Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Progress on the Celtic Conveyor #3D #Model

It’s been a while since I posted a progress report on the Celtic Conveyor design. I'm really not getting much time to work on it, but Sketchup is such an easy package to use that it doesn't take much effort to put complex things together. Even without a concerted effort, the design is moving on at a decent pace.
Celtic Conveyor Interplanetary Freighter 3d design

More structure has been completed, all 24 cargo pods and now most of the upper deck too. The upper deck, known as the “Command Deck”, the focus of this shot above, houses the bridge, operations room, senior crew accommodation and the captain’s cabin and office.
Celtic Conveyor Interplanetary Freighter 3d design

This full-length shot clearly shows how almost two-thirds of the vessel’s length is taken up with the cargo pods, each almost 8 metres hight, 20 metres long and over 13 metres wide. Although the accommodation for passengers is a significant part of the vessel, it is at heart a freighter.
Celtic Conveyor Interplanetary Freighter 3d design

Another view of the accommodation section, from the rear. This highlights how much smaller the command deck is than the passenger deck. Behind the main airlocks on the passenger deck you will find the recreational and medical sections of the vessel. Due to voyages from Jupiter to Earth taking upwards of six weeks, the vessel, must include all facilities necessary to occupy and care for passengers and crew for the duration. This includes a sports hall, small gym, exercise area, doctor’s surgery, infirmary and comprehensive pharmacy.

The End is Nigh!

The 99c special offer on Astronomicon: The Beginning will be coming to an end this Sunday (25th August) and will returning to its usual price of $2.99.

Until Sunday you will still be able to download this 360+ page quality science-fiction novel from Amazon US for 99c (please check your local Amazon for the equivalent price in your region). Almost all devices can handle this e-book, including Kindles, PCs, Android devices and even iPhones and iPads.

"3 Space craft, 240 colonists, 25 trillion miles and an unexpected discovery that changes everything.

Classic science fiction that will appeal to fans of Arthur C. Clarke. Astronomicon: The Beginning follows the human race’s intrepid first steps into interstellar space, a colonisation mission to Proxima Centauri. The colossal distance and harsh environment are not all that stand between them and survival.”

Click here to find out more.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Importance of Eye-Catching #Coverart

With the growing dominance of e-books it's tempting to thing that front covers no longer matter, but the importance of eye-catching artwork on the front of your novel is just as important as ever. Potential readers browsing through book related sites and online bookshops still need to have their attention drawn to your work and the most powerful way to do that is an impressive front cover image.

Better still, a good cover can become a marketing tool in its own right. I like to upload my best covers to art sites, picture sharing sites and now I've started entering book cover artwork competitions too. Here are my two favourite covers, which I've entered into the competition.

Vote for this cover here.
Find out more about Astronomicon: Those Left Behind here.

Vote for this cover here.
Find out more about Astronomicon: Icarus here.
Obviously to maximise the exposure gained from the competition, I really have to win it. That's a hard target considering some of the competition there. There's everything from the very poor to the truly excellent in the competition, but with the support of my readers, friends and family I believe my covers will make a good show, even if they don't win.

Which of my science fiction front covers above do you like best? Have you voted for it?

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Looking to #promote your E-book on #Facebook?

If you're reading this, you're probably one of the many aspiring authors out there who have one or more e-books desperately looking for more readers. In the last few days an excellent new resource has been created to help you tap into the vast potential audience of Facebook users.
E-Book Specials Group

There are a great number of e-book groups, author groups and e-book promotional groups on Facebook. Finding good ones is tricky, finding ones that aren't just full of spam is even harder.

This new group has the advantage of being strongly moderated. Authors are encouraged to post announcement of promotions and freebie offers of their e-books but all posts are checked to ensure that everything is on topic and suitable for the group. We trying to foster a friendly and helpful atmosphere where authors can learn to maximise their potential and reach an ever growing number of potential readers.

Click here to see the Ebook Specials group.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Latest progress with Celtic Conveyor design

This is how far the design of Interplanetary Freighter Celtic Conveyor has progressed.

There's still a great deal to add to this model. The central connecting corridor provides mounting points for rows of cargo pods, but those haven't been attached yet. When I attach them, the vessel will look substantially different as they will make up well over half the bulk of the vessel (it is after all a freighter) The main accommodation deck, that dominates this photo, is mostly furnished and the structure of the deck above (the command deck) is beginning to come together too.

The command deck will only be about 25% of the size of the main accommodation deck. Originally I wasn't going to include it in the design, but now quite a few scenes from the new book will be set there.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Revealing the Big Secret...

I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t hear about the “secret" of turning your e-book into a best seller. There are people selling success checklists, courses on blurb writing, secrets of cover design, magical power words, secret knowledge and more, all over the place.

It becomes attractive to think “my book is good enough to be a success IF ONLY I  could find that secret extra factor that will catapult it into the big time". It’s comforting to think that you’re almost there, just one step from success.

So, do you want to know that secret? You do? Well here goes...

The BIG SECRET is...there is NO SECRET!

Obviously there are things you can do to enhance your chances:

  1. Make sure your book is perfectly written, but if we’re brutally honest it’s not necessary. Polish isn’t going to be the difference between a best seller and a non-seller.
  2. Have the best, most eye-catching cover you can.
  3. Develop the best blurb you can.
  4. Network as much as you can. Get as many  followers as possible on Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc.
  5. Pay a fortune on advertising (not worth it unless you REALLY know what you’re doing).

But none of these things individually will make much difference at all, and even doing all of them probably won’t lead to significant sales.

Here are the things you can do to drastically improve your chances of success:

  1. Be very, very lucky.
  2. Become a major celebrity outside of the book world and use your fame to promote your writing.

Don’t forget:

Stop trying to learn the “big secret". Keep writing - the more you write the better you’ll get. Keep networking - you can’t have too many contacts. Keep learning - no-one is going to kill you because you know too much. Don’t miss an opportunity to spread the word about your books. You may be a writer, but you have to keep your sales hat ready at all times. Don’t get demoralised. If you don’t try, you can’t succeed.

Oh and while you’re reading this, buy my books. (See - sales hat!)