Updated: Mar 16, 2019
It's a new month, which means it's time to share where I'm at with publishing my fantasy novel The Elementalist: Rise of Hara again!
No word back from the editor yet, though I wasn't exactly expecting to hear from him until around mid-March. He said he had some other projects he needed to work on before mine up until Mid-February and that a developmental edit would take 3 to 4 weeks (although he might have actually meant 3 to 4 weeks from when I originally contacted him, when I think about it). Regardless, I sent a friendly nudge the other day. We'll see what's up.
Nothing I can do with the manuscript in the meantime! Although, I have been reading it over (without tinkering!) and can honestly say I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, despite its remaining flaws. It can only get better from here.
A World Map for TEROH
Since I'm not actively writing or editing, I thought now would be a good time to start looking for an artist who can render my world map in a style that suits the series. I have two versions that I created eons ago and have been using for reference. Nothing special. Just something to help me visualize relative locations and distances between cities and whatnot. It helped me estimate traveling times throughout the story, too. (Some of the info is outdated like the name of the series' world; I'm using a different name now.)
Anyway, I contacted an artist I came across on Deviantart (that's pretty much where I always look for artists) and asked about his rates. Not as pricey as the cover illustrations I've gotten quotes for but definitely an investment. And since my story is set in another world, I definitely feel I need a professional-looking map.
People always tell me I can find someone who'll work for less on Deviantart—which is funny because they don't know that's where I'm already looking—but the thing is you pretty much get what you pay for with most artists. The more polished ones tend to know their worth, and I support that 100%. I'd love to minimize chances for financial loss, but a lot of the illustrators that many indie authors use just don't appeal to me. (An exception would be Elise Kova's covers; I've been drawn to Merilliza Chan's art myself, and I know what she charges, having corresponded with her. She's also 100% worth it, imo, and super friendly, for the record.)
In any case, you can say I'm picky. 😁 (This doesn't always make my life easy.)
But back to the map.
The artist (or cartographer, map-makers are specifically called) that I'm talking to now asked a lot of detailed questions, really wanting to know more about my story's world. Boy, did I give him an explanation! I also told him I wanted something more on the graphic side with Streamline Moderne styling to reflect the dieselpunk aesthetic of the story, especially some of the technology. (The cover design will probably only have hints of this for a broader appeal to fantasy readers, although it'll be clear that the story is set in a pseudo-1940s world. As much as I love dieselpunk, it just doesn't seem to sell when primarily marketed as such in the publishing industry. There are exceptions, but that's exactly what they are: exceptions.)
I couldn't find any existing examples of what I'd like to see with my map, so I did my best with some example images that had bits and pieces of what I had in mind. The artist seems pretty excited and is already getting ideas. Hopefully, things work out. (There aren't a ton of people who do fantasy maps, and someone of them won't even work with self-published authors!)
Maybe one of these days, especially after I've finished going through the whole experience, I could put together an article from an author's perspective on what kinds of things to expect when working with artists—information you should have up front, questions you should ask, price ranges, general tips, etc. There are some articles already out there on this, but most aren't as comprehensive as I would have liked going into this brand new.
Either way, we'll see what happens! You can look forward to updates and, eventually, a full reveal for the map. 🙂