Update on book 4’s progress: I’ve received the feedback from my four content readers/editors, and have made changes to the draft to address their suggestions. This afternoon I sent the draft on to the copy editor, which is an entirely different type of editing: rather than addressing the contents of the story, copy editing deals with the writing, cleaning up any errors in punctuation, finding missing words, suggesting possible changes in phrasing of passages, and the like. While I’m waiting to receive the copy edit back, I’ll be working on the rough drafts of some diagrams and maps that will be included in the book, and on the cover…which brings me to the main point of this post.
When I regained the rights to books one through three of the Strongbow Saga from its original publisher, I needed to make new covers, because HarperCollins owned the original ones. I would have made new ones anyway—Harper was targeting a specific readership, teenage girls, with their covers. While many readers do like those covers, I have always felt they had a strong potential for making many potential readers pass the books by, because the HarperCollins covers look a lot like covers for romance novels. So my new covers were designed for the specific purpose of saying “these books are historical fiction about the Vikings.” I think, based on the greatly increased readership since the books were republished, they did achieve that goal.
But—the new covers don’t get a lot of love. I certainly concede they are far from perfect, and perhaps a bit crudely rendered in their execution. I’m open to changing them, and one reader, Kate, recently suggested on the Discussions thread that I should offer a contest to readers to create new covers for the series. It’s a great idea—I like the thought of having covers designed by readers and fans of the series. So I’m opening up a cover contest, plus a second contest that’s just for fun.
The Strongbow Saga will be, when it is completed, five volumes long, so ideally I’m looking for five covers with similar looks and/or themes, although entries for individual covers are fine. I’m open to any concept. Each cover should be in jpg format and contain the following information:
The series number, such as “Book 4 of The Strongbow Saga”
the title, such as “The Long Hunt”
and my name: “Judson Roberts”
I cannot use artwork or images that I don’t have the right to use, so any artwork or images that are a part of a cover submission must either be free use/open source, or else original work by the submitter. I will need verification of that, if I select your cover design.
If I decide to use a cover, I’ll pay the designer $300.00 US dollars for the right to use it, and will credit the creator in the book as “Cover design by _________.” If I adopt a cover, there will be some specifications for the size and image quality of the final image, but those are details we can deal with later.
Submissions should be emailed to me at: email@example.com. As entries come in I will post them on this site, and I’ll welcome readers’ feedback and reactions to each submitted design. For now, there’s no closing date to this contest—I’ll run it as long as there is interest and submissions keep coming in, or until I choose new covers for the series.
This one is just for fun. If anyone would like to post a Strongbow Saga themed video on YouTube, I have some promotional materials, left over from when I used to travel around doing book signings, which I’ll give as prizes in exchange for entries. Here’s a link to a video I created for the release of book 3 back in 2008, just as an example of one possibility: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iafmWCveCwY
The contest applies to new video postings only. To qualify, entries should include some kind of mention of the Strongbow Saga, and that book 4, The Long Hunt, is coming in December 2013, but otherwise exercise your imaginations. Humor is always fun, but not necessary. To enter the contest, upload your video onto YouTube then send me a link to it at firstname.lastname@example.org, plus your mailing address. I’ll post links to the videos as they come in.
On December 9th, I’ll make a new post containing links to all of the entries that were received, and will ask readers to vote for their three favorites. The ten entrants whose videos receive the most votes will receive a Strongbow Saga t-shirt and Viking dragon key ring.
The entrant whose video is my favorite will also receive a pewter Thor’s Hammer necklace similar to the one pictured.
Good luck, and may your video go viral!