Oh geez, not THOSE odd feelings, get your mind out of the gutter!
So it's been a couple of weeks since I updated this, and for that I apologize (as always. There's a reason I don't promote my blog much). Writing has been going fantastically well, "Wonderstruck" has been released, and the extended version of "Heartkeeper" is off to the publisher and awaiting "Heartbound" so they can see if they want to pick up the series. So far it is sounding as if it very well might be a go, which is incredibly exciting, and why I've been writing the book rather than blog entries. One and a half more chapters, and its done!
Even so, I'm one of those people who regrettably looks at the big picture and tends to worry and overthink things from time to time. For example, so far "Wonderstruck" has not received any reviews on Amazon. I completely understand how this happens; after all, it is an anthology, and those usually are not the first things that people look for when randomly shopping. It didn't get an ARC release in exchange for reviews, but working with so many authors trying to get it finished I'm sure was a headache and a half, and I know I contributed to that by missing a file attachment and not realizing that the edit review I was asked to do was for the story, not my bio. :/ As such, probably the only people who have really read it so far are the authors themselves, and I don't know about them but I would feel really weird being one of the first reviewers for a book my writing appears in. So right now I have absolutely no idea if anyone has even read "Heartkeeper", never mind what they thought of it. Some constructive feedback from reviews would be so awesome before I turn in "Heartbound" so I can be sure that the story style is even something that might appeal to an audience. I don't think it's really going to happen in the next few days though, so "Heartbound" is going to be submitted blind, which feels so odd considering it's a second book in a series.
And of all the other things I could possibly be paranoid about, the one that is bothering me the most right now is the cover. Now before I go further, I am going to put this in bold, underline, italics, and caps:
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH USING STOCK IMAGES FOR COVERS AS LONG AS ALL COPYRIGHT HOLDINGS ARE BEING FOLLOWED FOR THEIR USAGE. ADDITIONALLY PEOPLE WHO LEGALLY USE STOCK IMAGES FOR COVERS ARE NOT CHEATING, CHEAP, OR IN ANY WAY LESS OF ANYTHING THAN THOSE WHO DON'T.
We got that out of the way? Good. Now, here is my very personal and individual hangup about such things: I used to volunteer my time on an art website, and my job was to find and put the kabosh on copyright violations uploaded as original works. As any book graphic designer can well imagine, photo manipulations without permission or credit was a constant headache we had to deal with. And those are exactly what many cover designers use when they are making book covers: stock photos (in their case, completely legally purchased with license to manipulate and distribute) that have been cut and pasted and blended together to make a unique image for a book cover. The problem for me is, I spent years finding the illegal ones. As such I can look at practically any book cover that comes across Facebook and find the original stock elements in about ten seconds. A great many of them I barely have to look up because they have been ripped so often, I simply recognize them. And though it's just me due to my previous experience with such things, looking at book covers and thinking to myself as I pick apart the elements "seen it, seen it, know it, saw that one used two weeks ago, seen it ...." is really kind of depressing.
So of all the things I could possibly be agonizing over - contracts, deadlines, marketing, exposure, money - I'm sitting here fretting because some other art website moderator might look at the cover mashup for my book and be thinking the same thing I would ... "seen it". I really, really, REALLY would want something completely original for a book cover, and though I do draw and am not completely awful at it in general, I am completely awful at humans. Sadly, my books have human main characters, primarily. There's no way I could do it myself, I can't afford the level of professional art that would really belong on a book cover (or SixthLeafClover would TOTALLY get the contract if it was my choice), and it's all the publisher's decision anyway and I know they have some very skilled cover designers. I love their work, even though I do recognize the stocks immediately. (sigh) But the site mod in me is still saying that it's someone else's stuff smooshed together and called original and it irks me soooooo badly, even though I know it's completely okay. :(
So there is my completely immature, privileged, and entitled sort of rant for wishing that I could get something for my book that I know I won't, when I know that what I will get (if it gets picked up, of course) is still going to be amazing. I'm going to go smack myself with rolling pins and hide in a corner with a gallon of ice cream now.