Friday, May 30, 2014

Typeface II, the sequel

I like to look for fonts for book covers. It is half finding what is imagined and half imagining the look of the fonts found. Be sure to buy the licence, if you're using someone else's font. You wouldn't take kindly to them using your book without buying it, right?
To the right is a book cover that was proposed. The book was/is set in India and the author is Indian. When I saw the font, I knew it was the one to use. I did the ink drawing of the tree. I don't know if it will show very well in this picture.

In the end the book was published by another publisher, so this cover isn't on the copy of the book you can buy on Amazon. 

The book cover above is for a story set in England and the author is English. It is the best selling book for Cactus Rain Publishing.

Very clearly, the font for the title is not Old English. It doesn't look like lace. However, I liked the look of the way the letters were drawn in contrast to the ink/line drawing. Notice the linen paper look beneath the yellow wash? Rich.

It is a beautiful pen and ink drawing. There are sites where art and the license to use it can be purchased.

As I look at these covers I notice that unwittingly, I've developed a signature for my cover designs. Made me smile at the realization of it. Can you see it?

This cover above is the latest addition to Cactus Rain Publishing.
It is set in Kiev by a Ukrainian author. The book  debutes on June 1, 2014.
For this cover, I wanted a font/typeface that gave the impression that it was Russian. None of the fonts that I tested gave the look I wanted for the cover. (Most of the font sites I use allow a space to type in the text and see how it will look.)

The drawing was done by the author's friend, artist Laura Mitchell.

Come to and check out these books!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


A wonderful way to lose track of time is to go to a website of fonts. The comment sections are full of information about font creation.
Book designers have their favorite typeface (fonts) and if you know to look, you can spot their signature style in the interior of the book.
Most of the literature regarding book design indicates that it is best to use fonts with serifs. Serifs are the little hooks on the ends of font strokes. It seems that the idea is that these hook or connect the letters together, so the reader can easily move from word to word.
Being dyslexic, the serifs are a curse for me to read. Being "wired different" the cute little hooks add too much information to process quickly. I default to using Tahoma, a non-serifs font that is on most computers. While it is non-traditional, why would I spend the money to publish books that I can't read without my eyes tiring?
Check it out for yourself. Type something and see how it looks in other fonts on your computer. Or even better, go play at one of the font sites online.

I have several [paper] book about fonts and typeface, and design. Font books are another great way to lose track of time. Head over to your local bookstore and check them out!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Let's talk about language.

Cussing is an art, of sorts. It really doesn't have much shock value to pepper a story with cussing. Actually, it slows the story and is quite boring after a while.
A few years ago, a writer argued with me about the amount of the F-word in their manuscript. The point that I was supposed to get was that it was the 70's [in the story] and that made it correct. I was around in the 70's and people didn't really talk like he wrote in his story. Actually, today's vernacular is more vulgar than in the 70's.
Cussing has to fit the character and the situation.
Besides the fact that too much of a good thing ain't so good, it gets boring rather quickly. This is true of any word or phrase that is over used, and especially true of cussing. Most writers have a pet phrase or word that they over use, which is a good reason to have someone who knows what they're doing point that out to you before you submit your ms to a publisher or literary agent.
Excessive cussing simply isn't good writing. If the character's main contribution to the story is to spew cuss words like a drunken sailor every chance they get, that character either needs a bar of soap to his fictious mouth or to be cut out of the story completely.
Even if the point is to show a drastic conversion of character, it is a pretty flat character who is defined largely by their potty-mouth. Write like a pro and give the poor fellow more dimension to make him interesting.
The other point of this is that the cussing needs to fit the situation. Like everything else about fiction writing, the cussing needs to be believable. It needs to occur, if at all, in a situation that is logical to the reader.
Write better, use your vocabulary (or get one), and minimise the cussing. Raise the bar. Write right, damnit. (Just had to do that to make my point.)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Writer's Block?

To me, writer's block is laughable. Writers write. Period. That's what we do.
Can you imagine going in for an operation and the doctor says that he isn't in the mood to remove your gallbladder today, so he did a few surgery exercises like practicing stitches, and now you have a nice scar or two on your knee? Sorry, I don't buy writer's block.
I don't buy mindless writing exercises and writing prompts. I don't buy that any writing is writing and these things are meant to prime your creative pump. Writers write. Quit acting like this is a hobby, unless it is. Turn off the telly, put your bum in the chair, and get to work; that's what professional writers do.
In addition to writing, spend time every week learning about the craft. Set aside time to learn about the industry. And, learn about your audience. Who are these people?
Getting published isn't an entitlement. If you want someone else to put their money into publishing your project, then you need to put on the professional mindset and get to work.
I know someone who has been working on a novel since 2001. True story. I know they're busy, but I can't believe there is much committment to being a writer. When we were kids, being a writer is all she talked about. (I was going to grow up to be a nurse, like my mother.)
I guess neither one of us grew up to be what we thought, but I don't join "Nurse groups" who meet monthly and talk about nursing. I don't tell people that I'm working on being a nurse and have a nurse kit on my desk. (I don't know what a nurse kit is, but I don't have one.)
The point is, being a writer is a profession like anything else. Writer's block is a myth. Writers write. Go write something wonderful.