Increasing Hope

It’s happened.  As of this Thursday, I’m officially a published author.

It’s something I’ve thought about a lot, talked about a lot, dreamed about a lot, and yes, even fantasized about a lot.  And it’s something that, as I got older and older, I also wondered about a lot too.

Would I ever get published?  Would someone ever like something I wrote enough to commit their time, resources, money and dedication to?  Turns out, the answer to that is a yes.

In two more days, I will be holding a copy of a book with my name on the cover, courtesy of Burning Effigy Press.

Burning Effigy is a micropress, so I’m telling you now you’re not going to be able to go to your local megalithic franchise bookstore and find my book.  As they say on their site:

Burning Effigy Press was founded in 1999 as a way to bring fringe poetry, prose and fiction out from the trenches and onto the pages of chapbooks and anthologies. The driving force of Burning Effigy has always been that we are writers publishing writers. That said, we ain’t in this shit for the bucks, we’re in it because we love books and we love the scene. More so, we love writing that moves, frightens or forces us to think in different ways. We love words that scream and bleed from the page and demand to be heard.

In March 2007, Burning Effigy Press relaunched with a new brand new genre focus and many big surprises in store. Since then, we’ve published some fine horror scribes such as Gemma Files, Richard Gavin, Lee Thomas, and Ian Rogers, and garnered Bram Stoker Award nominations in the Long-Form Fiction category with Nicholas Kaufmann’s 2007 novella General Slocum’s Gold and Weston Ochse’s 2008 novella Redemption Roadshow.

The line I like the most?  “…we ain’t in this shit for the bucks, we’re in it because we love books…”

It’s very much in line with a response I got from my editor, Monica, when I asked her today what would constitute a book that bombed versus one that exceeded expectations.  She gave me some numbers, which is good, you need to know your tipping point.  But I loved what she followed it up with.  She said, “…numbers matter little to me in the end…it’s the stories that matter the most.”

So I found a publisher that, while not one of the giant ones that sell books in the numbers John Grisham, Danielle Steele and Stephen King are used to, took me on because they believed in my writing.   That means a lot to me.

It also means a lot because I know how much effort has gone into this book.  I know the absolute painstaking care that BE, and Monica in particular, put into ensuring the right word choices were there, the layout was perfect, the cover was attention-grabbing.

Not that I had any doubt on any of this.  When Monica initially offered to publish me, she set me up with a few of the books she’d already published.  The first thing that struck me was the incredible loving care that went into each one of these books.  I’ve seen a lot of chapbooks in my time.  Carelessly thrown together things, covers that barely approximate, let alone complement the story inside.  Terrible writing, little or no editing.

Most of the chapbooks I’d seen published prior to this showed no pride of ownership, from the author or the publisher.

Burning Effigy’s on the other hand.  Man, these were works of art.  A lot of thought obviously went into the covers.  But more importantly, the stories themselves were fantastic.  Not the same old stuff.  Engaging, creative stories.

So I had no concerns signing up with BE.  And I had high expectations for the look and feel of my book, under their guidance.  Monica initially reached out and told me to start thinking about the cover.  Considering this is a couple of years of the life of Talia, a roughly nine-year-old little girl who comes across as fairly nice, but has dark, hidden depths of darkness in her, I gave her some of my ideas and she took them away.

Later, she helped me shape that idea a little more.  I looked over some photos and found something that I thought might work okay.  So, I did some quick messing around and sent her my ideas.

My story, without giving too much away, has this little girl doing some very, very nasty things to some animals and some people.  Some deserve it.  Some don’t.  She’s not too picky about that.  And in the end, this is what I got as the cover image.

And as far as I’m concerned, this is Talia.  No question.  I’ve been looking at this image now for a few days.  It never fails to creep me out a bit.  But it goes beyond that.  The type is simple, clean and understated and doesn’t detract from the main strength of the image.

By the way, I haven’t had a chance to thank either of them yet, but the photo is by Belovodchenko Anton, and the manipulation and cover design is by Justin Erickson.  I owe you both, big time.

As I said, I had high expectations coming into this project.  What I’ve seen so far?  Blows away anything I might have expected.

In two days I’m going to be a published author.  I’ve been riding a high all week, friends and co-workers have been crazy supportive.  I figured I’d try and drum up a little local publicity for myself, so today I reached out to the local paper to see if they maybe wanted to do a piece on the publication.

Ah yes, when you get too high, there’s got to be something that brings you back down to earth.  And my crash landing was courtesy of our local paper.  His response to my request?  Very polite, but then he went on to say, “I hate to be discouraging but I have a fairly lengthy list of local authors who have released books.”

Huh.  “Fairly lengthy…”

Ah well, I bet none of them have as killer a cover as I have.  And I’m fairly certain they aren’t backed by a feisty publisher like mine either.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk a little more about the book itself.


5 thoughts on “Increasing Hope

  1. Great news about the book, great news about the publisher.

    The cover creeps me out (in a good way), like I want to know what’s going on in that young girl’s mind (because she looks like she’s reading mine).

    Go to the next WCDR breakfast and make a pitch – and bring along lots of copies to sign. Well bring at least one because I’ll buy it.

    Enjoy the ride.

  2. Extremely happy for you Tobin, this is a true milestone! And trust me, those twithead local Reporters will be grovelling at your door one day BEGGING you for an interview, at which point you’ll be able to charge exorbitant ammounts for the privilege!

  3. Congratulations!!! I’m delighted that you’ve hooked up with a publisher and your first book is on the way. I’ve already ordered a copy…. can’t wait to spend some quality creep-out time with it. 🙂

  4. Hey Tobin, Congratulations … you have done what so many of us ‘wannabes’ dream about and are still slugging away at accomplishing. I can only imagine just how deservedly ‘high’ you are! Don’t let the goofy press guy bring you down. Definitely going to check out Burning Effigy Press.

    I’m with Mary, bring lots of copies of “Vanishing Hope” to the next WCDR breakfast meeting, bring pens and don’t forget to post your press release with them!

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