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 is 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! 😛

Psst!

Psst! You there. Yeah you! The one reading this blog. Answer me this…how do you do it? How do you find the time to go trolling around and read this stuff? Tell me, please! I really need to know! I can barely scrape the time to do an entry, and yet you somehow found time to be reading it!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I REALLY appreciate you being here. Honest! I just don’t have the faintest idea how you’re able to do it. Share your SECRET! Pretty please?

I bet by now you’re wondering why, if I have so little time, do I even do a blog? Necessity, kind reader, purely for necessity! As an author, I am more obligated than ever to market myself as well as my works. With business being what it is anymore, all marketing efforts are on the shoulders of the authors instead of on the publisher. Only the big names get a marketing budget and possibly professionals to do it for them. Little fishes like me are on our own!

With the World Wide Web, marketing possibilities have widened. But you can stretch yourself really thin that way, because there are just too many to pursue! A website is a must, gotta have it, no choice. A little changing content like news and whatnot is good too, so people have a reason to keep coming back. (Sample chapters are a must as well, so people can get a feel for your writing. If you can pitch in a free short story or too, even better!) Blogs allow for continuous new content, if you can get into the discipline of doing it at least a few times a month or more. I won’t even get into the tons of groups in places like Yahoo, Yahoo 360, Ning, Beepo, Frapper, My Space, Live Journal, etc that are out there on the net where you can post info, links, blogs, forums, and who knows what not. Then you have your marketing groups, specific genre marketing groups, publisher marketing groups, newsletters, online interviews, guest blogging, the list is endless!

So maybe now you can see why I am asking how you find the time to read this! I need your Secret! I know I don’t have any time to go read posts what with trying to do all this stuff, go to work, keep the family and pets happy, carve a little time for myself (Writers need relaxation too!), and heck, make time to WRITE! lol.

So if you would, take pity on me and tell me how to do it! Even better, if you have a formula by which I can either redo time, replicate myself, or get the powers of Superman, do share! I’ll appreciate you forever!:P

Being an author is not the cakewalk people think it is! Eek!

P.S. If you still have time, come on over to the site. I have tons of sample chapters and some free reads too! 😛

To Outline or Not to Outline

This is a question that seems to come up all the time at panels and in general writing discussions. There are people on both sides of the camp and never a lot of agreement as to what to do.

To me though, Writing, like art, is one of those things were you can take lessons, read books, practice techniques, but in the end, you have to find the way to do it that feels the most comfortable to YOU. No one formula will work for everyone, no matter how much you try to force it. And sadly a lot of the classes out there try to fit the square peg into a round hole, even though it’s not necessary.

Asking whether you should outline or not is like asking if you should write in the mornings or in the afternoons. Do whichever one feels right for you. If you have no idea, try each of them out and see which one gives you the best results.

If you’re the type of person who likes to have a road map before beginning on a journey, outline. If you are more of a drive by the seat of your pants type of person, no outline.

Now for me, as with a lot of things having to do with writing, it all depends on the project! I’ve written stories and books with and without outlines. To me outlining is a tool. So if I need it I use it, if I don’t I don’t.

In the Service of Samurai was done without an outline. Vassal of El has certain scenes I knew I wanted, but pretty much was also done outline free. Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles, however, which came partially from the wellspring that is my hubby, was almost totally mapped out in outline form before I ever started. Willing Sacrifice, no outline – though in a way, since it was one sided when first written, then Dal’s side added in afterward, there might be some argument there. Jewel of the Gods, my current Work-in-progress, started out outline free, but I found myself getting mired in details and loosing my way, so out came the paper and so far a partial outline has been jotted down so I know what I need to do and explain where so I can keep on course.

Outlines can also be useful when you’re stuck. You can get so involved in trying to get that right feeling, or description, or turn of phrase that you can’t think clearly about what needs to come next. Best thing to do then is to take a step back and outline. Because it is brief and you don’t have to worry about grammar, syntax, etc, it’s just the bare bones after all, your brain is then free to focus and think about only the plot instead!

So if you want a map, outline right off the bat. If you feel you have it all upstairs or just want to meander through it, go for it! The important part is to be productive and write! So do whatever works for you. Just don’t forget if things go a little off kilter or slow, you can always use an outline as something to get your juices flowing in the right direction again.

Gloria Oliver
www.gloriaoliver.com
Unveiling the Fantastic

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Cross-Eyed Dragon Troubles Sample Chapters

Cross-Eyed Dragon Troubles now has sample chapters up at the website. Just go to http://www.gloriaoliver.com/crossedsample

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel
Here’s some quick info on the book. Should be released in 2006 by HardShell Word Factory.

Talia didn’t want to be apprenticed, not even to the prestigious Dragon Knight’s Guild. She is taken to the school by a cross-eyed dragon and his partner, Kel. A dizzying, madcap ride leaves her less than eager to be a knight, but soon she finds out the guild has need of many types of people. Running into the dragon and squire again and again, she comes to realize the unlikely pair are outsiders in their own school—participants of the dragon-human pairing ritual, which in the end didn’t work quite as intended. They are stubborn loners who are determined to overcome the obstacles in their path and make a true pair, as was intended. Or are they?
As Talia’s first year at the guild evolves, she must deal with the quirks of the Administrator, her lessons, the odd rules of the school, the students, the mystery of Clarence and Kel, and somewhere in there, possibly decide what it is she wants for her own future.

If you have the time, please check it out!

News – Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

Howdy, all!
Just wanted to let you know that 3 sample Chapters of “Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles” are now posted at the site www.gloriaoliver.com/crossed The book should see release around June 2006 from HardShell Word Factory. It is a YA Fantasy Adventure.

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel
Talia didn’t want to be apprenticed, not even to the prestigious Dragon Knight’s Guild. She is taken to the school by a cross-eyed dragon and his partner, Kel. A dizzying, madcap ride leaves her less than eager to be a knight, but soon she finds out the guild has need of many types of people. Running into the dragon and squire again and again, she comes to realize the unlikely pair are outsiders in their own school—participants of the dragon-human pairing ritual, which in the end didn’t work quite as intended. They are stubborn loners who are determined to overcome the obstacles in their path and make a true pair, as was intended. Or are they?

As Talia’s first year at the guild evolves, she must deal with the quirks of the Administrator, her lessons, the odd rules of the school, the students, the mystery of Clarence and Kel, and somewhere in there, possibly decide what it is she wants for her own future.