Archive | March, 2011

HALP! TPaL Book Cover Poll

23 Mar

People of the world, I need your help. I’ve got my cover art from the lovely Plamena Doycheva, and I’ve got some fonts I’ll have to get licensing for. I’ve made 4 potential coverts for The Poppet and the Lune (TPaL), and I’d love your feedback. Tell me which one you like best, or which one you would like best if I did something to it (also tell me what you think I should do to it).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(the images are actually very clean/not pixelated. They just look weird shrunken down for the slideshow)

Thanks for your help!

Labels, genres, and other things that limit you

21 Mar

When I was much younger, just beginning to become aware of myself in relationship to the rest of the world, I realized three very important things that determined much of the person I’ve become- 1) that there is an immense amount of pressure for you to “fit in;” 2) that depending on who you fit in with, people will try to label you; and 3) that I wanted nothing to do with any of that, thankyouverymuch.

It was a hard road to follow. Did I find people I fit in with? More or less. We respected an appreciated each other, and while we did have many things in common we were not the same people. We were individuals, with very different things to offer to the world. People tried to label us, “goth” or “punk” or “freaks,” but when it came down to it we were just doing what we wanted, regardless of labels, regardless of what each other was doing.

In my writing, I’ve come to find that the same principles apply. I’ve let myself become bogged down on one level or another by the marketing aspect of publishing. I’ve mistaken craft for industry, and those are two very different things. Yes, you should write an opening sentence that pulls the reader in- but no, you should not write your entire novel based around what’s going to sell the most copies. So when it comes to writing for an audience, it gets tricky. The main reason to write for an audience is because you want to sell the book to them, which is fine. But is that why you’re writing to begin with?

If it is, then read no further. This entry will only piss you off. Because for me, writing is something I do because I must- I must tell stories, I must craft worlds, I must get to know characters and witness their struggles and triumphs. I write stories because I love to write, and yes I do want to sell them and have them be read, and ideally make a living from my passion. But what I’ve come to realize recently is that it can be very tempting to sacrifice a story in the name of securing an audience. Often, audiences come packaged under something I’ve come to really dislike, the labels known as “genres.”

Genres are just another form of labeling. They limit your creativity tremendously, lock you in, stifle the flow of your story. For instance, if you decide to write for young adults because that seems to be where the market is thriving- but wait, one of your main characters is an adult… Do not even for an instant consider changing that character based on the fact that it makes your story not fit into that genre. For the story to really shine you have to be true to it, from beginning to end. The soul of the story, that thing that burrows into the reader’s heart and makes a home there, it can only be found when the author tries to recreate the story given to them to tell in it’s most pure and, in many ways, divine form.

——————————————————————————-

You can see that I look at writing as more of a spiritual experience than anything else– I hope that’s been apparent for some time now. I’m a spiritual person– my spirituality (read: NOT RELIGION) is one of the most important things about my existence. Writing is not terribly separate from that. And there are a lot of people who would disagree with me about this, that to sell we must conform, to make our story the most accessible and widely read we must change it because the experts say so. But I have a whole lot of faith in the story– about as much as I have in the audience to be able to appreciate what it’s worth. Call me naive if you want, but I would rather have high hopes than low expectations. Being a writer–indeed, an artist of any kind–is about trusting in your own ability to create something beautiful.

Do you find genres to be helpful or hindering as a writer? What about as a reader?

That oft-used metaphor called “road”

10 Mar

So in my life I’ve gone through various phases in regards to my relationship with writing and publishing. At one point, I just wrote stories and had no reason other than compulsion and joy. And then I wrote because I wanted to be a Writer. And then I thought I would never be a Writer because I wasn’t good enough. Then I realized I was a writer, no matter what. But I still wanted to be a Writer, and even though I didn’t admit it, I believed there was a difference. A Writer was Published. I wasn’t, not really. So I was just a writer. (Following me?)

Then, a few months ago, I said DAMN IT I am a writer, and there is no such THING as a Writer. And I believed it, mostly. And I said I was going to self-publish The Poppet and the Lune. And I even went so far as to commision artwork for the cover (see the background of this blog?). But something was still off- that part of me that didn’t want to budge about the difference between a writer, and a Writer. A Writer wasn’t just Published, but it was validated by Official Writer Validators, who decide if your book is Good Enough to Publish.

Then, what I really, really realized is that… those “official” people who decide these things about your book? They have no power. Not really. They decide what they can sell, not what’s good. (*ahem*Twilight*ahem*)

Those are very different things. That’s like Hallmark deciding what’s a “good” sentiment to have on an occasion. It’s not real- their decisions hold no real weight.

I write, still, because I am compelled to. I write because I have stories to tell, that sing through me until I have fleshed them out completely on the page. Do I want to make a living from doing the things that I love? Of course. But do I write to create something that will sell? No.

Will my books sell if I write the best story I can, truest to my heart, and take the best care I can to edit, format, and design the book, and then publish it myself?

I believe so.

To emphasize my commitment to this understanding (deep in my bones and screaming through my blood): unless I’m offered an AMAZING contract and an agent I think is one of my plutonic soul mates here on earth, as soon as I get a confirmed pass or whatever on the networking happening on my behalf at the moment in NYC I’m going to get going on self publishing The Poppet and the Lune. Because putting it out into the world under my own terms is better than waiting for someone else to decide that they can use it for their own success, and waiting for other people to tell me when I can begin my career as a Published author… when really the only difference between a *Published author and a published author is that the former has a lot more hoops to jump through. And frankly I’ve never been able to hula hoop, let alone jump through hoops. (joke? eh? haha?)

And then, I’m going to fix up The Hierophant and put that out there too. You see where I’m going with this?

Basically, I’m taking back my power. In the immortal words of Sarah to David Bowie/Jareth: “You have no power over me.” And boy oh boy, is that refreshing.

*disclaimer: I have nothing against traditionally published authors. More power to them. But if I’ve written books that “just aren’t a match” for the agents who read them, even though they love them… then I’m not waiting for them. I’m going straight to the public.

Testing

1 Mar

Just testing my new phone app. That’s right, I’m hip to the times finally- got mah self a smurt phone!