My First Book Cover

Book-Collection-72

EXCITING!

So, a while back I suggested in a post that I was going to attempt to create my own front covers. The reason behind this was, obviously, to try to save a bit of cash. Having a brand new cover created (that doesn’t completely suck) is going to cost a few hundred a pop at the lowest level, so why not have a go myself? Here was my quick first attempt (Which I’ll prob still use for the free book I’ll give away to my newsletter subscribers, as the book won’t be put out for general release)

headless man

Now, that’s not completely awful for a very basic first attempt, but I was kidding myself. There’s no way I could create a really great, professional looking cover that I was proud of.  I quickly came to my senses and realised I should employ the services of, you know, an ACTUAL DESIGNER, or else run the risk of appearing here,  or worse, just not selling. I mean, I’m a complete unknown, the only chance I have of hooking in someone browsing through a site like Amazon is that they see my cover and are intrigued enough to give it a click.

Having realised it would be dumb to try to create my own cover, I scouted around for individuals whose work appealed, but most seemed to come in at four, five, six hundred pounds a pop; or more! That’s when I decided to test out a site called 99 Designs. If you listen to any Indie Publishing podcasts, you’ve probably heard an ad read for this resource. Basically you put up your brief and loads of designers will send you cover concepts. Simple as that.

Being my first time on the site, I chose their most basic package, plus the free Self Publishing Podcast upgrade, which helps attract more designers. Now I was aware that by choosing the most basic (and so cheapest) package I probably wouldn’t attract as many of the top class designers, but being my first time on the site I wanted to see how it all worked. Plus, if no workable designs came in, I could pull out without spending a penny.

SO! A few clicks here and there, I copy and pasted my requirements and attached some covers I liked for inspiration, and  then I made the contest live.

And so I waited. Would I get any entries? And would I get any I liked?

I think I had my first cover entry within a couple of hours, which was exciting, even if the cover itself was not. For the next few days the covers arrived in a steady stream; it was always exciting to wake up and check the site to see that a fresh wave of covers had been uploaded overnight.

Some of them weren’t great… well, okay, quite a lot of them weren’t great. They clearly hadn’t been put together by real designers, but by people just giving it a go despite lacking the talent or tools. One guy even just entered a rudimentary pencil drawing of a tigers head. THIS TIGERS HEAD:

cover tiger

No, I do not know why.

In the end I received over 100 entries, which is amazing. A large percentage were bad, then came a section that, whilst good, just didn’t suit the book, or weren’t to my own personal taste. Happily, a good 10 percent were really good-to-great.

At the time of writing this, I’ve put three covers through to the final round, and I’ll have chosen one to be the winner within a couple of days. I’ll reveal that winning cover soon…

So yes, glad I came to my senses, stopped being a penny pincher and actually employed the services of designers who knew what the heck they were doing. I’ll soon have a cover I love, and I’ll be one step closer to becoming a published author!

@MattStottWrites

Comedy Writer

seinfeld_puffy_shirt

I’ve been slowly (oh so slowly) chipping away at the world of TV and Radio comedy for several years now. I’ve had little glimmers of success here and there, including being involved in the (later abandoned) 5th season of The IT Crowd, writing sketches for Mitchell & Webb, and developing show after show with a plethora of production companies and BBC in-house producers. Show after show that all, at some point, stumbled and were then shot in the face at point-blank range. SO FAR.

I started out writing solo, but these days I scribble comedy stuff as part of a duo, with actor/writer/nonsense-goose Isabel Fay. We write good funny. We’re represented by the high and mighty Independent Talent agency and have a bunch of stuff in development all over the place.

One of these days we’ll get there and then will TAKE OUR REVENGE ON ALL OF YOU.

Or not. Tough business. You need to get A LOT of people to say yes to something, and it still might not get made. This is actually the main reason why, with my (non-comedy) prose fiction, I’m going the Indie route. Only person who can say ‘no’ to me publishing my work is me, and I probably won’t. Probably.

Anyway.

I bloody LOVE sitcoms. Here’s some of duh best:

‘Seinfeld’. The Greatest Sitcom of All Time. It’s a God damn work of genius. The stories, the characters, the writing, the everything.

‘Red Dwarf’: Grew up on this show. Me and my brother used to record audio versions of episodes onto tape, usually ‘Marooned’ because that was my favourite. Ain’t we adorable?

‘Father Ted’: Graham Linehan was a HUGE influence in building my early comic voice, and ‘Father Ted’ is the show that introduced me to his bonkers.

‘Spaced’: I want to hug this show and kiss it on the mouth. Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes, Edgar Wright… you guys are alright.

‘Arrested Development’: HOLY SHIT. HOW? I MEAN… HOLY SHIT..!

‘Friends’: Don’t be a snob, you snob, IT’S ACE x 100.

I could go on and on and on. I could mention ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’, or ‘Black Books’, or ‘I’m Alan Partridge’, or ’30 Rock’, or ‘Parks & Rec’, or ‘The American Office’, or ‘Party Down’, or ‘The IT Crowd’, or ‘Malcolm in The Middle’, or ‘Community’, or ‘Blackadder’, or ‘Moone Boy’, or… well… you get the idea.

YAY FOR SITCOMS!

@MattStottWrites

What I’ve Been…

Watching:

‘Whiplash’

Whiplash

More drumming than all James Bond films put together. Fact. You could add in all past and future Star Wars films and you still wouldn’t even be almost or nearly or just about close. They basically should have called this film ‘Drumming Whilst Bleeding, Sweating, and Being SHOUTED AT BY A MUSCULAR BALD MAN.’  I suppose ‘Whiplash’ fits better on the poster, though.

If you want a film that features very little to no drumming, then you’re fresh out of luck. Try ‘Birdman’ or ‘Big  Trouble in Little China’. Or some other film not exclusively about drumming.

It was fully ace. Go watch, see and also listen and jig in your seat during the big final scene.

Reading:

‘Cabal’ by Clive Barker

Clive-Barker-Cabal

There’s no Pinhead in this, or really any pins at all (some heads did feature) but it was still alright. The lead female character was pretty terrible and daft and then she stabs herself. So. But still, mostly fun. Cool stuff. Monsters. I’m a real good book reviewer. 

Websiteing

Kindle Cover Disasters

hammer

Bad design is just funny, yo. Some wiley chap or chap-ess has been trawling Amazon for some of the best worst book covers and collecting them together. Go look-see:

http://kindlecoverdisasters.tumblr.com/

Right, that’s enough of that, go get gone.

@MattStottWrites