(Part 1: Background || Part 2: The Dover Experience || Part 3: Create Space Adventures)

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Part 2: The Dover Experience

Examining available maze books revealed that Dover was their main publisher. I submitted a proposal to them for a book tentatively titled Alice in Mazeland. It had an underlying story of an Alice-like character not in Wonderland, but in a land of mazes, with mazes illustrating the story. Dover accepted the proposal and I went to work finishing mazes and solutions.

My programs can solve mazes that they create by closing up dead-end passages, leaving only the correct path. I wanted to use these solutions in the book. The editor was OK with them, but then I received a letter telling me that higher officers of the company were "aghast" with my solutions when they saw the proofs. They thought these solutions were too difficult for regular readers to figure out. I redid the solutions to their satisfaction and the book went forward. However, I am using this method of showing solutions that Dover rejected in my current books, and hope that Dover was not correct on this issue.

Dover did not accept my proposed title but published the book in 1994 as Fascinating Mazes. The book has sold moderately well (the cover has changed, which indicates it made it to a second printing), which is a bit surprising because the theme of the book is a child's story but the mazes are aimed for an adult audience.

A year later I began working on a second maze book for Dover with a theme of puzzles. It paid tribute to many forms of puzzles--crossword puzzles and other word puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, mathematical puzzles, mysteries, and everything and anything to which I could attach the word "puzzle." I thought the title should be More Puzzling Mazes, but Dover published it in 1996 as Maze Madness.

This second book was a lot of fun to design but it did not sell well. Dover thought the problem was that too many mazes were not visually appealing. I believe there were two additional reasons for poor sales. First, instead of putting one of the visually appealing mazes on the cover, they used one of the graphically uninteresting mazes. Second, the title Maze Madness was a poor choice because it said nothing about what was in the book and search engines are more often queried with the word "mazes" than the word "maze."

Dover rejected my proposal for third maze book. The poor sales of the second book seem to have been a major factor in their decision. I tried to pitch this potential third book, which had the suggested title of Very Tessellating Mazes, to at least one other publisher without success. Eventually I gave up hope of finding another publisher and abandoned maze making even though I had developed a lot of fresh and unused material.

Next, Create Space Adventures

This was what the Dover PR said about my mazes:

"These computer-produced puzzles...provide a treat for the eye as well as the mind. Many have a hard-edged, high-tech look that the maze-minded will find particularly appealing."

Dover, by the way, paid a flat fee for each book, so I get no royalties from them and have no real reason to promote them.

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(Part 1: Background || Part 2: The Dover Experience || Part 3: Create Space Adventures)