Since their retirement from the University of Alberta, Kay Stewart & Chris Bullock have collaborated on three prior Danutia Dranchuk mystery novels, each of which touches on some aspect of the social conscience that is a vital part of both these BC writers. Their fourth book, TOUR DE MORT, comes out November 4th, 2017.
Publishing the Hard Way
As someone whose first three novels were traditionally published, I had a lot to learn when circumstances nudged co-author Chris Bullock and me into self-publishing TOUR DE MORT.
We are not technically adept enough to do everything for ourselves, so we chose a hybrid self-publishing service that conducts almost all transactions electronically. This system created poor communication with those involved in production, especially in design.
TOUR DE MORT is a fictional version of the first Cops for Cancer ride down Vancouver Island. So I searched stock images until I found a suitable cycling photo. Then came the five-month design process.
* I submit author photo and bios, blurb, reviewer comments and cover image electronically to our Account Manager, having noted on a form that the cover should seem ominous, foreboding.
* First proofs: Cyclist appears in full on the front; the cropped image on the back looks more menacing. Yes! I say in a sticky note on the PDF (my only means of communicating with the Designer). Put that on the front.
* Second proofs: Cropped image on the front, but still not menacing enough. Add red streaks leading towards a puddle of blood, I suggest.
* Third (and supposedly last) proofs: Red streaks have no relation to the bike’s path; a red blob looks like it’s been slapped against a wall. Our Account Manager at first ignores my complaint. We pay extra for a fourth round.
* Fourth proofs: The cover image as you see it. Hurray!
* Our softcover copies arrive. About the Authors (on the hardcover dust flap) has disappeared. Our new Account Manager investigates. The Designer’s email about possible ways of accommodating this material hadn’t been passed on to us.
Missing in this process is an experienced, knowledgeable publisher keeping an eye out. Long live traditional publishing!
About the book:
Sinister "accidents" threaten the Tour de Rock, a thousand-kilometre cycle ride to raise money for children's cancer. Spurred on by her young nephew's leukemia, RCMP Corporal Danutia Dranchuk has signed up as a rider but soon finds herself investigating. Events take a startling turn when people close to Danutia become caught up in a web of speculation and murder that she seems powerless to untangle.
Learn more about Kay Stewart & Chris Bullock