The Twiller Cover Is Here

 Posted by at 3:00 AM  Tagged with: ,
May 162010

The Twiller, coming in June!

Now that I’ve finished The Twiller and sent it off to my editors, I’ve been working on designing the new cover for it. Cover design is one of the toughest parts of being an independent author, and actually takes a very long time, or a lot of money, or both. Many authors hire cover designers, and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a cover. As an indie, writing a novel is just the beginning, as I’m also responsible for editing, interior layout, cover design, formatting, and promotion (to name a few). I am fortunate to be pretty computer literate, so I can do most of those tasks on my own, although some, like editing, require some outside help since you always need a second (or third, or fourth) set of eyes. Having a quality cover is critically important (people can, and do, judge books by their covers every day), so I had to spend a great deal of time teaching myself Photoshop and creating something I could be proud of. I hope you are as pleased with the results as I am. 🙂

In designing the cover for The Twiller, I had a couple of challenges. One is that I wanted to maintain a consistent theme or “brand” for my books, where the new cover would be instantly recognizable to people who have read and enjoyed the first two novels — even if the cover is seen at a tiny thumbnail size. On the other hand, unlike my second novel, this book is not a sequel to the first two, but a different story and a different type of book: a fun, humorous adventure as opposed to an action-packed, cerebral story with underlying ethical themes. So I didn’t want to make the cover too similar to the first two, yet I still wanted to maintain some similarity. To that end, I kept the theme of using a phenomenal background pic of a nebula (courtesy of NASA), and kept the font color and placement of my name and the title the same, but I changed the title font to something more casual and appropriate, and added the graphic of the twiller, our title character. I think he adds a nice splash of color and serves as a whimsical element that helps differentiate the cover from the first two, gives a hint as to the humorous nature of the book, and helps readers visualize the title character. And he pops out quite nicely even on a small thumbnail-sized picture.

That brings me to my second challenge: designing the twiller graphic. While I had spent a lot of time getting proficient with text effects in Photoshop, and I mask my lack of artistic ability by using (literally) billion-dollar background images, now I had to actually draw something. The problem is: I can’t even draw stick figures. Seriously. Nonetheless, I persevered with Photoshop, and found that (fortunately) graphic design is much different than drawing freehand. And after many hours spent creating a 3-D cylinder, working with shading, global light sources, gradients, paths, beveling & embossing, outer glows, drop shadows, dozens of layers and masks, and more, I’m quite happy with the result.

Anyway, I am getting more and more excited by the day about the imminent release of The Twiller, which will almost certainly be released next month. So I wanted to share the new cover with you (larger pic here) and get your thoughts. It’s not 100% done (and I still need to work on the spine and back cover!), but I think it’s pretty close. I hope you like it — please let me know what you think in the comments!

Jan 152010

As a new Kindle 2 owner, the first thing I did was research and pick out a case to protect it. About a week ago, I decided to try out the M-Edge Platform case and have used it since then. This case flips open from the top, and can be opened to serve as a platform to prop up your Kindle on a table for hands-free reading. I decided on it because (a) I wanted something that was rigid (as opposed to padded) to protect the screen, (b) I wanted something small and light, (c) I wanted enough room for a pen and small notepad, and (d) I like the hands-free reading idea. Oh, and I didn’t want to pay too much. I have to say the M-Edge Platform ($29.99) delivered what I was looking for.

First, a couple of pics from Amazon:

The case is essentially two rigid flaps hinged together at the top. When closed, a tab is slid into a hole to secure it. The tab takes a few seconds to insert or extract, but it closes the case securely and doesn’t seem like it would wear out like an elastic closure might. When you open the case, the top flap can be hinged backward and the tab can be inserted “in reverse” to create an A-shaped stand. This will hold your Kindle upright for hands-free reading (well, you still need to hit the next page button!). When opened and pressed flat, it doesn’t add too much thickness to the Kindle, so you can still hold it and read easily in the case, and you can reach the next page buttons on either side. I also appreciate that it doesn’t weigh too much, and I leave my Kindle in the case for reading.

The Kindle attaches with two leather (I elected the cheaper imitation leather model, but I am pleased with the feel of it) corner attachments at the bottom corners and two elastic attachments at the top. From pictures, I feared it wouldn’t hold the K2 securely, but it does, I have no worry of it slipping out. I don’t know if the elastic enclosures become less secure over time, however.

I also liked that there is a small pen loop at the top, and a business card pouch plus a thin pocket on the inside of the front cover. I like the idea of keeping a pen and small note pad to jot down writing ideas, but they add almost no bulk or thickness to the case. The inside covers are lined with a soft felt material.

There is also room along the left side of the K2 (and a pouch to slide the base into) designed to hold an M-Edge reading light (which I do not have). Some may not like that this causes the Kindle to be off-centered in the case, and it may be difficult for people with smaller hands to reach the left-side buttons, although I had no problems with it.

All in all, I have to say that the case exceeded my expectations, and I am actually a picky reviewer. The quality of the materials feels good (of course, it’s fake leather, but I’m fine with that… they do make a more expensive real leather version). It is about as thin and light as possible while still affording good protection, and it feels supple on the outside but there is a rigid core in the front and back covers that appears to protect the K2 well. The A-frame reading platform may come in handy, I’ve used it while eating lunch a couple of times, although I normally read with the case folded all the way back.

Essentially, the case did everything I hoped for it to do. Those of you who like to carry more than a pen, business card, note pad, and light with your Kindle (like if you want to bring the USB cord/power adapter or keys) may not like this device. And it does not fully enclose the Kindle, so it would not protect as well from dust or spills as the zippered cases. But, if your needs are like mine, I can heartily recommend this case and give it an A.

 reviews  Comments Off on Kindle 2 Cover: M-Edge Platform Case Review