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October 2015

Happy Halloween! Get ‘Children of the Fallen’ FREE from Oct 31st – Nov 2nd

For a limited time only! Check out the Children of the Fallen Amazon page between October 31st and November 2nd you can download a copy of CotF FREE! (this really deals a death blow to the whole, ‘you wouldn’t download a book, would you?!’ anti-piracy argument…)

Children of the Fallen is an Urban Fantasy novel written by SNG founder, Eve Peters! In this book, you can find all manner of supernatural things – but Daniel Smith, our main character, just thinks he’s been crazy his whole life. Never before has someone been less relieved to find out they were wrong about being mentally unwell!


EveProfileHalloweenEve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot. You can visit her website at www.somenerdgirl.com.

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Interview With J. Caleb; Book Cover Artist

As we venture into National Novel Writing Month, we thought we’d get some insight on one very important element of books: the cover. Today, we talk to cover artist J. Caleb about what he does and some things you need to know about the process. He is even running a special on simple, high-resolution eBook cover designs for the month of November. More on that at the end!

J. Caleb is from South Carolina and has been doing graphic design since 2007 with his focus turning to book covers over the last three years. You can find his website at www.jcalebdesign.com. His general interests includes anything involving his twins, family time, video games, hiking and camping and the occasional Sunday lounging about the house. He is also the creator of the Some Nerd Girl logo!

How did you get into book cover designs in particular?

I’ve always enjoyed reading so it came natural in a way. I remember being in Barnes and Noble one night while in college and seeing a Raymond Swanland book cover and thinking, “Man I’d love to do that.” Then it clicked. I reached out to him actually and he encouraged me to follow my dream. I may never have the talent as Swanland but I love making book covers.

What’s your favorite thing about designing book covers?

It would have to be the act of creating a cover that tells the story contained inside without giving it away. I want potential readers to see the covers I create and instantly want to know whats inside.

What can authors do to make the experience the best possible?

Be honest. I want to know what the author envisions.

Also be honest during the proof process. My biggest fear is to have an author “accept” what I’ve done. I don’t want that. I want an author’s cover to be the best it can be. I’m in it with them till we have a great cover!

Also the more information the better. Synopsis’ (no, believe it or not I don’t always get them), snippets, music that would fit the theme of the book, and movies that are along the same lines just to name a few avenues of information I like to have. I may not be inspired by half of the references provided but you never know what may happen!

What are some common mistakes or misconceptions you’ve seen with writers when it comes to requests or expectations?

It really varies but one common misconception comes with eBook cover requests I receive: “make a large title so that it can be read easy as a thumbnail”.  To me, this is a misconception that often hinders book covers more than it helps. What matters most is a visual image that attracts the eye. An author’s cover will rarely, if ever, be seen without the title and author’s name right beside it in html text. So they never have to worry about someone not knowing what the title is or who its by. Its all about making a striking image that makes the viewer use that mouse click! Sometimes a large title works well but that rule often needs to be broken.

Do you have a favorite project? If so, what made it so great?

Any project where I get to learn a new concept usually ends up in my favorite bracket. There are a couple.

One of yours actually: Colony One

The idea was a simple one. Create the hull of a ship and place the title on it somewhere. Did I say it was simple? Problem was I had never created the hull of ship before and there wasn’t any stock photography available to work off of that I could find. After a couple searches and some experimentation I created this swatch:

Interview1

Then I flipped it, tiled it, reversed it and so on and created the ship hull. With some dynamic lighting and cool color palette I ended up with this:

Interview2

The ship hull is a simple repeated pattern but when put together and lighted correctly you end up with a really cool effect. The end result of the book cover quickly became one of my favorites!

Fate of a Shinobi is another. In this cover I had to have a lot going on. A shinobi ninja facing off against a samurai on horse back with a burning town in the background. Stock photos were out of the question so I went out to my backyard and started taking photos.

Interview3

Heres me in all my ninja glory. I took about fifty photos and after some sketching decided this was the one for me.

Interview4

Rough sketch approved by my client, TJ Mason.

Interview5

Refined rough sketch, approved by Mason.

Interview6

Adjust some colors, flesh out the background. Add in some details.

Interview7

Bring the text back in with some flavor and boom. We are ready to rock.

Can you talk a little about your creative process?

It really depends on the book. First and foremost I visit the all powerful Google and search imagery related to the title or cover in general to get the juices flowing. If an author has requested a certain style of cover, say propaganda for example, then I’ll search propaganda posters just to see what catches my eye and what might inspire me. Here is a sample poster I found on the internet for a book called Induction.

Interview8

The general theme was propaganda with a mad scientist on the front. I found a couple other posters but had a general sense of where I wanted to go after some brainstorming. All said and done here is the final product.

Interview9

On the other hand some covers require me to do a good deal of digital painting like Fate of a Shinobi. I’ll hit the backyard and start snapping photo references of me in different poses or scenes.

Then its off to Photoshop with my wacom tablet!

Do you have any major goals for yourself when it comes to your graphic arts profession?

To walk into a bookstore and see my cover spined on a shelf. Its all I ask.

What advice would you give to authors when they are researching cover art services?

Know what you want but be open to changes and tweaks from your designer. We often times can work off your idea and make it shine if you let us.

Know your competition. If every YA Romance is using a photos of couples kissing and the color blue in their covers. You probably shouldn’t. Adjust your ideas from there and look for a designer who can meet those needs.

Even in this day and age it can be hard to find an individual designer, so be patient in your search. Reddit, Kboards, DeviantArt are just a few sites to find people. I’m sure you guys probably know of many other sites where you could find potential cover designers. Also if you see an author’s cover you like, don’t be afraid to ask who they used.

One other thing to note, not all designers are illustrators and not all illustrators are designers. Let me explain: I know some phenomenal illustrators who can draw and paint with the best of them. I know some Photoshop masters who can put Abraham Lincoln’s head on a lion’s body and make you think it was always like that. But neither of them could handle the typography aspect of a book cover. Likewise I know some designers who can work with type so well it’ll make you cry. But they couldn’t draw themselves out of a box. Then there are people out there who cover both aspects: the imagery and the type.  Know who your hiring, look at their body of work and see their strengths and potential weaknesses.

What challenges do you face that us authors wouldn’t really know about?

Nothing out of the ordinary really. Time management, keeping my prices competitive, getting my name out there and dealing with twin daughters!

What are some lessons you’ve learned from all the covers you’ve made / the experience of working with clients?

I never know what I’m going to get or what kind of cover is just around the corner and I love it. I’ve also learned to take my time. I’m from the “gotta-have-it-now” generation so I’m used to moving quickly. But sometimes its best to sit on a cover a for a day and see it with fresh eyes. Often times it leads to a better looking cover.

Special Offer!

J. Caleb has been kind enough to offer a special for simple eBook cover designs for the month of November. Click here to get the full details and contact instructions, but here are the highlights:

  • For $30, you will receive:
    • A high-resolution, customized eBook cover
    • A 3D rendering of your cover

The special is good from November 1st – 30th. You’ll find no offer like it, and I can personally guarantee you the quality will be top-notch! While these covers will be ‘simple’ and not include any original art or illustration, here are some examples of the kind of end result you can expect:

ExampleCopies


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. You can visit her website at www.somenerdgirl.com and look up her works of fiction on Amazon.

Halloween and Gender Bending for the Greater Good

It’s that time again: Fall. October. And most importantly, Halloween! This year, I found myself reflecting on my costume preferences throughout the years – going way back to when I was just a tiny thing, running around and kicking shins.

Derpy pumpkin? Check!
Derpy pumpkin? Check!

There was a theme to my costumes. I’ll list them, and you guess what that theme might be…

  • Ninja Turtle (Preferably Michelangelo, but I’d take whatever was left at the store…)
  • Spider-Man
  • The Karate Kid
  • A regular ninja
  • Baseball player
  • A crest toothpaste tube

Okay, admittedly that last one was an obvious budget costume on the part of my parents, who must have gotten it as a freebie from the dentist.

Did you guess the theme?

They were all boy costumes. And, if you hadn’t noticed yet, let’s remove all doubt – I’m actually a girl.

Gasp!

Tim Curry says,
Tim Curry says, “Bitch, please!”

All my life, anytime I’ve dressed up – be it for a school production or project , or Halloween – I have always been drawn to emulate a male figure. I never gave this much thought – that’s just where my interests were. After all, boys seemed to get all the COOL stuff – all the super powers and crime fighting. Not to mention their costumes were way more comfortable, and, well, modest. Miniskirts, or, you know, basically just underwear, have never been my thing – looking at you, Wonder Woman.

Sorry Wonder Woman fans... but she might as well be fighting naked as far as I'm concerned.
Sorry Wonder Woman fans… but she might as well be fighting naked as far as I’m concerned.

The fact that girls need cooler role-models with more comfortable outfits is another post altogether, but you get the idea (Thank you Ron Moore for making Starbuck a chick – it’s the one Cosplay I don’t have to gender bend).

Anyhow, luckily for me, my parents did not object or tell me what I wanted was wrong for my gender. They even let me sport a little boy’s haircut for a long time – resulting in much confusion regarding public bathrooms and general pronoun usage.

Not exactly like this, but you get the idea.
Not exactly like this, but you get the idea.

It wasn’t my folks so much as other people who eventually made me realize I wasn’t doing the normal thing. And so while I never acquiesced to dresses or dressing up in ‘girl’ costumes, I did decide to grow my hair out and make more of an effort to be ‘normal’.

[We interrupt this post for a very important Public Service Announcement: Please generally refrain from making unsolicited comments on kid’s costume preferences or appearances. Especially including, but not limited to, “There is no such thing as spider-girl.” or “Little boys shouldn’t want to be princesses.” You could be kicking off a complex that may later require therapy.]

Normal turned out to be terrible. I wasn’t happy – not truly happy – with myself. What was so bad about wanting to be a Ninja Turtle, or Han Solo?

I realize now – absolutely nothing! And while we’ve seem to have made HUGE strides in gender equality, we still have a long way to go when it comes to general perception and the way we reinforce gender roles. Recently I was at Target and was pretty miffed that I had to walk all the way to the boy’s section to find literally all of the Star Wars toys. God forbid something not-pink find its way into the ‘girls’ section. Don’t even get me started on the nerdy clothing options!

I digress. My whole point here is that gender-bending Halloween costumes should be 100% acceptable for kids (and adults – hell those are some of the most fun costumes at Con). The most important thing we could possibly teach the youth of today is that it’s OKAY TO BE YOU. We could skip so much soul-searching later and life. And probably avoid a lot of divorces and other crisis’s due to someone realizing who they really are is not who they pretended to be in order to be appealing to some group of people that actually don’t matter.

GenderRoles1

GenderRoles

Those closest to me understand what a huge lady and brain crush I have on Felicia Day. In her recent book, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” really drives the whole ‘be who you are and do what makes you happy’ message home. I think that book is so relatable – to nerds in general (let’s be real) – because we’ve all been through phases in our lives where we do not pursue our passions because it’s not generally valued by the majority.

The people who do break through and embrace their ‘weird’, so to speak, tend to be the ones who go on to do great, incredible things.

And THAT is why it’s so important to let kids be themselves – everyday, but especially on Halloween when they’re allowed to project what they really want to be when they grow up. Screw firefighting – I want to be Batman!


EveProfileHalloweenEve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. You can visit her website at www.somenerdgirl.com and look up her works of fiction on Amazon.

10 Halloween at the Office, Part 2 – Some Nerd Girl Original Webcomic

At some point, you have to suspect they’re messing with you, right??

Join us every Monday for a new and original SNG Webcomic!


AlexAlex is our resident Webcomic creator. He grew up in Puerto Rico, but didn’t reach true Nerdom until he came state side when he was in middle school. He’s been drawing since he was five, but has only started posting Webcomics in the past year. You can check out his amazing and original work at tapastic.com/gomezalexj.

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