So I had to make an ebook cover...

Making ebook covers is a relatively new task for designers and there haven’t exactly been many lengthy discussions on the topic. If there were any lengthy discussions I completely missed them which is entirely unsurprising. (I was probably too busy watching videos on Youtube of dogs running into walls and cats falling off furniture.)

I didn’t think of googling “how to make an ebook cover” until last week and my first advice is don’t buy a book about designing ebook covers if the book in question has an ugly cover. It’s just good sense. Otherwise googling ebook covers is good fun and I highly recommend it.

Major update to Studio Tendra's Oz project

The Oz Reading Club has been updated with books seven and eight. And since I forgot to blog about books five and six, that means we’ve de facto got a massive four book update on our hands. And we’ve reached a major milestone. Yup. We’re more than halfway through L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. What do you think about the covers Jenný has illustrated so far? [caption id=“attachment_875” align=“alignleft” width=“281”] 1.

What are self-publishing's biggest pain points?

I’ve found that the more time you spend in a problem area the more you realise how many of your preconceptions were mistaken.

So, instead of just assuming I know what the pain points of self-publishing are based on my own experience, I figure the best thing to do is to simply ask people.

In general, publishers face two separate problem areas:

  1. Making the book as good as possible. This means making the text as good as possible (writing and editing) and making the product as good as possible (typesetting and design).

  2. Finding a paying readership for the book. (Selling, marketing, PR, events, etc..)

I’m pretty sure most problems self-publishers face fall into those same areas but I also suspect that their specifics and details are going to be unique to self-publishing.

And by self-publishing I basically mean any publisher with only one or two employees and who publishes only ebooks.

So, what are self-publishing’s biggest pain points? I’d really appreciate any answers, either in the comments below, twitter or, if you want, in email. (My email is baldur.bjarnason@gmail.com for those who prefer not to contribute in public.)

Studio Tendra's grand and marvellous Oz Reading Club

Revealing our super-secret project

It’s time to announce Studio Tendra’s second major project: The OZ Reading Club.

The idea is simple:

We are going to release two ebooks in the Oz series per month until we’ve released all fourteen of L. Frank Baum’s original ebooks. Each ebook will have a new cover illustrated by Jenný and will be designed and formatted by me, Baldur.

You, if you are so inclined, are invited to read them along with us, two per month, as we release them. Every book page also has a comment thread where you can tell us what you thought of it. (Comments are moderated, of course.)

We’ll announce every new release here, on the OZ Reading Club site, on twitter, and on Google Plus.

The first two books are available now.

Books of Christmas Past

My original intention with this post was to write about beautifully designed books from past years but I admit I lost my way a bit. No matter, it was mostly an excuse to talk about a lovely book published last year called “Íslenskir fuglar” by Benedikt Gröndal. Benedikt Gröndal was a very talented man. He was a poet, artist and a natural scientist. He was the first director of The Icelandic Natural History Society in 1889 whose main goal was to build a Museum of Natural History in Reykjavík.

Design highlights from the Icelandic book season

[caption id=“attachment_549” align=“alignright” width=“293”] Gísli from Uppsalir[/caption] Like so many professional illustrators, I just happen to work in retail. My particular expertise is actually art supplies but the store I work in also sells office supplies and books. And since now is the most exciting time in Icelandic publishing, I’d like to talk about a few books coming out in this year’s Christmas Book Flood. During this time a lot of our effort goes into piling up books on massive tables, constantly changing the prices in attempt to have the best offers and flipping through “Bókatíðindi” (Bókatíðindi is a catalogue that lists all the books published this year) trying our utmost to memorise every single book.

Designing the covers

One thing me and Jenný have in common with our parents is that we tend to talk about our work a lot. As a result we know way too much about linguistics and journalism (our mother’s fields) and psychology (which is what dad does). It also means that we are very much aware of each others tastes and priorities when it comes to design, writing, and illustration. And one particular taste we share is a dislike – bordering on grumpy annoyance – of typical fantasy and science fiction covers.

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