Jewel In My Crown

by wjw on June 2, 2011

Behold the new cover for the upcoming ebook release of The Crown Jewels.  I slapped it together myself with Photoshop and a piece of stock art.

Not bad, if I do say so myself.  And it achieves the principal objective of an ebook cover, which is to remain legible when reduced to postage-stamp size.

I plan fairly shortly to release the three Maijstral books simultaneously.  The first will have a very attractive price.

Why the Maijstral books, you ask?

To begin with, the stakes are low.  These are books that never found an audience— the sales in fact were damn near an order of magnitude smaller than some of my other works.

So if the books find a new audience, it’s glorious!  If they don’t, all I’ve lost is a few hundred hours editing, rewriting, and cursing Photoshop for a counterintuitive piece of bloatware.

I have to say that, cursing Photoshop aside, I’ve been enjoying the process of producing these books.  I haven’t read them since their original copy-edit, and with the complete objectivity brought on by the passage of 25 years or so, I can confidently say, Hey, these are really good books!

So stand by for further announcements.  I’ll let you know when the package goes on sale.

Mat June 2, 2011 at 5:55 am

I found a copy of “House of Shards” recently at a used book store, but I have never seen a copy of the first book. I’ll look forward to it.
“House…” seemed to be written in the same vein as “Broadway Johnny,” which I enjoyed immensely 😉

blm June 2, 2011 at 6:35 am

Maybe I’m the only one :-), but I loved your “divertimenti”, and always wished you’d write more, although if they sold an order of magnitude less than your other books, I can understand why you didn’t. I’ll have to pick up the eBooks (although I should still have the dead tree versions around somewhere) and re-read them, it’s been a while.

Tim June 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

I’m fortunate enough to own all three in paperback, but I’d definitely like to pick up an electronic copy. And yes, I’d agree that they’re excellent books.

I can’t say that I’m a fan of the new cover, though… surely it wouldn’t have broken the bank too much to get a real designer to do it? The text effects are really quite painfully cheesy. 🙂

grs1961 June 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Hey, I’m one of the people who bought all the Maijstral books as they came out, and, along with some of the denizens of r.a.sf.w have asked for more.

We *know* why you won’t write more, but we do wish you would.

That said, it’s a shame that they don’t want to be written so much that you could do what Lawrence Watt-Evans has done with his Ethshar series, and published them on a subscription basis.

Colin Smiley June 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I love the Majistral books! I’ve got all three. One of them’s in hardcover form and signed by you! (at the 1997 San Antonio WorldCon) I recall reacting in great surprise when you mentioned that they were poor sellers. In my mind, they had everything!

If you were to e-pub any new ones (rather than that expensive analog paper production), I’d certainly purchase them…

Your notion of the Diadem in the Drake Majistral books seems spot on. With many current stars going for double or triple threats (film/tv, music, stage), and whole television channels devoted to following them, it appears we already have a Diadem of sorts. All we lack is the official registry.

Chris Mays June 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

WJ, I’m one of those misfits who, defying the market, bought and enjoyed the Drake Majistral books, and would read many new ones. They belong, in my poor, sci-fi wracked brain, near the adventures of Dominic Flandry, and not too far down the shelf from Nicholas Van Rijn, just to pull a couple of pulp heroes from memory. And, let’s not forget their charming echoes of Jeeves and Wooster. You deserve to feel proud of these literary baubles, and I sincerely hope a new generation of people with too much time and not enough sense find, and enjoy, your work.

DensityDuck June 3, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I think that a lot of cover artists have been telling themselves that “well, maybe the distribution chain is going tits-up, but people will still need cover art!”

Apparently these cover artists think that they are the only people in the world who know how to use Photoshop.


Stock image: I may be telling grandma how to suck eggs here, but make sure that the license for the image allows you to reproduce it. It would be really annoying to get sued for copyright violation over this!

wjw June 3, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I’ve bought licenses not only for electronic reproduction, but for actual print. So I can even put these books out as print-on-demand, if I think there would be sufficient demand. Right now, I’m going where the money is better.

I fully intend to commission professional art for future epub, but I wanted to get these out fairly quickly, and professional artists have full schedules. Of course, one problem with buying professional art is that you still need a cover design to go with it.

Shash June 3, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I really enjoy reading these books (at least twice) so I’m glad you are introducing them to a new audience. They’re fiendishly hilarious.

I think my mother is one of your characters but I’m not saying which one.

GraphicMark June 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm

This image goes with…I too read and enjoyed the series. Admit that Drake & I have chats from time to time. Thanks for his company.L am glad that the stories will have a new audience. Please write another just like the other.

Jackdaw June 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Fantastic news! I have all three books and love them, but they’ve been in storage for over 3 years. I am overdue for my bi-annual re-read.

Ethelred June 13, 2011 at 10:01 am

Those have been my favorites of your books. Have all three in paperback. I reread them every now an then.

I too wish they had sold more. They sure predicted the present ‘reality living on TV’ silliness only with much more style. I guess its easier to have a train wreck than taste.


Trey June 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Huh. I remember reading the SFBC collected version shortly after college. Unfortunately, my sister’s dog got at the book.

Trey June 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm

And one more thing – how are you going to let the world know these are on sale? And what formats are you thinking about?

wjw June 17, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Trey, I’ll let the world know right here on my blog. And maybe some friends will kindly repeat the news once they get it.

Jon Lundy June 18, 2011 at 2:56 am

I just noticed _The Crown Jewels_ being available on Kindle for the very reasonable price of $0.99. I’ve purchased it and I’ve started reading. So far it has a Jack Vance feel, this is a good thing :). I look forward to the other two being available. It was a very pleasant surprise when I was browsing through the releases for this week and found this.

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