Little White Hands
Almost five hundred years have passed since the Seasons were at war.
Half a millennium since Winter defied Spring, and lost.
Generations have come and gone, not knowing the bitter freeze and howling snows of Winter ever existed.
But now, after centuries of silence, the participants in this ancient struggle have resurfaced and reignited their feud on the doorstep of an unassuming little kitchen boy.
Garlan’s dreams of being just like the knights he idolizes may not be as impossible as he has always been led to believe, when he is chased from his home and thrust headlong into the kind of adventure he had only ever read about in books.
Setting out on a journey that spans the entire kingdom of Faeland, Garlan will traverse impossible mountains and stormy seas and battle terrible monsters, all to keep the world he knows safe from an enemy who will stop at nothing to bring about a never-ending winter.
With a cast of fantastical characters to aid him in his quest, can Garlan overcome his self-doubt and find the courage he needs to rise above his humble station and become the hero he always dreamed of being?
The fate of the world rests in his hands.
For the last few weeks I've been busy reaching out to book bloggers and reviewers who would be willing to provide advance reviews of the book, and it's been much harder than I thought it'd be.
Of the 32 requests I've sent out, I've had 10 rejections/ignored (too busy/presumably too busy lol), 11 still waiting on a response, and 11 accepted. So not a bad result, actually.
Now I just need the ones who accepted to actually like the book and give me a good review XD
Cover Reveal Part 3!
This one is very close to the final version, just a few little touch-ups shy.
It all started to get very exciting at this stage, as I knew I was almost at the finish line :)
Cover Reveal, Part 2!
There's clearly much more going on in this draft compared to the first, but the detail still needs to be refined. You can see the difference between the two in the side-by-side.
And so begins the cover reveal :)
I got three drafts from the cover artist, and then the final one, so over the next week I'll reveal those first three, and then the final cover will be revealed in my newsletter on Friday March 12th.
So anyway, here's the first draft, featuring the three main characters, and an ominous spooky face in the background. As you can see it's very basic, but this one was never intended to be very detailed, it was just to give me an idea of the layout and where the text will go etc.
Even as Microsoft Paint-basic as this version is, I was still so chuffed when I got it. This was the first time where the idea that I was making a real book actually felt real.
The second draft will follow on Tuesday :)
Now that the newsletter subscribers have had a few days to digest just how frighteningly cute I was a child, I am glad to reveal to those who haven't signed up the release date of Little White Hands...
MAY 1st! 😁
Between now and then, I'll be spending most of my time doing marketing stuff and trying to get reviews for release day.
But I also need to let you all see the cover.
So over the course of the next few weeks, starting this Friday, I'm going to build-up to the cover reveal by showing you each of the different drafts the cover went through.
The reveal of the finished cover will be done on my newsletter on Friday 12th March.
It’s taken me a couple of days to get down off Cloud 9 after receiving the first physical copy of my book last week, but now it’s time to get back to work.
As expected, there were a couple of things that needed fixing – just very minor errors. I’m now giving the book one final read-through from start to finish just to make sure nothing else is missed, and then I’ll be resubmitting it and ordering another copy.
It’s worked out well, though - I was planning on ordering a second copy anyway, this time with a gloss-finish cover instead of matte, just to see which one I prefer. And in the process I get the chance to fix some little things that I’ve changed my mind on. So no harm done :)
I’ve also finally managed to get the book formatted for Ebook, which took me an entire afternoon to figure out. There was a lot of swearing and shouting and banging my fist on my desk – but I got there in the end lol!
The next step now is to send out copies to book reviewers and bloggers to get some advance reviews, which help gets the word out there for release day. So that’s what I’ll be doing all this week while combing through the book one last time.
Speaking of release day – I will be revealing that this Friday, in my first ever newsletter.
Oh hiyaaaaa! :) :) :)
Proof copy arrived!!
Over the weekend, I finally ordered a physical proof copy of the book, which is expected to arrive this weekend. I'm pretty nervous. It's weird to think that, regardless of whether or not it'll need any adjustments, I'm actually going to be holding a physical copy of my very own book, in just a matter of days.
Provided it turns out alright and doesn't need any/much fixing (which I am expecting it will, to be honest - I haven't come across many cases of self-published authors nailing the print copy of their book in the first try) then I'll be good to go with my ideal release date. Part of me wants to say what that is just now, but I'm going to wait and see the book first before I decide.
In the meantime though, I guess I should finally let people know what the book is actually about. So here's a snippet from the back cover.
I got the book back from my editor last week. I have to say, I'm really surprised (pleasantly) by the result.
Aside from fixing some grammatical stuff and switching up some word choices here and there, she didn't really suggest any changes to the structure or content of the story itself, which I'm really chuffed with. I had been anxious that I might get something back like, "Chop this entire chapter, it's pointless!" , but instead only ended up having to cut about 400 or 500 words.
The page count has since gone up though lol, because I also got the map and illustrations back a few days ago, and they obviously take up some room. So lately I've been busy making all the suggested edits, and formatting the map and pictures into the book (which is a lot more stressful than you would think).
This is what it looks like just now. I have zero experience formatting and figured it out mostly through Youtube, so fingers crossed it turns out well when the book is printed.
Yeah writing a book and publishing it myself is cool and all, but THIS is the real fun part of self-publishing: working out the actual dimensions of the book.
Who needs a publishing company to do all this stuff, when I get to have the joyfully pleasant experience of doing it on my own?
I jest, of course.
Kill me now.
I bounced back and forth for a very long time on whether or not to include illustrations in my book.
Lots of books in the same genre have them, but there are also lots that don't. I personally wanted to feature illustrations in mine, but for a few reasons, I was leaning against not doing it. Firstly, I didn't want to remove the opportunity for the readers to use their own imagination when picturing the places and characters in the story. And secondly, in all honesty, adding illustrations can be very expensive (FYI I'm self-publishing, so I'm paying for everything myself).
Then I was reminded that I didn't need to add full-page pictures that show actual characters or specific scenes from the book. The illustrations could just be small, of basic things and/or objects that feature in the book that won't take the reader completely out of the story when they see them. And more importantly, that won't cost a lot of money lol!
That's the route I decided to go down. I went on Google, searched for random images that looked like things that feature in the book, and sent them off to an artist to render in a hand-drawn style. This same artist was already doing a map for me, and he very kindly agreed to do the illustrations as well.
So there will now be pictures in the book after all, one per chapter. Some of them are shown below. Out of context these random pictures don't seem like much, but they'll make sense when you read the book.
Current page and word count of Little White Hands.
These were the numbers before the professional edit, which it's going through right now. Most likely it'll end up with far fewer words and pages by the time the editor is done with it lol.
The story actually originally started as an 8-page short-story that was going to be included in a collection. Later, I had an idea for a longer story which fit with the idea of the existing one pretty well, so I combined them into what then became an 8-chapter novella.
But over time that idea grew and grew, and now it's a full-blown novel, with 16 chapters of 359 pages and 86,320 words.
TITLE REVEAL - Little White Hands
My book's title refers to the main character's nickname. "Little" because he's just a wee boy, and "White Hands" because, as a kitchen boy (dish washer) his hands are always clean.
Which in itself isn't a bad thing obviously, but doesn't help towards his dreams of being a knight one day. To quote a line from the book: "I wash dishes in the castle kitchen so my hands are always soft and clean. Not the hands of a proper worker, they say. Not the hands of a knight."
I actually got the idea from a character from Arthurian legends. One of the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Gareth, is teased for being a kitchen boy, and is nicknamed "Beaumains" which is French for "Good Hands" (alternatively "Beautiful Hands" or "Fair Hands"). So I just changed it to White Hands, because of the association of white with cleanliness, innocence and purity.