The Horror . . . The Funny, Funny Horror . . . .

As I finalize my “A Sword Into Darkness” cover design, back-cover copy, and polish off my mad Photoshop skillzzz, I was keen to look around for advice on how to do it right, and — more importantly — how to do it wrong.  Thus, I discovered the following hilarious and frightening treasure trove:

http://lousybookcovers.com/

You’ll lose at least a day browsing.  Now, I’m off to completely re-design EVERYTHING!

 

Cover Contest!!!!!

Happy Friday and hoping you’re all going in to a wonderful weekend.

That being said, you’ve got some work to do first, so no shirking your responsibilities, Mister/Miss!  I’m proceeding on the depressed assumption that my standing queries with Baen and Ace are not going anywhere fast, so it behooves me to move forward with the Stealth Books e-publishing option.  This is much more of a do-it-yourself affair, so I have done the cover myself, but I can’t decide on exactly which one to choose.  This is where y’all come in!

Please peruse the following covers and pick which one you like best (i.e. which one is most enticing/professional and would instantly make you WANT this book).  I eagerly await the judgement of the internets.

Cover 1, centered title.  This one is standard, but the title might be more difficult to read in a thumbnail on Amazon.

ASID Ebook Cover 1 Desktop

Cover 2, the “Z” layout.  This one makes more effective use of open space and pushes the Sword of Liberty further back.  Oh, and if you noted it’s not as bright as the other pic, that’s easily fixable.  Specifically, which layout is best?

Aegis Ebook Cover 2

Cover 3, the “S” layout.  This one uses the pic from the first post, but maximizes title size for thumbnails.

Aegis Ebook Cover 3

And that’s it.  If none of these appeal, or one appeals particularly, or you think a particular tweak is needed, please leave a comment below.  Otherwise, absolutely please vote in the following poll.  Multiple visits and votes are allowed.  May the best cover win!

A “Pyr”less Effort

Well, the bad news just keeps on rolling.

Got a rejection e-mail, this time from publisher Pyr.  I’m only waiting on a pass from Ace to officially declare I’m batting .000.

Yes, I’m still on hold from Baen, and no, I have not yet submitted to any small indie markets yet, but once this final, delayed rejection comes in, it puts a cork in my fantasy of being pro-published the traditional way right out the gate.  As for the agent hunt, I’ve submitted to 6 major agencies, targeting their newly listed agents who are actively searching for clients.  So far, I’m 0 for 6.

I’m still engaged in writing, working on Echomancer, “Bumped”, and “ILYAMY” intermittently, but I really had high hopes for A Sword Into Darkness.  I even re-read it this last week and sent it off to another reader who had expressed a fascination with the book.  I think it’s good.  What could be the factor turning editors off about it?  What could I tweak or re-write to make it past those initial gate-keepers?

Ah, well.  I’ve pulled down “Bumped” this week and I’m finishing off a re-write now.  It’ll go off into the aether this weekend, along with “ILYAMY”. Maybe I can put my count of pro-published shorts to 3 or 4.

Any advice from the internets?

 

Foolish Game

Full disclosure here, but you’ll want to know this now before you get too invested:

I’m an idiot.

Not your standard “drooling on yourself,” “American Idol voter” idiot. No, I’m a traditionalist idiot.

I say this because that’s the only explanation I have when people ask me why the book I wrote isn’t on Kindle. That’s the way of things today, right? Amanda Hocking? Write a novel, post it to Amazon’s and Barnes and Noble’s sites, hit the market with the right idea at the right time, gather in a few million sales, then get picked up for dead-tree-book distribution and book tours from the major publishing houses. Everyone knows that’s the way the market is heading now, so why have I resisted jumping on the bandwagon to the future? Why have I resisted at least giving myself a shot at building some sales and a reputation?

Well, like I said, I’m an idiot. Big name writers whom I respect still warn against the New Model of publishing, pointing out correctly that for every Amanda Hocking, there are 100,000 also-rans who never sell to anyone other than their close friends and family. Go the self-publishing e-book route and you remove your book from consideration by major publishers and agents UNLESS you happen to strike it big on your own. Start out with the traditional publisher’s and agents’ slushpiles, push the convention networking angle, bide your time and grit your teeth for rejection, well, you’re at least up for consideration. And if it doesn’t work that way, you can still try out Amazon on your own afterward. Just not the other way around.

So, if I finished my book in 2011 and insisted on the traditional route, why am I still in it? It’s been two years! Surely I should be working up a Kindle or Nook edition now! Well, no. Again, because I’m an idiot. The publishing houses want exclusivity while they are waiting to reject your book, on the off chance that if they want it, another publisher hasn’t swooped in and bought it out from under them, thus wasting all the time they put in on it. So, none of what they refer to as “simultaneous submissions.”

And that’s where I’ve been for the last two years. A Sword Into Darkness has been languishing in the Baen Books slushpile for two years, not even looked at by an editor to be formally rejected, much less chosen. I’m not angry at Baen for that. They can’t help the size of their slushpile or the staff they have to go throught it. It would still make me ecstatic to be picked up by them. It’s just the nature of the game as they have set it up.

Well, I’m an idiot, but I’m not a damned fool.

Just prior to publishing this blog — and one of the reasons for its existence — is that I received an invitation to formally go with the New Model under the direction of some writers/mentors that have received significant rewards and sales by that route. I’m still weighing whether or not to totally go with that plan immediately, but I have decided to no longer play totally by the rules. So, last week, I made formal submissions to all the main publishing houses that are open to submissions without an agent (excluding Baen, who already has a copy in their pile). Between paper copies of the whole manuscript, submissions with just the first three chapters you see here, and electronic copies, four of the Big Six publishers have my book, along with an additional mid-list publisher. Five submissions which I will give about six months to respond. If they all reject it or just keep me waiting with no answer, I’ll go the New Model route. And, in between that time, I’ll work on getting an agent, publishing more shorts, writing Echomancer, as well as some other SECRET PROJECTS.

So, wish me luck, and don’t be surprised if you see my book for sale — in some format at least — by the end of the year.