Friday, November 11, 2011

A note on my banner...

I have always loved blue eyes. I blame
where I was raised. No one in Utah looks
like me being half-Japanese.
I got a few comments this week regarding the new look of my blog.  I chose the wolf eyes banner up top simply because it's all wintry in Salt Lake City now and the eyes are a pretty blue. I like blue eyes and have since kindergarten. I remember my teacher handed out papers to all the kids. She asked us to take a crayon from a box and write what color we thought our eyes were.  I wrote down blue because I loved blue. Then she passed out a mirror and told us to take a look and see.  I looked in the mirror and saw brown eyes the color of dog dung. I was traumatized. But I'll never forget it. Prior to that time period, I don't even think I was aware of what I looked like really.  Maybe it was the start of my body image disorder. I have no idea.

So has nothing to do with my book. I wanted to make a banner that could reflect my book. Then I realized how impossible that seems without custom artwork. In one sentence I would pitch my book as Schrodinger's cat only with hockey sticks, glass spiders, and monsters from the id. Only no one knows what that means.  Maybe the wolf eyes might work in one aspect. They're more serious than goofy penguins. If I had to rate my book with MPAA ratings, it would get a R-rating.  The penguins that I used before might make people think, "Oh Mike's book is great for kindergartners!"... which is a resounding..."ummm noooo."  I have the goofy penguins banner on my computer hard drive if I ever want to resurrect it. But I think I'll try the wolf eyes for a little while. Who knows...maybe when spring rolls around I'll switch to bunnies.
My story has been as challenging as this for me to define.
Also I finished my final edits on my book and sent it back to DDP. I say final because I've read through it twice (in the last two weeks) and fussed and fussed with it and it really needs to just get out of here. If it stays here more, I'll start changing some things.  I'm really happy at this very instant with the way it looks. I can't say that I'd feel that way tomorrow or the next day. So I'm not ever going to reopen it. I'm just going to let it go. I don't want to edit anymore. Not on this project. To give you an idea of how much editing this book has gone through I will tell you. I wrote a first draft in 2008. A beta reader that I trust pointed out glaring things wrong with it.  So I rewrote 3/4 of the book. Seriously. Then I hired a private editor and edited it line by line. Then I edited it myself. Then I went on query and submission. DDP picked it up. Then I edited it again with a professional full grade editor line by line. Then I just now edited it again on my own as a final look through. And then I re-read it twice in two weeks and changed more stuff.  Last night, I rewrote the opening paragraph fifteen times.  I think everything is perfect. So I'm done. I'm letting go.
As writers, there can be a point where we edit something to death.
I think I've gotten close to this point with my current manuscript.
In a few weeks I may have some advanced reader copies that I can give out on my blog. They'll be paperback with no cover art.  Paperback with cover art won't be available probably until summer 2012. Ebook release will come first in May. That's just how DDP does business. I know I've got some people who have been extremely loyal to the blog so if they want a free copy of said book with no cover art to read before the release date, I think I can make that happen.  Plus I can start querying some of the sites that review Fantasy & Sci-Fi stuff and see if I can get in their queue.

Have a great weekend. I'm off to see Immortals!


  1. I love your banner. Your whole blog looks very clean and wintry :-)

    By the way, It's lovely to see you smiling in your new picture.

  2. Isn't it great how well-meaning adults can mess up a kid's self-image? I remember being in a store when I was a kid and having some lady I didn't know tell me, "They might make fun of you because you have big lips, but all the celebrities pay money for the lips you have naturally" And I remember thinking two things, "I have big lips?" and "People make fun of big lips?"

    New banner looks great! (though I will miss the penguins)

  3. Editing, I think I have nightmares. It's great to send in a strong product.

    BTW - I've always loved blue eyes, too. That is the first thing I noticed when I met my husband. :)

  4. I know what you mean about the editing. You get sick of it after the 100th time.

    When coming up with cover art, I heard some good advice to think of the mood of your book rather than any particular scene. That helped me a lot. In your case, you have professionals doing most of the work for the cover, but most likely you'll have some input. That's where you have to decide if it's good or not.

  5. Here here! Editing gets old. Congrats on calling that one done.

  6. LOve your banner...and editing...YEESH! Glad you can put it away. I have blue eyes and always wanted green. As kids, are we ever happy with who we are?

  7. I do not understand why a teacher would care to discuss kid's eyes . Since she did that, she could have let you believe that you had blue eyes, and let you be in your self image of being what you want to be. You were not hurting any one. Sometimes kids need that little bit of an edge of a cute "untruth" which is not exactly detrimental to any one hense Santa Clause.When I was little I pretended my square pillow was a puppy and even wrote poems for him and no one stopped me from calling it a puppy. We did not even have stuffed animals, so a pillow puppy was a cute "Untruth".

  8. PS:
    Your banner is very refreshing:)

  9. Love the new look even though I hate winter!

    Good call on the edits - just like over folding the dough can make it hard as a brick. Good for you deciding not to drive yourself crazy.

  10. Yes - I love the new look! Also - I will be seeing Immortals! Looks awesome! You know what else looks awesome? Snow White & The Huntsman!

  11. Blue eyes are amazing, but my dear hubby has the nicest brown and amber eyes. Then 3/4 of my kids have brown too. So, I can't really say blue is my favorite anymore. ;)

    Congrats on finishing the edits! I read that section and thought "Yep." My Nano is flowing really well right now and I remembered a conversation we had about over editing. I think that's what happened to Sendek and I'm determined NOT to do it to Faerie Wings. My plan?

    1 round readers
    1 round revisions
    1 round line by line edit

    I'm going to keep it simple this time and I bet it works out better for me. My voice/and or my character's voice gets edited out when I go through it too many times. It's like you said, they say follow the rules, but it ruins the thing that makes the story unique and "real".

    Well, some stuff you've said brought me to that conclusion anyway. ;)

  12. I wonder if an ARC of your book will end up in the Amazon Vine newsletter? Probably not, but that's where I get most of my books from. Some do have the cover artwork but a lot don't. The one I got for "Imperial Bedrooms" by Bret Easton Ellis had essentially a piece of red paper for the cover.

    As much as you love your own stories, it does get really annoying to read it over and over again.

    BTW, my driver's license says I have brown eyes even though my eyes aren't brown. They don't change it even when I check something else on my renewal form. Maybe they know something I don't.

  13. I've lived with cow-dung eyes all my life and it hasn't done me much harm! And I love the wolf.

  14. Your banner looks great! I love it! And yes, blue eyes are the best (but I only say that because mine ARE blue). :P

    Congrats on being done with editing. I completely know how you feel. At some point, you look at your novel and you think, "please, no more."

    I look forward to reading it! :)

  15. @Sarah: Thank you :)

    @Cacy: I could always put the penguins back up, but I think I'll try this on for a while.

    @Ciara: I know exactly what you mean.

    @Cindy: LOL oh the editing woes. I think only authors understand how difficult editing is. Readers take it for granted. I know I've got some misplaced commas here and there but I think all the spelling and redundant words has been excised.

    @Rusty: Thanks

    @Em-Musing: I think you are right. We always want what we don't have.

    @Munir: I agree.

    @Lisa: Immortals looks good. I haven't heard of Snow White & the Huntsman

    @Charity: Thanks on validating me.

    @Mutt: My guess is no. Honestly, my publisher is a little on the lazy side. They mean well and are very nice but anything that has to do with marketing is really in my ballpark with the exception of the couple of things I've posted here on my blog (like the dude with the radio show). Double Dragon doesn't even use twitter. They had an account and deleted it. I think Deron is just afraid/timid to use twitter and thinks it's stupid. Anti-social doesn't seem to be a good trait for a publisher but I chose them because they have a lot of good to average reviews on Absolute Write. You only find out about this other stuff after you sign.

    @Rosalind: So have I. But it doesn't stop me from wishing that I had naturally blue ones. But if wishes were fishes the sea would be full.

    @Emily: Thanks!

  16. I like the new look. And I agree, it's all too possible to rewrite something to death. Best of luck with your upcoming release!

  17. My eyes are green, actually, one is green and the other is blue-green, but for the whole eight or so years of my life my mother insisted they were blue. I would look in the mirror and be like, huh?

    I could line edit forever after I get all the big things out of the way. I actually really love line editing. (Plus, if I ever got a book published and found a typo, I just might have a melt down.)

  18. Your new banner is striking. Wolf's eyes are a great choice. They're an intelligent, gorgeous animal. I love it!

  19. I love brown eyes! Although I love all different shades. The wolf is cool! Wow, that's a lot of edits, but it's perfect, right? Have fun with Immortals.

  20. I'd be willing to do a review of your ARC to help get your marketing ball rolling.

    Speaking of editing, I'm still reading that one book I mentioned from a different small publisher, and the editing is horrible. There are mistakes, sometimes multiple, on nearly every page. Generally mistakes with commas around adverbial phrases but, sometimes, just with simple compound sentences. It's probably not the kind of stuff your average reader would notice, but it's driving me insane. I sort of expect better from something from a publisher that should have had a professional editor.

  21. Congratulations on finishing up your editing! And you're right you can't obsess over it anymore- time to let it go!

  22. No wonder they call a book an author's "baby". It takes so much work and you pour your heart into it. I'll buy the book when it is out in Ebook form.
    Those ice-blue eyes are stunning on those dogs. I had a girlfriend whose eyes were that color and she hated them. She bought dark blue contacs!

  23. That's a lot of editing.
    Maybe in the spring you could use the bunny from Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
    And at the bottom of my sidebar is a list of science fiction book reviewers, most of whom reviewed CassaStar last year.

  24. I'm partial to morange eyes myself. It's a color I made up and hope to see someday. I am so happy for you to be done with edits. That means the great day of reading is coming soon!

  25. Definitely time to send it out. I quit working on my women's fiction book when I noticed I was putting stuff back in I'd edited out several re-writes ago. Change for change sake isn't a good thing.

    I'm so pleased with the prospect of your publication. I've been interested in DDP for a while and hope some day to have something completed to submit to them. They've got a great reputation.

    And just so you know - I never turn down a free book; and I always review what I read.


  26. Let us know how Immortals is.

    Love the new banner. Know what you mean about artwork. Schrodingers cat with hockey sticks, huh? I'm intrigued.

    Sounds like you're making great progress. Yea, for that.

  27. Those last few rounds are tough.

    Especially when the book is still fresh and you're re-reading it again. "Oh no, I'm repeating this part!" you say, in a panic. But no, you were just skipping ahead in your brain. It feels like you're reading it out of order, even if you're going from front to back.

  28. About the eyes...don't we always want what we don't have. I think the new banner is great. It also sounds like it's a good time to stop editing before your voice is gone from the MS. Congrats on calling it DONE. :)

  29. LOVE your new banner.

    And congratulations on your upcoming release through Double Dragon Publishing!

  30. I'd like an ARC, but I understand if you only have a few. Also, I think it's wonderful that you are letting go. :)

  31. Hi Michael - Don't look for my book until next week. It's still being uploaded to the various sites.

  32. I like the new banner. It seems...dangerous...

    Yeah, there comes a time when you need to say "finished". It's good to let go.

  33. Michael, your new look is awesome. I was reading a post on Scribble and Edit the other day about branding your blog (I need to do a complete makeover!) and the crux was have you shown enough for visitors to know what you're about? Now I try this out on everyone. Maybe you need something more showing your fantasy/sci fi bent other than Shakespeare. Just saying...

    Editing. Wow, that book of yours should be AOK with all those experts trawling through it! No wonder you're reading to say 'enough'!


  34. I, on the other hand, love the color brown, but have blue eyes.

  35. Love the banner - and hey, what's wrong with brown eyes?? Mine are hazel.
    Congratulations on getting this far with your novel!

  36. I like your new banner... the wolf eyes are gorgeous:) Congrats on almost finishing your revisions... must be exciting to almost have it out:)

  37. I think the wolf eyes look very cool. It's awesome that editing is nearly finally final :) Interested to find out what you think of Immortals.

  38. Sounds like things are getting exciting for you there, Michael. I'm sorry that I haven't been by in a long while.
    I like the new banner.
    Have a great week.


  39. I know that 'edited to death' feeling ;)

    I think brown eyes are great! In fact I don't have a preference for any colour.

    Pretty wolf eyes!!

  40. I'm sure you've been told a time or two that you're a perfectionist. Writers NEVER cease to amaze me. I'd be driven mad if I rewrote any one para. that many times.

    That said, being a perfectionist is wonderful when it comes to the attention you pay to your writing. Nothing wrong with it unless you suck the colour right out during the edits.

  41. I know what you mean about editing. I'd edited my novel so many times, it was a mess. Eventually I went back to the first draft, did a spell check on it and sent it off to my proofreader as is. Turns out, she's loving the story!

  42. Like your new banner! And I would be so OVER the editing process ... drive me crazy! But congrats on it.

  43. I love the wolf banner, though I do kind of miss the hamster. At least I think there was a hamster... That childhood excercise seems a bit awful to me, but I'm not sure why.

  44. would love a copy of your arc, mike

    and yeah, too much is enough, like my sis used to say... especially when editing, i say... good that you kicked it out the door!