Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Smashwords Adventure

I've taken Foo Foo down from LuLu and put it up on Smashwords, instead. Smashwords seems to have a wider distribution model, including stores for Sony, Amazon, and some that I've never even heard of.  Eventually, I'll return to LuLu for some hardback copies, but that's down the road a bit - there are a few more illustrations to be done before Foo Foo is ready for hardback.

Foo Foo at Smashwords

Smashwords has been an adventure, to be sure. Their formatting document is the War and Peace of style guides, and it took me about a week to make sure the Word copy of Foo Foo met their standards. It was worth it, though, because the book looks so much better than the LuLu version, and while the Style Guide is hefty, it is very easy to use and understand. In the end, I only had one problem from the AutoVetter (the program that scans your document for formatting errors), and that was one of my fonts was 2pts too large. Fixed and resubmitted in minutes, and it's now eligible for their premium catalog. I'm not sure how elite of a club that actually is, but I'd settle for even just a tiny bit of elite right now.

I had to redesign the cover, unfortunately, since I really liked the old cover with the dead rat. Smashwords doesn't allow the depiction of violence on their covers, and while the old cover ranks up there with Itchy and Scratchy in terms of horror content, I didn't want to risk being off the premium catalog because of it, so I just went ahead and did a little redesign.

The Smashwords site appeared to be a little slower than LuLu's, which isn't good since LuLu's site is already pretty slow. Thus far, though, the overall experience at Smashwords has been easier than LuLu's, formatting aside.

I've already made 6 revisions to the text (you can sort of get away with it if nobody has read your book), but I think that the Smashwords edition will be the standing edition for a while, at least. One of my writer friends suggested that the allegory was a little heavy-handed, so I took the effort to tone it down, some. I think it adds to the experience, personally.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Buttons and Tricks

Here are two illustrations from the upcoming hard and softback editions of Foo Foo.

The mouse with the flag is Buttons, an otherwise intelligent mouse that ends up getting sucked into the fervor of nationalism in the face of an invisible enemy.

The dark mouse is named Tricks, and he is armed with a blood-soaked hammer.

These were created using CAD software, then exported into Photoshop and the gray tones added. They are in black and white because the color printing process is so much more expensive.

I've got about 4 or 5 more to do.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I've been working on some illustrations for the hard and softcover editions of Foo Foo.  Unfortunately, I don't have much to share right now, but stay tuned.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Foo Foo, by Me

I've just self-published my first eBook, entitled Foo Foo. It is a young-adult parable about fear in the face of an invisible enemy as told from the perspective of mice. From idea to the first draft that hit LuLu, it took 60 hours. I've since made a few little tweaks to it based on reader feedback.

"The mice of the United Squeaks have been attacked by the rabbits that live under the chicken coop. Can Milton keep his neighbors from going crazy with fear?"

Foo Foo, by Patrick Riot

I hope you enjoy it, or Little Bunny Foo Foo will get you.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.