Lately I’ve had a lot of that feeling self-published authors sometimes get that they’re not doing enough to promote their work. Probably because I’ve been doing a grand total of nothing at all to promote Shadow lately. Fair enough, I’ve been concentrating on writing Ghost of the Navigator, a novel now sprawling into epic territory (after this morning’s session the word count now sits at 203,474 and climbing). Nobody can accuse me of not writing enough, but still the feeling of apathy nags…

Let’s do something about it then. After all, nobody’s going to read a sequel if they haven’t even heard of the first book. After researching how to break into print-run territory, I decided that for simplicity and support I would have a go with Amazon’s ‘Createspace’ platform, which is essentially print-on-demand. A reader orders the book and they print it at a cost, and I get a royalty. I can also order copies of the book myself at a ‘member’ rate, which in turn might lead me into Goodreads giveaways and any other promotion involving physical books. Including asking coffee houses with bookshelves if they might keep a copy…yeah, I’d actually do that if the venue was right. I might even try organising a reading in some places with actual copies of the book to take along….

The possibilities are starting to come alive to me…once again I’m at that exciting place where I feel like I’m doing things with my writing that could lead somewhere!

Reality time though: it’s going to take some time before I get a final ‘copy’ approved and for sale. I’ve been playing with formatting all day and re-teaching myself the do’s and don’ts and this time it’s for print rather than ebook, so new territory and what I’ve worked on today’s far from perfect. I need to get some things with the cover sorted.

On that note, the cover still has me thinking. Do I like it? Yeah, I think it’s clever, and a slightly unusual mix for a sci-fi book. Does it come with a risk? Yeah, the dog on the cover was never a safe bet. It’s symbolic rather than literal (Shadow is a human being but his nickname is Sheepdog and he lives on a farm, so it fits) but I wonder if people still think the book is about a dog. Sure, it’s filed under science fiction for adults, but I just wonder if this cover is selling the book. There’s murder most violent in this book, and a mystery unravelling that later builds into labyrinthine layers of story both past and present, and none of that’s suggested by the reflective cover I went for. That said, it IS a reflective book. I’ve never been a fan of non-stop action and I tend to avoid books with covers that suggest it.

So do I get a new one? If you’re reading this I want your comments, even if you haven’t read the book or it’s not your sort of read anyway, just take a moment to tell me what you think of the current cover. I’ve already dropped an email to my designer from 12 months ago asking about a print-on-demand copy, but I’m still entertaining the idea of a re-design. At a cost to myself of cash I don’t currently have, but at least I do have a part time job and I’ve spent money on far worse things lately!

If you’ve read the book and have an idea that might work as a cover, share it with me! I’ve thought of a few, one of which involves having the titular character on there in human form this time, but really I’m stuck to think of more. Help me out here, guys! If your idea ends up on my cover I might just gift you a free print copy whenever I finally get my hands on one…

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