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Posts by Cedar Sanderson

The Solitary Writer

And other popular myths. I am certain that there are people who exist, and write best, firmly avoiding any contact with their fellow human. I have doubts about the kind of writing they might produce. I mean, who can write a fully developed character who isn’t themselves (and no, I don’t mean a Mary Sue) who doesn’t watch other people? Writers may be the ultimate voyeurs. Read more

Book Cover Design: People

Of plots, and characters, and book cover design. That’s what I’m thinking about. Dorothy Grant and I were working on the cover for her latest, and she suggested I use our conversation as a springboard for a MGC post. I’m always excited when Dorothy comes to me for a cover – this is the third I have done for her, and every time I work with her on this level (or, really, on any other) I learn things. She may proclaim she is not an artist, but she has a superb sense of design and aesthetic that she meshes well with the marketing expertise you need for a book cover.

I’m going to hop up on my soap box here. Your book cover is not a portrait of a scene in your book. Your book cover is a cohesive marketing tool that must convey the entire body of work in a single image. Depending on the length of your novel, that’s not a thousand words in a picture, that’s 100K words in a single image. Furthermore, readers have expectations, even if they could not express them in so many words. Which is why my first words to anyone I am trying to coach through creating their own cover are: go look at the top 100 best sellers in your sub genre on Amazon. Get a feel for what readers are associating with your sub genre. Then blend those elements into your cover design. *steps off soap box* Read more

The Future of Books

As I sit here, I am surrounded by books. At the periphery of my vision, on either side of my desk, there are tall bookshelves filled with volumes. Somewhere in the dark behind me (I’m writing very early and my office/bedroom is being used for both purposes) there is a stack of books on my nightstand. There are books in my closet, for goodness sakes (I wrote all of those, and they are stacked neatly in boxes). The rest of the house is the same, and my dear reader, I would venture to guess that your homes are similarly accoutered. We are the past of books.

My children are the future of books. I have two still at home, and one who has moved out and is setting up her own tiny nest, well-feathered with her own things, and furniture the parental units set her up with. Which didn’t include a bookshelf. Read more

Mental Exercise

My legs are sore. Back, too, for that matter. I’ve been working on getting back in shape. I started on easy mode – even if I were inclined to join a gym, that’s not an option currently. No, I’ve been walking instead. I was invited by an old friend and my sister to join a small online accountability group, and we set goals, then try to reach those daily. With the wonders of modern technology, we can share photos of our walks, and maps. Where, you wonder, am I going with this? Well, I set a modest goal, to walk a ‘marathon’ of 26 miles in the month of May. I set my sights low, because since I switched jobs 6 months ago I have been almost inert due to stress and change of routines. I don’t like it, and I am determined to change it. Read more

The Central Conceit

I was reading a book the other day, and thinking about how improbable the central conceit it contained really was. Even for a book published when my grandmother was a small girl. I kept reading it, anyway, and enjoyed it, but that didn’t change the fact that it was impossible from beginning to end.

I’m not talking about being conceited, which is a whole ‘other thing. Although you could certainly have a conceited character in a book with a conceit. If you wrote the book to have a conceited character, the conceit would be your conceit. Read more

Signs and Portents

A day or three ago, I started to see some interesting signs on social media. Comments about the big ebook distributor, Draft 2 Digital. Then I saw the actual link, and boy, did it catch my attention. I’m afraid I waxed rather sarcastic in my initial comments about the whole thing in private. I shouldn’t, really. It’s just that… It’s complicated, and it goes back a long time.

I grew up in an era when there were no Barnes & Nobles stores. Now, they existed. According to their site, they have existed since the nineteenth century, and they have been in expansion mode since shortly before I was born, having been the first bookstore to advertise on television in 1974. But I was not aware of them, because I didn’t live in any urban centers, or indeed, for a large portion of my formative years, within several hundred miles of any bookstores. Bookstores, to a kid like I was, were therefore rare and magical places. It was there that the fringes of Nirvana could be tasted. Titles you’d been hunting for in the tiny local library could be found, for a price. New books glistened and gleamed on the racks. I was an adult before I could walk into a bookstore and be able to walk out with an armful of books. By then, most of the Indie bookstores had lost the battle. There were two bookstores in my neck of the woods in northern New England: Borders, and Barnes & Nobles. Borders was closer to us. Then they were gone, and there was only one. Read more

The ebookbike Lawsuit is Over

This is a guest post by John van Stry on his precedent-setting lawsuit against a book pirate. His trail-blazing legal battle was costly, but ultimately won what he wanted: a legal recognition of the harm done by book pirates. From this point forward it will be simpler and less costly for authors to protect their intellectual property.

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Over a year ago (March of 2019) I filed a lawsuit against the owner of the website ebook,bike. Some of you may know it as a pirate site, but as he was doing it for money, I hesitate to call it that. I have dealt with pirate sites in the past, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere. I have found that if you are polite to them, they are polite back, and the larger ones will take down your works, after they’ve shared them with their limited membership.

Read more