25 December 2005

A New Cover for Hammer and Shadow

Hammer and Shadow, which was originally due to be released in December, looks to have been pushed back to a January release date. Coincidentally, the cover art has been revised (old to the left; new to the right):

It's not as if I've been following this whole thing closely, though FFG did send me a head's up concerning the book being pushed back to January. The new art is definitely more striking, and conforms more to the subject matter of the product than the old art does. Still, I've never been one to poo-poo cover art of any type, especially in regards to FFG's cover art (which is, without a doubt, consistently some of the best in the industry).

Part of me wonders if FFG came to this decision [to change the art] by themselves, or if they were swayed by one of the many complaints posted to this thread on Against the Shadow. It would be easy enough for me to find out, but the question is: do I really want to know?

The "hard core" fans are difficult to please sometimes. I follow threads on AtS, but I rarely post. I'm always somewhat uncomfortable about singling myself out as an author on any product, so I don't. The closest I get to that sort of chest-beating is having a link to my web site and/or web log in my signature; if folks are curious about me, they can learn a lot by clicking one or two links.

Besides, it's not like I'm some sort of authority on the product line. I love Midnight, sure, and I hope it comes through in the work I produce, but I don't know every single piece of trivia that there is to know. By posting, "I'm so-and-so, and I wrote this," it seems that I'm saying, "Look at me! Aren't I groovy? You should listen to what I say; after all, I'm an author, which means that my opinion is worth more than yours!"

Which is, of course, some of the purest rubbish imaginable. I've seen such things posted by industry folks before, and while they might not explicitly come out and say it word for word, they certainly do imply it.

To my mind, in a business as small as the game industry, what's the point in getting your ego over-inflated? What percentage of the overall population is going to read my work? Which percentage of that percentage will even bother to read the credits in the book, giving them a less than equal chance of recognizing my (admittedly unusual [last]) name? And even if they do, what can I hope to gain by tooting my own horn?

To my mind, it's more important for me to be visible to the good people who offer me work by producing the best writing that I can, on time, and with a minimum number of editorial snafus. This is not to say that the fans and gamers out there do not matter; they most certainly do, since they're the ones who will spend their hard-earned cash to pay for the books that I've worked on.

I do suppose having a "big name" author work on a product is, in fact, a selling point for some consumers, but I know very few people who pay attention to the author. Most people are more interested in the content than in the creator.

Funny, how this turned from a news item into a rant. It's early yet, I suppose, and my brain got to running over. Then again, what's a blog for if not for this sort of literary spewing?

Merry Christmas, folks.

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