Friday, June 24, 2011

37 Days to Publication -- the Cover

I worked yesterday afternoon and came up with the rough draft cover and have now submitted it to the art department for initial approval. I'm away for the weekend. There is always a lot of downtime after cramming to get something done.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

38 Days to Book's Release

Whew! Last night I sent an electronically signed contract and all the other forms, including the 'promo' pieces:

A 25-word blog line (what's the catchiest short sentence you can come up with to gain a reader's interest in your book?). Mine? What would you do – spy on others so you could publicly betray their secrets, or expose a secret that could destroy you? What do you think?
Wording for the back cover and for website blurb (No more than three paragraphs, and I went with the same three paragraphs paraphrased from the story). Mine: Magic makes you different, makes others look on you with suspicion. Many think those having such strangeness are dangerous, threatening, and also somehow undeserving of such a ‘gift.’ What Bertok had not related when the bishop gave him this mission was his greatest, most buried secret--he possessed such an unnatural ability. Now he must use his magic against others, expose them, and hope he would not be caught.
And a book excerpt of no more than 3 pages for the website. Too much information to give what I sent in here.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? I find it's one of the hardest parts of book management, harder than writing the manuscript, and I have some marketing background! These are the words that catch a reader's interest. I've made mistakes in this venue before. The promo pieces done yesterday were all selected in a matter of hours and reworked for what I thought presented this work best. I may have to revisit these words as this book goes through edits. Luckily, my publisher knows I'm in a crunch. I think they believe I can pull this off, and I know they will work with my changes up to the last minute. I hate last minutes and I'm sure they do to, so any changes will be completed long before the last minute.

Today I mailed in the printed copies of the contract. Now I'm going to search for images to use on my cover.

Wings lets me do my own covers, which I enjoy doing, and which I think make my stories stand out as part of a group and mine. What do you think? Are my covers up to par or should I let a cover artist do them? I have to say here, my other two publishers don't allow authors to do their covers because they like a specific look for their publishing houses, but I'm extremely pleased with the results.

With all this going on, I can also tell I'll be doing a lot of walking to relieve stress.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Very Busy July Coming Up!

I received and signed contracts today from Wings Press for Legend's Cipher, a fantasy anthology set the Aegis World of my other stories: Magic Aegis, Change and Acceptance. Publication date -- August 1, 2011. That's right, thirty-nine days from now. They had an empty slot and Legend's Cipher slid into it. I have a busy, busy month ahead. I'll make posts of how this progresses. I've never done editing and cover in this short a time frame. I'll be telling myself: I can do this... I can do this... I can do this...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Witch World

Fantasy is timeless because the worlds created have their own reality. It is escapism at its best.
newer cover
Witch World was the first volume of the Witch World series that launched several generations of teen and preteen readers into the genre of fantasy fiction. And yes, I was one of those teens. There were other fantasy novels around, but many of those were difficult to read, or aimed at adult audiences.

Witch World stories were classified as 'juveniles' because they didn't contain graphic sex, objectionable language or abusive violence, and they often revolved around coming-of-age journeys. However, these novels have much broader appeal. I've reread my copies through the years with as much enjoyment as the first time.

Simone Tregarth is a man marked for death in the mid-20th century. The ex-colonel fell afoul of what seems to be a criminal organization. Norton leaves this a little nebulous because it doesn't matter except that Tregarth is a hunted man, a former warrior seeking escape. However, Norton points out that Tregarth is of ancient Cornish descent, invoking times of King Arthur and Celtic magic. A stranger who considers himself a scientist, an explorer, and an experimenter promises Tregarth escape. He leads Tregarth to the Seige Perilous, a stone as old as Stonehenge, rumored to have the ability to "judge a man, determine his worth, and then deliver him to his fate." At dawn, the Seige Perilous delivers Tregarth to Witch World, a journey with no return.

Witch World does not have the technology of Tregarth's homeworld, but magic is abundant. There are witches, magic, telepathy, and an ongoing war between good and evil.

His first act in this strange land saves the life of a witch, who remains unnamed until the last page. She takes him to Estcarp, the "threatened, perhaps doomed" home of the witches. Of course, Tregarth doesn't speak the language, giving the reader an excellent opportunity to learn along with him. Here we meet witches, who only keep their power while virginal, and the dwarf guardsman Koris the Misshapen. There are other races in this world: the men called Falconers; the seafaring Sulcarmen, and about the evil coming from the lands of Karsten and Alizon. We also learn of the gates, portals that deliver people from other times and places, the price of magic, and of choices between right and wrong. WITCH WORLD serves as the reader's gate to numerous other books in this amazing, well-crafted world.

The thirty-two books of the Witch World are available used from online booksellers, but I've discovered them to few and far between in local used bookstores. Probably a testament to readers loving their books so much they don't want to part with them.

Sadly, Andre Norton died in 2005 at the age of 94. The list of her published books displays her impressive accomplishment.

Witch World by Andre Norton, Copyright 1963, many editions. Mine is from ACE Science Fiction.