, it's on sale on Amazon. Every time somebody wants one, they print it. Plus now I have things to give away as prizes in competitions, bribes to reviewers, etc, etc.

But most importantly, those of you who don't read eBooks can get a copy for yourself, HERE