I was going to go running today. I was going to clean, and wash my dog, and maybe even get a couple more things off my to-do list. But all of those plans were laid to waste when I came home and a happy package was waiting in my mailbox.
The proof of Writers’ Anarchy III arrived today!
For the last few months I have been pouring my heart and soul into this book, from organizing the acquisitions system over at Fiction Writers Group, to doing final content and copy editing on each story included in the anthology (after some of my reader panel judges gave them an initial run-through.) I even learned how to set up a pre-order on Amazon, just to give it that fully “traditional” feel.
However, by and large, it was designing this book that gave me the most pleasure, and I am thrilled to now be holding a copy of this (if I can manage to make this come out without sounding like a braggart) gorgeous book.
Designing this book was an interesting experiment, and the book has gone through several stages of evolution. I thought I’d share that process here, and some of the insights I gained along the way.
Due to the nature of the submission call, I originally found these two superhero vectors and set them on a sunburst. These graphics were very popular on the board, and as you can see, the actual title font saw very little change towards the end––I merely changed the Komika style I was using, and altered some of the letters to go vertical for visual ‘pop’.
Another thing that eventually would figure into the ultimate design is the limited color palette.
Cover Image Selection
Two months into the submission call and something was becoming very clear to all of the readers on the judging panel: the superhero image just wasn’t going to cut it. This book was shaping up to be something far more diverse and speculative than we’d first expected. It’s amazing, don’t get me wrong. We’ve got spandex heroes, mad scientist laboratories, werewolves, Egyptian gods, veteran soldiers, a spunky dog––all wonderful stories, but I began to worry about how we could market the book honestly. It wouldn’t ‘do’ to have a superhero emblazoned across the cover, not some monster. Some of our initial options didn’t really speak of the character in the pages.
Eventually, I had to consider what the anthology was really trying to say. Then, I found an image that just spoke to me. The image that was finally chosen for the cover perfectly encapsulates the heart of this anthology: ‘We are the stories we tell about ourselves.’; ‘It’s not so easy as ‘good’ vs. ‘evil”; in it all, the message of “masks” appeared, and our faceless man became the cover.
I wanted a few things to really tie the book together, and those elements were (as I mentioned before) the limited color palette, Komika and Impact fonts, and circles. Circles appear in the stock image, so the back cover also got the dot treatment, as did every chapter heading. I even chose cream paper to add a bit of ‘yellow’ and make it even more uniform.
In short, the paperback will beat out the ebook, I’m positive. It is a book worth buying in bound form.
It’s Not Just the Book
I’m what some would call an over-achiever, and I say this with a wince. It’s not enough for me to do a project just to get it done. I will regularly pour about 300% more time into a project than I say I will. The stress isn’t always worth it, but for WAIII, it totally was. In addition to the bound/digital editions, I also used the same design when making Facebook/Twitter banners for each story, pre-made, shareable tweets, and a book trailer.
…Like I said, I’ve been pouring my whole heart into this baby. You can view the trailer here:
And all of the fun banners and tweets on the official Writers’ Anarchy website (which I also maintain). You’ll notice the same, simplified color palette and circles, as well as fonts, are repeated on every banner to help with branding:
The book is officially released on December 1st, but it’s never too late to get a pre-order now! At under $10, this book is worth every penny!