Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Some Random Thoughts, and a Cover Reveal

     I've been posting more regularly on my other blog lately, because most of what I've had to say involves either the Ki'shto'ba series or material about myth.  I have a special ongoing at the moment:

 (v.1 of The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head)
will be priced at only 99 cents through Sunday, Sept. 8,
for the Kindle version at Amazon or for the Smashwords edition.
       I just participated in Tidbit Tuesday, a monthly event run by Patrick O'Scheen on Facebook, and I ended up increasing my likes on my FB page from 45 to 98 (at this moment of writing). A really nice reward!
       That brings up a question.  People always seem interested in my work and my ideas, and they say nice things about my drawings.  But none of this produces any sales, particularly of my Ki'shto'ba series, which I still say is superior to anything else I've written, especially for its originality. 
       Why is this?  I think I might have some idea.  My termites naturally talk is a high style -- they simply don't speak colloquial English.  That is, to preserve the fiction, Kaitrin Oliva envisions them as talking is an elevated, literary style (I had nothing to do with it -- ha, ha!) and she translates them that way.  And probably the scholarly apparatus, which I so love, puts people off (the footnotes, in particular, and possibly the asides between Di'fa'kro'mi and his scribe, something I find really entertaining, and also maybe the "difficult" names).  One person told me he didn't like the narrative form -- the fact that somebody was telling the story.  My opinion of that is that it's a personal quirk.  Lots of books are written in the first person, including The Great Gatsby.  And Di'fa'kro'mi is a Bard, after all -- it's his job to tell tales.  He participated in Ki'shto'ba's quest and it makes sense to have him tell the story as a reminiscence, as his own memoirs.  We may know he survived, but that doesn't mean that anybody else in the quest made it back home (after all in the present moment in which Di'fa'kro'mi is speaking, we never see a single other person who went on the quest), so it doesn't damage the suspense.
       Now a random and disconnected remark ...  I've noticed lately that a lot of book covers show closeups of one or two heads with serious, strained, or possibly lustful expressions on their faces.  Hmm.  That would work only for books in The Man Who Found Birds series (yes, it will be a series).  I may have to find somebody to do the covers for those, if I can find somebody who won't charge me thousands of dollars.  I'll repeat, I can do termites and I can make my own maps, but real people?  Forget it!  The faces I've attempted improved with practice, but they are still basically cartoons.  I don't think anything I could do would work.  So stay tuned.
       And now I present the back cover for The Valley of Thorns.  It was Marva Dasef who suggested I incorporate the map so I could employ a colorized version.  I did a detail showing the region around the battle area.  For the full black and white map, go here
Click for larger view


  1. Hello Lorinda, sorry I haven't been over here in a while! Is it deliberate that clicking on your name when you comment on my blog (and presumably on others) takes us to your facebook page rather than to your blog? That's fine of course if that's what you want, but then on your facebook page there's no obvious way to get to your blog (that I could see). I only noticed it because that was the route I was trying to use (via one of your comments only my latest post) to get here. In the end I scrolled through your facebook to find where you had posted a latest blog post and did it that way. Often when people see interesting comments that people have made on a blog, they want to go and look at that person's blog, and it's a shame if they can't easily make it there. Just an observation, obviously it's your choice how you are set up!

    None of that is relevant to this post of course! I think your covers are very creative, and you definitely have an artistic talent to go with your writing talent, but I do think there is something about the covers that could be slightly offputting for some people, or as I've previously mentioned, give the impression of it being very geeky sci-fi that would only appeal to a small niche group. I do think you would get more sales if your covers looked a bit more accessible, and maybe as you suggested, using real people (where appropriate) might do it. Aside from the practicalities and cost of doing it, I can imagine that finding the right faces that match how you envisage the people might be tricky! You know Neil works in design and print? So you could try picking his brains to see if he has any ideas about how you might do covers like that - he doesn't know specifically about books, but it can't be all that different to brochure type covers can it?

    1. Thanks for coming by, Vanessa! I just now addressed the comment link problem in a Facebook message to you.
      Re my covers: The odd thing is, many people compliment me on the covers and seem to find them fascinating (I've had some adverse comments, of course), but that still doesn't seem make them to want to read the books. The people who like them are pretty much fantasy writers, although I don't know they are all geeky. But I can't put human beings on the covers of the Ki'shto'ba series, because the only people in the books are giant termites - the Shshi! Even if somebody else drew the covers, they would have to draw geeky termites, too, and I think I have a better concept of what they should look like than a stranger would. So I think I'm going to keep on doing the Ki'shto'ba covers.
      I just got a message back from Neil saying he got The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars and was reading and enjoying it and would send me a critique later as time permitted! Oh, dear! Ha! Now, that book has no termites and this first section has no aliens at all (when they do turn up later, they're birds, as the title suggests), so if Neil has any ideas for a cover or who might be a good candidate to design one, I'd be pleased. I envision a martial eagle flying in the sky maybe with stars behind it and maybe a space ship of the right configuration. The title of this section is Eagle Ascendant. People would work best on later volumes, although a view of Capt. Nikalishin looking up at the eagle might work. Actually, I'm not sure when I'm going to publish MWFB. It's so damn long, but I just cannot shorten it, so I want to see what Neil thinks. You're welcome to dip into it, too, if you like, but I'm sure you don't have time for a ponderous tome.

    2. The problem is that the editors choose the covers and don't give authors any say in what they choose.

    3. Thanks for stopping by, Joyce. I'm self-published, so I get to choose my own covers.