You know what helps people test read a book? Giving them a book.
Now, that might sound weird, but one comment I kept getting from my test readers was that In The Black Blood would be a lot easier to read if it was in book form, rather than reams of loose A4 sheets. When you think about it, that makes perfect sense. Some of my test readers won’t have proof-read a book before, they aren’t professional editors, and a stack of paper looks a lot more like work than it does a fun romp through post-apocalyptic England. Plus, it’s going to end up in book form so why not give them something as close to the end product as you can get. Odds are the cover will end up looking different, but I thought I’d give it a go.
I set about trying to find out how to make a short print-run of books. I only wanted five for my next batch of readers, which left me with two potential providers: Blurb.com and Book Printing UK. I started with Blurb, but their pricing wasn’t quite as good and their book making app seemed to be more trouble than it was worth, so I went with Book Printing UK. It turned out to be an excellent choice!
Customer service was great and I’m super happy with the end result. Even my hastily thrown together cover design has come out looking excellent. Not only that, but its worked well with my test readers too. Previous readers had taken quite a while to go through the book, but three of my readers got it back to me within three weeks after I gave them a physical copy and liked it.
Not only that, but it’s bloody awesome to hold your novel in your hands in book-form; something that many of us aspiring novelists might never get to do.
Blog Post +2
Gig + 15
CIM Assignment Finished (!!!) +30 (seriously, it’s taken ages)
Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while might have noticed that I’ve mentioned a “secret project” on a few occasions. Well, it’s time for the big reveal!
I MADE A BOARD GAME!
It was my girlfriend’s birthday back in November. We’re both fans of board games and visit cafés like Thirsty Meeples in Oxford every so often to try out new things (Read Sophie’s post about it here), so it seemed like a good idea to MAKE a board game especially for her. I had no idea where to start, but I wagered that beginning with the board itself couldn’t be a bad idea.
I came up with the idea of creating five distinct “regions”. At this stage, I had a rough idea of what shape I wanted the game to take: I knew that it had to involve rolling a die to move, that it would involve drawing cards that would affect other players, that it would have references to things that Sophie and I liked or talked about, and that it would have a fantasy theme. With that in mind, I went out to Sainsbury’s and bought some crayons and coloured pencils, then took up drawing for an hour at a time on my lunch breaks.
The five regions developed quickly, and I soon had:
Plunder Bay (Pirate Themed)
Quinzel Cemetery (Swamp/Cemetery Themed)
Immortal Mountain (Mountain/Mine Themed)
Wild Woods (Enchanted Woods Themed)
Queen’s Landing (Medieval City Themed – No prizes for guessing the reference here!)
Once all five had been drawn, I scanned them into my computer and stitched them together in Photoshop, leaving me with an almost-finished game board. All of the gameplay elements were missing, but I had a base to work from; a base that I was incredibly happy with! Next I had to develop a story, but more on that next time. Follow The Points Project for more!
Are any of you prolific board game players? What do you like to play?
Generally speaking, it’s not wise to set up a new blog and then immediately vanish into thin air, but that’s what I did. Or near enough anyway. I didn’t actually vanish but stepped on a plane to Portugal with my girlfriend. Unsurprisingly, lounging around by the pool doesn’t offer too many opportunities for productivity, so I had to put The Points Project on hold for a little while. Though that’s not to say that I spent the whole week being an unproductive lump; I managed to edit three book chapters while I was there (more on what that book’s about in a blog post or two).
It’s been a tradition for a number of years for my sister, Hannah, and me to make cards for each other’s birthdays, and this year was no exception. However, Hannah’s birthday fell slap bang in the middle of my trip to Portugal so, late one night before leaving, I picked up my pencil and drawing pen and set to work. I’m a fan of making cards, and many take a similar form to this; heavy lines done in pen, shading done in pencil. It’s nothing too fancy, but I think it can be pretty striking. I looked up a picture of a cartoon from the internet as inspiration, sketched it in pencil, then went over the lines in pen.
Now… you’d be forgiven for wondering why the birthday card I made for my sister has got a picture of a Tyrannosaurus Rex on it. Well, it’s a bit of a long story, but to give you the cliff-notes: I forgot to make her a card last year. She said that, in order to make up for it, I’d have to give her a birthday card at Christmas with a raptor on it… which I did. When it came to this birthday I had to wrack my brain to come up with something better than a raptor, and clearly a T-Rex was my only option.