Photos of my matte createspace cover

My proof copies came in the mail today. I spent hours writing an overdue essay before allowing myself to open the box. I was happy with the proofs except for two small things, so I'll get those out of the way.
1. My map was still low resolution. That's my fault for not having proper programs.
2. The end of more than half the chapters had part of the last letter and the punctuation mark cut off. That may have to do with my font choice. I mean, it's not a cover problem, so nothing to worry about there. I've emailed CreateSpace about it to see if they can sort out the problem.
Now for the cool stuff!
Here's the box.

The front and back. The book on the left will be left mostly untouched. The one on the right I will read through to see how it fares after handling.
The map, along with the new notice pointing readers to the pronunciation guide at the back.
 The Chapter One spread with the new font and formatting.
A spread from the middle of the book.
Side-by-side comparison of the glossy cover (left), a traditionally published matte cover book, and Aundes Aura with its matte cover.
So far I'm happy with the cover lift. It's more natural. I'll post what it looks like in a week's time or so.
Overall, I'm very happy with it!

CreateSpace Matte Covers Now Available

They're actually here! It feels sort of surreal. Just last week I was researching Lightning Source and their matte covers that don't curl. But when the price can go up to a few hundred dollars per book, you can see why I hesitated.

I love my CreateSpace books in most respects. There's one thing I don't like about the copies I have, and that's the way the covers don't lie flat. Ever. At first there's a little lift. Once you open the book it's there for good. Then over time, it curls upwards. Apparently this is worst with dark covers, and I happen to prefer my own books' covers to be dark.

People report not having any cover lift at all, which is great. I wish I was in that situation, but I'm not.

A common explanation for the curling is the glossy covers. My deepest hope is that having a matte cover rather than a glossy cover will mean the curling goes away, if not reduced significantly to something you'd expect to see on a traditionally published book.

So I've switched my cover to the matte option. Not only that, today's introduction of the matte covers also spurred me to finish redoing the typesetting and font for Aundes Aura, which I've been meaning to update to bring it into line with the next book I'm working on. If CS won't take the new font, I'll have to go back to Garamond, but at least I'll have the matte cover.

I'm very excited to get my next proof with a matte finish and hopefully a fresh new font. Most of my favourite books have matte covers (two series being Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire), and every step closer my book gets to those, the happier I'll be.

Do you prefer glossy or matte covers? Let me know in the comments!

Why "Three Bridges" is getting a prologue

While writing Aundes Aura, it went through a number of stages where it either had a prologue or it didn't. By the end of the first draft, I'd decided the prologue was unnecessary, showing a scene many years before that could have easily been referred to in the course of the book. So the prologue went, and I had my characters talk about the events instead. For the final book I added in a new prologue as suggested by the editor.

When I planned out Three Bridges, I felt it didn't need a prologue. I often can't stand prologues, especially if they're twice as long as the average chapter. A short one's not so bad. Some authors write prologues just because they're writing fantasy and that seems to be standard. I'd rather get straight to Chapter One. One might argue, "If you're only adding a prologue to give it an action-packed start, forget the prologue and make Chapter One action-packed instead!"

There is a problem with that, though. If you burst right in with all guns blazing, there's nowhere for the action to go, and much more importantly, you don't care what happens because you've had no time to meet the characters.

In Three Bridges, I avoid this. We spend the first four scenes getting to know the character a little before the inciting incident which turns everything on its head. Then I build the character some more. Through the first three chapters, while there are some big things happening, much of the time is spent learning who the three main characters are, what makes them tick -- what they really care about. Without this, why should we care?

Right now, I have two characters with strong motivations. The other's isn't as strong. He's loyal, but that doesn't explain why he does certain things later in the book.

So why are you adding a prologue?

There are a few benefits.
1. Starting with a short, somewhat intriguing chapter to kick things off nicely.
2. Introduces the motivation for the third character.
3. Makes a promise of things to come.

I feel all of these are important, and will greatly help the flow and depth of the book. The first two points are bonuses, but just as necessary. The third point is the fundamental reason a prologue should exist. If the prologue isn't foreshadowing something, it probably shouldn't be there.

George R.R. Martin achieves this by taking the point of view of a different character and showing us something we couldn't otherwise know. His prologues create a sense of foreboding. After reading it, this lets the reader know bad things will be happening. In the meantime, they can start to care about the characters so when the bad things happen, it actually means something.

What's your take on prologues? Love them? Hate them? Don't care?


What better way to start a blog?
Hi, I'm Ryan. I write fantasy. I currently have one book out, and I have another coming early next year. I have another blog, The Dark Corner of the Mind, where I mostly write about how my writing's going, as well as some writing tips that work for me.
But writers aren't my audience -- readers are. That's who this blog is for.
I've been grappling for almost two weeks as to what I can actually write for this blog. What would readers want to read from me? But a couple of minutes ago I decided, screw it, I'll start with the introduction and go from there.
It may be that this blog ends up being everything the other one was, minus the writing tips.
There are a few things I would like to write about in upcoming posts:
- Inspiration for current book
- Themes and ideas
- Occasional updates on progress
- General observations
I'm hoping to keep it simple and write something once a week.
What would you be interested in seeing from me?