28 May 2013

Book Art

Books are a wonderful. They are a place to escape to, a place to learn, and an outlet for creativity. Sometimes however that outlet is not just for the author - sometimes it's for sculptors. It's true this use of books is not the conventional one, and it's not one of which everyone approves (involving as it does the destruction of the book in its current form).

While I could never use one of my books quite like this, I can't help but admire the creativity of these sculptures. These particular specimens were left anonymously around Edinburgh.


For more + closeups go here

21 May 2013

Cover trends

A couple of weeks ago I did a post on how covers are developed. A good link to that is Linnea from Cover Cafe (they bring us the best/worst competition each year), who has nice post on cover trends she's noticed creeping in for 2013. She was nice enough to gather examples (more in her post)

In summary, there appear to be 3 main trends.

1) staircases

2) Dress that go on forever

3) Fences 

Yes, I know on the last ones you've got to blink past the hot guys, but the fences are there.

14 May 2013

Atoms and eyes

It's been a little while since I've done a technology post, so here are two cool snippets:

1) Atomic level movie
IBM have created the smallest movie ever by manipulating the atoms on a copper surface.
I know, crazy!
They've called it A Boy and his Atom, and it's essentially stop motion on a teeny tiny scale. "It would take about 1,000 of the frames of the film laid side by side to span a single human hair."
Andreas Heinrich says: "The atoms hold still in their new positions because they form chemical bonds to the copper atoms in hte surface underneath, and that lets us take an image of the whole frame of the film. Between frames we carefully move around the atoms to their new positions, and take another image."       To see click image.

2) Scientists have made a camera that works on the same principle as an insect eye.

This digital camera utilises the ideas behind an insects compound eye. Compared to normal cameras it has a great depth of field and is wide-angle without the usual distortion.
"The development team, led from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US, believes its new imaging system could eventually find uses in surveillance and for endoscopic investigations of the human body."

07 May 2013

How covers are made

I've talked about elements of book design before, like here where an artists talked about creating cover art, but what about the process from the publishers point of view. Below is a great little video on the process of making a book cover.

What I thought was interesting was that when the publisher is talking about the collaborative process behind cover design, the author is listed last, almost as an afterthought  This, unfortunately for the author, is very much the way things work.

I fill out a cover sheet at the beginning of the process (basic info like descriptions of hero/heroine, and a make a note of a few important elements of the story), that's basically it until the cover is complete. Only very famous authors get more say on their covers. The feeling within publishing is that authors know how to write, but publishers are the experts at marketing that book (sometime this is true and sometimes it's not).

I think a quote from Ilona Andrew is apt (unfortunately I can't find it, so I'll paraphrase). Basically someone was complaining that they didn't think the girl on the cover looked like they thought she should. Ms Andrews said that when readers see certain things on covers it gives them cues as to what sort of book it's going to be (romance/ fantasy/ thriller). The publishers understand those cue consciously  authors may not. Of course that's not to say publishers always get it right.

The other thing to bare in mind is that authors can moan like drains about their covers, but they are going to have to have a very, very good reason, because changing covers costs money.

Click the image & enjoy the video: