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Midwest Creative Collection | A Community-Powered Collection of Writers & Artists

Midwest Creative Collection | A Community-Powered Collection of Writers & Artists

Our first-ever collection will feature writers and artists of all kinds, in a community-powered publication that will be our most beautiful creation yet. Submission will be free, artists will remain ownership of their original content, and the funding for this project will be backed by local businesses and will support local causes. 

Divided We Stood - Book Trailer

Divided We Stood - Book Trailer

The tides are turning - and during one of the critical times of the American Civil War, Lee decides to divide his army into segments. To inform the other Confederate Generals of his move, Lee commissions a courier by the name of Tad with a set of secret orders - the events that follow would change the course of history, as Tad loses the orders, and decides to take a chance that no one will ever discover his secret. 

Why your Business Cannot Live without Design

Photo & Story by Jeremy Gotwals. 

Photo & Story by Jeremy Gotwals. 

One would think that having great design for your brand is commonplace. Every business needs a logo, business cards, printed materials, packaging and/or labeling, menus, letterheads, websites, and advertising. All of these things must be designed, professionally by a designer, and curated to taste, lest they appear amateur and stale. However common sense this may seem, for many people or businesses with great products, services, or thoughts to share with the world, having great design is often an afterthought. 

Recognition

Design is necessary for the presentation of whatever it is that you offer the world. Your product, service, or voice, may be outstanding enough to impress itself on the public enough to be recognized on its own - if so, I personally salute you, you must have an amazing thing. However, it's not likely. Even if you have the best brand of something in the world, a potential customer is not necessarily going to know that it's yours from two feet away, unless they can see that it's clearly yours. This gets deeper and more complex depending on the kind of business you run, or product that you have. Even if you're a law firm, and you do not have an iconic logo, people still recognize the name, and therefore, the way that name appears on your presentation must be bold. Even your name in Helvetica, Bold, should be arranged on your advertising by someone who knows design. 

Taste

On the note of recognition, but much deeper, is taste. Sure, you may sell coffee, and the taste of your coffee may be exquisite and recognizable without packaging. However, the look of what it is that you are providing should speak volumes on its own, about the taste that your company, or personal brand, is offering. This goes for anything that represents you, whether it's a postcard, a book cover, or even just a piece of paper. This also goes down to the very interior of your establishment or place of doing business. The taste of your establishment should be indicated in the way that the interior is designed. The way that the interior is designed should correlate with the taste of your printed and digital materials. Why would you spend $100,000 on the interior of your establishment, if you own an upscale restaurant, but not, by comparison, have designed materials that reflect the same quality?  

Emotional Connection

Your business or brand cannot live in the hearts of the public without establishing an emotional connection. Whatever it is that you do, or share with the world, it should be done in such a way that you establish an emotional connection with your public. If you are a business that prides itself on efficiency, people know that they can find peace of mind with your brand. Without symbolism, or the structure of something concrete with which your audience can connect to physically and tangibly, but also psychologically, you cannot hope to build that emotional connection and memory easily. Design is method by which this emotional connection can be planted, it is fundamentally a part of the experience itself. It transcends style, and enters into the realm of how your audience thinks, and feels. When they want a certain experience, or a certain vibe, they think of your brand; how it looks, how it feels, how it sounds, how it tastes, and there is a correlation between all of these factors in that person's mind. Design is necessary to build an emotional connection with your audience, in the way that they see your brand in the world and in their minds. 

Identity

Design is the foreground of the identity of every business. Taste, recognition, emotional connection, as well as many other factors, all collapse into identity. The taste of what you create and share with the world, or sell to the public, may indeed have established an identity of its own - but as stated in recognition, an equal part of that identity is the way in which you are presented. The way you present what you do is the same as presenting who you are, and great design is a part of all of that, down to the garments you wear. Myself, I tend to wear colors that are in sync with the tones of my brand. Even my shirts and ties all have a correlation with the colors we use in our branding. This is the level at which the design of your brand must be curated. Your business does not have a life without its identity. That identity can form itself over time. But ultimately, you must have a structure and a foreground on which to build it. Design is that structure. Hence, great design is an equal part of the infrastructure for the life force of your business. 

Value

Whatever you do for the world, or share with the world, it does not have life if it does not add value to humanity. The value of what you do speaks for itself. Intrinsic to that value that you are sharing, is what you have invested in that thing - be it time or resources. The worth of Investing in presentation and design of your identity as a provider of value is at least equal to almost any other investment you will make in your identity and services. Great design is the difference between bringing great value to people's lives, whereby those individuals who need you may connect and continue to connect with your products and services, or those individuals walking into the doors, or onto the website, of a less worthy competitor.  Great design not only adds value to your business - sometimes, great design is the value that you are bringing; and it can sometimes be the sole different between a great product and a lousy product. Bring value to the world, and to people's lives, invest in great design for whatever it is that you do. 

5 Tips for an awesome Book Cover Design

By Jeremy Gotwals | Photo by MIranda Hewins

By Jeremy Gotwals | Photo by MIranda Hewins

1. Less is More

In book design, clarity is essential. Typically, you have only milliseconds to appeal to your potential reader. Therefore, keep it simple. The best book covers have one incredible piece of art, and basic typography. Don't burden your cover with unnecessary effects or extras. 

2. Find a Brilliant Photo or Illustration

Find a unique image that represents your book, identity, and  brand. Remember: in a matter of moments, to a potential reader, the image, as well as the title, will tell the reader everything they want to know. Sometimes, to compel your reader, all you have is an image; so make sure it counts! Finding a brilliant photo or illustration often means finding a brilliant photographer or illustrator. Stock photos do not count! Remember, you want a unique image. 

3. Typography & Font selection

A title speaks 1,000 words, even if your title is only one word. However, it is not only the words that will speak to its readers on a subconscious level, but the typeface. Correct use and alignment of typography is often greatly overlooked by the Indie Author. You want to be sure to stick with fonts that are clear, easy to read, and also strong. Your font should never be an overused, or overdone font, such as Times New Roman, Papyrus, or Comic Sans, and you almost never want to have more than three fonts on the cover of your book. Furthermore, never mix moods to the point of confusion. 

4. Mood

Bring to life a cover that matches the mood of your manuscript. If your book is satire, you want the life of your cover to reflect the satyrical nature of your book. If you've written a thriller novel, craft a cover that takes the potential reader into the suspense of your tail. Treat your book cover like a living thing, allow it to speak for itself. A great book deserves a great book cover - allow for the mood and atmosphere to resonate with the reader upon the first glance. 

5. Tell Your Story 

The First Edition of the Hobbit, or There and Back Again, by J.R.R Tolkien. 

The First Edition of the Hobbit, or There and Back Again, by J.R.R Tolkien. 

Later edition of the Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien. 

Later edition of the Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien. 

The cover of your book should deliver a microcosm of your story. The very first edition of The Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien, portrayed a simple illustration of one of the books chief characters Smaug, and a simple portrayal of the Lonely Mountain at the top. This first illustration, by the author, is an example of the kind of minimalism we're discussing here, which gives readers a magical piece of the story, begging them to look deeper. Later, the over art was re-illustrated more elaborately, but still executed the same principles.

Whether you've crafted a work of fiction, a Children's book, or an educational treatise into health and happiness, tell the readers a story by delivering a cover that gives an insight into the nature of your core message. 

Remember that a great cover design is something to be carefully considered. If you're an independent author, or you're using a self-publishing service, sometimes the temptation to design the cover yourself is strong. If you want your book to be in the hands of readers, it's worth your time to invest in great design. Carefully chose designers, or a company, that can fit your budget and design needs.

Also remember that designing for web is not the same as designing for print. Make sure that your design utilizes high resolution images and files, and is also standardized for web, so that you can get the best of both worlds. 

"Saviors" Kickstarter reaches 124% In first week with 50 backers - Now "Stretching" for Stretch Goals

By Holon New Media Staff, Brandon Cook

Holon author Matt Seidel launches Kickstarter campaign for novel “Saviors”

Just over three days ago, Holon Publishing began crowd funding to publish and distribute Bloomington author Matt Seidel’s psychological thriller, “Saviors.” The novel, Seidel’s eighth though his first published, explores themes of morality, taking as one of its protagonists a serial killer, Tobias, who views the murders that he commits as the execution of a divine justice.

The project’s goal of $1500 was met in a little less than two days.

Since then, “Saviors” has earned a total of $1860 and 124%, funds that could lead to a high-end mock trailer for the book, promotional events, and a graphic novel. While these additional projects may sound a bit ambitious for a book that only recently received the go-ahead, they and its enthusiastic Kickstarter response bear testament to the power and innovation of “Saviors’” character and narrative.

Emerging Author Matt Seidel says that he will make the first chapter of his book LIVE before print if the Kickstarter reaches $2,500

Emerging Author Matt Seidel says that he will make the first chapter of his book LIVE before print if the Kickstarter reaches $2,500

Rather than use Tobias as the figure of a mystery novel: the genre in which serial killers feel most at home, Seidel chooses to write a moral fiction that challenges the reader’s basic concepts of good and evil.

Complicating these notions further is the character of Emily, a young woman in the middle of a quarter-life crisis who is, for all intents and purposes, normal. It is during this time that she meets Tobias: “everything that she needs,” Seidel explains in his Kickstarter video.

At this moment, most other writers would keep Emily ignorant of Tobias’s dark habits, suspending the reader in dramatic irony. But Seidel is not most other writers. Emily remains with Tobias, her savior, though, as the author said with a cheeky wave of the hand,  “this creates complications.” As if.

Though its premise echoes vaguely that of TV’s Dexter, Seidel’s narrative is not gore and flash-bang so much as it is a real exploration of Tobias’s tormented condition. Channeling his hero, Dostoyevsky, Seidel develops Emily and Tobias’s relationship alongside the concept of sin and the delusion of goodness, touching on philosophy and religion while still providing engaging narrative.

“Saviors,” the exciting debut for an up-and-coming talent, marks also Holon’s most ambitious approach to date in creating the writer’s community, that is, a community based around each individual writer, rather than the writers as a collective. With each additional goal of Seidel’s Kickstarter campaign ($2500, $3500, and $5000) leading to bigger and bigger promotions, Holon endeavors to both strengthen its relationship with the author and to build an even greater audience for his work.

Stay tuned to hear more exciting updates about Matt Seidel’s “Saviors!"

Click here to contribute to this Kickstarter and pre-order your copy of "Saviors": 
http://kck.st/ZyOdXF

Brandon Cook is the editor of the Live Buzz and a new media journalist with Holon Publishing
http://www.idsnews.com/blogs/livebuzz/
 http://holonpublishing.com/