The remaster of "Summerworld", the first of my novels, is out at last!
I'm happy to announce Summerworld, the first book I put out under the Genji Press banner has been remastered and re-released under the Infinimata Press label. It's available through Amazon in Kindle e-book and print versions.
My fifteen-minute guide to making professional-looking self-published book covers.
When I began self-publishing, one of the first rules I set for myself was to learn as much as possible from both the good and bad of the domain. A common mistake I saw in self-publishing was bad design, the first and most fatal hint of amateurism in the creator. I resolved to at least try to make my books look professional, and I find that years later I'm still refining my chops. I also found that I enjoy the process of designing my books almost as much as I do writing them.
I've collected here some of the most important things I've learned over the years about how to make a self-published book cover look professional. Consider this article a living document; I may update it from time to time with new discoveries, freshly unearthed resources, timely insights.
(Note: All design work here is mine unless otherwise indicated. Links to original image sources are shown next to the covers.)
Darren Aronofsky's ingenious micro-budget debut, twenty-plus years later, holds up better than some of his bigger-budgeted efforts
"I'm so close," implores Max Cohen (Sean Gullette), the paranoid, insular protagonist of Darren Aronofsky's debut feature Pi. He was a math prodigy with a doctorate in number theory before he was old enough to drink. Now he lives in a cavelike Chinatown apartment, surrounded by the looming towers of his homebrew supercomputer Proteus, struggling to apply his theories to the stock market and nursing brutal cluster headaches that incapacitate him for days at a time. But Pi is not about number theory or Wall Street sorcery; it's about the torment of believing you have the keys to creation in your head, and not being able to get them out.
Numbers are the only thing that make sense to Max. Graph the numbers of a system, he tells himself, and patterns emerge — patterns that allow predictions to be made, that allow mastery of the world where before only chaos reigned. Other human beings are alien territory. Even the little girl who lives upstairs from Max and plays math games with him just makes him more uneasy. His friendly neighbor Devi (Samia Shoaib) makes him samosas, but Max has no idea how to return such dotage. The only other person with whom he finds anything like solace is his crusty mentor Sol (Mark Margolis), now retired after a crippling stroke put an end to his career of chasing patterns in numbers.
A distillation of what I've learned from other creators who aren't writers.
Some time back when talking with friends I let slip that the biggest influences on my work wasn't other writers, but creative folks in other spheres. I took a few minutes to sit down and distil what lessons I took away from them.
How not to get stuck halfway through something you're writing.
... for some writers, [the middle] is the most difficult part of a novel. That the middle is the stage where it is easiest to lose one’s way, to get bogged down in how to draw the line between this rough mid-point and the end, then eventually throw up one’s hands and declare it hopeless.
I find my experience very different. The early stages of my novels are where some projects kick the bucket. The vast majority that die do so during outlining and planning, or simply never make it past the planning stage, because they are not “together” enough.
How to deal with having half-a-dozen-plus possible future projects all cagematching each other to death for the chance to be next in line.
I'm still oh-so-very-close to the end of draft 1 (more like draft 1.4) of Unmortal, and am now fending off the two great dangers that come with the transition between phases of any great project. The first is to hurryupandgetitoverwith. The second is to start entertaining, with ever-increasing vigor, what the next project(s) are going to be. What's great about Danger #2 is how much of a pleasure it is to have a solid, welcoming sense of what to jump into next, feet-first. What's bad is how that keeps you from staying on target and finishing what you already have.
It's worse when you have something like seven possible future projects all cagematching each other to death for the chance to be next in line.
The books that made me -- specifically, the SF and fantasy books.
Every now and then the social circle I'm in adds another creator, and that provokes another round of what's-your-favorite-X or some similar game. This time around, it was "What influenced you as a writer?", specifically, what influenced you as a science fiction/fantasy writer? I'd already explored this idea before, but it was fun to go back and think about it all over again, and write it down.
Here is my list, in no particular order:
Why I don't have a metaverse for my fiction. (Not for lack of trying, actually...)
One thing I've noticed about my own work in contradistinction to Matt's and Steve's is that I don't have a metaverse. Matt's works all tend to be "backended" into each other as part of some larger shared reality, and Steve's are (so far) in a shared universe that's meant to be expanded in multiple directions. With mine, every work is wholly its own thing, with no connection to anything else.
The wheel turns. It grinds slowly, but exceedingly fine.
The wheel turns. It grinds slowly, but exceedingly fine.
This is Rumor Control; here are the facts.
All projects are listed in very rough order of estimated completion. Note that we have one new entry this time around: Charisma!
"Our creative journeys aren’t linear, and our creative selves not always apparent"
Steven Savage made a post about how he just sort of happened into making some of the most significant work of his writing career (his how-to creativity guides). "Our creative journeys aren’t linear, and our creative selves not always apparent," as he put it.
"...the mind extends into the world and augments the capacities of the biological brain with outside-the-brain resources."
This article had much to nosh on, especially these grafs towards the end:
... the theory of the extended mind, introduced more than two decades ago by the philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers. A 1998 article of theirs published in the journal Analysis began by posing a question that would seem to have an obvious answer: “Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?” They went on to offer an unconventional response. The mind does not stop at the usual “boundaries of skin and skull,” they maintained. Rather, the mind extends into the world and augments the capacities of the biological brain with outside-the-brain resources.
I was a terrible writer for a long time, but I didn't care how bad I was as long as I could keep trying, and could learn something with each trial.
Sometimes I think the only difference between good and bad artists is a combination of two factors: disinhibition about failure, and the willingness to play over one's head as an incentive to improve.
I can speak for myself on both counts. I was a terrible writer for a long time, but I didn't care how bad I was as long as I could keep trying, and could learn something with each trial. Here I still is.
I treat my writing career the way I do because I don't want it to become a "hustle".
In my earlier article, I tapdanced around an idea that I think I can now put into a few succinct words. I treat my writing career the way I do because I don't want it to become a "hustle".
It took this article to help me frame that properly. My writing is a hobby — a very structured and disciplined one, one that I take great pride and care in, but ultimately that's what it is. It is not an attempt to make a living, or even make a name for myself. I already have those things. And I currently have them in a form that is far more manageable to me than would be a career writing fiction.
There's no reason for me to turn something I do because I enjoy it into something I do because I want to hustle it out there. The last thing I want to do is take something that feels like my greatest way to make sense of the world and poison it.
The one thing about Zen and Buddhism that most stood out for me: the idea that everyone's already enlightened and just doesn't know it yet.
The one thing about Zen and Buddhism that most stood out for me, once I found out about it, was the idea that everyone's already enlightened and just doesn't know it yet. As Pema Chödrön put it, "we are never separated from enlightenment. Even at the times we feel most stuck, we are never alienated from the awakened state."
Everyone has it right for the taking and the asking; it's just that we've lived most of our lives not knowing how to look for it. We think we have to look for it by finding something out there that will finish the puzzle, as it were — an experience, an idea, another person, what have you. But nothing out there finishes the puzzle the way finding the missing bit inside yourself does, the bit you've always overlooked.
On not succumbing to the urge to just shove stuff off my desk and be done with it.
Another busy week, hence relatively little bloggo de blog from me. Mostly work (the actual moneyed kind), and keeping my head down and trying to move as fast as possible through the last chapters of Unmortal's first draft. I'm quite close to the end, but I'm trying not to rush it and thus defer things best written down the first time to future drafts. Hard not to get excited, though!
Among the disciplines I had to develop for myself when learning to write was to not rush through anything, to not succumb to the urge to just shove stuff off my desk and be done with it.