Sweete Sinz has released the cover for Sinister Souls. For those that don’t know, this book has had a long and storied history. First, Tab tried and failed to put this “anthology” together on her own. So she enlisted the help of the single publisher that’s worse than she is, Nicolaus Pacione.
For the most detailed history about that particular wing-nut, the best place to look would be The Rusty Nail. They know all the ins and outs of little Nicky. In a nutshell, he’s a babbling, paranoid, homophobic asshat. I’d call him a lunatic, but that would be an insult to lunatics. Nick lashes out at anybody he percieves to be an enemy, accusing them of being the reason he can’t sell books, or whatever. His disjointed, psychotic, homophobic abuse has gotten him thrown off of just about every interactive public site there is, from FB to Lulu and Createspace. Seriously, this is one screwed-up dude. He calls himself a publisher, but can’t even grasp the simplest aspects of the industry. For an example of his blithering ravings, take a look at his post about writing a foreword for Sinister Souls. That should show you everything you need to know about him as a person and a writer.
Tab and Nicky launched a Kickstarter campaign, trying to raise funds for Sinister Souls, with rewards ranging from Nicky allowing contributors to commit a crime on his behalf (harassing one of his percieved enemies) to hanging out with Tab in Waco. What a treat!
To date, that project has earned exactly $0. Zip. Nada.
So here, now, is Tabetha Jones and Sweete Sinz, advertising that Sinister Souls is finally getting published. That unleashes a whole host of questions. Is Nick still involved? Will he be one of the contributors, whether it’s under his own name or a fake one? We already know that no matter how many real authors she ropes into giving her work for this thing, she’ll have at least that many fake names of her own, counting on the real authors to generate sales so that she can keep at least half of the profits – or however many fake names she’s using this time. That’s a given. But will Nick Pacione be involved? Is that the type of guy these authors want associated with their names?
Let’s take a look at that cover.
Let’s take this line by line.
“I welcome you into the macabre of the mind.”
In this sentence, the subject is the word “macabre.”
She does realize, I hope, that the word macabre is an adjective, not a noun.
Usually in literature, the subject of a sentence is a noun. She might argue that the subject of this sentence is the word “mind,” but that’s not how it’s written. “Of the mind” is a prepositional phrase, and no part of a prepositional phrase is the subject of a sentence. A skilled writer, editor or publisher would know that. She doesn’t.
“I welcome you into the macabre of the mind, twisted tales of torment, behind the doors of the mind where secrets lurk and the madness begins.”
Even seeing the whole thing, nothing about that sentence makes a shred of sense. From the jump, she botches it with a lacking subject, and then just rambles from there. It’s technically not even a sentence at all. Rather, it’s (at least) three fragments, none of which is a sentence in and of itself. It’s gibberish, a collection of phrases she thought sounded, well, sinister, so she threw them together. It doesn’t work, and nobody who reads it is going to take it seriously.
“As shadows fall on the sinister minds of the damned, insanity lights up the night.”
At least this one is a sentence, but it makes no sense. She’s trying to be all creative and junk, trying as hard as she can to paint a picture with words, but all she manages is an image that a monkey with a thesaurus and a handful of poop could create.
“Your prayers won’t save you from the nightmare that is coming for you, don’t close your eyes.”
Again, we see the sentence structure and punctuation skills she lacks. This is two sentences. They should be separated with a period at the end of the first and a capital letter at the beginning of the second. No-brainer.
The next sentence is another run-on, so let’s take it in segments, shall we?
“Blood will be spilled and the crazed will bath in it…”
Bath is not a verb. It’s a noun. The fact that such a glaring error has made it to the final version of a book cover should strike terror in the heart of any author lined up to have work appear in it. They should pack up their pencils and go off in search of an editor and publisher that have a firmer grip on the language.
“Blood will be spilled and the crazed will bath in it, listening to their faithless whispers as their victims burn to ash in the flames that light the way to their next soulless act.”
Listening to whose whispers? If the subject of this sentence is “the crazed” (and surely it must be, for “blood” as the subject would make even less sense), whose faithless whispers are they listening to? That is a rhetorical question, by the way, demanding no answer. There isn’t one, because the only answer would be contained in the sentence. And it isn’t.
“…as their victims burn to ash in the flames…” actually works as a phrase. It’s traceable back to “the crazed” as the subject of the sentence, and might have sufficed if it had been left at that. But no. She has to continue rambling, adding “…that light the way to their next soulless act.” Again, she’s just throwing ‘sinister’ phrases around, trying desperately to sound literary. And she isn’t. At best, that whole thing is a rambling, run-on sentence that could have easily been either split into two sentences, or edited down into one that makes sense. Again, there’s nothing to see here that makes any literary sense.
“I introduce you to Sinister Souls A collection of Shadows and Ashes, tales of horror and psychotic cravings.”
Well, if anybody knows something about psychotic anything, it would be she. Sadly, however, she knows nothing of punctuation or grammar. Yet again, we see that a period is missing at the end of a sentence. There’s a capital A at the beginning of the next sentence, but no punctuation ending the one before it.
First, the words “Shadow” and “Ash” are improperly capitalized. Secondly, “A collection of shadows and ashes, tales of horror and psychotic cravings.” is not a sentence. There’s no verb. At all. Not even a stab at one.
With the back cover copy covered, let’s note a couple of other things done wrong. First, there’s no space for the ISBN and bar code. That’s a HUGE oopsie. Any book going to print, even through a self-published on-demand service, must have a spot in the lower right corner of the back cover for the ISBN and bar code. Without those, a book cannot be sold. Period.
Next, look at the ridiculous size of the publisher’s logo on the back cover. It’s typical Tabetha Jones, glorifying herself as this (self-supposed) fabulous publisher, calling attention to herself rather than promoting the work of whatever real, breathing authors she’s managed to get on the hook.
Take any book off your shelf and look at it. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, JK Rowling, anybody. Look for the publisher’s logo. Is it huge, taking up an eighth of the back cover? Or is it a smaller mark on the spine of the book?
Go ahead and look. We’ll wait.
I just took my own challenge and pulled a dozen books off my shelf, by various authors. Nowhere on a single one of them does the publisher’s logo appear anywhere on the outside but on the bottom of the spine, under all of the other information. The focus of any book is to showcase the written contents within, not glorify the publisher. They make their money (and their name) by selling the AUTHOR, not themselves.
All in all, this cover is an epic fail. The image is a crudely manipulated picture of an old abandoned church with a creepy, knife-wielding girl sketched in for shock value. One quick Google and you’ll see this very image on everything from tweets to groups, just about anywhere you look. It’s a free image, so we know that at least this one isn’t stolen. But I know that as an author, I’d like to see something professional and unique on the cover of my work. Not some oft-used meme you can find anywhere.
And the wording is abysmally bad. Not just bad, it’s unprofessional, and an insult to any author it seeks to represent.
Authors, if there are any of you signed with her that has a pulse, step back and take a good, hard look at what’s being presented for your work, and who is presenting it. Don’t listen to platitudes like “Oh, it’s not finished yet. I was just giving you a taste.”
It was presented to the entire world by your (so-called) publisher as the cover of a book that’s supposed to contain your work. That cover is the first glimpse the entire planet gets of you and your work, and it’s horrible. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
You do, however, have a chance to protect your reputation. You can yank your work and take it elsewhere, to someone more professional. There are no names attached to that cover. Yet. Right now, you have a chance to make sure yours never is. And never mind the contract she’s about to wave in your face. Her company isn’t legal, so neither are its contracts. You are not legally bound to allow her to trash your work or your reputation. You can take anything you’ve submitted, and you can walk away. You can take the word of MANY that have done exactly that. You’ll be much better off for it. Find a publisher that’s more professional, and can actually edit a sentence. Or self-publish your own work and keep all of the royalties you earn. At least that way, you’ll know that you’re actually getting them.
Moral of the story, girls and boys, is not to fall for one.