An Interview with Anne Sudworth, Cover Artist.

Found during a Google search session, this interview from Crescent Blue is one of the few I have found that interview someone other than the author. Cover Artists are as much a part of publishing as authors, editors and publishers. They help ‘sell’ our work as it is their images that lend a reader visual clues as to what kind of story is contained within!

Excerpt: The words “fantasy art” usually conjure images of battling barbarians, monstrous apparitions and decadent sorceresses enveloping both covers of a paperback book. You think in terms of “illustrations,” not “paintings,” and small canvases designed for reproduction and occasional display on the pegboard aisles of a science fiction convention art show.

English artist Anne Sudworth defies these cliches on several levels. With very few exceptions, her voluptuous renderings of magical landscapes and legendary creatures tell no one’s stories but her own. As at home in the reverent hush of an art gallery as in a cavernous convention art show, Sudworth’s paintings use “Earth Light” to invoke the concentrated life force of the planet and strengthen the links between ancient myths and modern enchantments.

The interview appeared in: Volume 3, Issue 4.1© 1998, 1999, 2000 by Crescent Blues, Inc. 

Review of Skin Spirits by Facing North

Re-posted from: http://facingnorth.net/Animals/-Totems/skin-spirits.html

Even casual readers of this blog should understand that Lupa is a friend of mine.  But don’t let that make you think that this means I am going to slant this review in her favor. Having said that, this is an excellent book.

I took my time reading this work.  It is dense, filled with information and should be a must-read for anyone who decides to work with any kind of animal parts in their practice.  It has every relevant bit of information to keep you from getting in trouble either ethically, legally or magickally that I can think of.

See, there are a lot of laws, from the federal level right on down to the local city level, that govern the use of animal remains.  Those laws not only govern how they can be used, but if they can be shipped to a friend as a gift.  Simply sticking it in the mail can get you fined, something you may not want to deal with.  Lupa has assembled the regulations that you may have to deal with so you can reference things easily.  She also gives you tools to look up things in your local area to make sure you aren’t running afoul the local regs.

She goes into depth on how to clean a skin magickally to either work with the spirit inhabiting it or how to get rid of the spirit altogether.  The ethical section talks about using a skin if you don’t know where it came from, and how much trust you should put in a dealer of such items.  For example, what kind of consequences might there be to using a skin off the cat that was run over by a car. I can’t say enough that is good about this book.  If you are dealing with ANY kind of animal parts, you need this book.  If you work with animal parts in your ritual magick, you also really need to read this book, it could save you a lot of trial and error effort. This is normally the place where I talk about what is wrong with a book, but in this case I really can’t criticize this work.  While nothing is absolutely perfect, what this book attempts to do is to inform the reader about these topics.  In that, it achieves its goal.  Because of that achievement, and the fact that it is about as complete as it is possible to be, I can’t criticize it.

As such I give this book 5 stars of 5.  This is the highest rating I can give to a book, and this one certainly earned the rating.  Granted this book is of limited use to others. It is something that should be read by anyone who is either into shamanism, animal spirits or who is thinking of becoming so involved or uses any animal parts in ritual.

~Review by Erin

Para Imminence: Stories of the Future of Wraeththu Available NOW!

Para Imminence: Stories of the Future of Wraeththu
Edited by Storm Constantine and Wendy Darling
Cover Art: Ruby
Pages: 372
Genre: Science Fantasy

The androgynous and mysterious Wraeththu have risen to replace humanity upon a ravaged world. Is it inevitable they will forget the mistakes of the past wrought by their human ancestors or will they truly evolve to become the guardian, sentient race this Earth deserves?

Based on the world created by Storm Constantine for her Wraeththu novels, the stories in this collection explore different, intriguing aspects of Wraeththu’s possible future. Whether that is leaving the earthly realm to explore the uncharted reaches of the multiverse via the Otherlanes, raising the ancient lost continents of humanity’s myths and legends, surfing the psychic equivalent of the Internet, coming to terms with their race’s human past, or simply revisiting earlier territory where pain and disappointment might still lurk, Para Imminence offers a vibrant and colourful compendium of visions of the future of harakind.

Para Imminence  features an introduction by TV producer/writer Brad Carpenter, who is working on a film script based on the Wraeththu novels, and stories from eleven writers, some of whom are well known within Wraeththu fandom and/or have written Wraeththu Mythos novels published by Immanion Press.

Featuring stories by: Storm Constantine, Wendy Darling, Martina Bellovičová, Andy Bigwood, Victoria Copus, Suzanne Gabriel, Fiona Lane, Maria J Leel, Martina Luise Pachali, Daniela Ritter and E S Wynn.

BUY NOW

New Feature from Amazon

If you are an author and are a member of Authors Central than this post applies to you! Amazon has just released something called Author Rank. According to the email from Amazon, Author Rank will list your book according to how well it sells. This could be a great feature for best-selling authors but might not be so great for authors who are not in the top 100. Authors can use this graph though to see what people ‘think’ which is important. We are ‘writing for the public’ so to speak and it’s good to see what is ‘trendy’ and what sells. As Taylor mentioned in his article on Book Titles. It is important to seek out what sells. Not to copy them but to see what’s popular. 

The email I received said that: “Amazon Author Rank is your rank based on the sales of all of your books on Amazon.com. Just like Amazon Best Sellers, it is updated hourly. The top 100 authors overall and the top 100 in selected genres will be displayed on Amazon.com. You can see your Amazon Author Rank trended over time in Author Central.You can find your Amazon Author Rank in Author Central under the Rank tab. Historical rank data is available from September 28, 2012. We’re always interested in feedback, so please let us know what you think.”

According to Amazon my own book Fulltrui ranks: 18135 in Religion & Spirituality however when I login to Author Central it says #352,327 I have no idea where that puts me as just going to the Religion and Spirituality section and after searching over forty pages the only way I could see my book is either searching by title or go and search by my name. I have no idea how good this is going to be for ‘independents’ as I am assuming if it’s based on ‘purchases’ it is likely that we can see books like Twilight out-ranking independents. But, maybe not? It will definitely be interesting to ‘track’ this and see if any of our titles (that is titles published by Immanion Press or Megalithica Books) make it into the top 100! The only way to know though is by checking Author Central. If you are an author this is a very useful tool to have at your disposal. I did put a tutorial for authors who want to set up an account as it was a tad complicated at first. The tutorial is located here

I would say that authors should see what their rank is and to provide Amazon feedback as to whether they think this is a good idea. I am not sure if it is ‘useful’ or not, but it is interesting! What would be nice is if they put these ranks for ‘everyone’ to see. I fail to see why it is a big secret and you should be able to view books by rank as spending hours searching Amazon does not always yield the book you were seeking. I also think Amazon should allow listings of books by publisher and should allow publishers to have a page too. I believe you can search by publisher once you get to the book title but sometimes Amazon still spits out the wrong information. So it would be nice to be able to tailor Amazon a bit more.

Still Amazon seems to add features on a daily basis so who knows what they will come up with next!

Why a Title can Make or Break Your Book

A book title is similar to the cover of a book. It ideally provides a potential reader a summary of what the book is about and invites him/her to open the cover of the book and discover the secrets within. However not all titles are equal and sometimes a book title is just confusing or misleading. Recently I vended at the Esoteric Book Conference which occurs every year in Seattle. As you can imagine, I spent a fair amount of time browsing the other book vendors and looking at the titles can covers, and occasionally peeking inside to see if I really wanted to buy a book. Inevitably the books that I did buy were ones that had a title that was descriptive and helped me determine if I wanted to invest my money.

I also saw titles that were non-descriptive, and not just with other book vendors, but even some of the books we publish at Immanion Press. I realized that a bad title is a disservice. It is a disservice to the book, the author, the publisher, and most importantly the reader. My job as an editor isn’t just to help the writer refine the content of the book, but also make the best possible title for the book.

An author also needs to think about his/her title. I find that a lot of authors don’t put a lot of thought into a title. They pick something out that they like and they entertain this belief that their readers will somehow “get” the title. They try to be “clever” with the title, or make it humorous, and along the way they lose most of their market. The reason is simple. People aren’t buying your book to read your title. They are buying your book to read your content. Save the humor and cleverness for the book and recognize that your title is a description that gives people an idea of what the content will be about. Think of your title as a summary of your book.

My most recent book Magical Identity was originally titled Neuro-Space/Time Magic. I liked that title and thought it accurately described my book, and to a degree it did, as the book is a sequel to both Space/Time Magic and Inner Alchemy, but a friend pointed out that the main theme of the book, Identity, wasn’t anywhere in the title. She thought people might get confused when they didn’t read about neuroscience or space/time magic until five chapters into the book. She was absolutely right and I took her suggestion and went with Magical Identity, which describes the central theme of the book. But the main title isn’t always enough.

A subtitle can be just as important for your book, both in terms of summarizing the concepts, and in providing some useful search engine optimization terms of the web. I’m surprised at how many authors don’t create a subtitle for their book. It’s something I highly recommend, because even if it doesn’t show up on the cover, the value it provides for search engine optimization should be reason enough to develop a subtitle. With Magical Identity, I chose the following subtitle: An Exploration of Space/Time, Neuroscience, and Identity. As you can tell the subtitle hits on all the themes of the book and neatly provides the reader an idea of what the book will be about. Compare that to a subtitle I saw on another book: A book about stuff. That subtitle doesn’t mean anything and was used as a way of trying to be clever. All its really done is ensure that books don’t get sold.

So what’s the lesson here? Thoroughly vet your title and make sure it makes sense to your market. Remember that your audience needs to understand the title or they won’t pick up the book. And develop a subtitle that helps summarize the themes of your book. You’ll be much happier as a result and your title will help you book sell.