31 August 2010

24 August 2010

New book award

Conference was great fun. Wonderful speakers, and a chance to catch up with other authors, to share in their success and commiserate over struggles. One of my conference friends pitched a book to Alex Logan which sounded like it might be just what she's looking for - I'm looking forward to finding out how that goes. My fingers are crossed for her.

While I'm still tired from all the fun :) conference also revs the writing engine and I'm looking forward to getting back into it. Books to finish, new ones to start etc...

On a different note, the Guardian is suggesting launching a new book award:

"Many of us are familiar with the Diagram prize for the oddest non-fiction book title. But what about fiction? Surely it's time there was a gong for novels with titles that are not only strange and unusual, but downright funny in the most sniggersome, puerile manner? What, in other words, is worthy of what I propose can be nothing less than a Wankh award?

The Wankh awards shall be named in honour of that classic of science-fiction, Jack Vance's Servants of the Wankh. The 1969 novel, the second in Vance's Tschai quartet, has had to battle a barrage of titters over the past half-century, thanks to its title. In Vance's world, the Wankh are one of four warring races who inhabit a distant planet. In the Britain of saucy postcards, Carry On movies and Benny Hill, they are a cause for such hilarity that later editions were edited to change the titular alien race to "Wannek".

Much of the schoolyard humour that can be derived from novel titles comes via distance or time – the innocent language of gentler ages acquires more nudge-nudge, wink-wink overtones when the popular slang of intervening years casts a new light on common words, while the points of language that divide the US and Britain – as in the case of the Jack Vance novel – can make for many a belly laugh."

So aside from 'Servants of the Wankh' what other possible nominations are there:
- Talbot Baines Reed's 'The Cock-house at Fellsgarth'
- Beatrix M De Burgh's 'Drummer Dick's Discharge'
- Troy Hitch and Neal D Aulick's 'Night of the Willies'
- Geoffrey Prout's 'Scouts in Bondage'
- 3th book in the Fir Tree series 'The Day Amanda Came'
- K L Brady's The Bum Magnet'

What about you anything you'd like to add to the nominations?

16 August 2010

RWNZ Conference

It's the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference this weekend - yay :)
I get to hang out with some great writers and learn more about my craft - what could be better?

They've got a great line up of guest speakers this year:
- Christopher Vogler, top Hollywood story consultant and author of The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.
Stephanie Laurens, who has been writing historical romance novels for more than 20 years and is a New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and USA-Today bestseller.
- Dianne Moggy, Vice President, Overseas Editorial Strategy & Development at Harlequin.
- Alex Logan, an editor at Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books).
- Laura Bradford who has had 15 years’ experience as a literary agent, editor, writer and bookseller.
- Nalini Singh whose books regularly hit the New York Times Bestseller list, Nalini is an amazing Kiwi success story.
- Natalie Anderson who is the USA Today-bestselling author of 13 “fast-paced, frisky, feel-good stories” for Mills & Boon Sexy Sensation.
- Vanessa Johnson’s first novel, Lush, was released in January 2010. It immediately hit the NZ bestseller lists, and soon rose to number one.
- Nick McLeay who has many years experience as a police officer, most recently in drug enforcement and in inter-agency relations (an area where writers can often find interesting plot angles).
- & last, but not least, Nic Harrison a swords expert, Nic's swords expertise will appeal to historical and paranormal fiction writers in particular. He will share his comprehensive knowledge of sword technology and sword-fighting styles.

As you can see I'm going to have a busy weekend :)

10 August 2010

03 August 2010

Cover evolution

A few weeks ago I looked at several covers & how they vary by country. One of those covers was 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'.

A recent article looks a the development of the startling yellow US cover. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group wasn't sure how the international covers would work in the US market so cover designer Peter Mendelsund got the job of reworking it. For three months he prepared nearly 50 distinct designs. Below are a selection of its iterations.

- An early option used the title "The Man Who Hated Women," which is closer to the original Swedish title. Mr. Mendelsund liked the image of an anonymous woman, with its "contrast between the softness of her face and the way it has been shredded." But the title went out—for fear, Knopf says, that it would be "problematic" in a U.S. market—and the jacket did, too.

This option utilizes blind deboss, where the typeface is indented (no ink). The only colour here is the blood-red splotches. It was rejected as too monochromatic & difficult to read.

- A contrast to the previous lack of colour. It was deemed to traditional for the genre. It also felt more like Bangkok than Stockholm.

-This jacket returns to Swedish sensibility & the sparse & abandoned cloth woods indicate a mystery. However it was deemed to far from the US market.

- A return to the theme of snow, again it was turned down due to lack of colour.

- Back to colour, but this one gave everyone a headache.

- Very like the final cover. A pattern in the background like a tattoo, the colours are more flesh-like. Hues the designer still prefers to this day, he feels they have more depth.

- The final choice :)

Not everyone loved the jacket. Knopf said there was "some pushback" from retailers, as well as members of the publishing house's sales team, who were looking for a more conventional depiction in lines with other thrillers—something darker, bloodier, "more Scandinavian."

However, the goal was achieved. This cover stands out and stops the books being pigeonholed.

Hope you enjoyed that little journey through the cover design process. Catch you next week :)