Garaaga Sigil--First Render

Cuneiform is the oldest known written language. When I first started writing the Garaaga's Children series, the glyph you see on the left was always in my mind. Coming up with it was a free-form exercise. I needed something recognizable on sight that would also make sense if rendered using just text.

After exhaustive searching, I managed to find a cuneiform font that I liked. What this allowed me to do was to actually render the glyph as I originally saw it in my head.

The cuneiform that makes up the sigil, for right now, is only one word: Garaaga, and it's hardly correct according to the rules of cuneiform construction. Since it's a first render pass, it will have to do, but ultimately this will be a prayer to the deity. 

If you have read/listened to Keepers, Interlopers, and Scrolls, you might remember the description of the symbol that covers both the backs of Garaaga's worshippers as well as inscribed in the ancient text.

This should give you a better idea of what I had in mind and how I saw it in my imagination. I'm hopeful that I can make it look a bit more organic in the second pass. Although I have to say, this sucker would make an AWESOME tattoo.




Closet Treats--New Cover

Here it is, Fiendlings. The new cover for the Closet Treats ebook and podcast. The great Starla Huchton got this together for me. I'm pretty happy with it. She's also going to be doing an alternate cover Tattoo in the near future before I saddle her with the final cover of the Garaaga's Children: Ancients Volume. 

Hope you like. And if you don't? Tough. You probably already bought the damned thing.



Infocast--2013-01-19-Plans for the year

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Short update on my plans for the year...

This podcast is copyright 2013 by Paul Elard Cooley and is protected under a creative commons, attribution, non-commercial, no derivates 3.5 license.

Essay--Making It Right

I bitch. I complain. When I read a book, especially one published by the so-called "real" publishers, I don't expect typos. I don't expect continuity errors. I don't expect issues with the narrative. When I find them, I get extremely angry. Why? I paid, usually top dollar if it's from a "real" publishing company, for an inferior product.

That said, however, I am in the publishing game, at least for my own work. I do my best to make my ebooks as professional as possible. For the most part I succeed. However, every now and then, my editor and I will miss something. When it happens, it's embarrassing and humiliating. But I have to own up to it.

A reader recently sent me an email outlining three mistakes in the Lovers ebook. They weren't huge. And in fact, most readers that weren't as diligent would have skipped over them completely. One was a continuity error involving a lamp. The other was a name change for an extremely minor character. And really, it was just a couple of letters off. Regardless, they are errors.

So what did I do? I fixed them. Immediately. I sent the reader an offer for a free, autographed version of the corrected ebook and thanked them for their careful reading and having the guts to email me.  I am republishing Lovers with the revisions as we speak. In other words, I'm doing my best to make it right.

When books are published in paper, there are no "oops" moments when you can easily retract the version out there and replace it with a fixed one. Once a book goes to print, it's over. There's no more fixes possible until the next printing. Since most books only get a single printing, those mistakes are going to be there in perpetuity and there's not a damned thing the author or publisher can do about them.

In the ebook world, however, there is a chance to fix mistakes. It doesn't take much work to correct the issues, re-export the book, and then update your sales channels. Obviously going through something like Smashwords poses additional challenges, but for Kobo, BN, Amazon, and my own channels, it's extremely easy to republish.

So why don't we? Why don't most publishers modify their ebooks when they are notified of an issue? Several reasons. Most of them subcontract out the work and therefore have to pay more cash to get a fix, or at least that's what I like to think. However, my cynical side says "they don't give a shit." Unfortunately, I think that's the real reason.

The old publishing elite out there don't understand the new digital world. They never have. Until the moldy old bastards at the top die from disease or from going out of business, we're going to be stuck with one-off, never corrected volumes of digital crap. I simply don't see this changing any time soon.

But, I'm better than that. If there's a problem with my product, I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT! I do my best to put out quality. I want to give you the best read I possibly can and that means paying attention to not only the writing itself, but the proofing, the layout, and etc.

Indie publishers are gaining acceptance, but the big five (or is it four now?) continue to tell the world we are a bunch of rank amateurs putting out crap. Yet for every mistake I find in an indie book, I find ten more in the big publishers' books. But that doesn't let us off the hook. Not at all.

We have a responsibility to police not only our own products, but the products of our fellow authors/publishers. It's important we strive for perfection.

At least that's what I'm doing. If you find a problem in my books, let me know and I'll fix them. If you like, I'll send you an autographed, personalized copy of the "fixed" ebook. I strive for perfection. I'll always fall short, but I'm doing my best.




Essay--Thoughts on the Rider

Tonight I "finished" my latest book: The Rider. It's cowritten with Scott Sigler and takes place in his universe. But why did I say "finished?" Well, there's a lot of work to do. This is merely "my" first draft. It has to be worked on by the other author.

That said, this one was like giving birth. It's not every day that a very successful NYT Author asks me to write a book in his GFL Universe. Some have, but not many. To my knowledge, there are 5 of us that were invited to write novellas for a few characters that show up in his stories.

 My task, however, wasn't to flesh out a major character. Instead, my task was to take an extremely minor character and his sport, and transform it into a novella. The sport? Oh, boy, it's a doozie. If you're a regular reader of Scott Sigler's, you'll know after you read/listen to "The All-Pro." And if you don't, you should get your hands on all the Galactic Football League books, even if you don't like sports, because they're hard sci-fi and the worlds are brilliant.

 Because I have so much respect for his stories and accomplishments, the last thing I wanted to do was submit something subpar. I struggled and struggled to build a character and his world that would give Scott's readers the experience they deserve and the quality they expect. For someone who's dreadfully insecure about their skills, this is terrifying.

 When I finished writing the last sentence of the last chapter, I tweeted. I facebooked. And then...well... I panicked.

 I immediately started going through the novel with a comb. I scanned through it, made a few corrections in each chapter, and kept going. Then I stared at it. Then I asked it questions. Then I walked away.

 It was done. I was done. It's the first draft! It's not the last! If it sucks, I'll get a chance to fix it! Or will I?

 When you're asked to write something for someone, it's more terrifying than writing something for yourself. It just is. It's worse when someone else went to the trouble of dreaming up a universe and then asking you to contribute.

 I haven't submitted a story for an anthology or for publication in forever. It's doubtful I'll ever do so since I handle my own work. But if you're working with a publisher, you usually submit a query, wait for them to agree to look at the book, and then send the book. If you're querying to see if someone wants to PAY you to write the book, and they accept, you're on the hook to provide a quality product you haven't yet created.

All this panic is to be ignored, I know. But it does mean a lot to me. And until the book is published and a success, I'm going to continue biting my nails. I hope it meets Dark Øverlord Media's expectations and I really hope it meets yours.

 Until then, however, I have more writing to do in MY universe. And I'm getting back to that right now.

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