Saturday, July 30, 2011

5 Chiming In
Yes, I know the book was "real" before, but now it has its own goodreads page! Now it's more real. Now it exists in a database other than my own hard drive and it's clickable.

It's just a cool, cool moment. :-D

"Your" Book vs. Your Book

8 Chiming In
That title confusing enough for you? Good, now let me explain.

I've gotten a few questions since my book deal notice went up, and most are simple, but this is a subject I'd rather do a full post on. It concerns things like titles and book covers that may or may not (<-- most likely) be under the author's control.

When you start writing a book, it's a solitary and often insular activity. The characters live inside a world you create (at least with fantasy or sci-fi), that - up to the point you get it on paper - only exists in your own mind. No one else can see what you see and no one else can know what you know. You have complete control.

Then you send your book out into the world.

Here's where things get tricky. The universe you've created? It still only exists inside your head. No matter how well you've described it, every set of new eyes that takes in your words is going to see something slightly different as your words are filtered through the reader's experiences. Just think how many times you've seen a novel-turned-film and thought the actor looked nothing like the picture in your head.

It happens. Intent isn't always synonymous with result, and while something may be completely obvious to you, you can't assume, as a writer, that what comes through on the page is what you meant to convey. And the same holds true for the person who designs your cover.

I can't tell you how many temper tantrums I've seen on various sites when authors discover that they can't control what goes on the cover of their book when it comes to title or cover art. They create mock covers (similar to what I've shown you here before), only with the expectation that those covers will be the final product, then they stamp their feet and scream that it's their book so they should get to decide what's on the front.

But, here's the secret: That book you wrote? It's not only yours anymore. If you sell it to a commercial publisher, then it's theirs, too. They have entire departments dedicated to marketing; they have experience in the market itself; they know what titles are being used for upcoming novels and they know that if yours sounds too similar it can hurt sales; they know how to craft a cover that will attract attention so a potential reader picks up the book and reads the back or skims the first pages. Most likely, you don't. And while your main focus may be to create a "perfect" image that conveys all the little nuances of your plot, the designer also has to focus on selling books, and that means a cover attractive to the market.

If it were up to me, I know exactly what I'd put on a book cover. It would be a perspective shot of my MC running toward the reader with her hand stretched out and her fingers dissolving to wind-blown particles of dust. The title would be Arclight, and the tagline would read : "There is the Light. There is the Dark. And no one survives the Fade."

But, at the same time, I'm excited to see how someone else interprets the book. What do they think it should be called? How do they see it? Because in the end, I didn't write it for only myself; I wrote a book because I wanted to share the story with others.

It's still your book, full of your words and characters and effort. You're a writer, so do your best with the parts you can control and don't sweat letting people who know more about design handle the parts that are their responsibility.

What Would You Like To Know?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

15 Chiming In
I've never done an open question thread before, but I've seen others do them, and I'm curious if anyone reading this blog has any questions. I can't promise I'll be able to answer everything, but I can at least pretend I know what I'm talking about. ;)

So... what do you want to know?

I can haz book deal?

Monday, July 25, 2011

50 Chiming In

Some of you may have seen this over the weekend, as it ran early in Publisher's Weekly, but I wanted to wait until I had the Publisher's Marketplace announcement to go with it before I put it on the blog:

July 22, 2011

Young Adult

Josin L. McQuein's debut ARCLIGHT, a science fiction/dystiopian thriller, where a parasitic race is driving humanity to the point of extinction, and no one who leaves the last safe enclave ever returns until one teenage girl, a stranger, stumbles out of the Dark, to Martha Mihalick at Greenwillow, in a two-book deal, in a major deal, by Suzie Townsend at FinePrint Literary Management (NA).

And now... HAPPY DANCE!