The winning cover.
It's not the one I expected
Two weeks ago I hosted a poll for the cover of an upcoming book.
Top row left to right: 1,2,3,4
Bottom row left to right: 5,6,7
The book is called SEVEN STORIES ABOUT TIME TRAVEL and is what it says it is. It is a collection of seven stories about time travel. I have already posted two of the stories here for free, because I wanted to share them a bit early. Your feedback on them has been great.
The stories were TARDIGRADE and WHALE, which are linked at the bottom of this post for those who missed them and can’t be bothered navigating.
I’ve decided to make the titles of my short story collections a bit more obvious. And yes, there will be more collections in this series. There are other mediums to travel through, I am specifically thinking of two…
Most people voted for cover 6, the pinky-purply one. It’s not what I expected. My favourites are 1 and 5, though for reasons you’ll discover at the end of this email I can’t use the patter in 5 and 7 for this book any more.
A handful of people (here, on twitter, and on instagram) oddly came to the same conclusion that cover 1 would be best for a hardback. I have to agree. It’s also potentially migraine inducing, so making it an optional cover is a good idea. Unlike a lot of writers, I do actually want to give my readers migraines, but only when they read the stories, not when they look at the cover.
Weirdly, all but one person in my private book chat group (people I know on a personal level who, for some reason, want to help me with my books) picked cover 1. I rely on those guys to share my stuff on instagram when I post a particularly dark joke and get shadowbanned again. They are my social media safety net, and nearly all of them have been around since before Who Built The Humans? was launched.
As I was saying. I’d also pick cover 1, but I want this book to do well, so I’m siding with the voters! It would look better alongside other authors on the shelves, and wouldn’t be trying too hard to stand out.
How to launch a book
Seven Stories About Time Travel (or SSATT for short) is probably going to be pre-launched on kickstarter soon, to coincide with a big advertising campaign I’m doing for Who Built The Humans? That campaign starts on the
16th October, (edit, we had a bit of confusion so it’s on the 17th now!) so I imagine you are now reading a post by an author who is selling a few more than two books per week.
The reason I may be putting SSATT on Kickstarter is because Earthloop did quite well. It was almost funded. In fact, the only reason it didn’t get 100% funded is because I didn’t advertise it well at all. It did get very close though. My backup plan was to make one final donation in my mum’s name for it, which would have pushed it over to 105%, but we didn’t get round to it in time.
It would also have been cheating, so I’m glad I didn’t do that. Earthloop can have a bit more development time now, and I can pitch it to an agent as, like with The Stephanie Glitch, it might need trad rep to do well anyway. So far we have an unusual use for Lax Morales’ shapeshifting powers, a fountain with a secret piece of alien tech inside, some cloned teenagers, and a living spaceship.
All very X-Files. I love it. But anyway, back to SSATT.
Seven Stories About Time Travel is going to be a smaller book than Who Built The Humans? but its individual parts are bigger. It should hopefully make a name for me as ‘the guy who writes time travel stories’ as both WBTH and my two sci-fi poetry collections come with time travel elements. Having this as my brand will be incredibly useful for a reboot of Earthloop in late 2023.
There’s a plan behind it all, somewhere.
Should I put SSATT on Kickstarter so I can add extras (bookmarks, posters, etc)
I like polls. Polls are fun. What you think is important to the process and this is a very convenient way of measuring opinions. Please feel free to suggest ideas for kickstarter goodies as well. Be as weird as you like, Earthloop was going to include action figures.
You can subscribe for free short stories, poems, and news about upcoming books.
It’s nice to get feedback. It’s why I made this newsletter. I wanted to meet other writers, develop a readership (something I didn’t have when I launched WBTH at the face of the world in 2020) and make something useful out of my thoughts.
For that reason I’m also giving my little publishing firm Halfplanet its own substack soon, because websites are boring and substack is a lot more fun. I want to reach out and find more weird poets, weird fiction writers, and clever funny people I can bother for my talk show. I have an anthology planned, which I understand might be overwhelming as I’ve mentioned a lot of projects today, but I’m excited to have multiple plates spinning again. It makes my brain happy, it keeps me full of ideas.
Here’s a spoiler, the sequel to SSATT includes a story about an app that designs its own labyrinthine city, where it reprograms tourists. Very Doctor Who.
I’ve gotten carried away again, haven’t I?
So this is the winning cover.
It does look decent in 3D. I wasn’t a fan until I put it through this free 3D cover generator (look at me sharing free things for no financial reward just so other authors can cheap their way to success).
I plan on wiggling the contrast and brightness and hue around. It needs to be a bit spicier. But right now, I’m happy with it. I do miss the black and white of option 1 but there is potential to develop that further with a hardback release.
There will be a final vote in a few weeks for the final cover, which will be only slightly different to this. Like I said, wiggling the colours around, and maybe mirroring the image itself up and down to imply past-future.
What do you think?
Here is a book that will definitely be on Kickstarter.
Are you still here?
Yes, another book mentioned. I think we’re on six now for this newsletter.
I like being busy.
Warning, this one is not fiction (but it will contain some fiction, some comedy, and some poetry. Like Who Built The Humans? but if it was about me).
Keep scrolling for the spoiler.
This book will contain passages about my writing, why I love certain types of music and interior design, and why I think I see stories as shapes before I see them as stories (WBTH was a spiky ball with a few longer points which comprised the larger, interconnected universes).
It’s a good book.
I will be trying to contact doctors and specialists whilst writing it.
People have asked me if this condition informs the way I write poetry. It does.
I have synaesthesia and have been privately writing about it for over ten years.
Recently a few people asked me if I’d ever publish a book about it. The answer is yes, and now seems like the right time.
This is definitely going on Kickstarter because I need the publicity. I am presently annoying all my friends in media and journalism so I can find a good place to promote this weird book.
SSATT story 7, WHALE -
SSATT story 3, TARDIGRADE -
This was a weird newsletter to write. It was just meant to be about SSATT, but I would rather send you one massive newsletter than several small ones. I just hate the idea of clogging your inbox, so if you like this eclectic style of storytelling please do say something encouraging about it, I want to keep refining this thing.
Thanks for being here,