Old Moon

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Frustration and Judging a Book by Its Cover

Now that my second novel is out, the comments are beginning to come in. I was so discouraged by the errors in my galleys, I couldn't face reading the print copy when it arrived, after I saw two pages with blank spots and letters left out of the headings. Now a friend has called to say how much she's enjoying the book, but how amazed she is at the number of typos. Two reviewers of the e-book version commented on the same thing. I had re-proofed and redone (at the publisher's request)  the entire ms. before sending it again for the print version, corrected two sets of galleys, and still...

The publisher offered three versions of a cover (for which I had to submit the photos) and I picked the one I liked best. The book was printed with one different from any of the others, the color is distorted and made incredibly ugly, and the layout is now unbalanced and as amateurish as the text.

I'm so embarrassed I'd like to scream. I guess I have no recourse, since I paid nothing to have the book published, but I feel betrayed since nothing but publication is included in the contract, and it's hard enough to promote for oneself without a big budget and connections, and now I'm not even able to be proud of the product. 

Now the question is, how many readers (if I get any more with this cover) will overlook the things over which I seem to have had no control? I'm now spending money I can ill afford to have a detailed edit done of my next book in the hope (doubtless vain) that some agent or publisher might take me seriously. Forgive my venting on this site, but maybe another writer will at least relate.

Or maybe it's the unrelenting downpour that's affecting my perspective. At least, I have one reader who is enjoying the book in spite of its problems, and another who is "delighted" with my language. I guess it could be worse.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Looking for Justification

It's the same old problem of trying to put one's life into the right proportions and perspective. If we hope to accomplish something, we find ourselves forced to consider and act upon the need to focus and be willing to exert ourselves, even to sacrifice. Then comes the question of whether we have any right to that effort for ourselves, given the needs of everyone else near and/or far.

History is rife with the biographies of great artists and the sacrifices they forced others to make so they could (albeit while most of the time suffering themselves) do what they had to do. So as I add this small blogging task to others in an attempt to learn to be a sort of artist, I am beset with guilt. There are at least three other volunteer jobs I could do that I don't want to undertake because I want the time to work on what I want to do for myself. Does my age give me a right I couldn't feel I could claim when I was thirty or forty? Does the fact that I worked for a wage from the age of fourteen until I was over sixty give me a right? Does the fact that I can still walk and drive and make sense and use a computer mean that I should be doing those things for others?

Thank heaven my children are not only grown, but make me proud, that their children are doing the same, that I can afford to live comfortably. Should I be "paying back," as the current saying is? Or can I claim to have "paid my dues?"

As Yul Brynner sang so poignantly in The King and I: "Is a puzzlement!"

So now I have to write a press release.