Rootwood ePub Formatting

I have watched with growing excitement as the world of self-publishing has come into its own, offering exciting opportunities for authors, both new and veteran, to control their own work and how it gets published. It only recently occurred to me that this explosion of literary activity must have a great need for visual media and formatting skills. After assisting my good friend B.C. Laybolt with cover art and ePub formatting for his books, I decided to put my name out there for any other writers who are looking for similar services.

In this age of intellectual property rights, having an original piece of cover art is crucial. Commissioning a cover artist can be tricky, especially when you are not dealing with people face-to-face. Artists can be difficult about criticism, or formatting their work for a specific platform, so its important to find someone with professional publishing experience, who understands the basic rule of business: ‘the customer is always right’. While a writer may not be a visual artist, they are still a creator, and their opinion matters! One of the advantages of self-publishing is control of the work, and that should extend to the pricing and cover. As a designer, it’s important for me to have an informed opinion and share it, but at the end of the day it’s not my book.


Writing a book is a creative act, requiring discipline, willpower and vision. Getting it into the right format and uploaded to an ePub service is another thing entirely. For some people, it’s no big deal, but others can find the task daunting. Formatting is another service I can provide, which involves getting your manuscript uploaded to the host and handling any of the technical issues that may come up along the way.

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The above images are commissioned covers I did for B.C. Laybolt, and as you can see, the full artwork is designed for a wraparound front/back cover, and can be used for promotional pieces like postcards or posters. Over the next few months I will be posting some ‘off the rack’ pre-made book covers, organized by genre. These will be available for a lower price, with an extended fee structure for extra services such as artwork changes, media formatting, archival services, and promotional materials. In the meantime, I am available for commissioned covers starting at $200 CDN.

Any interested parties should contact me by email:

Dylan Edwards is a writer, designer, animator, teacher and illustrator living in Halifax NS Canada. Dylan has worked in the graphic design, video game and television industries for 20 years.

Always Writing

Just in case anyone actually follows this blog, I thought I’d update it with my latest doings.

I am always writing, drawing, animating. The Overlord is my great work, and it proceeds at a snail’s pace. I just finished some artwork for my buddy‘s first novel, which he is self-publishing. I did an animated spot for This Hour Has 22 Minutes which aired this December past, it’s called The Lockout Sweater. I also started teaching at the Centre for Art & Technology, which is a private career college. I also have a short film, animated in stop-motion, that is in progress (and has been for like 2 years now) which is called Onions. I have also writted a couple of scripts for a sci-fi series that a buddy of mine and I are pitching to networks.

..there’s more stuff, but I am out of time for now

Warp Drive

Okay… so now I have to rethink my book ‘Proteus’ – it was based on the notion that you couldn’t travel faster than light, but Nasa seems to be on to something that could mess that all up

I will probably back-burner this story while I re-think it a bit. In the meantime, there is more Exodus in the works

Exodus – Prologue

I’m starting a second novel called ‘Exodus’, which is unconnected to Proteus. It’s science fiction as well, but a bit different in tone. I’ll be writing these simultaneously.



The Omega Object was coming. It was the size of the Moon, and it was on course to collide with the Earth in three years.

Humanity had united in the face of this universal threat, setting aside their differences to work together for the survival of the species. The brightest minds were brought together and given the combined resources of every government on the planet. Project Achilles was the culmination of human endeavor, the pinnacle of civilization, the very best and most significant undertaking in recorded history. There were mishaps, accidents and setbacks, but after eight months the project was completed, a month ahead of schedule. The spacecraft was a miracle of science, the crew was the best of the best, and they set out to save the world.

Everyone waited with baited breath as the Achilles Mission hurtled closer to its moment of destiny near Saturn. Every day for ten months there were reports on the status of the mission, the health of the crew, the readiness of the equipment. Humans had traveled farther than ever before as Achilles passed the orbit of Mars, navigated through the Asteroid Belt, and then sailed out past the orbit of Jupiter. Saturn was in their sights, and behind it, the glowing form of the Omega Object, blazing green like a ghostly comet, with an enormous fiery plume trailing out behind it.

It defied all attempts to analyze its composition. Its trajectory was erratic, inexplicably reacting to gravitational fields of nearby objects. When Achilles was finally within range of their sensor probes, the moment of truth had arrived. They began a live broadcast, the signal taking 75 minutes to reach the Earth. The whole world watched the rockets being prepped and launched. The first trickles of data started to come in, instantly recalculated into graphs and charts. The commander of the mission was describing a reaction from the Omega Object, some sort of flare. The image went white, and then there was nothing more from Achilles.

There was desperate hope as the seconds dragged on into minutes. Mission Control sent out repeated signals to Achilles, each time waiting 150 minutes to receive a reply. For three days, the world waited for some sign, some message, any sort of clue as to the fate of the mission.

After three days, the Achilles Project Ground Control made a final statement. Debris had been spotted in the vicinity of Saturn, consistent with a cataclysmic failure of the Achilles’ main reactor. The ship was officially declared destroyed. The Omega Object was observed to have accelerated, and its trajectory had compensated, keeping it on course to intercept with the Earth in six months. The mission was a failure.

It was officially the end of the world.

Proteus – 5


Strand walked to the control panel and pulled the handle. The hatch growled as it slid up and into the doorway. Varram stepped out of the locker room and stood in the corridor, unsure of which direction to go. Strand pointed to the right. “The grav-well is this way, sir.”

Varram smiled awkwardly. “Yes, of course.”

The two of them walked along the narrow corridor, and passed a medical staffer, rushing by with a bundle of supplies.  He shouted as he approached. “Make a hole!”

Varram and Strand stood to one side, backs against the wall as he passed.

Proteus – 4

Strand stood rigidly. “I understand, sir. I’ll try not to disappoint you.”

Varram had finally managed to pull the tight undersuit onto his frame and closed the seal-seam, but the collar was giving him trouble. He threw his hands up in frustration. “God! This infernal uniform will be the death of me!”

Strand turned slightly, looking sideways at the Science Chief. “Sir? If I may?”

“Would you?” Varram splayed his fingers at his neck region in a tense gesture. “This head-sleeve is impossible!”

The ensign walked over to Varram and untucked the baggy frill of material that billowed from the neck of his suit. “It’s designed to roll up into a cushion-type collar when not in use. Just leave the plastic release ring hanging out the back like this, so it’s easy to find in case of an emergency depressurization.” Strand took his wrist and guided his hand to the back of the suit, so he could feel the ring and learn its proper setup.

Varram looked at his reflection in the mirror, this time, fully dressed in the uniform of a Pantheon Space Corps Science Chief. His uniform was similar to the ensign’s, a tight-fitting black and green undersuit, but with extra gold bands around his wrists, denoting his rank. She stood respectfully behind him, and Varram saw her face, youthful and awkward. He was her commanding officer, and Varram felt his responsibility for her settle on his shoulders as the smartfoam lining of his undersuit molded to the forms of his body. He breathed a sigh and turned around. “Thank you, ensign… I’m sorry what did you say your name was?”

“It’s Strand, Chief.”

Varram held out his hand, and she shook it. “I’m sorry we got off to a rocky start there, Strand. I think I need my morning cup of tea. You seem like a good egg. I’m sure you’ll work out fine.”

The ensign nodded curtly. “I’ll try not to disappoint you, Chief. Now if you’ll follow me, Captain Hargest says we need to get to the bridge.” She handed him the data slate she had been holding.

“The bridge? But I haven’t met with my team yet, we haven’t even unpacked our experiment packets..” Varram raised his eyebrows as he thumbed the activation icon and the slate faded up “What’s this now? We’re not even in the Vela system yet?”

“That’s right, Chief. Most of the science team is still in prep for thaw-out. We’re on approach to the termination shock.”

Varram felt his senses sharpen as adrenaline spiked into his system. He knew that something unexpected must have happened. All the procedures, training, bureaucracy, all the necessary and logistical steps that had brought him to this place were falling away. The unknown was lurking close by, and this was why he had come. To stand naked in the void of space, bathed in the light of an alien sun, to push to the edge of the human sphere, this was why he had left his family. He had never felt more alive than those moments in his lab, or in the field, when his research took him into new territory. This was his reason for being. “Let’s go, Strand. You’d better tell me on the way to the bridge.”


© Dylan Edwards, 2012.

Proteus – 3

He knew his sister Fadheela would carry on the family traditions and honour his father’s memory. He had abandoned his family; left the Earth, possibly forever, but this sacrifice would be worth it in the end. Yash would write his name in the stars, forever a part of this historic expedition to explore a new world. He saw the pride in his mother’s eyes when he said his final farewell. She had said to him, “Your father would be so proud of you.”

Now he was billions of kilometers from home, and the eyes looking back at him were not proud.

There was a sudden growling sound as servo motors pulled open one of the doors behind him. Yash turned just in time to expose himself to the woman who was entering the change room, with a data slate in her hand.

“Hey hey hey – changing in here!” Varram lurched left and right, waving his arms, grabbing the empty air for something to cover his nudity.

The woman seemed unimpressed as she fixed her eyes on the cieling. “Apologies, Chief. Your kit is in Locker 2.” She gestured towards one of the cages. He edged towards it, keeping a suspicious eye on the intruder. She wore the black and green uniform of a Science Specialist.

“You are on my team? I don’t recognize you.” He reached the locker and pulled open the door, using it as a screen.

“Ensign Inga Strand, Chief. Pantheon Command approved my assignment after launch prep was underway.” She glanced over at Varram as he popped open his trunk, and removed his uniform. He caught her looking and scowled fiercely.

“No peeking! Turn around!” Strand complied and faced the wall. Satisfied, Varram returned his attention to the task at hand. He stepped into his uniform. “You’re an ensign? How the hell did you get onto the Trident?”

“Command felt that the Science Division needed an extra set of hands, sir. Or so I was told. At the time.”

“Command felt-?” Varram struggled with the undersuit in his rising indignation. “An extra set of hands? I selected my team from a list of candidates as long as your arm, Ensign. If I had known I would get an extra set of hands..” He nodded apologetically to her back. “No offense, but there are many others I would have chosen to take your place.”


© Dylan Edwards, 2012.

NOTE: Short post this week – it was a busy time – My eldest son graduated from high school today!