On Writing: More Book Cover Tips

If you’re curious as to what I have been up to, here’s your answer. I’ve been messing around with book covers. What do you think of the new Valley of Magic paperback cover?

Of Metal and Magic Publishing

I’ve learned a lot about book design over the past five years, both through self-publishing and working with others. And I’ve grown a lot as a cover designer myself, though I’m not anywhere near the level of a practiced expert, such as the folks at 100Covers who do the art for our main books.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve completed my first full paperback cover, and I wanted to share it with you along with some insights I’ve picked up along the way. We’ve posted tips on book covers before, so I’ll try not to retread old ground.

The cover is new image for my short story novel IN THE VALLEY OF MAGIC. The reason for the new cover is that I am experimenting with a new paperback size, 5x8in, which required a new image. I did not have the files for original cover, since VALLEY was originally…

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Guest Post: Superfluous Writing or When Simple is Better

Here are some great tips from a visiting editor.

Of Metal and Magic Publishing

By Melyssa Van Lydegraf

Imagine entering a bookstore, with the goal of finding your next engrossing read. You find the shelf with your favorite genre and start browsing through the selection. An intriguing cover catches your eye, and you open to the first page to get a sample of the story.

After a couple sentences, you realize that you have no idea what’s going on. The author clearly has a vast vocabulary but attempting to piece together the narrative leaves you thinking it will be a chore to get through this book. You place it down and decide to go for another book instead.

This scenario happens more often than expected. You could have the most interesting story, the best characters, or the twist ending to beat M. Night Shyamalan, but a portion of your potential readers will never know because your opening chapter is a struggle to get…

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Reads: 3 More Free Stories for You

Check out these great new stories over at OMAM. All of these are flash fiction, so they are quick and easy reads.

Of Metal and Magic Publishing

I am happy to announce that we have three more fantasy stories available to read here on our website.

We are getting closer and closer to having capacity for a new anthology! I’ve got several more stories in my read pile as well, just need the time to get at them. If you’ve submitted to us recently, thank you. If not, what are you waiting for?

Here’s today’s lineup:


First up is a flash fiction piece by OMAM’s own Douglas W.T. Smith entitled “Into the Forest.”

After a tragedy at home, Jaeden flees into the forest. He hopes to eke out a living off nature alone, but soon comes to question that decision.


Humor writer and blogger Shawn Cowling sent us this short and funny story which reveals the truth about interactions with fantastic beasts.

Yahhan had always wanted to become a griffin keeper. Now he is apprenticed to one…

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Letter from the Editor

We are actively looking for new content and other support. Check here for my preferences as an editor, most of which are the same as others. These tips will help you clean up your manuscripts and cover letters, whether you’re submitting to me at OMAM or something fancy like Asimov’s.

Of Metal and Magic Publishing

We’ve been up and running for three months now, and I am getting a steady stream of submissions at this point. I’ve received about an even balance of short story and novel pitches, but not many offers for other things. (Hint: We need beta readers!)

I wanted to take the time to address some common issues, as well as offer some general tips on submitting to publishers–whether to OMAM or others.

I know that our “write with us” page does not provide specific guidelines. That omission is purposeful, as I like the initial interaction between myself and new authors to be first and foremost about us as people, not about the work. I am also willing to assist a novice writer through the submission process.

But what do you provide, whether that be a cover letter, a synopsis, or a manuscript, reveals a lot about you as an author and…

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NEWS: Proofing Some Paperbacks

Been working on new paperbacks of our recent releases.

Of Metal and Magic Publishing

So far, all of our releases have been ebooks, most on Kindle, but a few with wider distribution. I know that not every reader prefers, or even accepts the ebook format. Some folks prefer prints. And who can blame them? There’s something to the tactile feel of a book in your hand, the smell of the printed page.

Well, if you’re one of those readers, you might like to know that I have been working on building paperbacks for some of our main volumes. Paperbacks just take a lot more work than ebooks do–the formatting, setting the covers, etc. One nice thing that KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) offers is the ability to order proof copies of your paperbacks, even if they are still unpublished drafts.

So here we are.

I also have a proof copy of DANGEROUS GAMES, but a buddy asked to read it. Couldn’t deny such a…

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News: More Free Stories

We’ve got a lot of free content on the site now, and it’s only growing. Reach out if you’d like to send us a story. Currently, I can offer token pay.

Of Metal and Magic Publishing

Hi, everyone. I’ve been messing around with our “free reads” page, and I think I reconfigured it to be a bit more user friendly. Stories will no longer appear on the blog, but will rather be uploaded as static pages. Keep an eye on the “free reads” page for new stories, but I will also post the occasional update here.

Since here at OMAM we emphasize shared fantasy universes, I’ve separated all our free stories by which setting they take place in. Some of these, such as the OMAM CORE stories, are supplemental material to develop the worlds of our novels. And today, I’ve also added two new stories under the heading “Stories of the Sun Tribe.”

What do you think of those two quick and dirty covers I made? These two related stories are ones that I had published in other anthologies, long ago. Actually, they are probably two…

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OMAM NEWS: Full Valley of Magic Series on Sale

My full Valley of Magic series is now all in one place on Amazon. I’ll be working on paperbacks next month for the novel and novella. If you’d like a paperback of The Adventures of Iric, contact me. I’ve got a few of the previous editions still lying around.

Of Metal and Magic Publishing

Just in time for the new year!

With the republication of IN THE VALLEY OF MAGIC, my debut novel from a couple years back, you can now purchase the entire “Valley of Magic” series on Amazon. The whole package now includes a flash fiction collection, a flash-based novella, and a short story novel.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I came up as a writer doing short fiction, and continued with that format when I started writing professionally. All the books in the Valley of Magic series are composed of, or inspired by, short fiction. And you can get them all now on Amazon.

For a brief synopsis of the novel and cornerstone of the series, IN THE VALLEY OF MAGIC, I’ll refer you to one of the review comments from the first edition:

“JM Williams has written what he calls a short-story-novel. There is no single, main…

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NEWS: OMAM Year One Compendium Now Available (For Free)

If you’re looking for a risk-free option to see what my indie press has going on, this is your chance! Even free on Amazon! That took some work on my part, I’ll tell you.

Of Metal and Magic Publishing

Here at Of Metal and Magic Publishing, we’ve hit the ground running in our first month of operation. We’ve already got four books for sale, with at least one more coming by the end of the month–the re-release of my short story novel In the Valley of Magic under the OMAM branding. We’ve also got several stories you can read for free, right here on the site.

Adding to that free content, I am happy to announce that we have published a free sampler of the CORE novels we are releasing next year. This book contains the first chapters (or episodes, as we call them in our CORE books) of six upcoming novels, including:

  • Call of the Guardian, by JM Williams
  • Pariah’s Lament, by Richie Billing
  • Scion of the Oracle, by E.A. Robins
  • To Wield the Stars, by Douglas W. T. Smith
  • The…

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