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More Revival Movie Concept Art

August 14, 2017

Here’s another of the pieces of concept art I did for director Josh Boone, for his planned adaptation of Stephen King’s Revival.  You can see the other two images that have already been revealed here and here.

Joe Ducie Q&A

August 2, 2017

With Joe Ducie’s latest novel Lost Grace just being released in paperback edition, here’s a peak into the mind of the author behind the Reminiscent Exile series.  I’ve worked with Joe for years now on the covers for this series, which he self-publishes, and in this interview he shares his thoughts and experiences on self-publishing.  Joe also won the Guardian Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize in 2012 which led to his YA novel The Rig being published by Hot Key Books, followed by its sequel Crystal Force.

VC: Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about the type of stories you write.

JD: Howdy – my name’s Joe, I’m a writer from Perth, Western Australia, with books published all over the world. The genres I write in are broad and many, monstrous and myriad, but tend to focus on Urban Fantasy and Young Adult fiction. My main series of novels are THE REMINISCENT EXILE (of which Vinny does some amazing artwork for the covers, seriously check it out). These days I write full time, but my background is heavily weighted toward law enforcement and counter-terrorism.

 

 

 

VC: What made you decide to self-publish, and if you could go back and give yourself some advice before starting to self-publish, what would it be?

I saw a lot of success stories and read some excellent fiction that I wouldn’t have otherwise found on the shelves of bookshops. This would have been back in 2012. I thought, ‘Joe, you’ve got stories that need telling, why not pop a few up and see what happens’. It wasn’t that quick and easy, of course, I did my research, learnt a few tricks – such as ensuring the story goes through professional editing and that the cover art (again, thanks, Vinny!) looks sharp. Self-publishing shouldn’t be a quick process, but it should be a consistent process. If I could give that young and dumb kid heading out into this world back in 2012 any advice, I’d tell him to focus more on the writing. On producing the product. I spread myself too thin, once I achieved some slim success, and the writing suffered. Not the quality, that still passes muster, but the consistency! Write every day, kids.

 

VC: You’ve also experienced the traditional publishing side of things with your ‘Will Drake’ series.  To you, what are the biggest pros and cons of traditional publishing vs self-publishing?

Yep, it’s definitely a mixed bag of pitfalls and pedestals. I like being a hybrid author, mostly because any book I write doesn’t necessarily have to die at the publisher’s door, if it doesn’t get picked up. The self-publishing option means that book may still see the light of day. Again, a slew of beta readers and editors hack at it for a while before it will see any such light, but often if I’ve faith that the story is worth reading then the readers, and the reviews, reflect that faith once the book is published.

A lot of control is sacrificed in the traditional publishing sphere – and that’s not a bad thing, but it is something to consider before signing any publication contract. You also may end up writing something that may not gel with what you want to write, as happened to me–sort of, which led not to writer’s block but writer’s apathy. I had no desire to put pen to page. If you ever lose the flow, folks, it’s because something is wrong. Find out what and fix it.

I am a fan of both models – whatever gets my stories out into the world. I’ve no preference, at all, and love being involved in both spheres.

 

VC: Do you do much marketing for your books? What have you found to be the most effective tools for this?

I’m a bit guilty here – I don’t do much marketing beyond maintaining an email list of readers (sign up here!) and spreading the good word on social media. I’ve never paid for advertisements or marketing from all the dealers offering such services online, particularly for self-published efforts. Perhaps I should, but again the stories regarding such marketing options are positive and negative. Maybe one day, when I start taking this writing business seriously. ;)

Oh, I lied a touch above – I have paid for a few Facebook boosts on links to my Amazon page and such, but the cost there is negligible, less than a cup of coffee. I wouldn’t consider it proper, committed marketing.

 

 

VC: When it comes to self-publishing, how important do you think the cover design is in helping your books get noticed?

It’s the whole game. For any and all the readers walking out onto the eBook fields. We shouldn’t judge books by the cover, but we all do. The very first thing a potential reader sees is the cover. That’s why I aim for quality. Vinny’s work is that quality and speaks for itself. I owe a great deal of the success I’ve seen in the self-published volumes to the eye-catching and colourful covers Vinny produced for me. We’ve got a lot of covers to go down the line, too, mate!

Of course, the cover is one thing – the next step is having a story within worth reading. And then repeating the trick, ad infinitum.

 

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Find out more about Joe and his books at joeducie.com and follow him on twitter at twitter.com/joeducie.

The first four books in The Reminiscent Exile series (Distant Star, Broken Quill, Knight Fall, Lost Grace) are all out now in ebook and paperback editions and The Rig and Crystal Force from the Will Drake series are still available.  Joe is also the editor of a number of anthologies.

 

Lost Grace Now Available

July 27, 2017

This is a cover I did a few years ago, but Lost Grace by Joe Ducie is now finally out.  It is only available in eBook format at the moment but will also be available as a paperback very shortly.  Lost Grace is book 4 in the Reminiscent Exile series.  The first three books, Distant Star, Broken Quill and Knight Fall are already out in both eBook and paperback editions from Amazon.

While waiting for the release of the paperback edition you can check out the full wraparound cover design below.

 

 

 

 

The Dark #26

July 19, 2017

This month’s issue of The Dark (#26, July 2017) features my image, Long Shadows on the cover. This issue contains two brand new stories by Kelly Stewart and Osahon Ize-Iyamu and two reprints by Nadia Bulkin and Michael Harris Cohen.

Long Shadows was originally created for the cover of Mark Morris’ collection Long Shadows, Nightmare Light, published by PS Pubishing.

Robert McCammon eBooks from Crossroad Press

July 13, 2017

Crossroad Press have acquired the rights to publish the ebook editions of a number of Robert McCammon novels in all territories outside the US and Canada, which will be available from all non-US and non-Canada Amazons.

Mister Slaughter and The Hunter from the Woods are available now with more books from the Matthew Corbett series to follow as well as several other of McCammon’s books.

Crossroad Press publish both fiction and non-fiction for all ages over a wide range of genres from mysteries and thrillers to sci-fi and fantasy to new age and metaphysical titles, and include books by authors such as Clive Barker, Jay Bonansinga and Joe Lansdale.

Station Eleven

July 5, 2017

This is my cover design for the Subterranean Press signed limited edition of Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apoccalyptic science fiction novel, Station Eleven.  It will be out in December but is available for preorder now.  Below is the full wraparound artwork for the dust jacket.

The Wickett Sisters in Hell

June 23, 2017

This is my cover art and design for author Stephen Houser’s first novel, The Wickett Sisters in Hell.  The story centres around Mardie Wickett and her estranged sister Mili Wickett, a brilliant former Scotland Yard detective, who although both now dead (one residing in heaven and one in hell) are brought together again by Lucifer when he finds a headless corpse on his own front porch.  Now they must put their differences aside to unravel this mystery of a murdered man slain among the damned…

The Wickett Sisters in Hell won Kepler’s Books & Magazines Crime Fiction Award and is published by Lionel A. Blanchard.  The book is out now in paperback and hardback editions from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Powell’s, the largest U.S. chain of independent bookstores.

My full designs for the hardcover dust jacket and paperback cover.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo – Cover Design Process

June 9, 2017

Above is my cover art for the YA fantasy book, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, by F. C. Yee for Abrams Books.  This one underwent quite a lot of development.  When Abrams approached me about this project, they already had finished cover art, but at the last minute that they decided they wanted to go in a different direction with it and wanted a new image.

The art director wanted to see sketches for three concepts; she sent me her quck roughs (which you can see below) for two ideas that I was to re-conceptualize in my own way, and also wanted me to come up with a third idea that incorporated the entire girl, silhouetted, and destroying the type.

And here are my roughs…

The team decided they wanted to go with the third approach and wanted me to develop it further.  They wanted to see some different options for the title type, something more modern-looking and less blocky, and to try some Chinese deco elements within the type itself.  For the figure, even though it was to be mostly in silhouette they wanted it to look like she was wearing a traditional private school uniform and they wanted a more subtle glow around her rather than the glowing ball of light with lightning surrounding her that I’d suggested in my sketch.

From here I proceeded onto the final art.  We’d discussed colour options and decided on a dark red background growing to a brighter more powerful red at the top with an orange glow emitting trhough the ‘Genie Lo’ type.  Here’s the original version I produced.

The art directors felt it needed some extra oomph and suggested adding some flat shapes and additional colour that would keep to the vibe of the image but brighten and freshen it up.  They also requested more cracks going through ‘Epic Crush’.  Here are different options I tried.

As you can see, it was also decided that ‘Of Genie Lo’ should be straight-on instead of in perspective as Sales was worried about the hierarchy of the type and that people would only read ‘Epic Crush’.  We were all set to go with the ‘glow’ version but after a meeting with the book buyers, where the cover was previewed, they wanted the image rejigged quite a bit – they wanted the figure to be much larger and more prominent on the cover, similar to some other titles that had been selling well; although we’d intended the figure to be silhouetted all along, it was now decided that she should be more rendered, with extra clothing detail so it’s clear she’s wearing a school-girl outfit; instead of the flame shapes they wanted to see a ‘power energy ball/lightning’ around the figure (ironically, like in my original sketch) as well as an extra power glow around her left fist; they wanted to see a different blue/turquoise colour option.

After a few more tweaks, including removing the patteren elements from the ‘Epic Crush’ type, the cover was approved.  Here’s the full final cover design again.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo will be published on August 8th this year, available in hardback and ebook formats.

TV Series Concept Art

May 22, 2017

A few years ago, a television production company approached me to do some concept art for them to help visualize some of the characters and mood of their pilot script for a series that was to be a X-Files-esque show, with more of a horror/supernatural leaning, set in the 1920s.  The horror elements were to be in the vein of Lovecraft cosmic horror/weird fiction rather than vampires or werewolves etc, and so they were after a vibe that was more dark and weird with a foreboding dread.

The show hasn’t been made but you can see my concept art below.

The Dark Magazine May Issue

May 8, 2017

The May issue of The Dark magazine (#24) features one of my images on the cover.  This image was originally for the cover of Lesser Demons by Norman Partridge.

This issue features two new stories: The Bone Beaters by A. M. Muffaz and Queen Midnight by Eliza Victoria, and two reprints: The Lark Ascending by Samantha Henderson and When We Taste of Death by Damien Angelica Walters.

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