Don’t you just love making theoretical book covers to your unpublished works? I do. So yeah, in the near future (hopefully by 2012), I’ll have this ready. After reading Jim Ruland’s excellent Big Lonesome, I asked his advice about getting a short-story collection published and he wrote back:
What would I do differently? That’s easy. I would make a strong link between all the stories. The trouble with short story collections is that they’re not “about” anything. And a collection that dabbles in multiple genres exacerbates this problem. (Please note that when I say problem or trouble I mean as they pertain to marketing, publicity, and sales.) If I had it to do again, I’d probably make it a collection of stories that riff on pop culture icons. Or a collection of historical fiction. Or a collection of stories set in Southern California. You get the idea. What I’ve come to understand is that everyone from book buyers to librarians, movie producers to book reviewers, need a hook that serves as an entry point for a conversation about the book. Obviously there are exceptions. Alice Munro and George Saunders don’t need a hook. Their hook is they’re Alice Munro and George Saunders. Short stories are what they do. A hook for people like us would be a collection of stories about being a mail carrier or a novel set in an Indian casino, because that’s what we “do”, and that’s precisely what I’ve done.
I always tend to come back to the theme of well… (read title). It’s not that I’m attracted to the idea of evil, Damien-esque children per se (although there might be a couple included in the book), but more of the accidental horror children are capable of, without mature notions of right or wrong, and I think I have enough material to justify a “hook”.
Anyway… cover too much? I’m torn about the scribbles over the face, seeing as the stories aren’t ALL horror, but I also want something to pull the eyes out of your skull.
Read Big Lonesome.
Edit: Another piece of conceptual art. I think I like this one better. The other one seems a little Dark Knight-ish.