Linguist for syfy's the expanse self-publishes first book about a post-apocalyptic human race that glows blue


nick farmer

author of The Survivors, linguist for SYFY's The Expanse

Self-publishing authors setting off to write their first book regularly have to juggle full-time jobs and families in addition to writing, publishing, and marketing their book. In fact, many of our self-publishing clients write books that have a lot to do with their "regular job." When Nick Farmer approached us to design his novella, The Survivors, in 2016, we were thrilled to work with an author with Hollywood background 



As his first novel published after the Uncommon Series Trilogy, Cumulus is widely considered to be Eliot's best novel to-date. The book chronicles a diverse cast of characters juggling the ethics of virtual reality, net-neutrality, and surveillance. As is typical for Eliot's work, the book considers the impacts new technology has on both the daily lives of the public and on the lives of the masterminds behind the development of those technologies. 


The cover features an architectural photograph by Unsplash photographer Carl Nenzen Loven, which features the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. 

Transforming this image into the perfect cover was simple enough in concept, but took many rounds of comps to get right. Ultimately, it required developing a fully-custom typeface, which we call Cumulus Mono. The many hours spent sketching and refining this customization were ultimately worth-while, as Cumulus Mono will be featured in the designs of all three of Eliot's forthcoming Analog Series novels.

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 12.39.17 PM.png

Eliot's response to the final cover for Cumulus says it all:

I love it! Fucking awesome!
Your vision here is powerful and fits perfectly with the spirit of the story. I deeply appreciate how much thought and effort went into getting all the details to mesh. I also really like how you helped walk me through your process in the email itself. Reviewing these just gave me goosebumps. Full steam ahead on this concept.

You can find the full write-up on the process behind designing Cumulus here, and look out for the first novel in the Analog Series, Bandwidth, coming May 2018. 


Neon Fever Dream

When Eliot first briefed me on his most recent novel, he was only halfway through writing it. Like the prudent author he is, though, he wanted to nail down the cover design early. I had been wanting to investigate a type-only cover design for a while, and the richly informative "Neon Fever Dream" seemed the appropriate title to try this treatment out. 

It took a while, but eventually found the perfect image for this concept. In a collection by Polish photographer Paweł Michałowski, I discovered a series of long exposure neon light webs that matched my vision for the cover. Many hours of pixel-pushing later, I had settled on a particularly complex image, which, when situated correctly underneath the text, differentiated the author byline from the title just enough. 


I was sure that the cover was too experimental for Eliot's taste but I sent it off, and hoped for the best. 

In typical Eliot Peper fashion, he had some definitive thoughts about the design:

Fuck yeah! I love it. Let's go with this.

Those are seriously some of my favorite emails, ever. I'm lucky enough to have gotten it right the first time on several covers I designed for Eliot, but trust me, there have been emails in the past with expletives used to the opposite effect—some of the first covers I designed for True Blue come to mind. 


Luckily, after designing a slew of covers for Eliot's 2017 novella True Blue, we finally found a worthy cover in this blue-eyed beauty. 


Beyond his skills as a prolific writer, Eliot is a master of marketing and self-publishing. He is an excellent example of rare-found success in the self-publishing market, and it's not a case of luck or circumstance. Eliot is an extremely hard worker and he does his research. Much of our own knowledge about the self-publishing market comes from our experience working with him.