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ALBANY, NY – A new children’s book, written for kids by kids, and featuring the federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly has just been published by the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission. This scientifically-accurate, yet fanciful tale for young children was created by students from the school’s Pine Bush Project.
Each year, in partnership with the Commission and under the guidance of the school project’s founder Dr.
According to the Preserve’s Conservation Director, Neil Gifford, “The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a globally-rare ecosystem hosting over 1,000 known species of butterflies and moths. Although the book was a group effort, the primary author is a student named Natasha Permaul. Folmer notes, “I think part of its appeal is its sheer simplicity – along the lines of Eric Carle’s masterful work The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Located within the Capital District Region, the Albany Pine Bush’s gently rolling sand plain is home to a variety of rare plants and animals, including the federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly.
The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center transforms this globally unique destination into an exciting adventure where learning comes naturally through hands-on activities. For interviews with Discovery Center Director Jeffrey Folmer, Conservation Director Neil Gifford, or author Natasha Permaul please contact Wendy Craney, Communications and Outreach Director at 518-456-0655 ext. Once you have a clear idea of what books your reader loves, you can discover the key ‘visual signifiers’ that they will recognise in their favourite covers. Choose three book covers from your moodboard that have been published in the last year and fill out the table like the one below. Once you know the cover conventions for your genre, you can use these to create a cover that your readers will recognise, as well as something that will stand out on a shelf. Resist the temptation to defy all the conventions of your genre at this stage – this is something you can do after you have a strong reader following behind you.
For now, your aim is to communicate to a reader where your book fits in with their expectations. It can be really easy to get bogged down in the specifics of creating a cover, so to start with, play about with a few very basic drafts. Next, start filling it in with a bit more detail – perhaps using Google Drawings, or Paint (again, don’t get too fixated on perfecting things yet). My cover creation software of choice is Photoshop, as it has all the tools I need to create a beautiful and precise cover.



Ensure all the images you are using are large – images for printing need to be at least 300 dpi. Once you have your template in place, you can start adding your cover signifiers to the ‘safe area’ inside your template.
Keep a clearly-labelled PSD file with your layers on somewhere safe, in case you need to come back to it later.
Remember – what is ‘on-trend’ is always changing, so spend time in bookshops and keep reading similar books to yours to stay on top of what is current in your genre. Sarah Juckes is the Communications Manager for CompletelyNovel, a friendly publishing platform and author community specialising in print-on-demand.
Publishing Talk is the blog and magazine for publishers and authors wanting to learn about writing, self-publishing, digital publishing, social media marketing, and developments in the industry.
Publishing Talk is a trading name of Reed Media Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales No.
The newly released Mister Karner Blue is the result of a unique collaboration between the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and the Farnsworth Middle School in Guilderland, New York and in that regard, presents a story within a story.
Alan Fiero, the students participate in authentic scientific research including a captive rearing program for the Karner blue butterfly. Natasha, now a sophomore in high-school, was a seventh grader at Farnsworth Middle School when she submitted a scrapbook presentation on the life cycle of the Karner blue butterfly for Dr. The free event will include a book signing and reading by the young author, a StoryWalk® of the book on the Discovery Trail led by Discovery Center educators, crafts and refreshments. The 3,200-acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve also creates a special habitat for a number of other rare and unique plants and animals, while providing visitors with an assortment of non-motorized recreational opportunities including hiking, jogging, nature study, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing. As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Discovery Center introduces visitors to everything that makes the Preserve rare and adventurous. Using cover components that are currently on-trend in a genre can catapult a new book by an unknown author into the shopping carts of readers.
By using social reading websites such as Goodreads and even Amazon’s ‘recommended’ function, she can find books that her target readers might have already read and loved. Take the visual signifiers you identified in the last task and arrange them in a rough outline using a pen and paper. It is a little expensive though, so this might be where you want to bring in the services of a professional designer, or try using a free version of Photoshop, such as Gimp. This should include (from left to right) a back cover, a spine and a front cover design on one page (if you are designing a cover for a print book) and a front cover only for an eBook.


For print books you should always select CMYK as this is the standard that printers use and will help ensure your colours come out properly. This will depend on the number of pages in your manuscript and the thickness of paper used. To ensure your cover doesn’t have any white space along the edges, include a 3mm bleed around the outside. CompletelyNovel is a professional self-publishing platform specialising in high-quality print on demand publishing.
CompletelyNovel enables authors to create, publish and sell their books worldwide using online tools, and keep 100% of their book royalties.
In 2012, of the 600 captive-reared butterfly chrysalises the Commission had to work with, 400 were reared in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game, while 200 were reared at the Farnsworth Middle School. This insect – first studied by and also named by zoologist and renowned author Vladimir Nabokov in 1944 – can now be found at 40 sites covering more than 100 acres. These butterflies are rare, diminutive, hard to spot, live only three to five days, and are difficult to distinguish from other similar non-endangered butterflies. The book retails for $11.95 and is available at the Discovery Center Shop and selected retailers. Whereas a crime fiction author might find that a colour-picked photograph and bold, distressed font is currently popular. Add different colours and shades, as well as different fonts and wording for any taglines and the blurb.
If you are creating an image that will be only used on a screen, then you can choose the RGB colour profile. Find more advice from CompletelyNovel at their Advice Hub, or read more posts from CompletelyNovel on this blog. The production of the book was a team effort of fellow students, her teachers, adult volunteers, and Commission staff. It features artwork by the children and their teacher as well as photos by adult volunteers from the Preserve.



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