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Monday, September 15, 2014

Keeping You Informed On the Real Business of Getting Published

Well, here's what's going on lately. The cover got finalized after seven revisions. You know me, I believe there are only two ways to attract a reader to a book -- word of mouth and the cover. Especially for small presses. It's about the only way to advertise what the book is about. Ironic that you have to use an image to promote text (but there's a reason they say a picture is worth a thousand words).

I started getting cover art mockups a few weeks ago. The first was just a simple picture of a mermaid. I said, well this doesn't illustrate what the book is really about. It just looks like so many other mermaid romance novels, and that's not what I want to communicate.

Then the artist tried an image of a futuristic city by the water. It looked way too Utopian, so the artist tried to fix it by making it sepia-toned. I said that's better, but doesn't include the mermaid. Then there was a few mockups of a mermaid in a great barrier reef-like place, with the sepia-toned futuristic city in the upper corner. I was surprised that it actually looked like my temporary version.


But of course we couldn't use that. The top image is from Stargate:Atlantis promotional/concept art, and the bottom, I don't know where its from. Copyright issues abound. But I expect more out of a publishing company. Surely they know how important cover art is. I wasn't that fond of the mermaid being included -- too supermodel, too Norwegian. I wanted something more girl-next-door so that she's more relatable (relatability is crucial in fantasy).

Then the editor jumped in. At this point, there were seven mockups back and forth, and I wasn't satisfied with any of them. They all reeked of photoshop and stock images. And whoever the cover artist was never responded to my comments. Just kept putting up a different version of the art. The editor emailed me and said that she considered the covers "exceptional" and that they cannot "work miracles" because they cannot create original illustrations. But they basically said that they were going to approve the current version of the cover art, whether I thumbs-upped it or not. That's a little different from what I was expecting based on assurance from my promotions specialist, that their "art department produces some spectacular stuff".

I was pretty peeved, but I can't squeeze blood from a stone. The cover was, in all honesty, pretty good compared to other designs I've seen from the same house. It's certainly could be worse.



On Aug. 30 (Wednesday), I got a automated notice from Delphi that the "Manuscript Galley" was uploaded (meaning it was uploaded the day before). I got no notice about a due date or that the galley needed approval. On the same day, I get a Google Alert that Merm-8 is listed on Manic Readers with a release date of Sept 5. I assume this is a good thing. Again, nothing about galley approval, so I assume that everything is still proceeding as normal.

The next day, on Sept 1st, I get a message from the galley editor that she needs to have final approval for release on Thurs (Sept. 4) Later that day, I get a message from the head editor that the release date will have to be pushed back because they need approval seven days before the release date. So not only did I not get information that the galley was ready within seven days, but the this was on Labor Day weekend. So basically I had two days to read an entire novel, my entire novel, of which I am the worst person in the world to check for mistakes. I told the head editor as such. She replied that she had misspoken about the seven days.

But then I get CC'd on another email warning me to approve the galley or risk the release getting pushed back, and a reply to it saying it had already been pushed back "due to the author not making galley corrections" in a timely manner. It seemed like either communications were being made without me being included or people not doing things when they should have been done. I'm a little miffed that I seem to be being blamed for the release date being pushed. I'm lucky that, so far, I haven't given out an exact release date, and I still don't know when the new one will be.

But I do anticipate Merm-8 being released before the month is out. So pay attention to your RSS feeds, constant readers/true believers (hey, I never realized that rhymes!)


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