Thursday, April 26, 2012

At Long Last - The Cover Reveal of My Debut Novel, THE CULLING!

Here it is, the cover of the first book in my Post-Apocalyptic Young Adult "Torch Keeper" series, THE CULLING:

It's been a long time coming, ten years if you start counting from the time I first dreamed of writing a novel and actually getting it published. I must say, this has been the most fun part of the entire process so far!

Just to give you a little overview, on March 2, 2012, my Editor, Brian Farrey at Flux Books, sent me a nifty email jam-packed with all sorts of tidbits regarding a Launch Meeting (Sounds REALLY Official). At that meeting, my then-titled book, The Torch Keeper, was to be the guest of honor, something to do with title changes (Boo!) and soliciting cover ideas from me (Yay!). Needless to say, within a day or two, I had flooded poor Brian with enough cover samples and descriptions to put Amazon out of business. What can I say? I like to be thorough.

Once the meeting took place on March 13, 2012, I was happy to learn that the "Launch People" decided on an alternate title I had suggested, THE CULLING, and were going to use "The Torch Keeper" as the title to the series! So I got to have my cake and eat it, too! Not only that, but they decided on the cover direction based on my samples and communications with Brian, as well. All I had to do was wait several months for the Art Department to come up with something.

Imagine my surprise when, on April 10, 2012, less than a month later, I received an unexpected email surprise! (No, not some Royal Prince in Nigeria bequeathing his wealth to me). It was the first Cover Composite ("Comp" for those in the industry "Know." ;-) My fingers were trembling as I read the email on my phone. At first it was very strange, seeing someone else's interpretation of my ideas on a cover. Uh, maybe because I opened it on my phone and couldn't make out the image that well.

Needless to say, by the time I got to a computer and opened up the picture, I was thrilled that they'd captured the look and feel of the novel quite simply and effectively. The comp was made up of photos that would later be given to an illustrator to photo illustrate (i.e. use the photos as the basis for the illustrations).

After giving Brian a few suggestions regarding what my main character should be wearing, providing other details to add to the tunnel, and recommending the best restaurants to eat at in SOBE (okay not the latter), I expected it would be a couple of more months before I got the next version.

Not exactly. It seems like the Art Department is composed of some very industrious eager beavers (Not to be confused with the Kardashians) and on April 20, a mere ten days later, I received a beautiful rendering of my cover that floored me with its awesomeness! The dark, creepy, gritty mood was PERFECT, as was the rendering of my main character, Lucian Spark, who, after what he suffers and endures in the novel, looked almost as battered and bloodied as a Black Friday Walmart customer.

Five days later, I received the final version of the cover that you see here, complete with added tag line, courtesy of moi. Unlike the above picture, the title on the actual book will be rendered utilizing fluorescent ink to really make it "POP" on the shelves with that futuristic glow. To add the book to your Goodreads Reading list, click here.

This cover represents a labor of love, complete with all the frustration and elation of writing and selling the novel and I'm proud to have my name so prominently displayed on it. It was a long hard road, and I sometimes felt like Lucian standing at the mouth of that dark, creepy, long and winding tunnel, not knowing what awaited at the other end. For me, I was able to find something wonderful once I got there. As for Lucian, you'll have to read the book to find out ;-)

Steven dos Santos is represented by Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, LTD. He loves movies, particularly ones about things that go bump in the night, as well as sci-fi and fantasy. Chocolate, Cheesecake, and Happy Endings are nice, too! When not glued to his computer coming up with innovative ways to torture his characters, Steven can be found skulking away on his website, amassing an army on facebook, and sending unanswered tweets to celebrities who, for some inexplicable reason, choose to ignore him on twitter. His debut novel, THE CULLING - The Torch Keeper Book One, a Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic thriller, will be published by FLUX Books in early 2013.


  1. An amazing cover, Steven! Congratulations!! I'm so happy to hear the designer captured the essence of your book the same way you envisioned it.

  2. Oh, that looks amazing! And definitely makes me want to grab the book even more than I already did.

  3. Steven, that is the coolest cover ever! I LOVE it. Can't wait to read the book!

  4. That IS an intriguing cover. It draws you right in. (Am I the only one who thinks it has a movie poster feel to it, as well?) Congrats!!!

  5. WAy to go!! Congrats on your shiny new cover, and for being heard, which is the best thing!

  6. Thanks, everyone! I'm glad you liked the cover! It's really been a highlight for me :-) I'm soo looking forward to seeing everyone else's covers!

  7. This is BEYOND awesome - congratulations, Steven! Now I really can't wait to get a gander at my own cover!


  8. Congrats on a truly eye catching cover that almost literally pulls you into the tunnel like a vortex. Thanks for sharing your process with us!

  9. P.S. Welcome to the 10-year club. One of my taglines for presentations has become: "It takes 10 years to become an overnight success." Probably not original, but in many cases all too true.

  10. Thanks, Liz! I hope my experience sheds some light to others who are about to go through it. I like your vortex comment, too! ;-) I guess 10 years IS overnight in the publishing world, that is, the non-self-publishing world ;-)