Sunday, 25 April 2010

Hallelujah I Broke My Head - Part 1

I finally done it.  I broke my head.  This is good.  No, this is awesome.

I have broken my head right open (makes it easier to fill with ideas).

I am so happy.

You see, like so many writers, I was chained to the idea of a BOOK - the idea set out by NY Publishing firms, by the Big Six.  

(Okay, so I couldn't find a picture of all six of the big NY publishers together.  But thematically this picture sends out the right message, I think).

But now my head is broken open.

I thought (as so many others do) that a book must be between 80,000 and 120,000 words.  I thought that I had to think up the best title I could, the title that would ultimately SELL my novel to an agent, from an agent to an editor, from an editor to his boss, and CARRY my book all the way to the SALES department where someone would arbritarily (is that a word?) decide that my title would never sell my book to anyone.  Ever.

Incidentally, a small aside to point out that this is one of the major reasons I'm going indie.  Publishers have a whole "the rest of the world are idiots" attitude.  I mean, come on, my title got the back this far, so obviously an agent, editor, publisher, blah blah can get excited about my title.  Why not Mr Joe Public?  Because he's an idiot.  Except I don't think he is.  I am the book buying public (well, not all of it, obviously) and I certainly don't see myself as being an idiot.  Interlude over.  Back to our scheduled programme.  

Hi, I'm back, and I broke my head.

I thought that my cover could best be thought up by a graphic designer who had never read my book but had a two sentence summary.  "The seventy two year old female MC has to save the world from a crystal skull wielding sorcerer on board the Titanic.  Oh, and simultaneously her 16 year old self has to save the world from a crystal skull wielding Amazonian high priest, told in flashbacks."

I mean, cover design is hard. It's not like Brain surgery, but come on, you have to choose the right font for the title.

Seriously?  Is it hard?  I mean, sure, the first time you do a book cover you have to learn that you never ever ever ever use Comic Sans, and that Courier and TNR are okay.  But do you have to learn this the second time you do a cover?  What about the 3rd time?  What about the twenty-fifth time?  With brain surgery, things can go wrong, complications can arise.  The operation can go arse buttocks to elbow (this is a family friendly blog; I probably shouldn't swear) but with typography you pick a fucking typeset and your done. (PS, I included a diagram in case some Americans weren't sure what an arse was.  I think you use ass, is that right?)

Cover design is easy hard.  I mean, look at this one as an example.  It's Blood of the Fold, book three of the Sword of Truth series. Now Book one and Two have a huge scarlett dragon in them.  Book 3 does not.

So why the Hell does the dragon only appear on the 3rd cover in the series?

Methinks the graphic artist read the first 2 books and got bored.  Which isn't a surprise, they're not awesome books.  In fact, they are the North pole to awesome's southnosicity.

Yes, it is a word.  Just because I made it up doesn't mean it isn't a word.  Shakespeare made words up, and people think it's awesome that he did.  Dickens made words up.  But people get all panicky if modern writers make words up.  English is an organic language.  It is alive.  You are allowed to make shit up.  Trust me, I'm a writer.

Not a published one, but that's no form of distinction at all.

I'm a writer.  Not a sheep.  

Though if I was, I'd be a cool ass sheep like this one.

But I'm not.

This blog post is getting long, so I'm going to split it in parts.  Tune in soon for more...


  1. Nice arse to elbow diagram, really clears things up. :)

    Even a lot of indie writers still seem to follow the publisher's way of doing things. I'm glad you broke your head, it's very freeing not to worry about doing everything the "right" way.

  2. Why, thank you. Glad my diagram cleared things up. :)

    Yes, exactly. There's more to come but I have moved away from the trad pub mindset.

    It is most awesome.

    PS I have problems posting comments on your blog. Coming from the UK I find your money/tax posts interesting, but I can't get into a discussion with you.