“A is for Apocalypse” Cover Reveal

Today I’m pleased to be one of the blog hosts of the cover reveal for A is for Apocalypse. I love the idea of this anthology (and the idea of the series, of which this anthology is the first title). Would I want to edit it? Heck, no! I stand in awe of editor Rhonda Parrish for taking on this Herculean task.

So what is this task? I hear you asking. Well, in a nutshell:

What do you get when you take twenty-six amazing writers, randomly assign them a letter of the alphabet and give them complete artistic freedom within a theme?

A is for Apocalypse

A is for Apocalypse contains twenty-six apocalyptic stories written by both well-known and up-and-coming writers. Monsters, meteors, floods, war–the causes of the apocalypses in these tales are as varied as the stories themselves. This volume contains work by Ennis Drake, Beth Cato, Kenneth Schneyer, Damien Angelica Walters, K. L. Young, Marge Simon, Milo James Fowler, Simon Kewin, C.S. MacCath, Steve Bornstein and more!

Editor’s Note: Keep reading, kids, there’s a giveaway further down!

What’s so Herculean about that? you’re asking now. Sure, twenty-six stories is a hefty anthology to edit, but longer anthologies have been done before.

Well, the rumour (and I believe it’s quite true) is that Ms. Parrish plans to edit an anthology for each letter of the alphabet, each with a new theme, and each containing twenty-six stories. So that’s, um…*gets out calculator, pokes in numbers, scratches head, pokes in numbers again*…that’s six hundred and seventy-six stories for the series. Phew. Having edited a mere sixty-two stories myself (and co-edited, at that), I can appreciate the enormity of the undertaking.

Well, come on, where’s the cover?

We’re getting there. First, you might like to read the answers to this question, posed by Rhonda to some of her writers:

In choosing a theme for this, the first of a series of anthologies, I considered and rejected a great many “A” words. Tell us about your favourite word that begins with the letter A.

Alexis A. Hunter – As an author — ‘acceptance’ has a beautiful ring to it. As a sci-fi writer — ‘apex’ is particularly engaging. In general — ‘angel’ is one of my favorite words, because they’re one of my favorite ‘creature types’ to play with in stories. Plus I have a thing for wings and feathers.

Damien Angelica Walters – My favourite word that begins with the letter A is anathema. It rolls off the tongue like a whisper, hiding its dark meaning in pretty syllables.

Simon Kewin – My favourite A word is (possibly) Archaeopteryx. I love the shape of the word. It’s exotic and fantastical and ungainly all at the same time – a little like the creature itself. It derives from the Greek archaeo (ancient) and pterux (wing). So, “Ancient Wing”. Archaeopteryx is a lovely illustration of the forces of evolution in progress; it’s a snapshot of a species in the process of changing from dinosaur ancestor to modern avian descendent. Here was a creature with a bony tail and teeth and feathers. And claws on its wings. I’d love to have seen one…

C.S. MacCath – My favourite ‘A’ word is ‘atonement’, because unlike ‘forgiveness’, it places the onus for righting a wrong where it belongs; upon the head of the person who committed it. If we were socialized to atone as much as we are already socialized to forgive, we might learn to be more careful with one another.

Okay, okay, very interesting. Now can we see the cover?

Oh, all right. I’ve made you wait long enough. We writers know the value of a good bout of anticipation, you know. But here it is! (You can click it to see it full-size.)
AisforApocalypse

I think A is for Amazingly Cool. :)

Here’s a little more about the book:

“In A is for Apocalypse, the world ends in both fire and ice–and by asteroid, flood, virus, symphony, immortality, the hands of our vampire overlords, and crowdfunding. A stellar group of authors explores over two dozen of the bangs and whispers that might someday take us all out. Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we’re in for quite a ride.” – Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses

“Editor Rhonda Parrish gives us apocalyptic fiction at its finest. There’s not a whimper to be heard amongst these twenty-six End of the World stories. A wonderful collection.” -Deborah Walker, Nature Futures author.

 A is for Apocalypse / Edited by Rhonda Parrish / Poise and Pen Publishing / ISBN-13: 978-0993699016 / ISBN-10: 0993699014 / Cover Designed by Jonathan Parrish

Available August, 2014

Hey, what about that giveaway?

I didn’t forget! Here’s what Rhonda says:

Giveaway

I’m giving away three ARC copies of A is for Apocalypse (tour-wide). These are physical copies but I am willing to ship them to anywhere in the world. The Rafflecopter draw will run from May 12th to May 19th. On May 20th I will choose three winners and email them in order to get their shipping address. Anyone who doesn’t respond by May 27th will forfeit their prize and I will choose a new winner to receive it.

The Rafflecopter Giveaway is here. So go, enter! What are you doing still hanging around here?

 

Judging Books, Judging Publishers

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Details count!

We all know the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” We all know it, but we all do it anyway, right? I find it very hard to bring myself to read a book with an ugly, ill-conceived, or poorly-executed cover. Why? Because the amount of care and attention paid to the cover sends a message about the amount of care and attention paid to the contents.

Yes, of course it’s possible to have a great book hidden behind an ugly cover. But you have to find readers willing to take the chance. I suspect a lot of decent books suffer this way, and don’t get the readership they deserve.

However, today I’m not searching for something new to read. Today I’m searching for publishers to submit to. And I’m here to tell you that I’m judging them by their covers. The covers they put on the books they publish.

There are a lot of factors that I consider–that I expect most writers consider–when deciding where to submit their work. Turnaround time is a big one for me, because I now make it a policy to leave manuscripts in submission (without a decision) for no longer than a year at the outside. Sure, I know that in publishing terms a year is not that long, but I’ve been burned before and I’m not going to do that again.

Payment is also a big one. Many publishers list their royalty structure right on their websites now, which I think is great. No surprises down the road after a long time waiting for an answer. I also have limits below which I won’t go on that score, because if a publisher does not value my work, I don’t trust them to help me attract readers.

Other considerations: I like publishers that accept simultaneous submissions, although it’s not a deal-breaker. I like publishers that accept attachments, although ditto. I like publishers that deal in both print and ebook, although I might consider ebook only if other aspects are attractive. I have little use for publishers who don’t plan to answer me unless they’re interested. And I might break my own rules on any of these things depending on circumstances.

But these days, I’m not even *looking* at any of these details first. The first thing I do when I scope out a potential publisher is go and look at their current catalogue and see what their covers are like. And if those covers are–to put it bluntly–crappy, then I don’t bother looking any further.

Maybe that sounds snobbish, like now that I have one book published, I’m full of myself. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I just think that especially now, in the days of shopping mega-bookstores online, where book cover thumbnails have about eight seconds to catch the eye of a potential reader, it’s the single most important element in getting a reader’s interest.

Some may argue that the most important element is price, but I beg to differ. Even at .99 or $2.99( or whatever the magical perfect ebook selling price is this week), a bad cover is not going to interest a reader in making even a small investment. Not when there are hundreds of beautiful, intriguing, eye-catching covers out there at the same price.

Some may also argue that it’s a matter of taste, to which I will agree–conditionally. Not even the most deftly-executed cover is going to make me pick up a horror novel. But I believe that even readers who profess to have no artistic appreciation will be turned off by a bad cover. Bad covers look cheap. They may be confusing. They’re often unreadable. They just don’t sell books, and after all, that’s their job. A cover is supposed to say “what lies within here is something you want to experience.” They won’t work if they say “we just didn’t have the time/money/talent/experience to make this look good. But spend your money anyway. What’s inside is better!”

If you don’t believe me, there are numerous curators of bad book covers around the Internets: like here, here,and here. Take a look and tell me if you really want to read these books. And would you really want your own book to join them?

Photo credit: mailsparky