Thursday, October 29, 2009
While perusing the books of friends on GoodReads.com, I was arrested by the cover of J. Michael Wahlgren's chapbook, Chariots of Flame (Maverick Duck Press). I asked him who'd done the artwork, and he said British artist Brian Pike, whose art is displayed at the top of this post.
Although I helped my editor at Alondra Press, an independent publisher, develop the concept for my novel's cover — a photo of the Sahara Desert where The Wind Thief begins — it wasn't until I saw Mr. Wahlgren's book that I realized this is the advice all of us authors could use: be on the lookout for eye-catching design concepts that capture the tone of the books we're working to publish.
This is particularly true for the small press publishing experience where authors are an integral part of the process and work closely with publishers from manuscript editing to printing. Often these companies don't have much of a design budget and so appreciate cost-effective suggestions from their authors.
Since my epiphany, I've started collecting the names and URLs of artists whose art I admire. Then if and when the day comes when their art fits the book I'm writing, I can suggest their work to my publisher. Even if I never get that opportunity, a keener focus on the art world will allow me to indulge my love of art while spreading the word about artists who, like us authors, can almost always use the promotion.
Here are a few of the artists on my list (their art is displayed in the order of their names):
• Lacey Bryant (Trees)
• Julie Bilyeu (Thumb)
• Janet Snell, who along with her sister, Cheryl, run an independent press called Scattered Light (Couple With Trapdoor)
Sunday, October 25, 2009
When you finally get your book published, throw yourself a party. Don't think, The book is not going to sell a million copies so it's not that big of a thing. Don't say, I could spend the money in a better way. Don't assume, No one will really understand what this means to me, anyway.
Make a list of your favorite people; set a date, time and place; make, bake or buy some treats; then when the time comes, relax and admit to yourself this really is a big, big deal and for most of us, the culmination of a long, long journey that resulted in making the world a tad better.
While I don't always follow my own advice, I did for my recently-released novel, THE WIND THIEF, for which I just held a book launch/spoken word night at Kaleid Gallery in downtown San Jose.
I did read an excerpt from the book, but what made the night exceptional were the other artists who agreed to share their work. Among the performers were:
• poet Kyle Sullivan (poetry read by Sara Aurich)
• musician Adrian Emberley
• writers Alan Tracey and Dennis Sides performing Alan's short story
• musician Kent Sandvik
• poetry slam due Jen G. and David Perez, who comprise The Pincushion Orchestra
A big thanks goes to Michael Carter for the photos below. Feel free to view the whole slideshow.