Author/Publisher – How to develop a fight in space

classic spaceship

I’m a multi-genre author with a passion for science fiction. Sooner or later this kind of interest drives to space, to what a spaceship can do and to what I want to tell to my audience when it comes to describing what’s going on. So we can imagine our wonderful spaceships, use them to travel from planet to planet and make room for epic fights. Well, we can. With a bit of respect for reality.

Do you remember the first movie of the “Alien” franchise? The blurb was “In space, nobody can hear you scream”. That was a very nice movie, one of my all-time favorite. The blurb was set right, with no atmosphere there is no possible sound transmission. No screams, no engine noise, no “whoooosh” from missiles, no “zot!” from energy-based weapons. This little fact kills a lot of movies, isn’t it? There’s more on the line, with no atmosphere of sort there is no need for control surfaces. No flaps, ailerons, rudders at all. And this kills a lot of spaceship design.

Continue reading

Author/Publisher – Time to choose

simpson logic

A year or so ago I wrote a short science fiction story named “L’Orgoglio di Smirne” [Smirne’s Pride], I was thinking about translating it into english after a massive editing process. While I was at work I thought that it could be a nice way to write about the logical ramification of a story, it’s one of the biggest traps for anybody who write fiction.

My story was about a young spaceman/miner who got himself in trouble rescuing another spaceship in the Asteroid Belt. The AI system in his spaceship became infected and he got to find a way to save his life and going back to his base.  So far it’s a classic story; the young man who became more experienced under the stress of a dangerous situation, the superiority of an educated mind over a challenge.

While I was writing the italian version of this tale a number of questions came up. How about this kid? Was he born in the space? Aboard a spaceship? Or a more stable base anywhere? How does he adapt to live and work into space? How about cosmic radiations, exposure to low-level of gravity (or none at all)? Who took care of his education and what about his relatives and such?

Continue reading

Author/Publisher – profiling your works


Once you have crafted your brand new novel you have to think about how to profile it for the market. That means you have to connect one or more (hopefully more) than a genre or category to your work in order to make it available for “spider” programs of search engines. The same applies for host sites like Amazon.

A bit of research is what you need to get this little piece of work done. You know your novel, don’t you? Yes, it’s something new and fresh and smart and so on… but let’s face the truth, it cannot be anything unprecedented in the world’s history.  What you have to do is to choose a number of keywords to establish a profile for your novel.

Continue reading

Author/publisher – the language barrier


As an independent author/publisher based in Italy, I have to consider the existence of a linguistic barrier between me and the biggest market available today. In order to reach as many readers as I can writing in Italian is not a viable option, it’s time to think about a translation service.

Continue reading

Author/Publisher – You Need A Good Cover

There’s an old say: “You can’t judge a book by the cover”, it’s a good thing to remember as a metaphore and for sure it’s a good advice when it comes to read a book. There’s a little problem to consider too, in terms of marketing this say is wrong.

As an author/publisher you need the best cover available for your works. The very first thing potential customers will see about your ebooks is the cover and first impression matters a lot for the most part of readers when they browse on Amazon, looking for new stuff to load on their Kindle devices.

So what you have to do is to get a good cover, that have to be considered when you set up your budget unless you’re an artist on your own. What do you need in a good cover? Of course your name (or pseudonym), the title of your book, the name of your publisher (*); this is the minimum set of information that have to be displayed on it. If your book is a part of a series you’ve to add that piece of information too (i.e. Part two of the Steel saga).


[a good cover sample, artist Luca Morandi]

Then you have to consider two different formats; the first is 300×300 for the preview, the second is 1200×1200 for the real cover. A good image in the latter format usually looks good in the first too but you have to check this out before using it for your book.  Now it’s time to consider background and lettering colors. The information on your cover have to be readable, so avoid using over-complicated fonts and focus on the composition: the information blocks (the aforementioned name-title-publisher) have to be spaced well enough to leave room for the image (or the images) to be seen.

For the background and lettering colors, it’s a matter of common sense and tradition. The two colors do not have to clash, nor they can be too much alike. For the tradition aspect you have to think about the books you have in your house; a lot of thriller/noir books got a black background, many science fiction books got a blue background, quite a number of romance books got a white or pink background and so on. Of course the lettering colour to use is to be readable of that background.

How about to rent an artist for your book cover? It could be a good investment for your project and a nice way to find a distinctive trademark for your works. Try at Deviant Art, there you’ll find thousands of good pros from a lot of countries, many of them well experienced in the field. If you got many contacts in the Net you can try to hold a little competition about that, using the money from your budget to set a good prize. Please remember that any e-book of yours will be on the market forever if you don’t recall it. So every cover will speak for your name as an author/publisher.

(*) A publisher? But I’m an author/publisher on my own! That’s true but it’s a matter of public image. If you stick on your cover the name of a firm, then you’re giving to the potential customers something that resemble the usual stuff he/she’s buying.