Interview with A R Shellnut

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always had a more DIY mindset, and I like to have more control over certain things, especially anything related to my works. By self publishing I have no doubt in retaining full rights and ownership of my novels, from the content within to the artwork on the cover.
I was also deterred by the catch-22 of getting through the door of traditional publishing. Most large publishers will give little time to unknown authors, but to become a known author one must be published. I have also grown a wariness of vanity publishers, again relating back to the idea of retaining full rights to my works.
What are you working on next?
The Legend of The Downdraft series is my first series to make it to publication, and is planned to consist of 6 books.
Evasive Winds is the first book, and I'll soon start official work on the sequel: Sweltering Sands.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Next to writing, I enjoy illustrating my own works and creating time lapse videos of my time in Photoshop that are posted to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyRksAL_LioXvxTQRNUh8JQ">Youtube"</a>.
I am also a graphic designer that is focusing on starting up a freelance business that creates book covers for indie authors at reasonable rates. Any authors in need of a cover that reads this, feel free to contact me at arshellnut@gmail.com!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I write to entertain myself. I often go back to my favorite parts of a manuscript just to read it, and wind up losing myself in multiple chapters which is how I know my writing is worthwhile.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean the world to me. Yes, I write to entertain myself, but there's this profound sense of togetherness and satisfaction when a person can get entertainment from my ideas. I've always wanted writing to be a career, and that's impossible without the audience.
Who are your favorite authors?
Jim Butcher
A. Lee Martinez
Eoin Colfer
Arthur Conan Doyle
Edgar Allen Poe
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I first starting writing stories somewhere around 10-12 years old. I was so determined to become a traditionally published author by the ripe age of 16. As for my first story, I remember it taking inspiration from most children's shows at the time, and consisted of a group of 4 friends, each magically bestowed with an elemental power (fire, water, earth, air). They'd jump from one universe to the next going on wacky adventures. Looking back, the whole thing was cringe worthy and mainly consisted of loosely tied together cliches.
Plenty of the stories ideas I had back then have morphed and are going to be made into actual novels now that I'm an adult and my abilities have matured, but I can only be grateful that the ideas as they were back then never saw the light of day.
How do you approach cover design?
Having a Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design, I design my own covers. I try to pick out the most powerful and iconic imagery that pertains to the story, for Evasive Winds that was the pirate symbol of the ship The Red Nightmare (a bleeding skull impaled by a sword). I illustrated it myself in photoshop, then picked out a color scheme to compliment it - red, white, and gold. There's also a matter of textures to balance the focal point of the cover, such as the lines of a map pushed into the background to add that extra something. I chose a map for Evasive Winds since most of the story is based on traveling around via airship, and finally added a shadow of cogs to suggest the inspiration I gathered from the steampunk genre.

On top of all that, there's research to know what size to make the cover to be uploaded to websites that will publish my books, including Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace, and Smashwords. It's best to start a cover at the correct size, than trying to resize something which risks losing image quality - especially if you're working with raster illustrations as opposed to vector images.

There's a slew of other things to keep in the back of your mind while designing a cover, including RGB/CMYK, wrap around covers VS digital covers, having bleed but keeping important elements within the live area, and so on but I think that coves the basics of approaching cover design from an artistic perspective.
Published 2017-03-27.
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Books by This Author

Evasive Winds
Series: The Legend of The Downdraft. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 112,580. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Samantha was a quiet barmaid until the mutinied pirate captain Bloody Anne Cash smashes into her life. Swept up in Anne's quest for revenge, Samantha can merely hope to survive as the unlikely pair hunt down the most feared pirate ship of the sky and sea: The Red Nightmare.