Early on in my research concerning self-published works, I discovered two tenets that seem universal. Number one is to hire a professional editor who understands your style without coddling or or pulling punches in the editing process. After all, the book needs to be at its best when read start to finish. Copy should be clean; writerly ticks (I prefer “flourishes”) should be held in check; and most of all the plot, characters, and locations should be clear and compelling to an outsider.
With that in mind, I began my search. It would have been easy to fall into the trap of paying exorbitant rates at the first search result. But I was able to find a brilliant match at Goodreads. If you are in the process or even just considering self-publishing, sign up and start digging around at Goodreads; it’s great. Most readers know about it already, and I had heard of it before, but it truly shines when seen from an author's viewpoint. The editor I discovered there accomplished the aforementioned items and more, all while helping build confidence around my draft. Her name is Zoë Markham, and the book would not be where it is today without her.
The second tenet (that is, number two) is to create a cover that embodies the story, looks professional, and that will catch the eye of any prospective reader who sees it. For that, I once again took to an excellent Goodreads thread created specifically for artists offering their services. I found several whose portfolios matched the style I had in mind for the Fragments cover (and the Alora’s Tear series in general). But my first choice was Isis Sousa. Her work on Das Haus des Raben already exhibited some of the elements I had hoped to include. She accepted, and we now have a cover that not only represents the book, but enriches the characters and setting beyond the words.
Today I can show you a small piece of the cover, with more to come tomorrow, including additional details about the cover design process.