Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Prediction about Publishing This Weekend was Premature!

       Unfortunately, I never got an answer to he high priority email with my offer to pay the expediting fee for the permission to quote Evangeline Walton.  So I called the publisher this morning and learned ... that the Permissions person was not there!  I also was told they were really backed up.  So all I can do is wait for them to call me back.  I didn't really ask why the Permissions person wasn't there -- I assumed she hadn't come in to work yet.  However, now I think maybe she was sick or on vacation or something.  In that case, I may not hear till next week.  So I ask your pardon for jumping the gun and I ask for patience for those of you who are all ready to buy the book -- and I know there are some.
       I left a query with Smashwords as to whether there is any way to upload a sample of text and find out if their system can take the strange characters.  I haven't heard back from them, either.  They said, 72 hours, however, and that much time hasn't elapsed yet.  I think I probably can do the book on Kindle, but I'm not sure there, either.  I need to find out because I will need to get the permission on Robert Graves, where the e-rights were held by a different publisher from the print rights.  So don't expect an e-book any time soon.
       However, I think I know a way that I could edit the conlang so that "The Termite Queen" will work with those fussy e-formats.  I could simply cut out all the strange, unacceptable characters and put an explanatory note at the beginning of the book, saying that if people really want to know what the true conlang looks like, they could buy the paperback or refer to  The story itself won't change at all. 
       And as for the Bird language, a couple of the strange marks are just punctuation -- equivalent to exclamation and question marks.  Nobody would ever miss the exclamation mark and I could substitute an English question mark for the other one.  Some of the symbols, like < [whistle] and ^ [chirp] and ~ [tonal slide] are on the keyboard, so I figure any ebook would take those.  And if other symbols, like [∙], which is a cough, were left out, nobody would notice, except me.   
       But the musical notes are something else.  They have to be there.  Two notes is a warble and one note is a trill, and sometimes Prf. A'a'ma will just say "♪" (see, this blog will take it, if you copy and paste).  So what I could do is write out "[warble-trill]."  It's stupid, but at least then people who simply won't read the novel any other way than on an e-reader will be able to access it! 

And so ... the wait continues!


  1. You'll be lucky if you hear from Smashwords in less than a week or two. There's no reason why you can't publish the test and then unpublish it. I've seen books on there without any front matter other than the title, author's name, and a bare copyright statement, so you don't need to fuss with that.

  2. I did hear back from Smashwords and they don't support anything from the symbols menu. Those signs will just appear as "?" So if I use Smashwords, expect the chopped-up form I described.