Archive | January, 2014

Judging a book by its [not] cover

27 Jan
The cover I didn't choose

The cover I didn’t choose, (c) 2014 All Rights Reserved

It is, perhaps, a standard joke for writers that the saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t seem to apply to books when it comes to buyers.

I know when I am in a book store, a book’s title is probably the first thing that attracts my attention, followed closely by the cover design. If intrigued, I’ll look at the back cover and possibly the inner covers. If further interested, I might look at the table of contents or perhaps a sample of the writing. The cover design certainly plays an important part in attracting a reader’s interest.

My FriesenPress.com “All Inclusive” package came with two cover designs. This one above was the more conventional of the two. It is clean, straightforward, attractive, and professional looking. Perhaps it is a bit boring, perhaps not.

I do like the reflection of the title into the back cover, as I think this is a clever visual device.

The other option was based on some suggestions for symbolism that I forwarded for the cover designer to consider. I am not going to show this just yet. It is more intriguing, more symbolic, and sinister. Like a haunted house, it seems to mysteriously beacon to the reader to enter it.

In my unscientific poll of the statistically too small sample size of four people, it was a 50-50 split between the two cover designs. I had thought about doing a post where the readers might vote as to which design they preferred, but my gut strongly said to go with the other design.

So, for those interested, here are three easy questions:

1. What are your thoughts on the above pictured cover design that I decided against?

2. When is the “right time” to do a cover reveal in the publishing process?

3. Is there interest in a post with both cover designs, where commenters could vote and comment as to which they liked better and why?

*Please note that I will be out of town from 28-30 January*

Advertisements

Rage in the Prison of my Circumstance

24 Jan
Lycaon turned  into a wolf (Goltzius 1589)

Lycaon turned into a wolf (Goltzius 1589)

I am restless, to and fro
In the prison of my circumstance
The rage within does start to grow
This burning rage well do I know
I feel it swell into extreme
And rise into my tighten’d throat
It gathers there and burns as steam
Then unleashes a most frightful note
With head thrown back in carnal song
My eerie scream against the night
In a horrid moment so prolong’d
Rabid echo of my fearsome plight
Fields of freedom are within my sight
As I reach beyond my prison’s bars
In a futile hope to grab what’s there
And then I turn my burning glare
To the walls that bare the scars
So gouge’d into by flailing claw
Propell’d by force of rage so raw
Then of prison’s door I am aware
I attack it with a rage renew’d
The door then yields to my stern will
Torn asunder by a violent blow
Yet my torment-scream grows louder still
For my jailer, now, he is construe’d
And blocks the door, this man. I know
My freedom he will not bestow
For I can’t permit myself to go.

Galley Proofs Are In!

20 Jan
By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

Well, it’s an exciting day in Navigation Land. I returned from work and found 623 new emails in my inbox, of which 600 were WordPress email alerts. Included amongst the other 23 were the galley proofs from my self-publisher. Bad news: February isn’t an option if I am going to take the time to scrutinize the files. I have already caught three errors in the book galley upon a cursory look, so one can never assume that everything is perfect. For example, look how the book is both (c) my company and me at the same time:

Place your faith in God. Everyone else's work, double check.

Place your faith in God. Everyone else’s work, double check.

In the spirit of this major milestone—this is my first book, and hence my first galley proofs—, I have two questions to pose to everyone, and I would be grateful for your thoughts:

1. I have the cover designs for the hard cover and paperback / soft cover books. Nearly identical. How far in advance of the book release should I unveil the cover? Closer to the release date can build drama. Sooner might make for more effective marketing, in that it gets your cover “out there” in the social media sooner.

2. In today’s social media age, should I have this information about myself on the back cover? Should there be my Gravatar along with “www.navigator1965.wordpress.com”? I suppose this would mean that I have to get a twitter account and maybe a Facebook page for The Mirror.

Since I now have to bear down and get the proof reading / scrutinizing done, I’m afraid that I will be less active at everyone’s blog for a while, for which I ask your understanding.

For those who have read the manuscript, you know just how “interesting” 2014 will be for me once the book comes out. This is one genie that’s going to be awfully tough to put back into its bottle once I let it out.

No quarter. None asked, none granted. }:-)>

compass rose

Book Proposal – Part Nine “Sample Chapter”

19 Jan
A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

Here we are at the final part of my book proposal, the sample chapter. Let’s review where this fits into the proposal:

– Overview

– Sales Objective

– Marketing / Promotion / Platform

– Competing or Reference Books

– About the Author

– List of Book’s Chapters

– Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries

Sample Chapter

In the Overview, I hopefully have hooked the publisher in the first few lines of my proposal, and I gave him or her the big picture snapshot of what my book was about. Based on a great comment from blogger suzjones to an earlier post in this series, I now know that I should have had a social media “platform” in place by this point, as the first thing the publisher will do is Google my name or perhaps the title of my manuscript/book. I had no social media presence in 2010, other than a rarely used Facebook page.

In the next three sections, I tried to show that I understood that publishing is a business, and what the business aspects of my book were that would make the publisher want to choose it. Then came a brief summary of who I was as a person and an author. People like people.

The final three parts of the proposal demonstrated that I had actually thought about writing the book, and had planned an appropriate structure against which to write. In the last of these, I included a sample chapter. I’ve read that this should not be the Introduction or the first chapter. Probably shouldn’t be the final chapter either, but this is a guess on my part. If the publisher gets this far in your proposal, you obviously done well. Now it’s time to give the ultimate proof, which is that you can actually write well, and that the book will be interesting.

As there have been significant changes in the publishing industry in the last few years, there may be less importance to this part than in previous times. Not that it isn’t important, however. But for a first time author these days, odds are that you’ve already written your first book, built a social media platform (i.e., following), and have already demonstrated that you can write. If the publisher Googled you and hit your blog, hopefully they see that you’ve already had good feedback on your work, parts of your work, or your writing in some regard.

I’m not going to include the sample chapter here, as it is too long for a blog post. Anyone interested in reading what this proposal ultimately evolved into, please feel free to email me at themirrorbooks@gmail.com. No cost, no strings.

For everyone who followed along with this series of posts on the book proposal, thanks for your interest, support, and kind comments. Who knows? From this humble, first time attempt at a book proposal, a successful book may ultimately arise. I’ll know better as this year progresses, as the book should be out next month. The first galley proofs are due to me early next week, which is an exciting milestone.

I never seen an actual galley proof before, let alone having been responsible for the creation of one.

I’ll conclude by making a master list (hyperlinked) of the posts in the series. Cheers, everyone.

* * * * *

Part Zero – The Book Proposal

Part One – The Book Proposal

Part Two – Overview

Part Three – Sales Objective

Part Four – Marketing / Promotion / Platform

Part Five – Competing or Reference Books

Part Six – About the Author

Part Seven – List of Book’s Chapters

Part Eight – Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries

Part Nine – Sample Chapter

Book One of my magnum opus

Book One of my magnum opus

Book Proposal – Part Eight “Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries”

13 Jan
A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

Here is where we are in the rough “industry standard” format that I adopted to write the proposal for ONE:

– Overview

– Sales Objective

– Marketing / Promotion / Platform

– Competing or Reference Books

– About the Author

– List of Book’s Chapters

Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries

– Sample Chapter

By this point, I’ve given the the big picture sales pitch (Overview), showed a prospective publisher that I understand that publishing is a business (Sales Objective, Marketing, Competing/Reference Books), told them a bit about me (About the Author), and what my book’s structure is (List of Book’s Chapters).

So what will be in those chapters I am planning to write?

As per my previous posts in this series, this proposal, my first, was never really considered by the one traditional publisher to whom it was given. The book it described turned out to be significantly different in some regards from the book it eventually evolved into. Yet had it not been for this proposal, I never would have made it to the point where I now find myself: within a couple of months of book release.

For those who have read the manuscript, it may be a bit interesting to see what my original thoughts were as to what I intended to write. Note that I included epitaphs, which are those quotes you sometimes see at the start of chapters. I use epitaphs in the current book, although not necessarily the same ones. I’ve found them apropos given the nature of the book.

With apology for this slightly long post, here is what I envisioned two years before things really started clicking and I began the first draft in earnest:

* * * * *

Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries

Author’s Forward

Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it.
Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held.
Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books.
Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin.
Believe nothing just because someone else believes it.
Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.

– Buddha [paraphrased]

1. Was Someone Trying to Tell Me Something?

Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it. – Andre Gide

This introductory chapter lays the foundation for reader’s the journey of discovery. It introduces the tale of Narcissus in a unique manner, by juxtaposing it against the concept (Hamlet’s Mill) that ancient myth encodes factual knowledge of fundamental importance. Was someone trying to tell us something so important that they embedded it into the very fabric of human culture?

2. Glancing in the Rear View Mirror

Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream. – Kahlil Gibran

The foundation to the author’s journey of discovery: spiritual, introspective, a life destined to ponder the question why? An earnest retrospective on those aspects of the author’s life – e.g. beatings at the hands of bullies – which left him vulnerable to a narcissist.

3. Living a Myth Isn’t Living the Dream

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

The author’s life married to a narcissist. Having to walk on eggshells and teaching the kids to do the same, thus laying the foundation for events to follow, the insidious poisoning of relationships, the disturbing relationship between mother and daughter that he didn’t recognize until too late, the not-quite-right things about the wife’s sisters and mother, all which never made sense until the author could put a name to it: narcissism.

4. A Maelstrom Is a Poor Place for Swimming Lessons

Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true. – Demosthenes

How events began to spiral down, too slowly for the author to understand until it was too late. The true beginning of the narcissistic destruction of the author’s relationship with his daughter, the escalation of what might have been Munchausen By Proxy, and the two year progression of his wife’s addiction that destroyed the marriage. Dealing with a rabid campaign to destroy his relationships with their children, and a serious concern that Munchausen By Proxy was about to get deadly.

5. Thanks for Planning my Funeral – How Rude of Me Not to Die

If you wish to strengthen a lie, mix a little truth in with it. – Zohar

As things spiraled out of control, the author made the huge mistake of contacting the XXXX Children’s Aid Society, who not only refused to investigate his claims, but actually assisted his wife in alienating the children. When they couldn’t bully him from his home, they insidiously fabricated a non-existent child protection “concern” that contradicted their own mandatory regulations. They effortlessly succeeded in having a judge, without trial, order him out of his own home and issue a de facto no contact order against him, giving his wife unrestricted license to abuse the kids. What they didn’t realize was that what they were doing had a special name: abduction, as defined in the Criminal Code. They also badly underestimated the author’s love for his children and his resolve to protect them from abuse.

6. Sigmund Freud Sipping Coffee at a Paris Café

The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is “What does a woman want?” – Sigmund Freud

There is a second type of narcissism, which is only documented in academic literature as ‘covert” narcissism. What experts haven’t realized is that it is a feminine form of narcissism, and that the two narcissisms can be intuitively equated to the corruption of male and female socialization behaviours as per Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus. The chapter title is an allusion to the French emphasis on gender in thought and language, especially their employment of the gender-based definite articles le and la. This chapter will explain the sad affliction of narcissism in a way that men and women everywhere can relate to, and in a way that has never been done before.

7. When an English Monk Serves Duck for Geometry Class

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. – Galileo Galilei

There is a saying that if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then it’s a duck. The author had the realization that what he encountered in terms of child protection workers, lawyers, judges and even senior elected officials contributing to the child abuse, either by commission or omission, shared the same attributes as the feminine form of narcissism. This implies the rather staggering possibility that people can collectively display “personality” dysfunctions, which poses the fundamental question of whether or not societies are a form of collective human organism. This chapter gently exposes the gender feminist portrayal of woman as a perpetual victim for what it truly is: the narcissistic corruption of truth in support of pathological emotional needs.

8. What Mrs. Crocodile Thinks Every Good Mother Should Know

The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds. – Will Durant

Women, including many learned professionals, complain that they have and are being betrayed by feminism. This chapter builds a logical, intuitive and common sense foundation of how and why this happened, and how men and women can approach one another with respect for both the gender and the individual. It’s emphasis on the feminine gender will particularly resonate with female readers. It will be written with sensitivity and gentleness.

9. What’s Good for the Gander is Good for the Goose, so Long as Mine Doesn’t Get Cooked

The dogma of woman’s complete historical subjection to men must be rated as one of the most fantastic myths ever created by the human mind. – Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958).

Based upon the previous two chapters – that contemporary gender feminism is in fact a narcissistic phenomenon (and not about equality) and how to recognize what is actually true from what gender feminism pathologically needs to be true -, this chapter identifies how gender feminism has harmed women, men, children, and society. It will expose with a simple eloquence of thought that is intuitive to even the more humble of readers.

10. ONE

Our lack of compassion stems from our inability to see deeply into the nature of things. – Lama Surya Das

What the author learned throughout his journey of discovery and how it has forever changed how he perceives himself and how he understands the world. It will be written as the final portion of his life’s spiritual journey of understanding and wisdom, and with the hope that both genders can learn to live in a state of harmony based upon mutual respect and appreciation, and in particular be freed of ideology and stereotype. In the death of Narcissus, something beautiful will bloom.

11. Epilogue

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you. — Unknown

A traveler’s things must be put away after every journey. This chapter, in so doing, will complete the journey of understanding for both author and reader.

* * * * *

Since ONE eventually evolved to become The Mirror, Book One and the future sequel Book Two, there are concepts here that are yet to be covered, and which await Book Two.

Book Proposal – Part Seven “List of Book’s Chapters”

12 Jan
A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

We now get to the part of the book proposal where we start to do some hard planning as to the book’s actual structure. This is where the basic blueprint starts to outline the framework against which we will write.

Bear in mind that I: a) had never written a book before; and b) had never written a proposal before.

My internet research suggested that publishers generally want a book no longer than 300 pages / 60,000 words from an unknown, first time author. Perhaps this only applies to fiction; I don’t know. Regardless, I imposed this artificial constraint upon myself for this part of my proposal. As it turned out, it was completely unrealistic for what I was trying to accomplish, but I didn’t have the experience with longer written works to appreciate this.

What I will is show what I originally wrote in this part of my proposal for the stillborn book concept of ONE, which included the word counts that added up to slightly less than the 60,000 word constraint. Afterwards, I’ll show what I actually came up with for the current book The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood. Note that I tried to make the chapter titles as interesting as possible, and that they betray a sense of humour:

* * * * *
[ONE]

List of Book’s Chapters

1. Was Someone Trying to Tell Me Something? (4,000 words)

2. Glancing in the Rear View Mirror (3,000 words)

3. Living a Myth Isn’t Living the Dream (5,000 words)

4. A Maelstrom Is a Poor Place for Swimming Lessons (10,000 words)

5. Thanks for Planning my Funeral – How Rude of Me Not to Die (10,000 words)

6. Sigmund Freud Sipping Coffee at a Paris Café (6,000 words)

7. When an English Monk Serves Duck for Geometry Class (6,000 words)

8. What Mrs. Crocodile Thinks Every Good Mother Should Know (6,000 words)

9. What’s Good for the Gander is Good for the Goose, so Long as Mine Doesn’t Get Cooked (6,000 words)

* * * * *

Book One of my magnum opus

Book One of my magnum opus

[The Mirror, Book One]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BOOK ONE: Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood (94,000 words)

Introduction

PART I: Narcissus’ Sister
1. Genesis
2. Life
3. Decline & Fall
4. Mirror

PART II: Courts of InJustice
5. Maelstrom
6. Something Wicked This Way Comes
7. Something Wicked This Place Stays
8. Vive la Revolution!

Intermission – Act I

BOOK TWO: Harbinger of a Dark Age

(Tentative)

Intermission – Act II

9. Slavery

PART III: Matriarchy
10. (Swastika in the) Mirror
11. Prime Time
12. La Cage aux Folles
13. Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged
14. The 2nd Library of Alexandria
15. CAIO Feminazis

Post Script

* * * * *

As we say in the military, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. There has been a substantial evolution from the plan for ONE to the resultant The Mirror. Going the self-published route liberated me from the artificial 60,000 word constraint, and now one book will be two.

I started research for what would ultimately become The Mirror back in the summer of 2008, and under dire family circumstances. Roughly two years later, I wrote this proposal for the concept book ONE. Roughly another three and a half years, and I am on the verge of publishing The Mirror.

I suppose this rather makes me a Terminator when it comes to feminism. They messed with the wrong Dad’s kids.

Mine.

Always ride with two hands unless it's to use your shotgun

Always ride with two hands unless it’s to use your shotgun

The Versatile Blogger Award

11 Jan

image

Now that I’ve finally gotten smart enough with WordPress to figure out how to process an award, I have to thank blogger Kim Saeed of Let me Reach with Kim Saeed fame for the Versatile Blogger Award.

While I’ve yet to get proficient enough (and have enough spare time!) to pass all of these awards along, I do want to answer the questions. For this award, I have to write seven things about myself. Here goes:

1. I used to practice Yang style tai chi, and loved it. I will get back into it again some day.

Stop! You haven't used deodorant.

Stop! You haven’t used deodorant.

2. I’d love to own an English bulldog.

Credit: Quizillafreak, wikipedia.org

Credit: Quizillafreak, wikipedia.org

3. Lagavulin is my favourite whiskey.

The elixir of life

The elixir of life

4. My favourite audiophile website is Arthur Salvatore’s.

5. I curse the Swedes whenever I have to assemble Ikea furniture. Lucky for me, the Swedish Ambassador hasn’t been around. Would have caused a major diplomatic incident if he had been.

1st Ikea store, or "hell" as I like call it

1st Ikea store, or “hell” as I like call it

6. I love music on vinyl. I have a basic used Lenco turntable by Jean Nantais. Those “in the know” say they are by far the best turntables in existence, bar none. Here is mine with a friend’s $15,000 dollar custom tube amp (I wish!).

image

7. I will likely take up writing as a full time endeavour by March as part of a major life change (read: can’t find a real job).