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March 24, 2004

A Lindskold good day
Posted by Teresa at 03:18 PM *

Hey, look at that—our first finished copy of the mass-market edition of Jane Lindskold’s The Dragon of Despair. It’s very pretty: embossed gold foil on the title and author name, good color repro on the cover image (which has shot down quite well), back and spine a nice persimmon-red color picked up from the art—definitely looks good. Well, yay rah.

The other news of the day is that her agent has asked to have bound galleys of her standalone next novel, The Buried Pyramid, sent to a couple of studios that have expressed interest. As it happens, that book has an especially spiff bound galley. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a nicer one. The Buried Pyramid is a fantasy adventure about archaeologists in Egypt in the late 19th c., and the designer ran wild with public domain Egyptian-themed Victorian engravings. The title page is art from top to bottom, and every chapter start has an ornate little engraved ornament.

(These things are not predictable. Sometimes a designer takes a liking to a book. It’s plain good luck.)

Default bound galleys have three components: the first-pass uncorrected typeset pages, which become its text; the descriptive copy from the entry about that title in our sales catalogue, which becomes the galley’s back-cover copy; and the title page, which becomes its cover. An ornate title page maketh a posh-looking galley.

It’s all good. I’m happy.

Comments on A Lindskold good day:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 04:34 PM:

I should get back to reading Lindskold -- I liked her first few, but found myself not wanting to continue to later ones.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 04:38 PM:

This series is doing well, in that sales-go-up kind of way. Also in that word-of-mouth "I gave a copy to my friend, and she loved it" kind of way.

#3 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 05:41 PM:

I may have to buy The Dragon of Despair just for the title. It appeals to me.

It occurs to me that I've never read any Lindskold. This can be fixed, however. There's a bookstore on my way home.

The Egyptian book sounds just plain nifty. Both in terms of idea, and in the described design.

#4 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 08:52 PM:

Is there some connection to The Salmon of Doubt? I haven't read that one either, but it's in my pile.

#5 ::: Madeline ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 09:06 PM:

Yay! I've been rooting for Jane Lindskold ever since I figured out her connection to Roger Zelazny. And since her books are good, it's really easy to root for her. :)

#6 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 09:48 PM:

Salmon of Doubt is a posthumous Douglas Adams . . . what is it, exactly? Collection?

Anyway, no, it wouldn't seem they're related.

#7 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 11:32 PM:

What's her connection to Roger Zelazny?

#8 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 12:11 AM:

She was his companion the last year or so of his life -- biographical notes on Zelazny by her can be found here.

#9 ::: Celia ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 12:23 AM:

This totally off topic, but I'm having horrible problems loading comments on your pages once they're past a certain length, and i'm tempted to blame the sidebar ads, since it always cuts off right at the end of them, often midway though a comment. I've been messing with my settings, so it's still possibly my computer's problem (IE 6.0, on XP pro), but I thought I'd mention it in case you have other readers reporting problems as well.

#10 ::: Cassandra Phillips-Sears ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 12:42 AM:

I have the same problem, Celia. The only solution I have found so far is to go back to the main Making Light page and then click on the comments link from there.
Reloading the page doesn't help, for some reason.

#11 ::: Mel Sherman ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 01:35 AM:

Celia and Cassandra, try hitting F11 twice. I run XP on my box, and that seems to fix it. (TNH blogged something to that effect, and why it happens, before she was so drastically ill and silent for so long.)

luck.

#12 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 01:45 AM:

The Salmon of Doubt is an unfinished novel + miscellaneous stuff.

I've been finding that more and more attention is being lavished on bound galleys/ARCs, incorporating corrections and revisions, to the point where they're becoming viewed as de facto 1st editions.

#13 ::: I. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 03:00 AM:

Yay rah, Teresa!

Robert L: I just uploaded the files for what in my office we call a galley--which I believe is technically an advance reader copy (ARC)?--to our printer's server this evening, and yes, often the text in these things is the final version. For one title that's on a truck somewhere right now, we actually ordered galleys/ARCs after sending the book to the printer. This may have something to do with our being mad--I sent pages out for indexing at the same time, and it wasn't really, um, proofread much.

I do not recommend managing one's production in this way, but I'm told that it's the secret to our success. Or one of them, anyway.

The punishment is that we never, ever get to use embossing or foil. And I'm growing a lot more gray hairs since I took this job.

#14 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 08:45 AM:

I'm a newbie pro author in Australia, but my publisher, Edge SF/F, is in Alberta, Canada. I get my galleys as PDFs through the net. After hearing for years about bound galleys and all that I was really looking forward to having these big impressive galley things to wave about. PDFs are much easier to send to me here, but... ah well. The main thing is I'm in print! Woohoo! :)

#15 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 10:48 AM:

I had the same problem with comments until I re-sized the window... PRESTO! All comments!

#16 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 12:42 PM:

F11 twice works for me. What I find a bit mysterious is that it isn't necessary for Electrolite.

I liked Lindskold's _Changer_ a lot, but was disappointed by the sequel. The first book set up a really interesting situation (mythic creatures live among us, and the costs of living in secret are going up--they're deciding whether to go public), but then, instead of having at least some of them go public and seeing what happens, the sequel is a thriller. Not a bad thriller, but not as cool as a big change.

#17 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 02:10 PM:

Claude, thanks for that link.

#18 ::: Toni ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 02:25 PM:

Hey, look at WHAT? I don't see any galleys.

#19 ::: Rachel Reiss ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 04:01 PM:

Oh, hey, whoa! It's not always us poor designers' fault when a design is less impressive/ornate/gorgeous! Most of the time, we come up with something we love, that will perfectly complement the text and theme, that will just BLOW the readers away--and the art director or (dare I say? yeah, I'm fearless) the editor comes back with a "it's too much, it looks more like an ad than a book, I really wanted something that looks like the cover..." Or the art director or production manager will refuse to put it through on the grounds (not ALWAYS baseless) that the typesetter will destroy it and it will never come out right. (I'm sure I don't need to add that if I am doing both, it will be perfect, bad past experience with some yahoo or no bad past experience with some yahoo. Yay, me!) Sigh.

So give three cheers and one cheer more for a perfect match!

#20 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2004, 11:52 PM:

I.--Not sure where you work, but sounds as if it is like a few large houses already are, a sort of giant desktop publishing operation (I say this as a simple description, in no way demeaning to anything), rather than old style (still in operation at many other houses), where it's all sent out. Soon the day I both dread and look forward to will come, where it's all PDF files floating around rather than the giant piles of paper that are a constant in my life...

I thought the main point of sending out advance copies, be they bound MSS., galleys, or ARCs, was to garner quotes, reviews, advance orders, offers for movie rights... If you're going to have finished books real soon, why suddenly decide to do bound galleys?

and it wasn't really, um, proofread much.

If you had come to me...

#21 ::: I. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2004, 11:25 AM:

We're a very small (but scrappy!) house with very uneven cash flow, so we (I) do almost all of our typesetting ourselves and skimp severely on editorial services. Desktop publishing R us. I enjoy typesetting, so that part's fine with me, but I hate sending books to the printer with the knowledge that they're full of howlers.

Had I come to you, you would have (a) laughed at what we paid, or (b) cried when you learned how late we would pay it.

As for the purpose of our ARCs, we use them mainly to garner reviews. The other purposes on your list are, if addressed at all, met with copies of the raw manuscript that we laser-print and spiral-bind ourselves. I guess you could call those galleys, too, if you were feeling generous.

#22 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2004, 12:03 PM:

I. wrote:
Had I come to you, you would have (a) laughed at what we paid, or (b) cried when you learned how late we would pay it.

Oh, don't be so sure about that. Though of course I go for the gold when I can, I'm more concerned with working on interesting stuff than I am with strictly monetary issues. If all I wanted was the big bucks, I'd be working on business or medical stuff all the time. Sure, there is a certain need for cash flow, but since I'll make money whether I'm bored or interested, I'd rather be interested. And since I work a lot, a lower-paying job here and there isn't such a big deal. Nor is late payment as long as it gets there eventually.

And if your rates really are so laughably low that I couldn't accept such a pittance and retain my self-respect, I probably know someone who's a little hungrier than I am who's still interested...


You can email me at legault50[at]aol.com if you'd like to discuss this further.

#23 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2004, 06:54 PM:

In a couple of her early books, she was still finding her voice, I think. But once she did, she started doing some really WONDERFUL stuff. She's become one of my favorite fantasy writers.

#24 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2004, 07:31 PM:

Okay, because I've been meaning to ask this--Laura, did you write a serial in Analog maybe a decade or so back, involving a character named Ruby and a telepresence sort of thing? (It's been a while.) If so, I rather liked it, and am sorry I don't remember it better. (Yay high school library of back issues of Analog!)

#25 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2004, 11:10 PM:

And Robert, some of amateurs out here have been known to do copyedit/proofread for copies of the books (of course that was for a high-end specialty publisher that produced some totally spiff books now worth far more than I would ever have been paid for the job, but it was a great deal of fun and I have good memories of it and a book with dollar bills for endpapers -- real ones, not reproductions).

#26 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2004, 11:11 PM:

And Robert, some of us amateurs out here have been known to do copyedit/proofread for copies of the books (of course that was for a high-end specialty publisher that produced some totally spiff books now worth far more than I would ever have been paid for the job, but it was a great deal of fun and I have good memories of it and a book with dollar bills for endpapers -- real ones, not reproductions).

#27 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2004, 11:12 PM:

So much for trying to stop sending the comment out when I noticed the typo. If you saw it before seeing this comment, good on you (missing word).

#28 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2004, 11:29 PM:

Tom--Even I, book-slut and record-'ho that I am, have done such things--in fact, there's a certain small record company that still owes me a certain box set whose (quite long) booklet I proofread...not that I expect to ever see it. I'd gladly work for peanuts + a copy of, say, some Taschen coffee-table books.

#29 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2004, 03:28 AM:

I'm probably going to annoy some people by saying this, but proofreading is not something that one gets around to if-and-when. A number of years ago, there was a game publisher (now gone, so I won't name them) that knocked out large quantities of mediocre product, presented in a kind of first approximation of English. People evidently noticed, because the head of the outfit unapologetically announced (in their short-lived magazine) that, what with all the fantastic work they were doing, they just didn't have time for proofreading. Now, I rather doubt that simpselled drows and badly grammars caused their demise, but that editorial attitude may have contributed to it.

#30 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2004, 07:50 AM:

Well, annoy away. One of the reasons I did the jobs referred to above was because I really care about proofreading, not that I'm in Robert's class or as good as most of the pros out there. I wanted those books (even the one I didn't want my name connected with!) to be as good as they could be, and the publisher thought I'd help. And I know I did.

In another case, though, I blew it because I let the collector in me make corrections in a light pencil, and one major error that I tried to correct didn't get seen by the publisher. _That_ taught me a lot about what really matters in proofing.... But I was young then, and very few of you probably saw that chapbook. At least I got them a good artist.

#31 ::: Simon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2004, 08:26 AM:

"It’s very pretty: embossed gold foil on the title and author name,"

I hate embossed foil covers.

#32 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2004, 08:35 AM:

Hey, Simon, as a bookseller I hate cutouts in covers. They tear. No matter what. And then we have an unsellable book. Oh yeah, it's spiff for face-out displays (airports and the like) but for putting books spine out on shelves: it sucks.

#33 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2004, 10:52 AM:
A number of years ago, there was a game publisher (now gone, so I won't name them) that knocked out large quantities of mediocre product, presented in a kind of first approximation of English.

Of course now my brain will do little else than try to figure out which company this was (stupid brain)... it wasn't the firm run by two gentlemen (using the term very loosely) named M*** C**** and T**** S****, by any chance?

#34 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2004, 09:32 PM:

I'll second that, often as not, we designers come up with spiff designs that complement the book perfectly, only to be shot down by (in my case) the editor, who doesn't know why she doesn't like the design in question, and doesn't know what she wants instead, but wants it different. Or just plain wants (frankly) bleecchh so it won't "detract from the words."

Not that you, T., would ever do that. I know you wouldn't.

[hackles up] As if one of my typographic designs would ever detract from the words.

Harumph.

But seriously, we designers and typesetters love to have a beautifully designed book that makes it past the critics and allows us to present something that is pleasing to the eye and the soul.

#35 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 03:48 AM:

Well, I wouldn't know where to begin when it comes to the importance of proofreading things. I too have certainly labored over messy things to get them right even though I didn't like the book and thought the author was an idiot.

I can only cite a couple of my favorite typos, and let everything be inferred from them. The first is the so-called "Evil Bible," an edition of the Good Book which gave the commandment, "Thou shalt commit adultery." ("You see, baby, it says right here in the Bible...") The printer was jailed for that one.

The other was from some book on economics that a certain large publisher put out maybe 7 or 8 years ago. This was caught in the proofs, but presumably the bound galleys contained the error. What it was supposed to say:

"This is the case, for example, under capitalism, where the labor of the many is exploited for the benefit of the few."

What it was set as:

"This is the case, for example, under capitalism, where the labor of the many is exploited for the benefit of the Jew."

As for design, I think that there are many approaches that work. Some may be impractical (those die-cut covers) even if they are theoretically nice to look at. Design is an art similar to architecture: It's important that it looks good, but it's even more important that it work for the user; and people who can accomplish both are true artists.

#36 ::: Simon ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 11:00 AM:

That last one sounds like a typesetter who was deliberately off the reservation, as they say.

I said I hate embossed covers. I also hate cut-outs. I hate gaudy, garish cover art. All the stuff that publishers put on the cover to make it more noticable, makes me less likely to buy. A quiet, plain cover in the science fiction and fantasy section is a blessed relief, and even persuades me to buy a science fiction book now and again. It says "This is a quality book, we don't have to scream at the customers about it." (Are you listening, o editors?)

#37 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 12:54 PM:

Amen to the simple cover. Busy, fussy (expensive!) covers are at best, annoying. At worst, embarrassing.

One of my personal non SF/F genre favorites is the work of Georgette Heyer. She wrote very witty, true-to-period books set in the English Regency. It's damned frustrating to get one of her books set in a lurid "bodice-ripper" cover: sort of like scribbling a mustache on the picture of your favorite aunt - the one who let you read in bed as late as you wanted and never talked down to you.

Even worse, IMO, than bad cover art is when the person who writes the jacket blurb obviously didn't read a single word of the book. One favorite novel of mine contains a major plot point: the heroine is very rich, but very plain. She marries "well" (impoverished Earl) because of her money, and the rest of the book is long on the hard work of a marriage between two people who barely know one another and very short on happily ever after (in other words, realistic rather than romantic). In order to explain her marriage to the hero, the back of the jacket describes her as "very beautiful." Barf.

#38 ::: Madeline ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 02:50 PM:

I like glitzy covers. Not cutouts, so much, because they compromise the integrity of the paper that makes the cover, and I worry as I read that the cover will get folded because it doesn't bend the same way all through... But gold foil is all good by me. Shiny!

For cover art, I like either realistic people who don't look like people modeling in the artist's studios who just have a spacesuit painted on them, or brightly colored vaguely abstract yet detailled things. Nicely done sci-fi settings sometimes work, too.

For Lindskold, I quite liked her wolf books, "Though Wolf's Eyes" and "Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart". Good yarns, great characters, believable world with unique touches, no requirements to swallow ridiculous plot twists.

Oo! And looking this up on Amazon, I just realized that "The Dragon of Despair" is next in that series! And it's glittery! Oh, now I'm looking forward to it... I'm your target audience, right here.

#39 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 10:05 PM:

Another vote against cut-outs. Many of my Elizabeth Peters novels suffer from the cut-out and every single one that has a cut-out also has a torn cover. Falcon at the Portal had the most tenuously connected cut-out and was the first to go.

The embossed cover I have mixed feelings about. I really don't mind embossing on the title, but embossing the cover illustration seems rather chancy to me. (And you can sometimes get some pretty ludicrous results--one fantasy book I have has a picture of a pretty sorceress on the front with HEAVILY embossed breasts which very obviously protrude more than anything else on the cover. Although...perhaps I'm not the target audience there.)

Jill: Just started reading Georgette Heyer (after hearing her mentioned so frequently here and on a certain writing board, how could I not?) and I can see what you mean about the bodice ripper cover I found on one of them. (The rest of the covers were all much more restrained and indicative of the Regency period.)

Finally, while I'm not a book designer, I'm definitely employed as a graphic designer, and I know the pain of having your least favourite concept chosen for the final piece. (Wouldn't submit my least favourite concept except that the art directors say things like, "Submit five concepts by ten o'clock tomorrow morning," and so you do, but then they pick the one of the five you thought was the least workable and you wonder if you're going to want to point out that design in six months and have anything to do with it.)

#40 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 10:50 PM:

Jill Smith wrote:
One favorite novel of mine contains a major plot point: the heroine is very rich, but very plain.

A Civil Contract! It's my favourite Heyer so far, and the one I've reread the most.

#41 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 11:34 PM:

As a bookseller, I completely agree about cutouts (and, to a lesser extent, setbacks). These are books which _only_ work as long as the book is face out -- if one puts them on a shelf next to another book and takes them out a few times, they _will_ tear, and make the book unsaleable. And we just got a copy of the third Pullman book in hardback from a distributor, and the cover was torn at the cutout -- fortunately, it was for a customer who doesn't care about jackets. Maybe they only work for the "Oooh -- shiny!" crowd at airports, and if only the publishers would use them just for those folks....

But that's from a specialty bookseller's perspective, which is not the perspective most publishers think is their primary market (and, in truth, it isn't).

#42 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2004, 10:40 PM:

Hi, Teresa et al.--I'm dropping in belatedly for (or belatedly dropping off) a comment about THE BURIED PYRAMID. Archaeologists in late 19th-century Egypt... that sounds like Amelia Peabody and family (by Elizabeth Peters). If I liked A.P., would I like THE BURIED PYRAMID?

(P.S. I really enjoyed Viable Paradise VII.)

#43 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2004, 02:37 PM:

There will be other posthumous Roger Zelazny fiction!

Roger Zelazny gave permission to the very talented Economics Professor Philip Fellman, Southern New Hampshire University, to write certain specific stories in Roger Zelazny's multiverse. Roger Zelazny was impressed by Professor Fellman's status as 5th Degree Black Belt in traditional Japanese swordsmanship (Iaido), and the Professor's depth of understanding of Zelazny's fiction...

I have some of the approved draft mss, and have been asked to do some rewrite...

Lord of Light: please give me some time in my schedule...

#44 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2004, 03:45 PM:

"There will be other posthumous Roger Zelazny fiction!

"Other" than what? I find no prior references in this thread to posthumous Roger Zelazny fiction.

Jane Lindskold wrote a couple of books with him while he was alive, if I recall correctly, which isn't the same thing.

#45 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2004, 08:17 PM:

Patrick:

I guess that I was answering a question that I thought was implicit in:

"Alice Keezer ::: (view all by)
::: March 24, 2004, 09:48 PM:
Salmon of Doubt is a posthumous Douglas Adams . . . what is it, exactly? Collection?
Anyway, no, it wouldn't seem they're related."

But I guess it wasn't implied by her at all.

Never mind...

Or, should I rephrase as:

"There will be, other than the stuff you've seen of his while he was alive, posthumous Roger Zelazny fiction!"

Thanks.


#46 ::: Madeline ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2004, 03:14 AM:

There will be other posthumous Roger Zelazny fiction!

Roger Zelazny gave permission to the very talented Economics Professor Philip Fellman, Southern New Hampshire University, to write ...

If it's not written by Zelazny, it will, alas, not be Zelazny fiction...

...certain specific stories in Roger Zelazny's multiverse.

Which multiverse?

#47 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2004, 03:36 AM:

I assumed he meant "other than John Betancourt's Amber prequels," myself.

#48 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2004, 10:29 AM:

Patrick: the Zelazny/Lindskold collaborations (e.g. Donnerjack) were certainly posthumous as the word was used for centuries; they were published after Zelazny's death. I \thought/ I had heard that Lindskold in fact finished them afterward, based on notes and discussions, but it's not something I was following closely; is there anything you're certain of and can discuss in public?

It would be nice to have a (printable) word for the Betancourt Amber books, the Thompson(sp?) Oz books, the recent "V. C. Andrews", etc. to distinguish the revived from the merely exhumed; "resurrectionist", perhaps?

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