Publishing, and no book’s a single person’s work

I’ve decided on a “soft launch” for A Day at the Zoo, now that copyediting and cover and pagesetting are done. Kindle electronic (probably not KDP) and paperback to start with. I’ve been reading up on publishing from a few sites, including ALLI, which I recommend for anyone serious about Indie publishing.

One of the last things I did to button up the book was to list the people that helped. It turned into all manner of folks. I like a well-researched book, that tracks, as closely as possible, science and reality. That included a few groups:

Writing groups. Austin is blessed with a very active writer population. The venerable SlugTribe group meets twice monthly, open to all, for SF/FF/Horror writing. I’ve been a member almost since I moved here to Austin the early 90s. There’s a monthly bar meetup, which is virtual for the pandemic. I’m a member of the White Gold Wielders writing group, with a raft of former and current game industry folks.

Professionals. I’ve got a cousin who’s an ER doc. Good to have professional advice on exactly how wounds damage and heal. This is a police-based murder/mystery, so having a cop on the virtual payroll is totally necessary.

Experts. Although I was raised a religious Jew, it’s been a while, and Shmuley, the protagonist, is much deeper in than I was. A number of friends served to keep me as honest as they could.

At day’s end, of course, this is fiction, and liberties were taken when I thought necessary. Hopefully I won’t hear their teeth-grinding as they find the places where I’ve skewed from their sage advice.

Next post will have release date and ordering info…

Closing in on Launch!

Pagesetting is complete. Gudrun, who did the book’s cover, did the internal layout as well. ; here’s a sample from the beginning of the book:

Sample text from novel.

The walking man icon is taken from the cover, and appears at the top of each chapter. I’m a bit worried about the Hebrew-esque font for chapter and scene headings, but I’ve been assured that it’s perfectly readable by those who don’t know the language.

Cover Reveal

The cover’s done. It was an interesting evolution. If you’re looking for plot or characters, this isn’t the post for you. It hopefully shows the evolution of a cover from simplistic ideas to a finished, professional product.

I learned a lot, most importantly that while I’ve got some very small graphics skills, and initially was going to create my own, there’s nothing like having a professional. Here was my first swag, a mishmash of visual ideas, just to generate ideas.

Many collective groans came of this (folks, it was not supposed to be a real cover!), so I signed Gudrun up to make sense of this, and she came up with a few thoughts based on it:

For a European artist to do the research on creating an Austin skyline impressed the heck out of me. More on that later. While the badge shape with the Start of David was more on the nose than Gudrun realized, it was too prominent. Also, the tiger’s important, but only at the beginning of this crazy romp.

Busy, Great colors, nice background of Austin (still) and good font set. Shmuley was still too frum (religious)-looking, and I was concerned about using an actual person’s face.

Even busiererer. Pumped up the married part (he is, it’s important, but…just no, for the cover). I did like the walking man. Progress, moving forward… Time for another round.

It had a lot of things I wanted, except Shmuley’s hats & coat weren’t accurate to his religious affiliation. We closed on the fonts. Then we looked at the entire jacket:

I wanted the spine to be clearer, but, more importantly, this novel takes place in an alternate history, so I needed to remove the newer buildings, and add a chunk of tenements. So I sent off this:

Gudrun’s freaking magical:

So here we are: a cover that’ll not just be good for A Day at the Zoo, but be the basis for follow-on books in the series.