Tag Archives: Maps

When Is It Time For A Cover Reveal?

Hi everyone!

I found myself struggling to come up with a blog article today, so the first thing I thought was, “Maybe it’s time to do a cover reveal for one of the new books!”

…but is it too soon to do that?

I honestly wasn’t sure what might be appropriate from a marketing point of view, so I decided to hit the search engines and start reading articles.  And pretty much immediately, the consensus was clear: not until your book is ready for pre-orders.

Do you agree?

Rise of the Forgotten

I’ve already done a partial reveal with the text on the titles, and I’ve received proof copies of Rise of the Forgotten and Burning Skies, both of which revealed a couple minor tweaks that are needed (and already fixed on the digital files.)  But should I wait for a complete reveal?

I think it makes sense to an extent.  That first impression can come with a buy impulse for a reader.  “That looks cool, I wanna buy that!”  So pre-orders would hopefully mount up.  Where as if I revealed the cover now, but pre-orders weren’t ready for another 4 or 5 months, people’s initial excitement might be long lost and pre-orders might be less than stellar.

So for the moment, I’m going to hold off on the cover reveal.

I want this release to be done right.  I want to learn from the mistakes I made in the past.  And I want to give my readers the best experience that I can.

What I can say is that I’m still strongly thinking about a pre-order bundle somehow that will include all 3 books (Rise of the Forgotten, Burning Skies, and The Orc War Campaigns) as well as a printed map, either of Edilas or of all of Halarite.

I’ve recently done just a test print on an 8.5×11 paper with an aged parchment effect, and I like it!  If a print service can do this larger, and on the right kind of paper, this would definitely make for a neat extra to throw in with pre-orders!

The only challenge I’m running into right now is a platform to sell the bundle through.  Etsy is a no-go because they only allow the sale of hand-crafted items, not printed books.  So I need to find a venue appropriate to such a sale, and eBay doesn’t strike me as appropriate.  Does anyone out there have any suggestions?

Thank You For Your Patience

Before I sign off, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who gave me words of support last month after my Mother passed away.  You words warmed my heart.  :)  I went nearly a month without a new blog, but I’ve still been seeing visits, comments, and likes on past blogs, and I’m grateful to everyone.

See you all next week!

-Jon Wasik

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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

When Is It Too Soon?

Hi everyone,

I apologize that today’s blog post is such a short one, we’ve had a family emergency and my mind is just…not in the right place for writing a blog.  However, I didn’t want to leave you all with nothing this week, so I thought I’d answer a question I’ve been asked by a couple of people recently.

Cover by Christian Michael

“Why did you announce the 2nd editions of the Sword of Dragons so early?  If people know that there’s going to be a 2nd edition sometime soon, doesn’t that mean few people will want to buy the current editions?  You won’t get many sales between now and then.”

That’s true, and is one of the things I considered when deciding when to reveal those plans.  However, for the same reason that I made the announcement so early, I’ve not been buying any more advertisements for the books.

I would feel guilty, trying to get people to buy my books when there’s a newer, better version on the horizon.  I already feel bad since I know there will be some people who already have the 1st editions that will want to buy the 2nd, and that in turn has fueled my desire to make the 2nd edition as good as possible, to make it worthwhile.

When I said that, someone replied, “Who cares if they have to buy two versions?  You want to make a living off of writing, right?  Then you should try making money anywhere you can.”

Is that the right way to make more money?  Possibly.  But is it the right thing to do?

It’s no secret, I want to be able to make enough sales to one day live off of writing.  But I don’t want to make my entire focus be on money, because I’m afraid if I do that, I’ll lose my real focus –  Telling stories the best way that I can.

Progress on the 2nd Editions

I’m more than halfway through Rise of the Forgotten’s edits, and I’m finding that all of the chapters I wrote just before, during, and just after my writers block all those years ago need way more work than any previous ones so far.  And that makes sense to me, since I had a really hard time getting the story out back then.

As for the maps, the map of Edilas (the continent where the 4 kingdoms are) is complete except for a couple of details.  Test prints came out wonderful!  I need to get the world map cleaned up and a couple of final details on it, and then I need to get Devor ready for book 2.

Projected completion of 2nd editions is still in the air, but I’ll definitely let you all know as soon as I know :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

More To Map Making Than Meets The Eye

Hi everyone!

Part of why I was excited to release last week’s announcement was that I can finally talk about the different pieces of my latest project, and how everything is coming along with them!

This includes the maps of Halarite for the Sword of Dragons novels!  A couple of years ago, Wayne Adams of VtW Productions introduced me to a friend who was interested in making maps for the Sword of Dragons.  Through many months of collaboration, Chloe drew up several maps, including a low-detail one of the world and higher-detailed versions of each continent.

One thing we agreed on was that she would not label anything.  That task would fall to me after I scanned them in.  However, there’s one thing I didn’t think about at the time:

I have very little experience making or labeling maps.  And it is not as easy as one might think.

How do you put labels on a map so that it is understandable, legible, and not cluttered or confusing?

The map that came with Elder Scrolls IV – Oblivion

Thankfully, I had actually done some work on this all the way back in school, and a little bit since then.  Plus, I love maps.  I have a giant map of Middle Earth hanging on the wall at our apartment, and I have kept every map from every Elder Scrolls game I’ve bought, not to mention some old maps from EverQuest.

As I’ve been working on this, I’ve come to realize a few things…

Labeling What’s Most Important

Good example of labeling what’s important to a story, from the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

Just like a book cover must convey the appropriate message to the target audience, a map should be tailored to convey the information someone might need from it.  In the case of a novel, a map should have the information a reader might need.

These decisions are especially important for me since my maps will be in a small, black-and-white paperback format.  That means there isn’t going to be room for a lot of small details, and fine-print will make it impossible to read.  Obvious labeling will be necessary.

I do have the advantage of the fact that I have different detailed maps.  The overall global map has few land features on it, so that gives me room to label political boundaries, for instance.  Furthermore, I’m considering having the global map span two pages, as I’ve seen done in other novels.

Then, for book 1, I’ll have the more detailed map of Edilas, the continent where the 4 kingdoms are, on a single page.  For book 2, I may still include that map, but I’ll also include a map of Devor.

Another lesson I remember from school is that bigger features require bigger names.  So for instance on the global map, I’ll make the world name the biggest.  Continent names will be smaller.  Kingdom names smaller, followed by city and feature names.

Maps for Print vs. Maps for Web

One advantage I do have: these are fairly high-res images.  So while I’ll be focusing for now on the maps that’ll go into books 1, 2 and 3, I will be making higher-detailed versions for the website, http://www.theswordofdragons.com/.  Thankfully people can always zoom in to read finer print on the web.

There’s also the advantage of color on the web.  I’ve already played around a bit by adding overlay colors for the 4 kingdoms on the global map.  I think this will be useful and interesting for readers.

While I don’t want to make readers of the print editions go online to see more detailed maps, I think having the option will be a nice addition.  “Here’s these maps, but if you want to see more details, go to the website!”  That’ll allow readers like me, who love to learn as much as possible about fantasy worlds, to get more information.

That’s all for today!  I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the production of the 2nd editions.  If there are any specific features you’d like included in the maps, let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,
-Jon Wasik

Coming Soon – Maps of Halarite!

Hey there, everyone!

I have some incredible, long-awaited news – the maps of Halarite are nearly finished!  Well, actually, they are finished, the drawing aspect anyway.  My friend Chloe has been hard at work on them for quite some time, and this past week gave me the completed products!

So what’s left on them?  Firstly, she intentionally left any and all labels off of the maps so that I could add them in digitally.  So I will begin work on that soon.  Secondly, I might play around with adding in post-processing effects to give it that parchment paper look.

Maps and World Building

Image Source - http://www.gradhacker.org
Image Source – http://www.gradhacker.org

I’ve always loved old maps and old globes.  In fact I have a globe that my Grandpa gave me when I was a teenager, and while I can’t seem to find an actual date on the globe, based on countries shown on it, it predates 1945.

middle-earth-mapAnd then there are fantasy maps.  From the first time I got my hands on a cloth Everquest map back when the game first came out, I was hooked on fantasy maps.  I’m super sad to say that I do not know what happened to that cloth map :( But since then, I’ve become a bit of a collector.  Somewhere in my boxes, I have paper maps of several EverQuest realms, four Elder Scrolls areas (including Shivering Isles), and my most favorite piece, a giant map of Middle Earth framed and hanging on my wall :D

So naturally, when I first started developing what would one day become The Sword of Dragons, I began drawing my own map.  I knew it wasn’t nearly high enough quality to ever publish in the novels, but it gave me a consistent point of reference I could use.

worldofwarcraftmapThat way whenever I talk about where the characters go, and where they are in relation to other locations, I can keep it consistent.  Keeping consistent within my world has been one of my greatest goals, and having a map to reference has been a big help!

I know as a reader, I love having maps to reference, so that is why I am so excited to show everyone the maps when they are finished!  And beginning with The Orc War Campaigns anthology when it is released, the relevant maps will show up in every book from here on out for all of you, my awesome readers :D

So what’s your favorite map?  Real-world, fantasy, sci-fi, anything, tell me, and better yet, show me!  Post links in the comments, and let us all see your favorite cartographs :D

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

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Pssst.  Wanna see a sneak peak?  Yeah?

Halarite_Map_Final