So my week has had a couple of interesting developments (Besides watching Kris Rusch's blog with... interest. The potential shakeout from this could be a whimper. Could be. Or it could be the first domino. Interesting time to be in this this business.) Firstly I've been asked for input into my covers for CUTTLEFISH and THE STEAM MOLE (which have been bought by Pyr). They asked me for detailed descriptions, and also sketches of the submarine and tunnelling machine. Now Bob Eggleton, who did the cover DRAGON'S RING asked me for input. But it's a novelty having this from a publisher. I'm not actually sure it's a good thing - I can't tell them ideas suck in so many words, and also, I'm a writer, a fisheries scientist, a weird little hairy guy who lives on the outer fringes of nowhere. Writers are possibly good at writing. Fisheries scientists are good at fantasy and sometimes also at math and fish. Neither of these skill sets automatically qualify me as an artist or as a cover designer. And weird little hairy guys on the outer fringes of nowhere are a poor sample of the potential market. We (I presume there is at least one other) are not a good target market, and it matters not a jot if it appeals to us or not. Finally, it's a time sink of note. I could have written a short story in the time I've taken do ONE set of very bad sketches. So what do you think: is a good thing? How much input should authors have into covers?
Secondly I got an e-mail from Toni Weisskopf (The boss-lady at Baen) asking me if I'd do a short story set in DOG AND DRAGON'S universe (for which they will pay me 5 cents a word) as a promotional tool for publication on the Baen Website. This too is a new development. BTW DOG AND DRAGON is tentatively scheduled for April 2012, so don't hold your breath. It's a new development, and, depending on the contract I get for it(ie, how soon the story reverts) I think it a good one. What do you think? Should all publishers follow suite?