Tag Archives: Cover Art

Looking Back to 2019, Hobbling Into 2020

Hi everyone!

In less than 10 hours, 2020 shall be upon us, and then all of the “2020 vision” jokes can stop!  Or, you know, continue undaunted ;)

As I always do, I’d like to take a moment to look back upon the past year, and see what’s over the horizon.  So come with me on a journey through time, from past, to present, and into the future!

2019 – Self-Publishing Success, NaNoWriMo, Home Purchase, Injury and Surgery

Photo by Beck Wasik

In November 2018, I took a gamble and published 2nd editions of my first two novels, along with an anthology of short stories.  It was a risky move – why would books that have already been out sell better as 2nd editions?  But the vastly-improved covers, the better edits, and the more aggressive marketing campaign paid off.

In 2019, I made more in sales and Kindle Unlimited reads in a single year than in all of the previous years combined!  If there is no other reason to, then that alone is reason enough to celebrate!

But there’s more – I started writing more regularly again, and with one last hurrah with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month,) I finished the first draft of book 3 of the Sword of Dragons saga!  By far, this was the most complicated story I have ever told, with countless moving parts and story threads, all converging in the final quarter of the novel.

I’m so excited!

Unlike 2018, however, in 2019 I barely traveled.  A couple of small road trips here and there, one of which was to see family, but otherwise our great focus was on finally getting out of apartments, and into a house of our own.  It was effort, time, and money well spent, and while our little corner of Earth may not be perfect, it’s ours :)

I wish I could say that all of 2019 was positive, but unfortunately, this was not so.  Towards the end of summer, as I walked through the kitchen, suddenly my right hip screamed in pain and I fell to the floor, unable to stand or walk.  While I slowly regained the ability to use my leg over the next couple of days, I knew something was terribly wrong.

After multiple visits to multiple doctors, x-rays, MRI’s, and CT scans, the doctors came to the conclusion that I had a hip impingement and torn labrum caused by a deformed femur joint.  Apparently I’ve had this all of my life, but over time it has been wearing on the labrum, until this year when it finally gave up and began to separate from the hip itself.

Which led to an arthroscopic surgery, my first major surgery ever.  In a way, it wasn’t too terribly invasive – two small cuts, one to stick a scope in, the other to stick instruments in to work on the hip.  But it required a lot of work on my hip, including ‘tacking’ the labrum up, reshaping the bone, and generally cleaning things up in the hip.  It essentially crippled me for several weeks, and a full recovery will take about six months.

It’s been a difficult time for me, someone who has always placed importance on my independence and ability to contribute around the house.  My wife has had to shoulder so much,  and I am so grateful for all that she has done.  She’s taken care of me, worked tirelessly to keep the house in order, and held me through the hardest nights.  My wonderful Starshine :)

2020 – Recovery, Publication, and Bringing Sentinels Back

What’s in store for 2020?  For starters, the long road to recovery shall continue.  As my hip and leg regains strength, it’s time to get fit again.  The injury was already starting to rear its ugly head in the 4 years prior to that terrible summer day, and I’ve exercised less and less as a result.

So 2020 will be a year that I focus on my physical health and wellness, getting back to the fitness level I once worked so long and hard to achieve.  Long hikes, climbing, that sort of thing, I miss doing all of it, and I’m looking forward to being back to my old self by summer!

Furthermore, unless I get horribly negative feedback from beta readers, 2020 will be the year that book 3 is published!  As before, it’ll be self-published, but the cover is already prototyped and ready for implementation, so it’s all a matter of editing and proofreading!

Images Source – http://bramleegwater.deviantart.com

As for the “Bringing Back the Sentinels” comment…I’ve had wonderful inspiration and ideas for revitalizing the Chronicles of the Sentinels modern fantasy book 1, Legacy!  I intend to write a more comprehensive blog on the changes coming, but I plan to fully re-write the first book to address the massive shortcomings of the original.  As an interested agent put it a few years ago, the premise was good, but the characters especially needed work.

There’s a lot of other great things ahead, including a trip for a Doctor Who convention, but that, my friends, is another story :)

Until then, Happy New Year to everyone!  May 2020 be the year of positive change for you :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Now for the Hard Part – Marketing Your Books

Hi everyone!

As of today, my triple-book release is nine days old!  Still very new :)  But now that all of the hard creation process is done (you know, writing, editing, creating covers, formatting, etc), the truly hard part for me begins.

Marketing my books.

I would say “as a self published author, this is especially important,” but let’s be honest, this is vital for ANY author.  You may have created this extremely awesome and wonderful book for people to read…but how do you get the word out?

With the original books 1 and 2, I fell considerably short in my efforts.  And I didn’t take advantage of social media, which is probably one of my biggest mistakes.

I bought ads now and again on Amazon, but that was it, and I was never consistent.  I got tables at conventions, gave my cards out to everyone I could, but that can only take you so far, and I’m starting to discover that handing your card out does very little (not to say I’ll stop doing that.)

So now I’m pushing harder, and trying things I hadn’t tried before for marketing.

Photo by Beck Wasik

Among them?  Facebook and instagram ads.  I just started them after a photo session of the eBook editions (thank you to my wife Beck for taking and editing this photo, it turned out beautifully,) so we’ll see if it works out.  I also updated my facebook author’s page with a ‘shop now’ button and tagged my products, which is a feature I never knew you could do!

I’m also heavily pushing my first book on Amazon ads.

Already I’m quite happy with how the books are doing in the Kindle Unlimited store.  I’ve had record numbers of reads for multiple days!  Each book is already doing far better than the previous books ever did.  Hopefully I can keep this going and build some more momentum!

I cannot over emphasize how important marketing is to success with your books.  Don’t spend so much time and effort on it that you never get your next book written, but don’t dismiss it, ESPECIALLY if you’re a debut author and no one knows your name yet.  Get the word out.  Get your name out there.

And then get to work on your next book!  Because if you hook readers, they’re gonna want more!

I’ve done a lot of the back-end work for marketing now, so I feel like I’m ready to focus on book 3 of the series again.  In fact, this week I already started work on it again!  But more on that later :)

For now, I hope the beginning of everyone’s holiday season has gone well!

Thanks for reading,
-Jon Wasik

The Sword of Dragons Triple Book Release Today!

Hi everyone, it’s here!!  The day has arrived, and three books in the Sword of Dragons series are available in print and Kindle!  :D  Click the covers below or the links beneath them to go to their store pages!

Artwork by Vuk Kostic

Click here for Rise of the Forgotten – The Sword of Dragons book 1 on Kindle
Click here for Rise of the Forgotten in print!

Artwork by Vuk Kostic.

Click here for the short story anthology The Orc War Campaigns on Kindle
Click here for The Orc War Campaigns in Print!

Artwork by Vuk Kostic

Click here for Burning Skies – The Sword of Dragons book 2 on Kindle
Click here for Burning Skies in print!

I hope you all enjoy, and I look forward to hearing from all of you about your experiences reading them :)

There’s more to come, including an interview on Show-X this coming Sunday.  Check back here again tomorrow for details!

Thanks for reading,
-Jon Wasik

The Sword of Dragons – 2nd Edition Cover Reveal!

Hi everyone, today is gonna be one jam-packed blog!  It’s been over a year in the making, but the 2nd editions of the first two novels in the Sword of Dragons series, along with the print edition of the Orc War Campaigns anthology, finally have a release date!  This also means that I finally show off the covers!

If you’re new to my blog, a long time ago I announced that I was working towards this goal.  One of the many changes in the 2nd edition was a unique title for the first book, previously just titled “The Sword of Dragons.”  Now it is known as “Rise of the Forgotten”!

So without further ado, I give you book 1’s new cover!  (Click image for larger version)

Rise of the Forgotten full cover! Artwork by Vuk Kostic

But wait, there’s more!  As I said, this is a triple-book release event!  So I now give you the cover art for Burning Skies:

Burning Skies Full Cover. Artwork by Vuk Kostic

And finally, the one cover I’ve given no hints or previews to whatsoever over the past year, the cover for The Orc War Campaigns:

The Orc War Campaigns Full Cover! Artwork by Vuk Kostic.

One of the things I’m hoping you’ll notice right off the bat is that the artwork is a similar style across all three.  In my search for cover art, I was fortunate enough to find an artist on Shutterstock named Vuk Kostic whose artwork was exactly what I was looking for, and he has posted copious amounts of artwork with dragons!  So it gives me a large pool to choose from :)

I am very happy to have spent the money to purchase the rights to utilize his artwork, and at least for the time being, I plan to utilize his artwork for all future Sword of Dragons covers.  I highly recommend checking out his Shutterstock page to see what else he has, he’s a fantastic artist!

There’s been far more done to the books than just shiny (actually matte) new covers!  I have proofread all three books several times over the past year and found numerous items to change, some of which I noted in my previous blog.  The pacing and flowing should be a lot better, and this will make them even more enjoyable to read :)

Not to mention maps!  There are maps inside the books!!!

Release Date Announced

Even better news, I’ve officially settled on a release date for all three books…and it’s just around the corner!  Drum roll, please….

November 16th, 2018

Yup, you read that correctly, this coming Friday!

Image Source – http://survivor-org.wikia.com/wiki/File:1723893-875275-firework-streaks-in-night-sky-celebration-background.jpg

In fact, as soon as Amazon approves everything, the Kindle editions will be available for pre-order!  I’ll update my facebook author’s page as soon as I get notification with links to where you can go to pre-order!

Unfortunately KDP has no method for allowing pre-orders of the print editions, but fear not!  As soon as I possibly can, this Friday I will post links to them once they are available!

Thank You Followers and Fans

I want to thank all of you, my readers, my fans, everyone.  This has been a tremendous effort that has been on top of considerable life changes.  Since I began this undertaking, I lost my Mom, married my wonderful Starshine, and moved.  Through it all, I’ve received nothing but encouragement and support from everyone.

It means the world to me.  I hope you all feel like this was worth it, and I hope you enjoy.  I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say about them!!

Thank you for reading :)
-Jon Wasik

Self-Publishing and Marketing – T-Shirts and more!

Hi everyone!

If you talk to just about any business person, most of them agree on one thing – marketing is vital to the survival of most businesses!  But what is marketing, exactly?  And how does it apply to self-published writers?

The initial answer seems obvious – pay for advertisements.  Amazon KDP and KDP Select is probably most self-published authors’ best avenue, though it isn’t the only one.

However, there’s more that a writer can do than just paid ads, and I myself am brewing up plans for future marketing efforts!  Not to mention, in today’s blog, a very special reveal is at hand…  ;)

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  First lets talk about a couple of other marketing actions you can take as a writer.

T-Shirts!

Yes, you read right.  T-Shirts.  T-Shirts can be one of the best marketing tools you have outside of internet ads, and it can be surprisingly affordable!

For me, initially it was just an idea to wear a shirt myself with my novel’s cover on it, but you can use them in more ways.  Have a pre-order going through a venue like Kickstarter?  Make a t-shirt one of the tiered bonuses!  Got a table at a convention?  Have some t-shirts on hand to sell or even give away as part of a bonus if they buy your entire set or something.

Or even just have a method of selling them to any would-be hardcore fans!

If you’re thinking to yourself “I’m a no-name author, why would anyone want to buy a shirt of my books?”  You might be surprised.  Someone somewhere could fall in love with your novels, and want to proudly show off their fandom!  But they can’t do that unless you have a way for them to do so.

And one thing I will say: make sure the shirt is incredible and eye catching, just like your cover should be!  Sure you could take your front cover and slap it onto a T-Shirt and voila, insta-fan-material.  However, my friends at Guildhall Galatea and Color Me Impressed have shown me the value of a design geared towards a T-Shirt, rather than a book cover, and the results speak for themselves!

Not only am I excited to wear the shirt, but I’m hoping people may want to order some for themselves!

And yes, you’re seeing that right…while not the full cover, you just got to see more of the cover for the upcoming “Rise of the Forgotten,” the 2nd edition of book 1 of the Sword of Dragons series!!!  :D :D :D

Maps and More!

When I was a teen, I remember buying the video game Everquest, one of the earlier MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.)  One of the coolest things that came with it was a cloth map of the world of Everquest!

I’ve since lost that cloth map :( But I never forgot it, and started collecting other fantasy maps, especially from the Elder Scrolls.  I’ve wanted to find a way to offer maps to readers (other than just including them in the books) and finally have an avenue.

Low resolution, low quality print test, but still impressive!

While chatting with the folks at Guildhall Galatea and Color Me Impressed, we started talking about possibly printing my maps on cloth.  I immediately loved the idea, so I  went right out and found some material that looked good, and we did a test print.  And while it is a low-res, small test print, I was highly impressed with the result!!  As such, full-sized, full resolution maps of Edilas and Devor will be printed soon :)

What can I do with these?  I’d love to either include them with box sets of the books, or find a way to have them on sale separately.  Plus, at conventions, they would help me stand out from all other other authors!  And if I really do a kickstarter as a way to preorder, then these maps can be one of the tiered rewards!

This is just the beginning, however.  I don’t want to say too much in case everything doesn’t work out, but there may be some other incredible goodies on the horizon to accompany the Sword of Dragons :D

That’s all I have for today, everyone, but I am so excited about all of this!  I hope you are too, and I hope my fellow authors out there get some ideas or inspiration from these examples

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

The First Maps of Halarite!

Hi everyone!

I apologize for the lateness of this past weekend’s blog, it has been a busy holiday weekend for us.  But I have some good news!  In that time, I was able to post the first maps of Halarite!

It’s been a very, very long time coming, but I’m so happy to finally have these ready to go.  I’m also happy to say that I’ve seen these in my first proof copy of the 2nd edition of Rise of the Forgotten (Sword of Dragons book 1) and they look fantastic in print!

Without further ado, click on each image below to see the larger version :D

First, the overall, low-detail map of the world of Halarite, as known by the Four Kingdoms of Edilas.  You can also see the political borders of the kingdoms in this version.

Next is the higher-detailed map of Edilas, the continent central to the first novel of the series, and home to the Four Kingdoms!

Want to know a little more about Edilas?  Head on over to the website, http://www.theswordofdragons.com/ to read more!

I’m really excited about these maps, and I’ve even started looking into poster-sized prints of them.  Perhaps when I release the 2nd editions, I’ll find a way to sell them as a box-set and include printed maps with the box set!  What do you think?

Oh, and that 1st proof of Rise of the Forgotten I mentioned?  It looks incredible!  There are a few parts of it that need fixing, mostly with alignment, but I think I’m just about ready for a cover reveal early on in the new year!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy this exciting development!

-Jon Wasik

A Brief Holiday

Hi everyone,

Due to the busy schedule ahead of us and the upcoming U.S. holiday, I won’t be able to write a blog today, and I probably won’t be able to next weekend either :(  I’m really sorry!

However, I wanted to leave you all with some good news and with a question!

Rise of the Forgotten

First the good news: I’ve completed the final edits for Rise of the Forgotten!  I’m really excited about this, because there’s not much left for me to do before I can setup and order a proof copy!  I’ve already purchased the license for cover art for books 1 through 3 and the cover art for Orc War Campaigns, so all I have left to do is finalize the maps!

And one other thing to finish, a part I’m struggling with…the “About The Author” page.  I don’t like what I’ve written in the 1st editions of books 1 and 2, but I don’t know how to re-write it.  I’ve already had one friend give me really good suggestions on facebook, but, my question to you all:

What are some of your favorite “About The Author” pages that you’ve read before?  Or, if you’re a writer, what have you written for yours in the past?

Thanks for reading, and to those celebrating this weekend, Happy Thanksgiving!

-Jon Wasik