So my readers, all three of you 😉 will notice I’ve deleted some pages that have just been placeholders since starting this blog in October of 2008. I will be moving the site to WordPress.org in a few months or sooner perhaps. I’ve never filled those pages as I soon realized the limitations of properly displaying my work made it not worth the effort here. So the new site will have a little bit different structure and will consolidate my portfolio on what I hope will be a much easier to manage and update platform. I’m looking forward to that. In the meantime you can find some cover samples on my old website: Sue Campbell Graphic Designs. In fact that site will become the domain for this here blog.

I’ve “rethunk” the purposes and direction of this site many times since starting it. And I’m curious to know what kinds of information you’d like to see on the blog or on other static pages? Downloadable articles and design tips? Photoshop “recipes”? Marketing ideas? A work in progress section—where you can vote on your preferences for cover designs? Links to writing and design contests? Please comment if you have ideas! And thanks.

A new book cover design archive…

abca

I’ve come across a wonderful new site displaying “the best in book cover design” (as selected by these folks). It does look to be very eclectic and inclusive of good works. I’ll let this other blogpost tell the story sinice they did it so well. The FontFeed blog also looks to be a good source for articles on design and typography. Here’s the direct link to The Book Cover Archive.

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nytlogo153x23Today, the New York Times published an article by Motoko Rich entitled “Self-publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab.” It’s a pretty realistic look at a new world in publishing. Below is my opinion on this situation.

It had to happen, critical mass has been reached. That, and the model practiced by major (mainly New York) publishing houses has at long last proved to be unsustainable. More and more books are published every year in this country, yet the cost is born by those very few “mega-blockbusters” promoted as such by their publishers. Yet by all accounts there are fewer and fewer readers of “books” each year. But readers, when polled don’t always count reading done online, or on other electronic devices, nor audio books as “books.”

Are we witnessing the death (or severe winnowing) of print publishing in the traditional sense of mass marketed ink on paper books, verses the many other delivery methods being explored? It’s hard to say. As a cover/book designer, I surely hope there will still be significant demand for that singular intimate experience that only the visually pleasing, tactile and physical book can provide. After all, that’s my livelihood, and my passion.

As for the new surge in self-published titles of varying quality and aesthetic appeal, I suppose that it’s a great thing for those who want  to share their stories with a few people. But I hope they don’t harbor unrealistic illusions about striking it rich and appearing on Oprah. For every talented newbie writer, and or compelling story that successfully uses this method to springboard to fame and a wider audience when picked up by a big name publisher, there are thousands that languish in obscurity. If fame and fortune were their aim, they may have been better off robbing a bank—infamy seems as marketable these days.

Evidence supports that this can be done though. First, they had to have a good product, but they also had to spend considerable effort, and dare we say a few bucks, in getting the word out about their book(s). I don’t think any self-published titles (with the possibility of rare exceptions) ever got picked up by a publisher without first establishing some significant and verifiable sales. No doubt there are some roses out there in the mass of stinkweeds. Or as Cathy Langer of the Tattered Cover in Denver said, “For every thousand titles that get self-published, maybe there’s two that should have been published.”

What of paying the tab? Mr. Rich doesn’t really get in to the gritty details except to offer $99 to $100,000 as the range of costs involved. Well, that’s mighty big range! If we’re talking print on demand (POD) I’d sure like to know what the author is getting for $100,000! Can you say writer’s beware? I have looked at the so-called “custom covers” many POD “publishers” offer and frankly your baby would be better off making its debut in a plain brown wrapper.

I’m paid to put the lipstick on … whether they are pigs or natural born beauties. And I do it most happily. So all you self-publishers out there, give your natural born beauty its best chance of thriving in this very crowded marketplace. Let me do the cover. (Even e-books need covers.) I can unequivically guarantee you it won’t cost nearly $100,000.

premiodardo_awardAccording to Todd, who bestowed the pass along award on me, the award “Dardos” appreciates the merits – culturally, literary and individually – of every blogger who expresses him/herself on his/her blog.

Thanks, again, to everyone who reads this blog and comments. I appreciate it!

Now then, the rules of Premio Dardos:
1. be tickled pink 😉
2. copy and paste the award picture to your blog
3. write down the regulations
4. link the blog who bestowed you the Award
5. and finally nominate 15 blogs for the Award

Here are fifteen blogs that I definitely think deserve this award in no particular order:

1. Carolyn Hayes Uber — Publisher; she’s my sis as well as my boss, but it really is an informative blog!

2. Vegas Confidential — If you like Vegas, his blog has the latest gossip.

3. Bark Like a Fish, Dammit! — Ursula V. A very talented young artist and author, and she’s just funny as hell.

4. The Dark Salon — Alexandra Sokoloff, writer who is posting some wonderful “how to write” articles.

5. This Side of Paradise — Geoff Schutt is blogging a literary novel one post at a time.

6. Today’s Inspiration — Leif Peng posts beautiful mid-twentieth century editorial and advertising art—fabulous!

7. Drawn! is a multi-author blog devoted to illustration, art, cartooning and drawing.

8. Neil Gaiman’s Journal — OK, I’m a fan girl, what can I say.

9. Red Pen Girl — Freelance editor, and friend Jami Carpenter.

10. Geotripper — The blog of my cuz the “rock doc” geology professor, Garry Hayes.

11. Geoff Schmuacher — One of the most well-read guys I have the pleasure to know. An author, editor, publisher, and news guy.

13. Nathan Bransford — A literary agent. His blog, is fun to read.

14.The Writing Show — Paula B. is going on hiatus? Well, there still some reading (and listening here.)

15. The Murverse —The blog that goes with Mur Lafferty’s I Should be Writing Podcast.

Wow, coming up with 15 was harder than I thought!

And … no, I have no clue what it means.

Cory Doctorow is a well-known, and celebrated young sci-fi author. I don’t know if it’s comforting to know that writers we admire, and who are successfully churning out great work — and regularly — also struggle with the same time issues and distraction problems that we amateurs do.  (Internet.)

Doctorow has some good advice for dealing with distractions in this article in Locus Magazine.

OK, THIS is pretty funny: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200901u/reblock-yourself

Hmm, I posted this with BlogIt from Facebook and it posted it 6 times! Yikes. Plus you can’t tag or categorize the posts. Not so useful, that.

I just read in PW about a new comic book based on the “missed connections” ads you see on Craigslist and in the newspapers. Curious, I just looked at some of those ads on Craigslist. Some are hilarious, some are poignant, some are like poetry. Like this one here. Line breaks are mine the words are totally his(?).

You know what everyone else sees,
and if you don’t,
I totally
overestimated you.

You know what chance you have…
now.
I don’t mind staying
‘Good Friends’
if that’s what you want.
The thing is,
you tolerate me too
and I’d say
that’s
a great place to start.

Does anybody use LibraryThing? Well, I know over 500,000 people are signed up, but does anybody here reading this use it? I signed up as a user back in July of 07, and then promptly forgot about it. The idea of entering all my books manually just seemed overwhelming. But now I see that they have a $15 barcode reader that allows you to scan your books and upload them all at once. You can get a widget for your blog that shows your random covers (if they are linked on Amazon, or if you uploaded them). Though I think it links TO Amazon to buy the book, still I am all in favor of helping writers sell books in whatever way they can.

I does have some interesting tools and lists of use to writers, publishers, and readers. For instance, you can see the top 25 books, based on users uploads; read reviews and post your own reviews; connect with authors and other users. You can find bookstores in your area that stock a book you want—independent ones too.

There are lots of book centric blogs there, many based on genre or category. I browsed through a YA blog and the comments and posts seemed to be from teachers and librarians (as well as the occasional actual YA). Seeing what this demographic thinks is pretty enlightening.

So, now I’m thinking about getting that scanner, and uploading my books. This could take a while as I have hundreds, perhaps thousands. What do you all think? Is this yet another way to waste time and procrastinate? Check out Library Thing before you answer…