For Your Reading Pleasure
After almost three years, I can officially say I’m a published author. Archaic Deception: The Guardian of Emblems has officially been released!
It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a blog post, and if you follow me on social media (mostly on Instagram), then you’ve been able to follow my journey up to this point. While there have been stressful times, bumps in the road, and moments of doubt, I pushed through it all to ensure the publication of my debut novel.
The role of storyteller came with its challenges, but it was enjoyable. Writing is a passion. So even though my initial draft had 207,000 words (which would’ve roughly been 650 pages), writing it was the easy part. What came next was the challenge.
As writers, our main job is to be captivating storytellers through the written word. Unfortunately, authors (especially self-published ones) are required to do much more than that. Not only is it important to understand what we’re capable of, it’s crucial to acknowledge our limitations.
In my journey as an author, I knew there’d be a couple of areas I’d need to outsource. Regardless of how great the story might’ve been, there are two critical features that must be executed perfectly.
Editing & Art Design
Since deciding to go the route of self-publication, I knew it editing would be the most important part of the process. Unfortunately, novels and stories that are not backed by traditional publishing houses tend to get a bad reputation. Though it’s a shame, it’s not without reason.
Self-publishing allows anyone to write and distribute their own work through private websites or retailers, such as Amazon. While going this route has its advantages, it also requires more work, which some authors may choose to bypass. This means anyone can write what they’d like and compile it together in a book, even without second checking their own work. This is the reason self-published work can be considered sub-standard. Yes, anyone can put incomplete and poor-quality work out there, but that doesn’t mean everyone does.
It’s imperative to release quality work
Most of us judge a book by its cover, but we all critique the work on the pages within. Without proper editing, no one will bother to explore the story or acquaint themselves with the characters. For me, Archaic Deception: The Guardian of Emblems was going to be my debut novel. It would be the first time people could read my work and judge whether they like my style of writing, or if I should even be writing at all.
After my first draft, I re-wrote the entire story, which led me to the 207,000-word novel. This cleaned up the storyline and tied together some loose ends (mostly because I was a pantser during this time). Then I re-read the novel 5-6 times for grammatical errors, factual inconsistencies, tense correction, dialogue uniqueness, and fluff removal. Everything I did was with the reader in mind.
If an author can’t ensure order in their novel, then why should a reader be expected to?
With such a vast world, there were many details and storylines to explore, but I needed to do it in a concise manner. Every sentence must serve a purpose. With this mindset, I was able to cut the 207,000 words down to 160,000, which was reasonable for an urban fantasy novel. That was when I searched for an editor and hired her to go through the work not once, but twice.
After 1-2 months of discussions, our editing journey came to an end and Archaic Deception: The Guardian of Emblems was officially ready for printing…but not without one more read-through. With the help of my husband, further edits were made as he found a handful of missing words within the 553 pages. You can never have too many eyes on your work! Once he completed the novel, I submit the formats and enabled them for distribution.
Artwork & Design
Before I had even completed the first draft, I had a clear concept of what the book cover would look like.
The artistry you see here wasn’t perfected, as that was on a different sketch. This was to simply convey how I wanted the layout to appear. My vision was to have the novel appear as stone, with all of the images and text etched into it. Though the concept was clear, my artistic talent was limited.
We may not admit it, but we all judge a book by its cover. The colors, the text, the illusion, the intrigue. It’s all a reader has to decide whether they want to learn more or not. I always knew I’d hire an artist to assist in the cover art, but I didn’t anticipate such a struggle.
After numerous discussions on social media, I found an artist who was interested in creating my cover. We agreed upon a price and that all rights would exclusively be mine upon completion. While it started off well, it quickly turned. Communication became dismal and work was rarely completed. It became clear to me I was not a priority.
Weeks of no communication led to one final conversation. They informed me no more work would be completed and that they would send over everything they had. After paying in full, I received all the images and files that were created for the cover. Fortunately, I’m very comfortable with Adobe Photoshop and after weeks of manipulating the digitized images, I pieced together the final cover.
The extra step is always worth it
Impressed with my final version, I knew there was something else I wanted to have done…but I was uncertain if I wished to put the effort and resources into it. After some short discussions, I quickly realized it was.
Archaic Deception is a unique realm filled with distinctive characters and complex history, so the title’s appearance needed to reflect that. These are a few examples of what the earlier concepts looked like for the cover. Though there are subtle differences, you can see the classic “Cinzel Decorative” font used on Archaic Deception. While alluring, it’s a very common font style used in the fantasy genre.
Determined to stand out, I hired a different artist to work on a unique font style. Similar to the cover, I had a very clear idea of how I wanted the letters to appear. Fortunately, this experience was marvelous! Once again, we agreed upon the price and that I’d exclusively own the rights to the images. Not wanting to limit me, I didn’t just ask to have Archaic Deception created, I requested the entire alphabet. I couldn’t be happier with the end result.
Three Key Items
There are many components necessary to publish a novel, but in my opinion, a good story may never be explored without three key items.
I’ve briefly shared my experiences in editing and art design for my debut novel, which I hope you found helpful or interesting. Marketing is a beast on its own, one that many can argue is the most important factor. Without exposure, no one will see any of your work or efforts.
In my next blog post, I plan on sharing my experiences in marketing my debut novel. Without a marketing background or guidance, will all my work for Archaic Deception be futile? I promise it won’t be another two years for the next post. 😄