Designing Writers’ Anarchy III: Heroes & Villains

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!

Writers' Anarchy III: Heroes & Villains

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.

Design Elements

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!

Care to Pre-Order?


11 thoughts on “Designing Writers’ Anarchy III: Heroes & Villains

  1. Reblogged this on Schevus Osborne and commented:
    Great insight into the hard work that went into the making of Heroes & Villains, which frankly seems genius given the disparity of story ideas in the book. Also, teasers from within the pages. Stop over and take a look at this beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Schevus! I’m so glad that you like the design. I had fun picking out the image for your story. 🙂 I hope this book goes far!


  2. Good recap of all that must be done. I am tired just watching your energy, not only to create a piece, but tp build the cave and design the cave.
    I am reminded though of twp things: First, Running build strength as do you other activities. I have always felt that in order to be strong for others, you must be strong and clear of worry for others.. Second, is just what I said before except that even Ghandi-san believed in a modicum of selfishness (or what he thought oif as selfishness) before he could give to the people he served.
    Last night I watched a POV on the details of an unpopular but effective elected official running for office in New Orleans. Many interviewed said the same thing :”We have things to do, jobs to finish, but this is New Orleans, not Minneapolis. So we can have fun today and there will always be tomorrow.
    As usual, I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Stuart.

      I know this post made it sound like I have a ton of energy, but I’ve been so dead on my feet the last few weeks, haha. Hence the need to start exercising more (if I can survive more than 30 minutes of this heat…)

      You’re very right about Gandhi’s quote. I have to remind myself sometimes to do a few things for me, too… but… I don’t know… this sort of stuff also gives me energy (even if it doesn’t pay the bills [yet], haha!)

      Thank you as always for reading!


    1. Thanks Patricia! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. The cover was really fun to design…. It was actually the banners that gave me the most trouble, haha… I originally started out with pull quotes on each one, but pixel ratios and margin issues on social media websites made me scrap the idea. I think the simpler ones worked out in the end. 🙂


  3. Congratulations, Alex! I wish I had a tenth of your energy. I honestly don’t know how you juggle so many different projects at once and still do a helluva job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Miranda! I think I am coming to my critical mass point, haha….. lots of new projects suddenly and it makes me want to hide under a pillow every now and then. 😉 At least a couple of hours of goofing off on YouTube rejuvenates me enough to keep going.


  4. I just can’t think of one word that encapsulates all the expressions of Wow, Wahoo, Woot Woot and Way to go, Girl. Is there such a word? Maybe one in Japanese? I’m gobsmacked. There. That’s a pretty good one. GOBSMACKED. Alex, it all looks so wonderful and the effort you’ve put in comes out in spades on the page. I especially love the faceless characters–so James Bond-esque. Really intriguing.
    Congratulations on the newest project coming to fruition soon, and the thrill of holding on to something concrete. It has got to be a tremendous feeling of accomplishment!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it’s a beautiful book. That cover was definitely the best option by a large margin.

    Also, the dog still needs to be brushed 😛


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