Saturday 21 November 2015

The Making of Making Trakz

Finally...the little mouse gets his moment. 

After months of set backs and date changes, the final proof of Making Trakz was approved on 18th November 2015 after several changes to layout and some internal shuffling.

Available from all good bookstores, you can see the final product and reviews here. Released 30th November 2015 at just £7.99.

It took a great deal of planning and involved trialling the cover with an early release of the kindle version to test the market, but after some minor tweaks and adjustments, we think we have delivered another iconic cover.

In 2012 we released Spikez, but not without four years of development and design rethinks. Here are some of the initial design ideas and the final outcome of Spikez, and also some draft layouts of the future Spikez books to give you a flavour of the content and what to expect from us.

Near final cover proof August 2012
The first proof was adjusted slightly to make the green more futuristic looking and the title text to stand out more.   In the final version (below) you would hardly notice on screen but the difference with a hard copy can make all the difference, which is why ordering a proof is so important.

The final cover of Spikez October 2012

If you look closely you can see that the title was resized and given a gradient, and the author text was also adjusted to stand out more.  It really made the final product more striking.

After Spikez went to print we discussed the theme of future Spikez books, including the Making Trakz prequel.  The initial ideas can be seen below.

The idea was to make the covers more obvious when the book was opened and being read.  However, to make people pick up the book we really wanted a striking front cover.  Each subsequent Spikez book will keep the colour schemes shown above, but will look VERY different and much more striking as you will see.

Initially sketched on the back of a hotel notepad, the concept for Making Trakz relied on the idea of the mouse's feet trailing all over the book.  The font also needed to look futuristic and the blue needed a certain neon effect to it.  However, on paper the heavy use of black on blue gradient didn't make things leap out off the page and the mouse was in danger of looking more rat-like. So . . .

We started developing the idea further and added depth to the main title font and used a darker blue to contrast with title (the same way the author text of Spikez developed).  However, cutting the back cover in half created issues regarding placing text, and also the Z on the spine would have difficulty lining up with the Z in Trakz.  So we tried again...
Here we start playing with the fonts and being a bit creative with the back cover.  The book is starting to take shape, but still lacks impact.  The mouse needed some definition and the cover was in danger of being too busy.  So, with a few more attempts, we finally created...

Here you should be able to notice a few things.  Firstly, the continuation of tracks across the spine, and secondly the texture added to the rodent.  The use of binary code links with the AI theme of the book and the key words feature in the book blurb.   Adding the green in Spikez also gives the cover variation and carries on the theme into this book. 

And there it is, a brief history of cover design for Making Trakz, the latest animal-cyborg offering from Burton Mayers Books.  Sorry it took longer than expected.

We hope you enjoy reading our blog and love reading our books!

Thursday 5 November 2015

Make way for Making Trakz - Exciting new children's book

Finally, Making Trakz is hitting the shelves this November.

The Kindle version is currently on sale for just £2.99 at Amazon

The paperback version will have a distinct cover similar to the Kindle holder (above).  Branding stories about animal cyborgs is certainly one of the most enjoyable aspects of publishing a novel. More details will follow once the perfect bound proof is approved.

So, what's the story behind the book?

Making Trakz is a prequel, set approximately six months before the story events of Spikez.

The novel is standalone, which means you don't have to have read any of the Spikez books, and is also more conventional in that children feature quite heavily as some of the main protagonists.  The real stars of the book, however, are Windar and Trakz.  The story explores the origins of Trakz and the moment when Professor Windar made his breakthrough, thanks to some 'out of box' thinking from his inquisitive niece and nephew.

The book is only 55,000 words but adds plenty of back story to the Spikez novel franchise, and also foreshadows some of the events that will occur in Spikez: Red Dragon.  The project took three years to develop and promises to be more successful than Spikez.

The cost on Amazon Kindle is just £2.99, with a print list price of only £7.99.

Making Trakz

Thursday 1 October 2015

The London Vampire Strikes Again!

October's Son was John Michaelson's debut book

Today marks the start of October, a month famous for having more US presidents born in than any other, a great month for raising awareness about conditions such as breast cancer and National Cholesterol Month, Black History Month and, if you're American, it's also the month to celebrate popcorn and pork!

October is also the month John Michaelson, aka The London Vampire, was born.  To celebrate this we have run a free kindle promotion for his biographical novel October's Son.  This is, of course, not without an important announcement from Burton Mayers Books on his behalf.

Building on the interest from the debut book, John Michaelson has been busy delving into the darkest depths of London to continue his investigations.  We can now confirm that John is in the process of summarizing his work hunting ants since his transformation, spanning a period of several years.  John has revealed to us that the title of the follow-up to October's Son will be called Nuptial Flight.

Initially, we were a little confused about the title.  Nuptial Flight is an important phase in the reproduction of most ant species.  During the flight, the virgin queens mate with males and then land to start a new colony.[1]   Of course, once we had researched this we realized that this was classic Michaelson, adding mystery and enigma around the subject of ants, his own synonym for defining real vampires.

John Michaelson has confirmed that the book picks up from where October's Son: The London Vampire Diaries ended, embarking on investigations into the network of ants across London, his hunt for Michael, and his dealings with organized crime gangs who deal in the trafficking of men, women and children for profit and for food.  The book will document key developments across several years and includes a report about his recent visit to the 'jungle' at Calais and his exploration of trafficking routes across Europe; he even hinted that he may have visited Vlad's home town of Transylvania on his travels.

We are yet to see a full manuscript but John instructed us that the novel should not be edited or stylized to fill in the blanks, but he did say that names of vulnerable individuals would be protected.  We are anticipating a release for mid-2016, possibly to coincide with Flying Ant Day? We can't wait, in the meantime be sure to buy the book or download it from Amazon.


Friday 3 July 2015

Publication Update for Burton Mayers Books 2015

Bold, sci-fi colours
E B White's classic

What a busy year it has been so far.  So busy, in fact, that the we are anticipating not one but two children's books releases by the end of 2015.

Making Trakz has been shifted back from its initial early 2015 release to this autumn. The cover for this book hopes to replicate many of the design features typical of the Spikez series of books, whilst also paying homage to classic texts like Stuart Little.

In even more exciting news, Richard Mayers is currently working with illustrator Samantha Goodlet on a children's picture book.  The project, which will be Burton Mayers Books' first venture into picture books, is based around the adventures of Lavender, a very curious hedgehog.  The story is going to be rich in content with wonderful, layered illustrations.  Release date will be late 2015/early 2016.  To learn more about Samantha and get a glimpse of her quirky, classic drawing style, you can see much of this @samdrawsthings

London's very own Vampire Hunter, John Michaelson, also contacted us recently to say that there had been 'developments' in his fight against ants.  The elusive author didn't give any further details, other than that he wanted to put right many wrongs and wrap up the loose ends from his biographical account in October's Son. We have no content as of yet, but we expect the book will be an eye-opening look into London's murky underground - certainly not for Twilight fans!