Decisions, decisions …

So the final editing of Love or Lust is well under way.  It probably won’t be done by Valentine’s Day, but it still might.  It is moving at a fair clip, but that doesn’t change that there’s about 140k words and 400-ish pages to get  through.  Too, I have to make a final read through just to make sure that the final buff and polish is done, so that date will likely be missed and was never a very resounding likelihood anyway.

That’s got me to thinking about a few things.

First off, section separators:  Also known as fleurons (and an hundred other things), they do give a certain flair to the page.  They’re also a bloody wretch to figure out how to do.  With Dingbats type fonts they’re a breeze in the PDF, but they start to become an unholy nightmare in the universe of the ePUB and Kindle editions.  Not impossible, mind, but nightmare.  An alternative is to just use a little graphic.  Dear God save me from things that ought to be black on transparent alpha layer but instead are scans complete with random not exactly white artefacts in the white bits!!  Photoshop and I had a lovely row about that.  I did make one.  It was kind of pretty.  Well, that is, until I tried to put it on the page.  That didn’t go too well. Still … I’d appreciate feedback on that.

If you click on the word fleurons above it’ll take you to an example image.  The alternative is good old fashioned asterisks.

The second bit of thinking was just a bit of fun inspired by how another author did a little pre-release promotion.  Seanan McGuire did a Discount Armageddon ABCs thing that seemed kind of cute.  The more I think about it the less I want to do it.  So I probably won’t.  But just in case I do lose my mind and decide to go with this little touch of lunacy … well … you’ve been warned.

Solidly decided things:

  • Publishing, I don’t care if you use a publisher or do it yourself, is a good way to go completely mad with indecision, anxiety, self-doubt, and several other things that suddenly have escaped my vocabulary and are lost in the woods some place.
  • I love my cover art.  I’m, torn between ideas regarding it though.  I’m very much thinking to keep that layout and just change the colour scheme for each book, and then (naturally) the image.  The question is, do I keep finding girl/girl cover art (something I can absolutely do for Ready or Not but is giving me a touch of trouble for later books), or just keep finding pretty images (e.g. the 4th book maybe having a ballet slipper on it or some such).  Ah well, I’m not even done with the second book yet and feel like it needs heavy editing so I’ve plenty of time to consider and reconsider this.
  • The print edition will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of us$10.  Sadly, this is due entirely to length.  It costs more than the retail price of a novel half this size just to print the bloody things.  Which gives me a new found respect for some of the newest Terry Pratchett novels I’ve picked up being about us$10, but doesn’t explain some places charging that much for things like Light Fantastic or Wyrd Sisters!  The eBook, though, will likely be closer to us$4 or us$5.  Compelling enough arguments could see it as low as us$3 (just use the comments or the contact link), but current ‘wisdom’ says the higher price will attract more sales.  We’ll see.

Page numbers.   I’ve just realised I’ve no idea how I should like to do the page numbers.  Centered and unadorned at the bottom of the page?  Unadorned at the bottom corner of the page (obviously this thought is for the print edition only)?  Unadorned at the top?  If decorated, with tildes or a fleuron/dingbat?  Well, don’t ever let anyone tell you self-publishing is easy, or that it’s the lazy way out or any other such nonsense.  That said, going through a publisher is just as bad or worse — you may not have to decide a lot of this stuff, but then you have to worry that your first edition might have covers in “50 shades of mud” and “kept them out of the shops“, among too many other less amusing anecdotes by far too many other authors to mention.

I’ll always argue with someone who says writing is ‘hard work’ — I take issue with the work part.  The hard … that depends on perspective, writing is challenging in terms of telling a good story well and not losing your mind in the process.  Work it is not.  Publishing, on the other hand, I will doubt the sanity of anyone who claims is anything but work and be suspicious of anyone who claims it to be easy.

In other news Puppy Bowl is tomorrow!!  I’ll, alas, be missing it because a) I’ll be at work and b) I don’t actually have any TV service that doesn’t come via my DVD player.

A statement I’ll never understand

This is one of those series that I desperately wanted to write, and never thought I’d be allowed to.

That statement is from Seanan McGuire‘s LJ.

I’ve a great respect for her writing, I’m an unabashed fan of her Incryptid series, and while her other series is rather darker than my tastes lean toward I’ll never deny that they’re good … for what they are.

But statements like that one?! She’s not the only one I’ve seen voicing either the identical or a similar sentiment. In such cases I can’t help question the intelligence and/or sanity of the one saying it.

You’re free to write anything. Hell in China you’re free to write anything you want. George Orwell‘s immortal 1984‘s horrible dystopia is the only occasion I can personally name where you’re not free to write what you wish.

Publish, now that’s another cup of tea altogether. Perhaps the publisher you’re with refuses to accept your young adult space western romance about an intergalactic rodeo clown and his sorcerous twin. Big deal, find another publisher, or bloody self-publish! The only way you could be not allowed to publish the story would be if it violates copyright (sorry fanficcers, but it’s just plain fact. File off those serial numbers and put a fresh coat of paint on first), or if you’re writing something the Chinese government doesn’t like and you happen to be in China.

Really, it’s just daft phrasing at best, sloppy thinking most likely, or just plain stupid at worst to think you can’t write or (barring a couple of legal barriers) even publish something on grounds of ‘am I allowed to’. Not until Big Brother is watching your every action and possibly monitoring your very thoughts.

So go on, write that fantasy story about the lesbian trans-gender dwarf and her elven lover and their traveling circus of bandits and cutthroats in a fairyland Camelot. No one but yourself … and, hopefully, good taste … can stop you. After that, find someone who’ll buy it or just put it out yourself, because in this glorious age the old adage ‘if you want something done right …’ can be very easily applied to the good ol’ profession of writing.

The Big Idea: Seanan McGuire

Does making a post to link folks to another blog to read an article about another author’s work count as still more posting?

Meh, whatever.

Read this. It’s good for you.

The Big Idea: Seanan McGuire.

P.S. Read the book it talks about. It will induce laughter, laughter is good for the soul. Therefore the book it talks about is good for your soul, QED.