Tag: Sensual

Mercurial Visions Memorabilia

When Scott and Jonathan founded Mercurial Visions with AnnMarie and Nancy, they had little more than hope and energy. Below is a collection of CD artwork, articles and the like from the four years they were together 1988-92, starting with:

the official home of Mercurial Visions, right through this link. 


From 1988, their Self-Titled EP “Mercurial Visions” (self-recorded and published)

From 1989, their breakout CD, Joie de Vivre, on Wax Trax! Records


Their first review, from the Chicago Reader 7/20/1988

See Them Before They Vanish

A Review of Joie de Vivre Chicago Tribune 1/18/1989

Joys of Love, Loss, and Clubs

More stuff in the offing.

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Self-Publishing Part 12: How the Book Hunts for 500 Buyers, a Real Time Break

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

So far, this path to publication has relied mostly on an extended flashback, with occasional forays into general truths. Today will be a break into present time, with a quick step back a couple of weeks to prepare for what is happening now. Continue reading “Self-Publishing Part 12: How the Book Hunts for 500 Buyers, a Real Time Break”

Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, a Seedling Platform Aims for an Agent, Proper

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

Each iUniverse STAR title gets a personal agent: the iUniverse STAR Program’s Rights Consultant, a veteran of the book publishing industry. This person presents the book to traditional publishing houses, international publishers, audiobook publishers and book clubs for their consideration. But unlike in the old model of peddling mere manuscripts, when this first gatekeeper, the agent, had to have been approached by a writer, who had convinced the agent that not only did a manuscript have potential, and that there was a market for said manuscript, and that the author was someone the agent, and by extension the publisher, could work with to get that manuscript into the best shape possible, and then would continue to work with the publisher to sell the book after publication. Continue reading “Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, a Seedling Platform Aims for an Agent, Proper”

Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, a Seedling Platform Aims for a Star

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

With the Star designation, iUniverse commits further resources to the book, effectively completing an entirely new, author-controlled onramp to the Traditional Publishing Path.

First, the cover gets reassessed. Not only has this book met industry standards in writing quality and shown a market exists for it, but the book has reached the market and demonstrated an actual demand exists for it. The book has proven it can sell. To make sure the book looks like the seller it is, the cover gets a second Cover Copy Polish. This would include, if necessary a professional editing of the back cover copy and author bio, possibly adding blurbs from reviews it might have gotten, as well as another turn through design, including, at the very least, a new ISBN and a new colophon:

Copy of 230px x 73px – Star designation

The logo changes color, again dependent upon the book’s actual cover, and transforms into a star; the swoop up remains; the matching color dot returns atop the i, and as the book and its author are no longer merely rising, the single word Star appears below iUniverse.  Continue reading “Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, a Seedling Platform Aims for a Star”

Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, Finding a Major Mistake on the Cover

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

Sure, the cover looked great. The designers followed my instructions and did a bang up job: Only with the wrong central image.

The problem was that for months I’d been using cover1 to mean a particular image. It was labeled cover1 on FaceBook, labeled cover1 on my desktop. I’d gotten used to cover1 meaning my favorite cover. Period.

But the designers changed my favorite cover’s name to coveralt1 and using cover1 for a different image, so when I directed them to use cover 1 (what had been my and most other people’s favorite), I had inadvertently directed them to use the wrong cover image.

ACK! Continue reading “Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, Finding a Major Mistake on the Cover”

Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, Growing a Seedling Platform with 25 Pages of Errata

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

One of the things mentioned by the person delivering the Quality Edit was that after the book was typeset, I should have it proofread in its final form: things can happen when the conversion is made from MS Word to the typesetting software, and further things might simply come across differently when typeset.

Yeah. (Note the slight frown caught in the corners of the mouth.) Continue reading “Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, Growing a Seedling Platform with 25 Pages of Errata”

Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, a Seedling Platform Sprouts Speakers

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

A Perfect Blindness is drenched in music: not only do two musician friends end one band and start another, they go to clubs and dance, and listen to music on the radio, on vinyl and CDs as well; very many other songs find their way into the text of the book: some as the inspiration for the songs of White Heat and Mercurial Visions, two of their bands, play; other times some lyrics are quoted; and many times, songs were in the back of my mind as I wrote a particular sentence, so slivers of them can be extracted from the text, while the outlines of others can be discerned in some turns of phrase. In fact, the book has a soundtrack.

All the songs actually listened and danced to, played, or used in the text somehow have been collected and used to create a Spotify playlist as well as a You Tube play list, both available here:

ListenSPOTFYPowered By U-tube SM8tracksImage

A new service opened for business around this time called 8-tracks. This is radio with 100% human curated play lists: No algorithms, just human DJs, a perfect place for a custom book playlist, with an added bonus of being able to upload specific versions.

The Spotify and YouTube play lists were posted on FaceBook, in my stream, in the group, and on the as yet unpublished page, as well as on the APerfectBlindness.com website.

I told my Special Recognitions Board contact Laura about them, and she said she’d included both of them in the package being prepared for Barnes and Noble on the sell sheet. Later, I will recreate the same list for 8tracks.com, but use some rare 12” remixes I’ve kept since then and not merely the standard versions: With all the pops and clicks that come with vinyl. In the future I see more unified play lists, such as one for Exit-SmartBar (harder edge goth-industrial dance sound) and for Berlin (more fluid, synth-driven dance), and all the songs about love and passion.

I had also been collecting all the locations—the bars, clubs and music venues, visited, danced or performed in. This is how I’d earlier discovered that the Agora was called the Newport Music Hall at the time Mercurial Visions was to have played there. Doing this, I discovered that several of the clubs featured in the book either no longer existed, or had moved, and one—Neo—has a theme party for wont of a better word in its name hosted at other venues, but in most cases there are still groups of people dedicated to the way things had been over a quarter of a century ago. Finding many images on line for these clubs, I created a collection on Pinterest called A Perfect Blindness and posted them there in.

Then on Face Book I found a private group dedicated to Wax Trax! the Chicago label behind Ministry, the Revolting Cocks, A Split Second, Front 424, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult—the core of the early industrial scene who also discover Mercurial Visions and sign them to a contract in the book. These are many of the bands played, listened to, danced to or quoted in the book, and so featured on the play lists. Bands I loved when I lived in Chicago, and still listen too now. I asked to be a part of this private group and was accepted. In one long exchange, one contributor was saying how many kids who weren’t even born then are fascinated by this time and place. Others reminisced over the locations. A comment was tossed out that the book has a built in readership. That would be good, for A Perfect Blindness is, definitely, an homage to a place and time, if even in a small way.

Then, I been admitted to a private group of another band featured in the book, a band I danced to and still listen to TSOM: The Sisters of Mercy.

Things seemed to be falling together. Yet that last coooment the Quality Editor suggested: a proof read after it’s typeset. Makes sense, yes, but that costs more money.


Self-Publishing Part 8: STILL preparing the book for publication

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

When I first submitted my manuscript, I had no idea this would take so long, nor be so involved. This is hard work, and not for the doubtful, nor the impatient. It’s begun to feel like dragging a slab of stone across a field, and the closer I get to the finish line, the heavier it grows until it’s infinitely heavy. Continue reading “Self-Publishing Part 8: STILL preparing the book for publication”

Self-Publishing Part 7: Testing the Author’s Reaction Time

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

Before I could attend to the new marketing assignment, I had to repair and resubmit the manuscript. Along with the evaluator’s letter recommending A Perfect Blindness to the Editorial Review Board came an attachment with about two pages of minor mechanical fixes that needed attention. Some of these involved my habit of using punctuation to instruct the reader how I intended the sentence to be read rather than for grammar. In dialogue especially, I put full stops where grammars say comma, or commas were the same books stay none is needed. These punctuation marks are akin to director’s notes to an actor, telling the reader to hesitate a moment longer than expected to emphasize a dramatic pause. Evaluators tend not to like this I’ve found, but it’s a deep habit, gained from reading the manuscript aloud to myself as a final editing step: A period asks for a full breath before continuing; a comma a shallow breath.

The manuscript was ready the next day; I accepted most changes, keeping only those that really needed the hesitation. The now truly final manuscript was ready for design and typesetting, and left my computer for theirs.

Then, I turned to the unexpected, urgent, twelve page assignment from iUniverse, which was also essential for the success of A Perfect Blindness: the marketing plan needed for the Rising Star designation.

As with any book intended for sale, there are two main questions for the publisher:

  • Is it well written?
  • Will it sell?

A Perfect Blindness had the certification that it was the former. But no matter how well written a book, if there is no market for it, it won’t sell. Further, even if there is a market, if the writer won’t get behind marketing his or her own book, it has vastly less chance of selling: especially in self publishing. These are the same question large buyers—bookstores and book clubs—ask when considering a book.

The Rising Star Marketing Evaluation questionnaire covered a great many things: from the basic marketing text I’d sent with the initial submission over a year before and had been refining in the lulls since, to the still undecided genre, the estimated page count (360), the book’s website information, my social media presence, including usernames and # of followers, the target audience(s), the book’s local or national appeal, the selling points of the book, to my favorite quotes from it, what problems it solves (alleviates boredom?) as well as my specific plans, for how long I plan to market the book, a realistic estimate of how many hours per week I plan on spending marketing the book, how much money I might spend on these ideas, what I won’t do, and others I’d never thought of, such as what books are similar to A Perfect Blindness: A total of 24 in-depth questions.

I had 7 calendar days to complete this and send it back for consideration for Rising Star status. If it’s not back in that time, the Rising Star Board will not consider the book—end of path.

If you write fiction, do you think about all of these things before you write? During? After?

Self-Publishing Part 6: The Judgement

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

On October 20th, seven days after submitting the mansucript,  I got an email, containing these paragraphs:

Congratulations! You’ve earned the Editor’s Choice designation for your book, A Perfect Blindness, although there are a few issues to clear up, as detailed in the attached document. The Editor’s Choice icon that will appear on the back cover of your book will improve your book’s marketability by designating it as a high-quality title.  Your book will also carry the Editor’s Choice icon next to the book title in the iUniverse online bookstore.


We will not move the project until we hear from you in order to make sure we have the correct version. Thank you!

So, the manuscript is still not, quite, out of the woods. I looked at the attached document, which was from the reader, with the actual recommendation to the Editorial Review Board.

After a paragraph with boilerplate text reminding me of the quality standards for the Editor’s Choice designation, I got the words telling me I’d not wasted a moment reworking Scott and Jonathan. The reviewer said that characters make or break a book, because a great plot without anyone to care about is pointless, and that “I love the characters” in the book. They are realistic, with strengths and flaws, and are written so that a reader cares about them.

Hands raised high in a victory cheer here.

I still had to handle the few mechanical issues the reviewer pointed out in order to move on, and for the promised good things to happen.