not all fallen is lost by Joshua T. Kurnia.

by Joshua T. Kurnia

Step into a galaxy of dreams, life reflections, and stories sewn together through Josh Kurnia’s lyrical language. A poetry collection that will transport you into a meditative abyss of a faraway world but bring you back home at the same time. See how Tell Tell Poetry helped Kurnia transform his vision into a reality, leading him to publish his debut collection that explores themes of inspiration, hope, self-love, life experiences, LGBTQ, fallen stars, and the big, blue moon.

What he wanted

Professional guidance with publishing the past three years of his life into a dreamy poetry collection, along with a mesmerizing back cover to match the front.

What he had

A patchwork of poems and vibrant cover art knit together by a clear and solid vision.

What we did

Blurb creation
Price development
Set up on platform

A tailor-made package for a first-time author

Three years of poetry delicately arranged into one manuscript. A stargaze-worthy illustration. And a set vision, feel and tone to create one hell of a collection. Joshua Kurnia almost had it all. The only piece missing was a friendly and experienced team to guide him through the doors of publication.

Kurnia reached out to us as a publishing virgin. He admits he had zero knowledge of the book-publishing process, so he wanted to be handheld as a first-time author. Originally working with another self-publishing company, Kurnia changed gears as soon as his friend and fellow poet, Elizabeth Sophia Strauss, referred him over to us. Strauss had published Inner Visions with Tell Tell’s support and was over the moon with how zir book and experience turned out. So Kurnia checked us out, and the rest was history!

From the first point of contact, Kurnia instantly had a connection with us, feeling that Tell Tell was more trustworthy and straightforward than its competitors. He loved how all his questions would quickly get answered with detailed explanations. He loved how we broke down the entire process step-by-step from the very beginning, making things easy to understand as a first-time author.

He also loved the flexibility we offered regarding the project package. Since he came to us with his manuscript ready to mock, a rough idea for the interior design, and an elaborate front cover illustration from another artist, we created a custom-fit package that included only the support Kurnia needed. He also thinks it’s great that Tell Tell does offer the full design and self-publishing package for those who need it!

Finally, Kurnia didn’t want to rush the process, so he was super appreciative of the timeline flexibility we provided, allowing him to kick off the project once he had all his materials ready, pause the project while he was out of work looking for a job, and then kick things back up where we left off once he got himself organized again.

For me as a first-time author publishing a book, I want to feel secure and trusting. I just felt that way towards Tell Tell more than the other one.

Interior design: finding the font that fit

While Kurnia had some design experience and was able to mock up the interior himself, he could not find that wow-effect font that would perfectly blend into his unique collection. Feeling overwhelmed with the idea of choosing a font, Kurnia was pleased to hear that we could support him with this. Once he sent us the interior in Times New Roman, we knew our Tell Tell designer had something better up his sleeve!

We played around with a few serif fonts and sent Kurnia some interior concept options that we thought would give his book a more custom feel to it. Kurnia really enjoyed deciding on the font and determining how he wanted the font to look on the cover versus the interior. In the end, he fell in love with an interior design layout we created using the Crimson font. We then took our personalization a step further, playing around with the capitalization of the poem titles and providing various options until Kurnia decided on only capitalizing the first letter of each title.

Having someone to help me with that, that was helpful! Even to the detail of which do we want to capitalize versus not.

Cover design: the missing pieces to the puzzle

Kurnia was simultaneously working with another artist, Shane Manier, who did a fab job capturing the essence of his poetry on the front cover. What he did not have yet was a back cover design and book description, which was where Tell Tell came in.

Throughout the entire creative process, Kurnia provided his vision and the art direction, paving the way for Tell Tell to make his book into a reality. He sent over a rough concept of what he wanted the back cover to look like, adding detailed notes to make sure the back cover fits the mood of the front. He wanted readers to feel hope, but also experience a dreamy, child-like nostalgia and magical sensation.

To complement Manier’s work, Tell Tell’s cover designer carefully crafted a back cover design that perfectly matched the front, in addition to tweaking the cover according to Kurnia’s requests and getting it ready for print. Meanwhile, Tell Tell’s editor wrote a marketing blurb to mock on the back—fitting all the pieces together.

I love how Tell Tell was able to match the front cover with the back cover design.

The write-up on the backside of the book was very helpful. I thought that was very well written. We did some back and forth a little bit on that one, but ultimately I’m happy with how it sounds and what is written in there. I think it captures the essence and the vibe of the book really well.

Surpassing expectations

Once the interior and cover files were finalized and print-ready, we completed the rest of the publication process by grabbing an ISBN, getting his book on the platform, and ordering a printed proof copy for him to review. Kurnia was pleased with the way the proof turned out and thought Amazon’s KDP did a great job with the quality of the book itself. The end product matched exactly what he was expecting and the vision he had from the very beginning—or maybe even surpassed it!

I love the matte of the cover, I’d say. I specifically wanted the cream-colored paper instead of the white paper—I just think it looks better! I like the preface that I wrote here. I think it sets the tone right for the book. Besides, the thickness, I think it feels right—it’s not too much.

Dreams for the future

Kurnia has further hopes and dreams for not all fallen is lost, possibly going beyond publishing with KDP and getting his book into bookstores. He also would love to turn it into an e-book, or better yet, an audiobook so that people can listen to him speak and read his poetry.

While he’s not currently working on any new poems, Kurnia expects to pick up his pen again soon, though if he publishes another book, his next collection wouldn’t be released for another three years after that.

I started writing poetry in maybe late 2019, early 2020. So I like how with this book I could “bookend it” as a 2020 til the end of 2023 poetry collection. So maybe if I start writing more this year then, if I were to publish something it would be three years from. It kind of documents my life as I go

Dear first-time authors…

If you made it this far, we’ve finally gotten to the part that you’ve all been waiting for: Kurnia’s advice for first-time authors. Here ya go! He hopes that this can help novice writers reach their dreams of becoming published authors, just as he did.


Take your time. Set the vision of what you want from the beginning and what feelings you want the book to leave readers with. If you set the tone and the branding of what the book should be and the feelings that you want to invoke, then the cover, the chapter names, and how you order the poems inside—that will all come into place because you have a single vision from the beginning. It has to be clear and simple of what that feeling and that theme that you’re trying to convey. How do you want to tell the stories of the collection of your poetry. It’s not just random stories, it has to say something about you, about that particular collection

Stop making excuses. Make it happen.