Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 173 - Graphic Updates and a New Dilemma

Well, finally after a long run of nothing, we’re making progress again. In what seems an eternity since last I had something to talk about, we’ve matured Altin’s face on the cover, AND we’ve added stars, stone and selected a font for the title. Now, those of you who are of discerning dispositions might think, “That seems a lot to suddenly do, John. Are you sure none of that happened over the last three weeks, well before now, and you were just too much of a lazy piece of crap to write about it?”

Now, while that might seem a fair question, the truth is, it’s not so much laziness as it is really a long wait for progress, and then the beginning of a new college semester (my last if there is a loving God or a generous Fate or any epicurean anything that chooses just to let things fall in place). In fact, there is so much going on right now, and there has been such immense delay, that I can’t help but consider heavily delaying the release until January or February. I have three months of brutal graduate level lit class to deal with (including a scant 3 weeks for reading Moby Dick and lots of critical essays about it, not to mention writing about it all, all included in that time), and it seems that—if the delay you've seen in my just getting this posted is any evidence at all—I might not be able to do the initial-launch marketing for my book with suitable diligence, dedication and strategic attention to detail. 

All that said, I’m not sure about the release timing now, so you tell me what you think I should do. If one puts aside one’s enthusiasm to see the book right away, doesn’t it seem like a better idea to release it when I can launch it quickly and well, given that the delay is only 3 or 4 months, which, given that it was supposed to be out in July, seems like not much difference at all at this point? The other advantage is that, if I wait, I can write the sequel and have it out within a year of release, which is particularly good for sales and marketing (made possible given that, once this semester is done, I will have my life back for the first time in over a decade). What do you think?

So, with all that covered, it's time for some actual project updates, since I imagine a few of you might be curious on what’s transpired. First, Altin’s face (new version depicted above). Have a look at this video and you’ll see I am shifting back and forth between the changes. The “Before” has a narrower jaw line, and in the “After,” it’s more square, and there is subtle but very tactical shadowing under the eyes and on his brow. Cris Ortega shows her mastery in being able to, with such delicacy, add a matter of two to five years to this character. Think about how abstract a request that really is in a matter of carrying off a person in a work of art?  Anyway, have a look.

Pretty cool, eh?

Okay, also, we’ve got some stars in the sky, and we’ve got some stone in the background, and we have some title fonts.  Here’s the sky (the white lines are the breaks between front cover, book spine, and back cover):

I cut out some stuff that counts as "surprise" material.

Very cool, I think. Some of it will be blocked out by the spaceship, about which Cris and I are going back and forth working out ideas. Science fiction isn’t something she’s done much of, so she’s having to do a lot of work learning what has come before when it comes to space ship design. She’s having a lot of fun with it.  Now, opposite that, when it comes to medieval technology she is rock solid, and, speaking of rock, look at how beautifully she has rendered the stone of Altin’s tower:

Yes, that's the tip of Taot's tail and a claw (or is a duclaw on a wing?).

Isn’t that amazing? Look at the cracks and texture. It’s just incredible. Reminds me of Disney, Pixar and even of the old-school Warner Brother cartoons when they used to render backgrounds with similar care to the first two studios. 

Okay, last, I’ll show you the font I’ve chosen. There were several choices, which I’ll toss in below, but the first one is the one I am going with. Some of the others are actually cooler to look at and I even like them better from a strictly aesthetic standpoint, but I felt that from a distance, they would be hard to read, particularly the very gothic looking ones in which, if you shift your eyes right, the “M” can actually be seen as an “A” and an “L" (3rd, 6th and 7th), plus the 5th looks like a "D" and an "I". The second one down is very cool, probably my actual favorite, but the cross in the "M" might confuse readers into thinking there is some Christian undercurrent to my story (or blasphemy), and I don't want to send out messages that run anyone off. So, that said, here they are, with winner on top, then the rest:

Alright, that’s all for now. Let me know what you think about the waiting till January thing. I really am still on the fence. I want to get it out. It’s been so long, I’m eager to get going. But my rational mind thinks that a new release is only a new release ONCE, and with each passing month becomes less so. I think there is some advantages to be had in having all my ducks in row so I can really capitalize on that first few months for generating buzz. Which means patience. Not my strong suit.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you've said. Altin's face is much better. The first font is beautiful yet still readable (be sure to test it at Amazon's thumbnail size).

    It is better to delay launch until you are able to devote an unholy amount of time to promo work. I recommend you read DOLLARS AND SENSE by ... Oh crap, I can't think of their names right now, but it's written by the three women of the "Indie Book Collective." There's lots of good practical info as well as advice.

    Best of luck on your book launch, whenever it might be!

  2. I like the "After" Altin much better. The original Altin did look WAY young.

    Later release? I say sit on it until you feel completely READY to take on the marketing push. You'll feel more comfortable about it, I'd think, and those of us excited about the release will just wait on it with a greater sense of anticipation.

  3. It means a lot to hear words of support from you guys right now on this measure. I really am feeling a crush of obligation, and it's nice to know my reasoning is reasonable and not just what "feels" like a good idea because it might require some long nights etc. Still not for sure gonna delay, but I feel better about making that decision. So, thanks, both of you. :)

  4. I would vote for releasing it when you can make the release your main focus. The only thing that popped into my mind was that January is right after Christmas, kind of a retail desert and everyone is usually broke by then. But on the up side, nothing else is going on in January so that might work in your favor.

    Awesome art work! :)

  5. I'm pleased to be able to offer some constructive help along the way, even if it's to aid in the decision making process.


  6. All those years as a gamer has you wanting to release early and fix the bugs after release. Make it rock as we all know you will! Can't wait to see the finished product (but I will, because i hate bugs).