Thursday, November 28, 2019

Rebooting an Older Series
One of the slots I fill here at Across the Board is to represent the fantasy genre in its myriad forms. Since I've been a member of this fabulous blogging team, I actually haven't talked much about fantasy. Today I aim to get back on track, but mainly because I'm going to talk about my own book series. Sorry-not-sorry.

One of my completed book series is the Stormbourne Chronicles, a trilogy aimed at a Young Adult audience. It's a bit of epic, second-world fantasy mixed with some steampunk elements.  I published the first book, Heir of Thunder with Evolved Publishing, a small press, in 2016. I released the last book, Crown of Thunder, last December. The books, however, languished shortly thereafter.

I loved the world I had built as well as the characters in it, but I was despondent, and lacked the enthusiasm to promote the series. Something about the books bothered me, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Over time though, as I spent more time networking and talking to other YA authors and watching the books they were putting out, I realized what bothered me about my own books: The covers!

In the beginning, my publisher and I worked with a talented artist to develop an original set of
covers. He produced some lovely images, but I they didn't quite project the image in my head of the world I had created, and they especially didn't fit among the current market of fantasy YA covers I was seeing on shelves, on Amazon, Instagram, and everywhere YA books are sold, discussed, and promoted.

Original Stormbourne Chronicles covers
Having original artwork was a precious privilege, but I couldn't deny the covers tended to look more like what I was seeing in the Middle Grade and Children markets. Nothing wrong with that if I were writing Children and Middle Grade books. But alas, that was not my goal or target and I decided it was time to promote these books with the effort they deserved. In order to do that, I had to give them the covers that excited me, and hopefully my readers as well.

First step was to reach out to a new cover designer. Among my YA cohorts, I had seen some amazing covers coming from of a team called Deranged Doctor Design. I worked with them over about a 5 month period (they have a serious wait-list) to come up with concepts and designs. Without fail they produced a set of gorgeous new covers that more accurately reflect the contents and will hopefully catch the eye of my intended audience, both adults and young adults.

My next step was to get the covers out in the world for my audience to see. To the best of my knowledge, the best platform to reach the YA book crowd is Instagram--they take their #bookstagram game seriously and they are producing some unbelievable images. Thanks to a tip from fellow ATB blogger Mary Fan, I found a great Instagram tour service that got my book out to some #bookstagrammers who have been sharing beautiful images of my new covers across the social media platform.

And last but not least, my publisher and I finalized the audio-book edition of Heir of Thunder, read by Aida Reluzco, an amazing and talented narrator who gets every nuance, every accent (and there are a lot of accents!) and every detail exactly right. I'm blown away by her talent. The audio-book has been uploaded at Audible, and we're waiting on the final word about when it'll be released, which should come any day now...

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