My Chat with Becca… aka Techno Bunny :D

Hello and welcome!

Today I have a young woman who I admire a lot for many reasons, which you will discover by reading the chat. I had the pleasure to meet her in person last summer and she is a firecracker 😀

 

She recently opened her own book formatting company, Perfect Pages and I wanted to help spread the word because I know she is a professional that any author would love to have on their side.

PerfectPages-banner.jpg

Please welcome Becca Abraham!

Thanks for having me stop by Eniko! Very much appreciated, us background workers sometimes feel a little left out 🙂

Do you have a nickname?
I have several. Some of my family calls me the Techno Bunny because I seem to be one of the only people that has an aptitude for technology. I am also Becca Bunny, ChewBecca and BA-CAA (said like a chicken).

What is one word best describes you?
Stubborn
LOL that seems to be a family trait 😀

What makes you laugh out loud?
The things that come out of my kidlettes mouth or my husbands. Sometimes they just say the weirdest things.

I run a group home for Adults with Developmental Delays. I laugh at work so often. I can’t actually share any stories due to confidentiality clauses but I can tell you the things that come out of my mouth and the things they say sometimes just make me stop and laugh hysterically. Where else can you go to work where you say the words “Put the staff down and please stop bench pressing them”?

What is your favourite smell? What does it remind you of?
I love the smell of rain. It is just a comforting smell to me and I love thunderstorms. You can usually find me out on my covered porch during a thunderstorm just watching it.

Favourite place to spend time in.
It is a toss up. My jetted tub with a book, my “Art Dungeon” painting or working on a craft .. or my basement video game area killing zombies. Depends on the mood I am in.

Is there a genre that you refuse to read?
No. Books and reading to me is all about what grabs me and interests me. I have to like the story or the characters or both. There have been times where I have stopped reading due to a character that I just can’t stand reading anymore.

Book formatting! What started it?
I guess that is a two part answer.

1. My Graphic Design degree. While doing my degree I found out that I excel at and love a portion of it called Pre Press. Basically setting up files, making sure files work, they are clean (nothing left floating around and hidden), checking on fonts, making sure they are embedded in the files. Because so much of Art is subjective I found that I like the right and wrong portion of Graphic Design… the technical part, building files and coding portions.

2. My Aunt. We found out she had a hoard of books in her room that she had written over the years. She didn’t think they were good enough to publish and didn’t know how to.

Once I convinced her to actually take that step and publish … it was a whirlwind. I had to take what I knew from Graphic Design and apply it to building eBook files. It has definitely been a learning experience and she keeps me busy!
I am glad you found them and I am honored to be part of the journey from the beginning.

What do you like most about your work?
I love the right and wrong. Either your files are right … or they are wrong. They work and pass the premium checks or they don’t. It is like … playing with lego for adults. All tiny little building pieces that come together to make a final project. If one piece doesn’t work, the whole project is wrong.

I love working on my own, blaring my music, watching a documentary and just .. being in my own world while I format. The files almost seem to speak to me when I hit my zone.

What are, if any, the pet peeves in formatting a book?
When an author sends me a book they say is ready to be formatted, I do the work and then I get a new file because something was changed.

When there is pre-formatting it bugs me too, it just takes that much longer to remove formatting and start again.

I designed a few books for print, but I don’t know anything about formatting an ebook. I think it would be great if you could give a short description of what are the steps in formatting a book.
I start with a Word document. All of the pre-set formatting from the authors computer is removed and I start rebuilding the file. In order to publish these books and have them pass to the Premium Distribution Channels, there is a very strict set of rules that have to be adhered to – if anything is off then it will not pass.

The fonts are changed so they can be read by the eBook devices (eBook websites and devices will only read a select number of fonts). Because almost every app lets the reader choose their font sizes and sometimes they can change the font, the information in the file must remain the same throughout the file so it can be changed by the end user. This means you don’t have multiple fonts, you don’t have multiple sizes unless it is a specified header.

The spacing is set up to reflect the standards. This means removing all enter/returns from the file, adding in single spacing for the lines, custom spacing after paragraphs, removing all tabs.

eBooks files will show up differently in every reader. The app or reader will take the information that is built into the eBook file and interpret it to show in the manner it needs to. On some apps there will be a tab present, on others there won’t be one.
Because the information is read differently for every app, when formatting you don’t formatting to a specific device.

There are some other file related things, but I won’t get into it. Don’t want to give up all of my secrets 😉

Once the files are done they are uploaded to the websites, converted and then I test them. Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, Adobe Digital Editions all tested on a computer, an Android Device and an iPad. I increase the font, decrease the fonts, change the fonts, test it vertically, test it horizontally, try out all of the links.

If everything passes my testing then ISBN’s are added to the books and I tell the websites (Smashwords/Amazon) to run their own personal checks on the files. If the files pass their formatting standards, they are added to the Premium Distribution Channels or they become live on the websites to sell!

Like I said .. like playing with Lego. Lots of small pieces to build a bigger project.
I like the analogy, so true!

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your work?
I don’t know if it is interesting or not but I am an avid crafter. I paint, scrapbook, sew, knit, crochet and make chainmaille with my husband. Yes .. like suits of armour for knights. We do that as well as the modern day spins on it like jewelry.
I love my chainmaille red & silver dragon 😀 and so does my son!

hainmaille dragons.jpg

I also design and sell t-shirts and other merchandise online.

I also have a sick twisted addiction to playing Zombie based video games on my PS4.

If you could choose another career what would it be?
I have the best of both worlds actually because I get to work in two fields that I love. Because formatting is a solo type of work and can be fit in around other things in my life (Kidlette and Husband and Fur Baby come first), it is my second job/career.

I currently work full time running a house for Adults with Developmental delays. It is honestly one of my passions in life. I love working with my guys. I have 3 gentlemen that live in the house that I manage. I am suppose to be there to teach them things in life, but in the end a lot of the time they teach me.

Two of my guys are extremely hard of hearing boarding on deaf. I have had the opportunity to learn ASL because of this and the opportunity to see a whole new type of communication. This allows me to use my Graphic Design background as well because my clients are so visual I have to make custom communication tools for them that are on their level of cognitive understanding.

I get to see everyday how other people view the world and what is really important to people on a basic fundamental level. It is really a blessing that I have been able to balance two careers I love in two completely different fields that seem to actually complement each other.

Thank you Becca for taking the time to chat with me, I know how limited your free time is and I would like to wish you success in your new endeavour.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope you enjoyed the chat and learned something new today. As a reader, I appreciate when I read a book, e- or print, that is very well formatted.

Authors! If you are looking for a new formatting service, Becca is a professional to the core that you can rely on, and also has reasonable prices.

In the month of May, there is a 25% off introductory discount on all formatting services!

Perfect Pages Formatting links: FacebookTwitteremail • FAQ and pricing

Until next time read a book, listen to a book and don’t forget to show your love by leaving a review!

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My Chat with Jennifer Gibson!

Hello and welcome!

Today I have an amazing lady who I invited for a chat as an artist, but found out she is so much more…

Please welcome Jennifer Gibson!

JennGibson

Do you have a nickname?
I have several from years of playing sports. My last one was “Goose” since we were Top Gun fans and one of my friend’s
nickname was “Maverick”. The one before that was “Skippy” which lasted several years.

What is one word best describes you?
Tenacious

What makes you laugh out loud?
The movie “Get Smart” featuring Dwayne Johnson always makes me laugh.
I have not watched it, but I have seen the trailer and it is funny LOL

What is your favourite smell? What does it remind you of?
Dark Chocolate. When I was in Victoria, we were walking down the street and that glorious scent wafted up to us. It was from
the store “Rogers’ Chocolates”, our favourite place to shop in British Columbia. I was born in Victoria so this was rather special for us.

Favourite place to spend time in.
On our screened-in porch with the fire going, I love to sit on the couch and read while sipping a glass of cool sparkling wine.

Is there a genre that you refuse to read?
I don’t like dark or extremely violent stories since I’m a very sensitive person. I prefer books that can make me laugh like Janet
Evanovich.
I will have to check them out.

Designing book covers! What started it?
After I designed my own book covers, I’ve had many requests from other authors to do theirs. I’m a professional illustrator, photographer and graphic designer, so this was a natural segue and it turns out that I truly enjoy doing it.

What do you like most about your work?
I love the creative challenge of coming up with a design that captures the essence of the story and turning it into a powerful and mystical cover.

I know what it takes, being a designer myself, but many readers do not know, I think it would be great if you could give a short description of what are the steps in creating a book cover.
Most authors already have a good idea of what they want on the cover, we often discuss the details in terms of what kind of images we want to use for the background, the type of people or objects to use as well as themes (romance, sci-fi, historical, young adult, mystery, etc…).
I find that reading a chapter or two really helps get an idea of the feel of the story, particularly if it’s a specific scene that we want on the cover. Then I search for a couple of stock photographs or go through my own collection of images to find the right combination. At that point, it’s up to me to do my magic. The covers I design are visually complex featuring many, many layers of artwork. It takes time and intensive focus involving lots of detailed work. Once I think I’m close to capturing what they want, I will send them a sample to determine what needs to be adjusted. This usually involves changing the font or overall colours, adding or removing an object. Once that is done, I place the blurb and testimonials to the back cover. This process can take anywhere from 3 to 5 days depending on how detailed the cover is.

What was the most challenging cover to create?
I would have to say my own since I was just learning how to do book covers at that point. My work has progressed considerably since then and I’m incredibly grateful for the experience. It has made me a much better designer.

Who is your favourite artist?
I loved the way Georgia O’Keeffe painted flowers that focused on their vibrant colours and textures of the petals. It was on a macro level that made you view them in a different light.

Do you remember one of the first things you drew/sculpted/painted/ photographed? What makes it memorable?
I’ve been sketching, painting and doing photography since I was a very young child. I was influenced by both of my parents’ hobbies which essentially led me to my existing career today as a professional illustrator, graphic designer and photographer.

Jenn-fencing

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
By day I’m a designer or photographer depending on the job, at night I’m a fencer in Foil and Sabre. I’ve been fencing at two different clubs and I’m the only one that is deaf.

If you could choose another career what would it be?
Initially, I wanted to be a police officer and in fact, applied to the Ontario Provincial Police. Midway through their tests, I was pulled aside and told not to continue because of my hearing loss. They said that I didn’t qualify. I was devastated. Soon after that experience, I became a certified private investigator.
A private investigator? That is so cool.

Thank you Jennifer for spending some time with me and I am looking forward to read your stories and checking out your beautiful covers you create.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for checking out the chat and I hope you enjoyed it.

As you read, Ms. Gibson is not only an amazing cover designer, but also does photography AND is an author too, which I found out after she responded to my invite for a chat as a cover artist.

JennifersStudio-logo

Check out her amazing work on her website.

I loved the cover she did for Erika M. Szabo‘s “The Ancestors’ Secrets” series. Remember My Chat with Ilona ?

2 coversCheck out the covers she created for her own books, I love the designs, I will have to check them out. Hope you will too.

3 covers

A few of the covers designed for other authors

2 covers-AnneRowan2 covers-anthologies

LTT-covercuriouscoverweb

Awards

badges

Sway  was a Finalist in the 2012 InD’tale Magazine RONE Awards.

Sway, Compass and Destiny were all Semi-finalists in the Book Cover Contest at AuthorsdB.

Sway  is a 2014 Literary Classics Seal of Approval Recipient!

Sway  won Silver in the 2014 Literary Classics Book Awards!

Sway  is a Stargazer Literary Prizes Honorable Mention winner for Young Adult.

Sway received a 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews!

Compass was a Third place winner in the AuthorsdB Book Cover Contest for the Young Adult Category for 2014.

Compass was selected as a Finalist and received Honorable Mention for Best Cover for the 2014 RONE awards.

Compass is a Stargazer Literary Prizes  Finalist award winner for Young Adult.

Compass is a 2014 Literary Classics Seal of Approval Recipient!

Destiny  was a winner for Indie Book of the Day Award.

Destiny  received a 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews!

Destiny  is a 2015 Literary Classics Seal of Approval recipient!

Quite impressive!

Here are the links to peruse the art, the photography, check out the books and hopefully follow Ms. Gibson.

websiteFacebookTwitterAmazon Author Page

B&NiTunesKoboSmashwords

Card-Happy-Birthday
source

It will be Jennifer’s birthday in a few days, help me wish her a very happy & magical day and much success in the future. To celebrate, she is giving away books!!! Make sure you comment to be entered in the draw. 2 lucky winners will be chosen by Sexy Mr. Random and the prizes are winners’ choice of one book from Ms. Gibson’s back list. Canadian winner will get the print book, international winner will get the ebook.

Winner will be posted after 3pm EST on Monday, July 13, 2015. GOOD LUCK!

Take the time to really check out the cover of the book you are reading, the colours, the fonts used, what makes it a pleasing sight. Don’t forget to show your love by leaving a review! Until next time!

My Chat with Cora!

Hello and welcome!

Today I have a very talented artist who does some amazing digital designs. I first heard of her when M. A. Abraham told me that she hired a new cover artist for her books and I think this was a great decision!

Please welcome Cora from Cora Graphics!

Cora-1

Cora! I love this cartoon portrait of you!

Do you have a nickname?
Cora is my middle name and nickname.

What is one word best describes you?
Curious.

What makes you laugh out loud?
Hubby’s ironic humor 😀

What is your favourite smell? What does it remind you of?
The smell of  laundry. Reminds me of childhood and afternoons spent in the laundry room with my mother and my grandmother.
This made me think of my own grandmother’s farm. The rugs were done at the river along with the neighbours and I loved the banter and teasing, the whole country side was echoing with laughter. Happy memories! I love hanging my laundry to dry in the sun, the smell is heavenly.

Favourite place to spend time in.
In the countryside, walking with my dogs.

Is there a genre that you refuse to read?
Horror.
I agree on that.

Designing book covers! What started it?
In 2011, while I worked as a web designer at a graphic design studio, I felt it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Book covers caught my attention and then I realized that is what I wanted to be… a cover artist! So I started to create images, I designed a small website, uploaded the images I created and waited. It paid off!

What do you like most about your work?
I like everything, but above all, the possibility to be creative.

I know what it takes, being a designer myself, but many readers do not know, I think it would be great if you could give a short description of what are the steps in creating a book cover.
I start with a contract. The author needs to know my work rules and I need the graphic details, essential for starting the project and quote.

Then comes the image search. After I find the images I think are suited based on the story’s outline provided by the author, I send them to the author which in turn chooses the best one and I create a first draft. The author and I work together on the changes.

Unlike many artist I offer “unlimited changes.” Sometimes it is counterproductive, but I am of the view that the customer must be completely satisfied with the result. If not born a relationship of trust is almost impossible to create a beautiful cover.
I so agree on this! Without trust and communication, the results are not quite satisfactory.

What was the most challenging cover to create?
There have been many difficult covers, but I love challenges.

Who is your favourite artist?
I love two artists: Jon Paul Ferrara and Gene Mollica.
I checked them out and they have awesome designs.

Do you remember one of the first things you drew/sculpted/painted/photographed? What makes it memorable?
I remember the drawing that I did the first day of school. I designed a Barbie, and since then I have not stopped. I won several school competitions with my Barbies.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
I love to read.

If you could choose another career what would it be?
I would love to work in the library.
I would love to work surrounded by books, a library or a bookstore!

Thank you Cora for the chat and wishing you much success in your future.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope you enjoyed today’s chat and you will check out Cora’s designs, I think she is amazing.

CoraGraphics-logo
websiteRomance Novel CenterFacebookPinterest

Here are a few of “before & after” images to give you an idea of the process and work that goes in the covers that grace the books you purchase.

beforeandafter-1 beforeandafter-2 beforeandafter-3 beforeandafter-4

And here are the covers she designed for M. A. Abraham‘s various stories, and because I know the stories inside out being the author’s ‘Alpha reader’, I can tell you that the covers represent the stories beautifully, especially that Cora doesn’t read the books beforehand.

Screen shot 2015-05-13 at 9.33.46 AM

Question of the day

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Is the cover part of your decision to buy a book?

To me, the cover is a start, it is what grabs my attention. Being a graphic designer, my eye is trained to appraise it differently.

Cora is graciously offering 1 lucky commenter, who will be chosen by Sexy Mr. Random, an image created by her. In case the winner is an author, one “pre-made book cover” complete of texts and changes, the link will be provided. If the winner is a reader, a couple of choices will be provided to choose from Cora’s designs. Winner will be posted after 3pm EST on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. GOOD LUCK!

Take the time to really check out the cover of the book you are reading, the colours, the fonts used, what makes it a pleasing sight. Until next time!

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