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      Living Room Etiquette   07/25/17

      Welcome to my living room on the internet.   Let me talk a little bit about the history of my home on the internet. I started out blogging on LiveJournal, which is a blogging community. And I talked about publishing and process, but in a fairly general way.   And that worked for a number of years.   What I almost never talked about was my books. But over time, people found my LJ, and they wanted to talk about my books, and I felt a little self-conscious talking about my books on LiveJournal, where the community was more general and more social, and talking about my books felt a little conspicuously like shouting: Me Me Me!   So: I started my author web-site. I posted sample chapters. I talked--when I had any news--about my books. I didn't post often, because I didn't want to drive people who came to the web-site purely for news or information away.   And that seemed to work.   But a funny thing happened. I'm not, and have never been, Robert Jordan, George Martin or Patrick Rothfuss in terms of my reach. I don't have the kind of buzz they generate, and I'm fine with that. I'm not Misty Lackey or Melanie Rawn, either.   I write my books. I try not to say too much about them, because some people hate spoilers. I try not to complain too much about the process, because every job anywhere is difficult sometimes. But… I can't really talk about my books as if I were a reader, because I can't ever approach them as a reader would for the first time. Or even the twentieth.   And sometimes people want to talk about the experience of reading my books. But given my general invisibility on fantasy reader radars, they haven't found many places in which they can do that.   A few years ago, my readers began to talk to each other - on my web-site, because they found people who were also interested in talking about my books there. On a release-day post about the latest novel. This made some readers unhappy because of course discussing the books meant spoilers. I then made a separate SPOILER thread, which people could easily avoid.   That worked, and I made a spoiler thread for almost every subsequent book.   So readers who wanted to discuss the book with other readers spoke to each other on the spoiler threads. I stay out of the spoiler threads. I stay out of the discussions about my books. And I've been able to do that because, while people don't always agree, they don't descend into acrimony and flames.   But the spoiler thread for Cast in Peril was 369 comments long. And that's a lot of comments, and possibly a long load time.   And I thought: maybe it's time to try forums.   I wouldn't have considered forums at all if the spoiler threads had descended into invective and angry ranting; they never have. The people who post and discuss on them have been helpful and reasonable, even when they don't agree with each other.   And what I want out of forums is for that to continue. I don't expect my forums to be crowded; I don't expect that they'll need to be moderated or policed, because of the history of the readers who have posted on my web-site.   But forums in general have rules and policies, and it's best to be clear about those up front, in case of future need. So.   The Living Room rules:   1. Since it's my Living Room, there's a strong possibility that children and grandmothers will stroll past or stop in, since both frequent my house. So I'd ask you to keep that in mind when it comes to profanity. Swear as much as I do.   2. Door to door salesmen frequently interrupt social gatherings, and they're not there to join the discussion. So: don't be that person. This isn't a tupperware party, and I don't want anyone to attempt to sell things to my visitors. If you notice that someone is advertising cheap watches or winning lottery numbers or any variant thereof, report it - and ignore it. It'll be cleaned up and swept out the door.   3. No flaming. Which is to say: no personal attacks or insults. I don't expect this will be a problem because it hasn't been - and I'd really like that to continue. Also, and this is a personal thing: don't accuse someone of trolling just because they disagree with you. Sometimes people disagree; they're not doing it to enrage or derail.   4. Things NOT to discuss on these forums: Real-world religions (any). Real-world politics (any). Explicit sexuality (because: children & grandmothers. And, to be fair, me). There are many other places to discuss any of these things - and I ask that you discuss them there. Here is not the place. This is possibly the only thing I'll be draconian about.   If, in the opinion of the management, you break these rules, we'll probably ask you to sit out the topic. If you break these rules more than once, we may ask you to sit out the week. If you can't communicate without breaking these rules, this is not the forum for you; there are lots of forums on the internet that will be more to your liking.   Also: I believe that readers should be able to discuss what they want to discuss, even if what they want to discuss is how a particular book I've written didn't work for them. For obvious reasons, I would like to personally avoid those discussions because I don't want to be a damper, and because it's not possible for me to be consistently objective about my own work. It's not entirely possible to avoid these discussions on the web-site; on the forums it will be. I've asked Tchula Ripton to moderate, as she's been the list-mom on the Yahoo West list for a number of years.   So on those parts of the forum where the discussions are about my works, she wears the big hat where necessary, because I'm not there.   As for the forums: any member can create topics, and any member can read any forum and reply there. If, for instance, you want to get people's opinions on ebook readers, you can start a post in the “Random†category, and ask.
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Ehtiar

Book Covers and All...

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Ehtiar    106

With the recent do of Penguin putting out the 50th Anniversary editions of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you have to ask yourself just what some publishers are thinking when they choose book covers..

 

Charlie-and-the-Ch_2999962e.jpg

 

Does that really convey the wonder and weirdness of the Chocolate Factory to you?

 

Or for the one that always amuses me (since my mother and sister loved the stories and made me sit down and watch the tv adaptions with them as a child..)

lildncqqpyodcdu75uve.jpg

 

Does that convey coming of age of a young lady on a farm to you? Seems a touch different subtext.

 

It just seems amazing what ends up on covers that in no way really relates to the actual writing inside.

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BR60103    12

Is that supposed to be "Red-Headed Anne" (as the Japanese call her) ?

 

 

But have you seen the new covers for Terry Pratchett?

or tha American editions of Harry Potter?

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Salty    14

The Dahl cover certainly conveys weirdness, and also certainly not of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory variety, more like "Chucky meets Bonnie and Clyde". Maybe they got confused between the various diminutives of Charles.

Maybe Penguin was trying to attract young male readers?! Or a mixup happened during printing and the "Lolita" artwork got mistakenly substituted?

 

Salty

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Ehtiar    106

The publisher defended it with something along the lines of "it conveys the light and dark side of the children in the story"...

 

I would just say it's a touch weird. ;)

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michelle    51

I hate the Dahl cover, but it's being done in a line of modern classics that is not - as far as I know - aimed at children. I find the cover enormously creepy, but also, very mock 70's.

 

The Anne of Green Gables cover, otoh, is horrendous in every possible way. I also hate it, but am unwilling to find anything nice to say about it at all.

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Ehtiar    106

I have to admit, to me, my childhood memories of every Dahl book I picked up was the hand drawn , slightly exaggerated covers. Like something from a dark and disturbing cartoon. Somewhat realistic photo images just strike me as "off" regardless for those books.

 

At least you've never seemed to have any such problems with yours Michelle. Just how much say do you as an author get over the cover images on your books?

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michelle    51

At least you've never seemed to have any such problems with yours Michelle. Just how much say do you as an author get over the cover images on your books?

 

Pretty much none. On rare occasions I'll be asked my opinion of a design concept - but the covers are handled by the publisher, and the finished versions are not sent to me for approval. 

 

On anything I've self-published, of course, I have final say - because I'm the one paying for it. 

 

But the thing is: I've seen books in which I consider - as a bookseller - the author's heavy input to be detrimental to the book's marketing signals. I've seen covers I love deeply on books that they will not help at all

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Aquilegia    26

As far as I am aware, the only character in <i>Anne of Green Gables</i> who is nice-ish and mentioned as being blonde is Ruby Gillis. (Did I spell that right?) I need to go back and re-read, I think. Anne has red hair, and Diana has black hair, Marilla's hair is grey, and I can't remember anyone else. Plus, that book cover is way too modern American west, and way too seductive looking. Come to think of it, Ruby was boy crazy, maybe it is her.

 

Book covers are a reflection of their time. I have a hard bound copy that was published in 1956, and the picture on the dust jacket is, well, her hair is red, but it is short, and loose, and the art style reminds me of the old Nancy Drew covers. Or the Bobsey twins. As a parallel idea, look at the movies made off of Shakespeare plays, or any period production, really, the costuming will reflect the time they were produced in, not just the historic period.

 

All the same, that art director needs to look at previous covers, he/she might want to follow a major trend. Or even read the book.

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Aquilegia    26

Pretty much none. On rare occasions I'll be asked my opinion of a design concept - but the covers are handled by the publisher, and the finished versions are not sent to me for approval. 

 

On anything I've self-published, of course, I have final say - because I'm the one paying for it. 

 

But the thing is: I've seen books in which I consider - as a bookseller - the author's heavy input to be detrimental to the book's marketing signals. I've seen covers I love deeply on books that they will not help at all.

 

I remember complaining to my husband about the Elantra covers, saying that her runes were all wrong. Then, I got over it. The covers are attractive, well laid out, and got my attention, and that is their job. It is your job to tell me the story.

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BR60103    12

Revival of topic.

I just looked at some new covers of Anne McCafferey's Dragonsong/Dragonsinger/Dragondrums. The pictures covey to me someone sitting on a rock in Bryce Canyon with a dragon flying around.

There is nothing in it that conveys "This is about a girl who wants to make music and write songs."

 

I'll have a look at the rest of the series when I have time.

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BR60103    12

I looked at the blurb on the back of Dragondrums the other day and it doesn't match my memory of the story. Where does Piemur get sent off the become a dragon rider?

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Aquilegia    26

I looked at the blurb on the back of Dragondrums the other day and it doesn't match my memory of the story. Where does Piemur get sent off the become a dragon rider?

Um, what? He winds up with some fire lizards, I think. But that is as close as I remember him getting.

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