Here’s The Shadow Queen cover for the U.S. Anchor paperback edition, coming out in January:
It’s almost identical to the hardcover cover, which pleases me very much, since it is so very striking, my favourite cover ever.
I am curious to see what HarperCollins Canada comes up with; their intention is to create something quite different.
As for different, here is The Shadow Queen cover for my Sandra Gulland INK edition, by the ever-so-talented Kris Waldherr.
It should be ready to launch soon. I’m toying with the idea of publishing print editions as well as digital. We shall see.
With this last suitcase of research books now unpacked, I’m very nearly settled into my office in San Miguel de Allende. Time to get to work! I’ve a Dec. 1 deadline for The Game of Hope, and that will be upon me sooner than I realize.
Have a wonderful weekend! I hope you’re reading something delightful. I’m reading a rather horrid little book on the virtues of being tidy. More on this later. The author does make some good suggestions.
We’re back from a trip to London and Paris—I’ve a lot to absorb! No wonder I feel so “lagged” (not just jet-lagged).
Today I began the read/edit of the 4th draft of The Game of Hope. I always think I can whip through a manuscript in a matter of days—this one is only 70,500 words, after all—but I began this morning at 6:00, and I’m only on page 41. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist an emoticon.)
Not that there isn’t a lot going on.
I’ve been posting a blog series on writing, a lovely thing to do when not writing. My latest post: A writer’s routine: on hunting & gathering. I hope to pull them all together for a modest Sandra Gulland INK e-book publication.
Speaking of INK publications, we have a beautiful cover by Kris Waldherr for the INK edition of The Shadow Queen.
I’m turning 70 — (heh) — in one month, and I admit that it’s throwing me for a bit of a loop. Normally I’m fine with birthdays; I celebrate them! But 70?! How did that happen? I’ve been too busy to notice.
To be thrown for a loop: such a curious phrase. According to one Net site, the loop “alludes to the comic-strip image of a person pushed hard enough to roll over in the shape of a loop.” Another says that “loop” refers to the force of a train, plane, or roller coaster when it travels in a loop, causing your head to spin. And yet another, of a calf brought down by a lariat looped around a leg. All very colourful. I’ll go for the comic-strip image.
Re. the craft of writing, this is a wonderful interview with John Truby, author of Anatomy of Story. Everything he says about scriptwriting applies to novels.
What I’m reading:
I’ve been listening to the biography Washington: a Life by Ron Chernow. (It’s excellent.)
The Paying Guests by Sara Waters, also excellent.
I’m also reading, for research, a number of books, but I’ll just mention here a book on Fanny Burney which includes snippets that were deleted from her diaries, many having to do with the mundane details of daily life. Of course I love it.
The image at top is of the novelist Madame de La Fayette, also weary.
I often receive email pitches from publicists, asking for a testimonial—a “blurb”—or offering to send me a book to review or mention on this blog. (My little blog!)
Recently, there were two on the same day. One was a model of a successful pitch, and the other an example of what not to do.
I’ll begin with the NOT:
The letter begins: I’m are writing to you about …
Say no more!
The second publicist knew my work and had chosen to approach me for a reason. She included a short description of the book, several glowing blurb quotes, plus a Q&A with the author. It was enough to get me interested.
I only wish publicists would also include an attachment of the opening pages of the novel. That would be all I need to judge if a book might be one I’d like.
That said, I rarely accept. As for all writers, I have a frightening pile of books I am supposed to be reading. Plus, I’m slow: the last WIP I agreed to read for a very good friend took me over a month, even reading it every day.
It takes quite a bit of time to read a novel, so an indication of a book’s length is important, as well as the deadline, should a quote be needed before publication.
What to include
In summary, a pitch for a quote or review should include:
- why the book might be of interest to me
- the opening pages
- the cover
- the deadline (if applicable)
- book length
Nice extras would be:
- publication details (i.e. promotion plan, print run)
- advance review quotes, if there are any
- a Q&A with the author
Later, as a courtesy, an autographed copy of the published book should be sent with thanks to those who have taken the time to read and craft a testimonial or review. An appreciative note from the author is always nice. It’s surprising how rarely this is done. I understand! It’s expensive, for one thing, but most of all, it’s time-consuming.
Come to think of it, I’ve yet to finish sending out my own “thank you” copies of The Shadow Queen. (Reminder to self: do it today.)
The birth of Louis XIV, the Sun King, was an occasion of great celebrating in France. He was called the “God-Given,” because Queen Anne had prayed fervently for a child after suffering several miscarriages and many years of marriage.
Here are some images of mother and son, and a charming portrait of the future Sun King as a toddler:
This last one, my favorite, is only presumed to be of the king. It shows the swaddling that was done at the time.
I’ve not been blogging very much, mostly because I’m crashing through a 3rd draft of The Game of Hope, the working title of my YA novel about Hortense de Beauharnais.
But I’ve also been slow to blog because WordPress.org has been suddenly problematic, requiring me to insert (horror!) code before publishing a post. For a code nerd, it would be nothing—but for me it’s a pain. Fingers crossed that the next upgrade of WordPress will solve the problem.
But for now, I’m just dropping by to post a quote I liked in a wonderful book: Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. I’m going to be passing it on to friends in my book club. I recommend it!
Here’s something else worth noting, re. structure (credit to Emma Coats, formerly at Pixar):
Once upon a time, there was _____.
Every day, _____.
One day, _____.
Because of that, _____.
Because of that, _____.
Until finally, _____.
And so, in the spirt of sharing/showing my work, I finished making the changes to draft 3.1.1 today and have printed it out. I love seeing that big stack. Tomorrow morning, I’ll begin to read it through. I’m already trying to talk myself into not getting too picky. I want to skim for flow, identify the problematic sections and write a new chapter or two. But “picky” is my middle name, so that might be a problem.
I got the draft cover for the paperback edition of The Shadow Queen: I like it!
Here’s the quote:
“The cat sat on a mat” is not a story. “The cat sat on the dog’s mat” is a story. —John le Carré