So, these updates are becoming more tri-weekly at the moment, but that’s okay.  I don’t want to overwhelm you with news!

I have some fun stuff to talk about on this update – things are moving forward apace! Genuinely exciting times.

But, before I get into all that…

A couple of new blog posts went up over the last couple of weeks. 

The first one was something I’d been asked about repeatedly, and I thought it was time to share and talk about it in more detail. Yup, I gave a little deep dive into how I go about writing Songbird in a post called ‘The Writing Process – Part 2 – The Spreadsheet of Doom™’

I’m always interested to know how other people write. Do you meticulously plan? Do you write by the seat of your pants? Or do you have notebook upon notebook of scribbled jottings to refer to? All these ways are completely valid, but I just thought I’d give a little more insight into how I do it personally. 

(Note: This was the second part in a series. The first talked about how I go about creating my characters. The post was called ‘The Writing Process – Part 1 – Character Counts… Right?‘)

I followed that up with something more serious.  The Songbird saga will be an inclusive one (I hope!) with characters of diversity. Gender, color, race and sexual identity. I wanted to do a blog post about how important that is to me, that the books I leave behind reflect my own beliefs in that regard. So, please check out Inclusivity? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?

Which brings you up to date! 

So, let’s check in and see how everything else it progressing…

No change to the graph…

Okay, so EXCITING NEWS on the Hunters front!

The book is finished, bar a few last minute spelling or grammar corrections that come to light from my beta-readers. Other than that, it is done!

I’m hoping at this point that no one finds anything earth-shatteringly broken in it.

Once we get the green light on that front, the next step is to figure out how to format it for print. On this score, I ‘ve been liaising with Nikki who has been checking out printers. I’ll have a chat with them and hopefully they’ll guide me on what I need to do. I’m a pretty dab hand with MS Word, so hopefully I’ll be good to do it myself because I really can’t afford professional help! (Not till you guys buy Hunters in droves, leading me to millionaire status! Then I can hire people to do this shit!! J/K)

I want Hunters to be the BEST that it can possibly be. That’s why I’m spending A LOT of time and effort fettling as much as I can. I know it can’t be ‘perfect’, few things are…but if I can get it as close to that ideal state as I can, then I’ll be happy. 🙂

Which brings me to the EXCITING NEWS!

I commissioned the book cover art for Hunters. *squee*

It was a funny process to get through, and I have to give props to Nikki and Sylessae for helping me out here. It’s more complicated than it first appears…

The complication comes from the fact that you need to have a ‘Commercial License‘ for the work. Basically, what this means is that you are commissioning the artist to create something for you, but they they are signing over the commercial rights for that picture to you.

Basically, the artist says this…

The Client who pays the commercial commission price is able reproduce, edit or use the Artwork for commercial purposes. Please note, that I still hold the right to display commissioned Artwork in my portfolio and websites, including social media.

Which means that moving forward, the art can be used for book covers, or display banners, or bookmarks or mugs or keyrings, etc. You get the gist.

This was an important distinction, because not all artists offer or do this. Sylessae was kind enough to point us in the direction of an artist who offered this service and had a commercial contract we could sign up for. Her name is Marlena, and her art is simply beautiful.

I’ll put up a link for her on my Artists page (found here!), but in the meantime, check out her website…

And here is a SNEAK PEEK of what I’ve kind of asked for…

So, to explain…

Now that’s NOT the actual cover. Just to be clear.

The art on it, if you’ve been to my Artists page or seen my homepage, was done by Tyler Wilson. His art is simply a placeholder, I don’t have any commercial rights to it, so can’t use it in that way. But it did inspire me.

The idea I’ve had for a while is for the books to be colour-coded. Hunters is RED. (The others will follow a rainbow theme.) The front cover will be predominantly WHITE with a monochrome kind of red look (kind of like the art above) while the back will be the inverse, white-on-red.

The faces, too, will be inverted. The front cover will show the character in Human form, the back cover their supernatural alter ego. For ‘Hunters‘, that will be Gayle looking sadly serene on the front, while the back will have her in full powered-up badass hybrid mode…which will be a teaser for what is to come! 🙂

Book 2 – Blood to Earth, will have an ORANGE theme cover, and focus on a different character…to be revealed at a later date!

Talking about Book 2, check out the pie chart!

I’ve just about hit the 3/4s mark for book progress. There are a couple of chapters that aren’t quite finished, but there are now 68 chapters which have a complete first draft.

*deep breath*

Getting there! That slowly climbing word count has now reached 131,236, as I look at the screen now. The only issue I’m now having is the prospective total word count. My latest updated maths equation has me hitting 170,327 words for the completed book, so it’s trending down a little…which is a good thing.

To be honest, most of the remaining chapters are now bridging chapters, so will be shorter than the ones where the real meat and potatoes of the story lie.

That’s all to report on B2E for this week. 🙂

Not much to say here, I’m afraid. ALL my time and effort has been going into B2E lately, so T&C is on pause.

For now! 😛

In other News…

It’s my birthday coming up on the 25th September. 🙂
I intended to have B2E ready in it’s draft form by my birthday, and I think I’m just going to miss it. Which is a shame, but that’s okay. It was a kind of arbitrary target anyway…just something for me to aim for. I should still be done with the first draft by October.

Also, here’s a little piece of Songbird trivia out there for you guys… Gayle Knightley has the same birthday in the book as I do in real life. Except, she was born in 2018 in my timeline of events.

(I’ll tell you something else…in the Songbird universe, there was no Covid19… of course there was something worse in 2016 that led to the whole story. *shrugs* Some you win; some you lose!)

So, there you go! 😛

On a Personal Note…

Last update I mentioned I was reading…

Well, I finished!  And I loved it. 

I put a little review up on Amazon for the world to see.  Here’s a quick copy of what I said…and yes, I saw my spelling mistake later!  LOL:

Next up…

Edge of the Breach – by Halo Scot

I’m intrigued by this one and am very much looking forward to reading it. It’s not going to be a rip-roaring comedy adventure like the previous read, but I’m itching to see what it’s got.

Until next time folks…

Love & Books

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  1. Acro

    Does that mean that you’ve decided to self-publish, Jon? If that’s the route you’re taking then I hope you’ll consider self-publishing your saga in a series of ebooks too.

  2. Shari

    That is a great idea ACRO. I didn’t think about electronic books. I guess I thought that most books came out as both. Is it the publisher who decides that?

  3. Jon Ford

    Well, Acro and Shari,

    At this point, in this climate, then Self Publishing is likely the way forward.
    And yes…the plan is to have an eBook out there too.
    In cost effective terms, I think the offering will be Paperback and eBook.
    I’d LOVE to offer hardback too, but I don’t think that would be affordable, alas. 🙁

    And then there’s the issue of the audio book… Hmm!
    The books are long, and there are many characters. I doubt very much I’ll be in a position to afford audio unless I do it myself, which is an option I guess. LOL
    But how many people would want to hear my dulcet tones?

    • Mitch

      Now that would be a good time, an audio book. I think it would be fun to change your voice to portray different characters.
      I’ll be honest, I never purchase hardcover books. It’s a big turnoff for me if a book that interests me is only sold in the hardcover form.

      • Jon Ford

        Well, most traditional book publishers, I think, tend to release a HB version first for the collectors, and then a paperback follows.
        For self publish, it would be both at the same time…that’s if it’s possible and cost-effective to do the hardback.

        As for the audio book… If I was to do it, it might be worth buying just for the car crash potential of hearing my attempt! LOL

    • Shari

      That makes sense Jon, in this time with all that’s happening to self publish. Do you think COVID-19 is affecting the writing world too?
      I think people would love to hear your British tone.

  4. KTReed

    Lots of successful authors self-published their first book before landing a contract and agent for the remaining books in the series. Sometimes they just have to see what you can do first. Self-publishing can also be great because you don’t owe anyone else a cut. You’ve already done the hard part. You wrote an engaging story with relatable characters. Get the marketing right and I bet your series will go far!

    • Jon Ford

      Thank KT,
      I think at this point that is the plan moving forward. Get the first books out there and see what happens. 😀

      • Acro

        You’re British, Jon. That accent alone gives you a leg up in the world of audiobooks!

        Shari, it depends on the publisher really and some of them maintain a great deal of control.

  5. Jack Davies

    You are getting so close to the finish line. Does it feel surreal? I like the book cover and I’m looking forward to seeing the final image when the artist is finished.

    • Jon Ford

      Yeah, it does kind of feel surreal Jack. To be getting THIS close now.
      Exciting too!

      I got the first draft back from Marlena for the book cover and it’s BREATHTAKINGLY gorgeous! It needs a few little tweaks, and being the expert artist she is, she had some VERY valid points on changes.

      Ignore my rough outline above, because what she has done far exceeds my expectations. I will be sharing a little sneak peek when I’ve got it, don’t you worry about that! 😀

  6. Tasmin

    Hi, Jon. I was wondering what you thought of commissioning a friend or close relative for cover art. Too much potential for awkwardness or worse?

    • Jon Ford

      Hi Tasmin,
      I think for this it all boiled down to finding someone with experience doing commercial commission work , and who had a commercial contract in place to sign. I had spoken to a few of my artist friends, some of whom were reluctant to do it because they didn’t understand the commercial aspects.
      It was actually @Sylessae who recommended Marlena as someone who had experience doing this kind of thing.
      Plus, she’s done book covers before, so understands the requirements (i.e space for barcodes, titles etc)

      My dream, would be to have the book get popular enough that I could do re-releases with other cover art. That way I could take my time and use any experience gained to shepherd my chums through the process.
      I dream of a Syl cover, a Balefyren cover, a Zeiyth cover… etc.

  7. Simon

    Hi Jon!
    Happy belated Birthday to you! Did you have a chance to do something fun for your special day? I hope so. You’ve been working so hard, you deserve a break!

    Wow, all that rights stuff is complicated, but it’s so important to do it right, so I’m glad you have people around you who can guide that process. I’m looking forward to seeing your cover when your artist finishes it!

    • Jon Ford

      Thanks, Simon. A good birthday was had. Quiet, but good. 🙂
      The whole process of self publishing is WAY more complex than I originally thought. The book cover stuff was just one aspect of it all. Fortunately I’m finding plenty of friends in the #WritingCommunity that are helping guide me through it.

      And I’m SOOOOOO looking forward to seeing the finished article myself! It’s going to be epic!

      • Simon

        I have a couple of friends who have self-published, but they haven’t told me too much about it. Have you formatted your book yet or will that come later on?

        I checked out the #WritingCommunity, and it looks like a cool group of people. It is always so great when people are willing to share their knowledge and experiences to help others, and I’m glad the #WritingCommunity does that!

        • Jon Ford

          The book is mostly formatted, but once we get the true parameters from the printers it’ll likely need tweaking to make sure it’s right.

          And, yes, the #WritingCommunity is a really good resource for all kinds of support and knowledge. 😀 They’re awesome!

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