Musing Monday, Mar 24 2008 

I’m too lazy (and untalented) to draw a cool cover myself and too poor to pay anyone to do it for me, but I was thinking that the cover as it is would be fine if I just made it look better. So I scanned some real wood to use instead of the obviously Photoshopped wood I already have, and I’ll also scan a painted version of a pirate flag.

My girlfriend suggested that I use a customised Jolly Roger instead of the standard one I was already using, so after throwing ideas around I thought of using an infinity symbol in place of the bones, like this:

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I’ll print some out onto badges so that I can make people wear them.

More cover thinking. Saturday, Mar 15 2008 

So according to Lulu I’ve sold three copies of my book. One to my girlfriend, one to my father, and one to my aunt. So apparently no one has bought my book who just stumbled across it on their own. Fair enough, I guess.

I heard back from the lego artist guy. He thinks there are a lot of semi-colons in the first chapter. Fair enough, I guess. He also wants to know what my thinking is behind a lego cover for a non-lego book. This is something I’m going to have difficulty explaining.

He’ll probably want to charge a squillion dollars anyway. I’ll try to think of something else that I can do. It’s tricky. In my mind now, pretty much nothing can beat the idea of a lego pirate.

Nothing much. Wednesday, Mar 12 2008 

So… not much going on. I spent a lot of time thinking about Paris Holliday but since I wasn’t actually doing anything on it I reverted to writing, which is the one thing I know I can always do. So over the last week I’ve written about a dozen pages of a book, but nothing else. I should have written more than that, but at least I’m not feeling depressed because I haven’t produced anything.

Almost every idea I had for Paris Holliday involved more people and locations than I have access to. It’s depressing. I suck at anything that isn’t writing. I think I’ll just stick to writing for a while, just so I get stuff done and feel better about being a creative person living in Wellington. Maybe when I have another draft or something I’ll take a break and try thinking about something else again. It’s not like there’s a Fringe Film deadline to work towards or anything.

Today I handed a copy of my book to the library to see if they’ll accept a donation of it. I’m still not completely happy with the cover, but today I thought of another possibility for it. While I was playing lego with my girlfriend I remembered these fantastic artworks and while I was looking at it I was thinking how much I’d like my book cover to be illustrated by the same guy. Seriously, who wouldn’t buy a book with a cover like this?

I have no idea how much he’d charge though. I’ll ask him. Yes, I know Douglas Coupland also had lego-themed covers. Mine are going to be way more awesome.

I’m not good at writing some things. Monday, Jan 28 2008 

More of the cover of my book. I wasn’t sure about having anything written on the back since people won’t see the back until they’ve bought it anyway, but someone at work pointed out that if anyone wants to borrow it off a friend they’ll want to read the back of the book first.

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I won’t bother putting a barcode on it since it’ll never be in shops anyway. And barcodes are ugly. I applied for an ISBN yesterday but until I get one I’ve put the word ‘yourface’ where the ISBN will go.

Writing those three paragraphs on the back of the cover were dern difficult. I’m not good at writing when it seems a bit like a homework assignment. The last paragraph was the most difficult. I had to fit it in that little gap.

Redesign. Saturday, Jan 26 2008 

When my book arrived it looked like this:

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And I didn’t really like it so much. So I spent the last couple of hours doing this to it:

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Which I’m a lot happier with. I didn’t realise it was so easy to create wood textures in Photoshop.

In the background I’ve been watching the original Star Trek series, which has been interesting. It mostly seems to be about sexually frustrated spacemen.

I think the reason I thought Bob Dylan was dead is because he’s young in all the pictures I’ve seen of him.

Huzzah! Monday, Jan 21 2008 

My book arrived! It looks exactly as I designed it! They didn’t replace the font because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing!

I’ll have to do something to the cover. Make it more professional. I think I’ll frame the pirate flag wih some bars at the top and the bottom. I want it to look like a book that hasn’t been self-published.

Should I sign it?

“I’ve got it covered”, and other bad puns. Wednesday, Jan 9 2008 

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It’s very difficult to design a cover in PhotoShop and not have it look like a cover that’s been designed in PhotoShop.

I fiddled around for ten minutes and came up with something I find slightly more elegant:

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Actually I prefer the first one again.

Cover design. Saturday, Oct 20 2007 

I’m trying to design the cover of my book, because I’m going to try experimentally printing it myself with a press made of meccano. A while ago I came up with this idea for a cover, and a year later I still quite like it… the right-hand side is the front cover and the left-hand side is the back… I’ve just redone the image in a higher resolution with the angle of the texture matching the angle of the skull. I don’t think the look of the image matches the style of the book, but I don’t care… I really like the simplicity of it. My favourite book design is probably this one… it’s probably insanely boring to most people, but most book covers seem unnecessarily cluttered to me with pictures AND text AND colours. Since you can’t get rid of the text… get rid of the other two.

Now that I’ve done the image, I need to figure out what goes on the image. Words and stuff… how should I do the title? And my name? And what on earth am I going to write on the back? I hate the back covers of most books, if I’m going to OWN a book forever I don’t need the advertising that goes along with it. Just like I hate to buy clothes that advertise the brand of the clothes. But what else is supposed to go there? I don’t even HAVE any generic praise.

Maybe I’ll just put an excerpt there… or some other piece of prose… or something outside-squarish…

Machines that read for you so you don’t have to. Tuesday, Mar 13 2007 

Browsing an article about revolutionary new products and stuff, I noticed something called a Sony Reader, a digital book. The first thing I think is, why is a ‘digital book’ still a revolutionary idea? I was hearing about the concept last decade.

Then I wonder how this technology will affect books in general. Since you don’t have to chop trees down to make them, they’re more environmentally friendly than books. They take up much less space than a collection of books. As long as they’re not a strain to read — and this Sony Reader allegedly has the same resolution as print and an anti-glare screen — I don’t see how they’re not superior to books in every way.

The only problem is piracy of books, which I think is a problem for two reasons. Firstly is the loss of profit to authors, although I only think this is a problem to the most popular authors. For smaller authors, to have their work available over the internet would be a huge boost to exposure, although this in turn presents the problem of oversaturation — if you went to a library that had every book ever written, how would you ever find anything interesting to read?

The second problem with piracy would be the anti-piracy mechanisms they’d build into the digital books. Anti-piracy measures are generally so incredibly infuriating that they’d vastly reduce the enjoyment of reading. Since books only have copy protection until they’re retyped on a computer, the digital book would have to be restricted to reading ‘authentic’ files, so you’d only be able to read books that are available through the online shop. I don’t think most people would want a digital book unless it could display anything they want to read.

I don’t think that digital books will ever replace paperbacks, though. The bicycle never replace walking and the car never replaced the bicycle. Especially when it comes to literature, there’s far too much online and not enough indicators of quality — at least in a bookstore or a library, everything there has won the competition to be published.

I quite like the cover of “Pirate Space”, too. Sunday, Feb 18 2007 

I’ve been trying to think of book covers I’ve liked, but I don’t think I have ever liked any book covers. There are bad book covers, and then there are acceptable ones, but never any good ones.

I wonder if the necessity of having the book title and author printed on the cover makes it impossible to design a book that actually looks good. Isn’t it impossible for something to be art if it’s functional as well?

Maybe most book covers look too jumbled because they have text and picture, and since the text can’t go, the picture has to. The book covers I do almost like tend to have black and white patterns, or small details. For example.

I also wonder if book covers would look better if they were square. I have no idea what this wondering is based on, though.

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