Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Curse of the Cover

Being a writer tends to involve a lot of time spent waiting. Waiting to get distant enough from a project to edit the manuscript, waiting to hear back on submissions, waiting to get a manuscript back from a beta reader or editor, waiting to actually move up the cue to get the book published. It's all part of the process, and you grin and bear it as much as possible. But no one ever told me I would have to deal with curses too!

My first book, In the Service of Samurai, actually went pretty smoothly from acceptance, editing, and print. No real problems. But, Vassal of El, on the other hand, was plagued after it went to print with odd category placements! On Fictionwise it got dumped into Dark Fantasy, something which it is definitely not. But on Amazon, by some fluke of nature, it got slated as a Scientific Experiment Text! Who knows what it got dumped under elsewhere. And let me tell you, after you get stuck in the wrong category, it is hard, very hard to get you put into the right spot! (The publisher and myself going at it, it still took more than a year to fix Amazon! Eek!)

I sold two other manuscripts, one to another publisher, and a new one to my main publisher. The new publisher got me edited right away, and it was awesome. But they got cursed with some truly terrible personal catastrophes (on multiple members of the staff!), which trickled down, so that book was delayed along with many others for over a year. I have my fingers crossed that Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles will see print sometime around Christmas, but who knows! (I don't think of this one as cursed per say, but then, I'll have to wait and see till it is released!)

I had much higher hopes for Willing Sacrifice. But little did I know! Back in 2006 the specs for the cover were sent off to an artist, and there was a proof by January 2007. I liked the proof a lot, and so did the publisher, and after compiling some minor changes to bring out a couple of aspects, the publisher contacted the artist and waited for the changes. And waited, and waited, and waited. Despite repeated attempts to get a hold of the artist, there was no response. Suddenly the release date is looming and the book has no cover! (Hadn't had an edit yet either, so all I could think was doom and gloom!) Publisher found another artist. The edit got done. I did the final manuscript pass through. We did miss the original publishing date, but the artist did get a first cover pass out. The cover was totally different from the first one, but was pretty good. Did need some changes, (I'm sorry, Dal doesn't have a goatee!) and the comet needed to be placed on the front rather than the spine (some weird placement issue thing), but once fixed I was sure it would kick!

I wait and wait and finally bug the publisher. Well, the proof got looked at by the partner, who is also the cover layout person, and she didn't like it. Decided she would take the project on herself. But she's swamped. So now I wait, and wait, and wait. Maybe 2007 just isn't my year to publish books...

Want to take bets on whether a fourth artist will have to take a crack at it?

The Curse of the Cover is here! :P
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