Saturday, February 4, 2012

Correct and enhance this list! Win acknowledgments and egoboo!

I didn't intend to let the matter of covers for my short stories go as long as it's gone; I even have a keen-o trademark for Metrocles House now.  The problem, basically, was coming up with something consistent that I could execute quickly and that would be a workable template for all the short stories in the series.  This is especially true because I'll be starting to roll out more in the short story collection next week; I'll be popping out 2-3 more stories, also without formal covers, but the cover-making process will be underway and I'm aiming to have all short stories with covers by April.

It is an odd fact that ebooks with covers sell better despite ebook covers being somewhere up there for uselessness with male nipples, but perhaps I am underrating visual variety  and the capacity to amuse.

For those of you coming in late, you can find the logically named John Barnes Short Story Collection, which currently has 7 titles:
direct from me here (mobi (Kindle) or epub (most other readers))
here on Amazon
or here on B&N.

The collection will be on iBooks eventually, too, I think, but for the moment the direct epub versions work fine on iPhone and iPad, and are easy to download.

So ... after much thought, I've come up with a formula: three story-relevant objects will appear in a still-life kind of arrangement over a story-significant background.  The title will be up top, "John Barnes" below the title, and the Metrocles House trademark across the bottom. 

This leads to the problem of coming up with three objects and a background, all story-relevant, for each short story in the collection.  And as I looked at it, I thought to myself (it's actually quite hard to think to other people unless you are telepathic), "Self," I thought, "the readers may have better ideas than this."  So here's the chart of the 7 already released and the 3 soon to be released short stories, and what will be on their eventual covers; please feel free to kibbitz in, particularly if you know the story and can see a better idea already.  Obviously I need the most help with the ones labeled "something or other", but all improvements are welcome suggestions.

Story # 1 is Poga, and the cover will be a cloth with an anatomically correct human heart drawn on it, something or other, and car keys, against a background of the Rocky Mountains.

Story # 2 is Every Hole is Outlined, and the cover will be the equations of the Lorentz transformations, a laughing baby, and something or other, against a background of stars.

Story # 3 is Rod Rapid and His Electric Chair, and the cover will be a baseball glove, a polygraph, and a book, against a background of Earth from space.

Story # 4 is The Lost Princess Man, and the cover will be wine glass, blaster, and tiara, against a background of a spiral galaxy.

Story # 5 is An Ocean is a Snowflake, Four Billion Miles Away, and the cover will be stalker, a space helmet, and something or other, against a background of Mars, probably from surface?  A stalker, by the way, in the context of the story, is one of the little robots that looks like an upright stick with a camera head and follows the filmmaker around, shooting at his direction.

Story # 6 is Things Undone, and the cover will be a seeing eye dog, a summation sign ( ), and something or other, against a background of ... Denver skyline in dotted lines? Gambling odds board?.

Story # 7 is The Quiet Guy It Always Was, and the cover will be a red stiletto heeled shoe, horn rimmed glasses, and handcuffs, against a background of a dive bar? an  alley? a library stack?

Story # 8 is Under the Covenant Stars, and the cover will be a US passport, a winged spacecraft that is not the shuttle, and something or other, against a background of ... this one is hard. A steeple against the night sky? Big house in Georgetown? LEO view of Earth?.

Story # 9 is Finalities Besides the Grave, and the cover will be a handheld ray weapon that looks like a recording device (I don't really like this one because, obviously, if it's a piece of spy gear, it shouldn't be obvious what it is), a hypodermic, and something or other, against a background of something that suggests a mass grave? Shredded and tattered American flag? Folded karate gi?.

Story # 10 is My Advice to the Civilized, and the cover will be a hand holding a pen and writing, an airplane, and something or other, against a background of mountain pass?

I'll keep you all posted on this, and for those of you who have already bought short stories, I'll figure out some arrangement so that you can get an "update" with a cover when those become available (thanks to the miracle of modern electronics, I can verify who you all are ...), just in case you're one of those folks who would like it better with a cover.   (Hey, that's another note I'd find interesting -- why do people like there to be covers on ebooks?  Anybody got a thought about that?)