Sunday, September 4, 2011

TASK 1: The Covers Are Finished

Last Friday, I gave Kharl and the Accurance design team my official OK on the covers for the three books of WATERSPELL. I wanted clean, uncluttered designs that would look good as thumbnails, since thumbnail-size is nearly the only way most readers ever see the covers for e-books. Fortunately, these deep-blue covers are also striking when printed full size, 6x9, which is how big the printed books will be.

It’s been fun getting comments from my fellow writers. With one exception (a person who labeled the covers “boring”—she is not, I suspect, a regular reader of fantasy), all the comments have been highly complimentary:
  • “They’re beautiful!”
  • “This [cover] really piques my curiosity. I want to buy the book to learn more.”
  • “The covers are breathtaking. I’d be honored to have a book that looked so beautiful. If this were on a bookshelf, it would be gorgeous to see! But even on screen, it’s eye popping!”
  • “Looks wonderful, so inviting. The covers are great ... who did them? I just love them.”
TASK 2: Proofing the Galleys Goes On

I have received the first run of galley proofs for WATERSPELL Book 2: The Wysard. They look good, except they’re missing the copyright page, dedication, Contents page, and epigraph that I supplied in a separate file. For Book 3: The Wisewoman (which will be released next spring) I will be sure to put ALL of the pieces into a single file.

I’m still waiting on the second run of galley proofs for Book 1: The Warlock. The changes to the text were very minor. What’s holding up progress, I suspect, are the pages of front matter (copyright, dedication, contents, epigraph) that I asked Accurance to include in the second run of proofs. Inserting those pages will change the pagination throughout the 375-page book.


I finally got around to reading Accurance’s lengthy document about their process for converting the book from PDF (which is used for the print-on-demand/POD version) into all of the various formats that work with the various e-readers that are now on the market. And wow! The process takes much longer than I expected. To quote:
[O]ne should expect that in the first phase where the publisher/eBook store accounts are being established, it will average 90 days from the date of completed/approved eBook versions of a title to being on an eBook store website and available for sale. Once the accounts are established, the average from completed/approved to ‘available for purchase’ will be closer to 30 days. Both of these are averages, though: There will be those significantly faster and those significantly slower.
I’m hoping that WATERSPELL will fall into the “significantly faster” category. In any case, I’ve changed the projected release date, for the e-books, to December 2011, while keeping my hoped-for date of October 2011 for the release of the paperback edition.


My oldest website, the one I created years ago as my first attempt at getting an online presence for myself and my novels, had languished untouched since October 2009. When I got a new, fresh, uncluttered site through the Authors Guild, I thought I might should dismantle my old—and oldish-looking—site.

But no! I cannot do that. When I googled “WATERSPELL,” my old site popped up as No. 3 in the search results. Though I had almost abandoned the site, other people had obviously found enough of value in it to link to it and keep it alive in the search engines.

So I spent the entire day yesterday updating the site’s major pages: Home, Excerpts, Readers’ Comments, Author Interview, Words & Treasures. The other, more minor pages will have to wait.

While rereading the Author Interview, I was struck by something I wrote, so many years ago that I’d forgotten ever writing it:
When I started reading the early Irish legends and Celtic myths, I was looking mainly for “the telling detail”—authentic figures of speech, colorful descriptive terms, gritty background textures. But as I read, I noticed that aspects of the mythology had their counterparts in this fantasy I was writing. Or vice versa. For instance, water often has mystical qualities in the legends—Irish rivers like the Boyne were held sacred. It’s pretty obvious from the series title—WATERSPELL—that water has magical properties in my story, too. The traditions tell of quests, leading into the Otherworld and back. “Other worlds” figure prominently in WATERSPELL—the premise [is] that what’s harmless in one world or reality may prove deadly if it arrives, whether innocently or by skullduggery, where it doesn’t belong. Also central to my work is the heroic quest, undertaken to gain information or wisdom, to bring healing, or to find or restore lost objects.
I was deep into researching-and-writing mode when I wrote that. For quite a while now, I’ve been too focused on the nuts-and-bolts of publication to reflect back on the fun and excitement of discovery—all that I learned while crafting this tale.

I’m glad now that I didn’t permanently abandon my oldest WATERSPELL website. It holds the history of my research, my original intentions for this trilogy, and all the treasures I collected along the way. A lot of it is actually pretty interesting to read—which is why it still ranks high with Google, I suppose, even after my two years of benign neglect.

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