“June is Audiobook Month”! Nook is featuring On Swift Wings

My novel, On Swift Wings, has been selected to be featured by Nook as part of “June is AudioBook Month!” On Swift Wings will be discounted and featured on their carousel.

(Or you can just navigate directly to On Swift Wings.)

On Swift Wings Audiobook – NOOK Audiobooks

Discounts will also be live in the Google and Apple Audiobook store, if that is your preferred route.

There will be another event coming soon featuring the eBook version in the first week of July. I’ll release more details on that a little closer.

Hopefully everybody is getting ready to safely enjoy the re-opening of things and this summer will be a great one! Wishing everybody and their families nothing but the best.

Another award for on Swift Wings

I received word this weekend that On Swift Wings won a finalist badge from Indies Today. It is always nice to get an award like this. I also received a really nice five-star review from their reviewer, “Nicky Flowers.” The entire review can be found here: https://indiestoday.com/on-swift-wings-by-brett-m-wiens/. Some of the highlights from the review include:A fabulous retelling of Gulliver’s Travels.

A fabulous retelling of Gulliver’s Travels.

Brilliant formal language.

The humour is subtle and pervasive.

Enjoyable for adults and children of any age.

A worthy tribute to a classic book.

A wonderful adventure laden with deep meaning and complex characters.

Nicky Flowers for Indies Today

Obviously it is fantastic to have reviewers say such nice things and to receive accolades for the work, but the most fun for me is to still hear from actual readers who provide the most meaningful feedback.

On Swift Wings has been a project that I’ve poured myself into for the past six years, and I’ve learned so much along the way, things about writing, reading, publishing, marketing, and so much more. I would really love to hear more from you about what you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about the book.

I’d even like to hear what is holding you back from giving it a try. Please let me know. I have a few more ideas for the book in the next few months, but more than anything, I really want people to give it a try. To that end, I’ve tried to make it as available as I possibly could.

Ways to try it, without spending a penny:

Click Here for Preview

Ways to support the book:

Order now from Amazon.ca

Thanks for reading, may your world always grow!

BW

Book Launch Learnings 4 – Cover and Interior Design

Part 4 – Learnings about writing and publishing a book Series – Cover and interior Design

Order now from Amazon.ca

I’m going to move from editing to a couple other contracted roles: Cover Design and Formatting.

I’ll start sounding a bit like a broken record here, but when I started thinking about this, I figured that I can draw my own cover pretty well, and formatting, well, honestly, how hard can it be to pick a font for the book…

This was typically foolish of me, as I have learned pretty quickly. I can make a cover that looks really amateur, and an interior format that looks like I wrote a high school report, perhaps a little better than average, but not professional.

Formatting

My editor, Bobbi, suggested that I get the interior formatted. I have grown to trust her judgment now, and not knowing any better, and the costs not being too rough, I decided to take her advice. This was a good decision. She is affiliated with Indie Publishing Group and she was up-front about that, but strongly encouraged me to get it formatted by somebody professional. I talked with Chrissy, the head formatter, and felt good about it so I took the leap. It really made a huge difference. It didn’t cost a lot, it didn’t take a lot of time, but what she sent back was significantly better looking than what I had sent. Better font, took care of necessary margins, consistent titling and accents, and a bunch of little touches I don’t even recognize to name. As a bonus, they also posted my first interview as an author!

As a result, I would also recommend any would-be self-publisher get their book formatted as well!

Cover Design

Similarly, but more easy to demonstrate, I’ll show off the same kind of feedback about cover pages. I expect I’ll take some ribbing for this, but here was my original cover draft:

Not really meant to be a finished product… just a working title page… Knowing more, I bet I could do better, but I still wouldn’t.

This wasn’t actually meant to be the finished product, more of a proof of concept idea. Still, looking back on it, it isn’t very good.

I searched a bunch of places for cover designers and for a while I considered putting a competition out there for graphic designers to submit an entry. It sounded like a great idea, for not a lot of money, get a bunch of different designers to submit their entries and get a great cover. When I thought about it a little more, and thought of some of my friends who do that kind of work, it occurred to me how horribly unfair that would be. Dozens of people do a bunch of work, submit an entry and only one of them gets paid anywhere near what their work was worth. Writing a book wasn’t about getting rich, but that would have been a nice perk… Writing On Swift Wings was about sharing ideas and hopefully having some great experiences, conversations, and to grow as a person. I didn’t think screwing a bunch of poorly remunerated artists would help me achieve any of those objectives.

A second idea was to contract an artist friend to paint something for me. I approached a friend of mine, but she turned me down as she wasn’t able to find sufficient time to do it. Pity, that might have been something pretty special. I thought it would be cool to have the cover be a piece of art that people might be as happy to have sitting on their shelf as it was to read.

Ultimately I conducted a long web search for professional designers and found one a couple that I quite liked. One of them turned me down saying they don’t do illustration… which wasn’t what I asked for, but the other, JD&J design stepped up.

I gave them a little guidance… I gave them too much guidance. I wanted to let them be artistic, and use their skills, but I steered them too much. I got the cover that I thought I wanted, I was happy with it, and it is the original copy that I used for the first year of publication.

I certainly have no complaints about them, but a key lesson I learned was that giving an artist too many instructions and not enough rope results in less-than-optimal results. I got what I asked for.

After a year, I approached JD&J again and said, I’d like to revisit the cover. I don’t think that this tells the reader much about the story. It doesn’t really tell them that it is a fantasy-adventure novel at first glance, and a strong lesson to take away is that you have to give the readers what they are expecting in a cover unless you’re already a huge recognized name.

I phoned JD&J and we discussed it, and after a full revision they returned with a series of great ideas and we settled on the current cover.

Beautiful Cover by JD&J Design

Much better. Wish I had let them do their thing completely from the start…

Beyond making it look great and professional, the benefit of hiring a professional cover designer, much like the interior designer is that submitting the book to the various services I used to publish (IngramSpark and Kindle Direct Publishing) was a breeze. It just worked the first time… I can’t imagine how much pain it would have been for me to try to pull that off myself.

Next: Publishing (Oh, did I learn a lot here.)

Order now from Amazon.ca
Click Here for Preview

1st Anniversary – new look Relaunch

In a few weeks (July 1) On Swift Wings will have its first anniversary and to celebrate I’ve commissioned a new cover and a new look for the novel!

I’d like to do this for a few reasons.

  • The novel has been out for a full year, and I have learned so much about book publishing in this time, I want to celebrate by treating myself to a fresh design.
  • It makes the existing cover unique, and a sort of first-edition for the book. After the new cover is completed it will not be available anymore, so you’ll have something of a collector’s item when Brett M. Wiens becomes a household name… even more of a household name.
  • I believe that the current cover doesn’t tell the reader very much about the story. It doesn’t tell me that it is an fantasy/adventure/satire at a glance.
  • My click conversion rate on Amazon is obscenely low. I have the reviews now, and readers have been enthusiastic about the book, but everybody does judge a book by its cover, and I want the cover to encourage people to give the book a try.

I have a few options (plus unlimited revisions) for the new cover and I’d love to get your thoughts, votes, and feedback. A fun little distraction from the strange world in which we find ourselves these days.

Option 1 – Yellow Font, Green Water, Drowning Cygnus
Option 2 – White font, Dark Blue Water, Plane Crash Cygnus
Option 3 – Castle on cliffs, Calm water, Sun shining on Cygnus

You can also comment on this post directly, or reach me at my Facebook page.

You can also preview the book by clicking below, or preview the first five chapters by clicking here. If you haven’t had a chance yet, give the preview a try, I’m confident that you’ll enjoy the story.

Click Here for Preview

Also, please, please, please review the book! Somebody I know once said that they wouldn’t read a book that didn’t have a 4-star average with over a hundred reviews… I’m only 91 reviews away!

Thank you, and may your world always grow!

BW

On Swift Wings Trailer and Giveaway Update

On Swift Wings – A Satirical Literary Fiction Fantasy/Adventure Novel from Brett M. Wiens

A couple quick updates for current and prospective readers. The official trailer has been released. Thanks to Ravinder18 for his work on this, I couldn’t be happier with the result. Also fun watching my kids who love it too.

The second update relates to the GoodReads giveaway I announced three weeks ago. For those who missed it, I’m giving away a hundred kindle copies on GoodReads. I’m hoping for two hundred entries, and right now, with a little under a week to go I’m at 189! Follow this link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/302467-on-swift-wings-the-travails-of-cygnus You have a decent chance (~50%)

Thanks everybody for reading and following along. I’m looking forward to hearing from you once a few more have read the book!

BW