Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guest Post: Randall Lowe + Immaculate Resurrections

Okay. I know some of you are going to take one look at the title of this book and the cover and think you've landed on the wrong blog. I see that giant cross up there and think the same thing. When Randall first contacted me, I'll be honest and say I was a bit hesitant to have him on as I typically don't like to read or review books where religion plays a major role since it's something very personal to each individual and I don't like to discuss it in any fashion on the blog. He very kindly explained to me that the cover and title of his book are a bit misleading, so I asked if he would like to address this issue and let readers know how his book isn't what it initially seems. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Randall!


So lately I’ve been asking myself if I made a huge mistake with the title and cover of my series Immaculate Resurrections. Everyone knows how important the cover and title are. Despite the old adage, many people buy books based just on the cover. It’s simply a fact. So with full knowledge of consumer purchasing habits I went ahead and decided on Immaculate Resurrections as the title and designed a cover which prominently features a teetering and weathered cross suspended by chains. The reaction has been interesting.

One segment of the population seems convinced that I’m either making light of their personal beliefs or advocating devil worship. Another segment seems to think that my books fall into the category of “religious fiction.” Both groups couldn’t be more wrong. So what’s it all about?

It’s an adventure story set on a college campus. It’s about Felix, a college freshman, who is made to believe that he’s the Second Coming and the only person capable of preventing the rise of the Antichrist and the Apocalypse. Felix cheats on his SAT to get into Portland College so he’s convinced that he’s the dumbest kid on campus. He’s also had some bad luck and is tormented by his past. But with the help of Lucas, his reality star roommate, and Allison, his friend from high school, his outlook on life starts to improve. Even with the city of Portland on edge as the mutilated remains of several hikers are discovered in the woods, Felix begins to feel comfortable with the routines of college life. He meets a girl, plays on the football team, parties with his friends, and just as he starts to feel like he belongs on campus, the school’s groundskeeper approaches him and says, “Welcome to college, Felix. By the way, you’re the Second Coming. And the Antichrist, well, he lives on the other side of town.”

So then why would I potentially confuse prospective book buyers with what seems to be a deliberately misleading title and cover? One of the most frequent comments about the cover that I get from readers after they finish the books is, “That totally makes sense. Now I get it.” So there you have it—it actually makes perfect sense, you just have to read the books to understand how it all works.

I didn’t write these books or select the title because I thought it would appeal to people. I wrote what I wanted to write. The story was in my head and I needed to get it on paper. I think too many publishers, agents and writers are trying to produce the next incarnation of yesterday’s best sellers. The end result is a market that’s flooded with indistinguishable titles. The profit motive is obviously part of the publishing industry, but writing a book shouldn’t be like manufacturing a better tasting toothpaste. Immaculate Resurrections has generated some intense reactions, but I would rather rile the sensibilities of people, who in most cases haven’t even read the books, than write some embarrassingly derivative story just because it’s popular at the moment.

Thanks for stopping by Randall! More information on Randall and his books can be found here:



  1. A very thoughtful guest post. Although I do think that covers and titles are very important and his will probably alienate many readers.

  2. Haha yeah, I wasn't completely sure about this book when I first saw it either but I'm glad you let Randall explain, Jenny! I'm probably one of those cover-is-pretty-important girls even though I try not to be, but this book sounds awesome! I think that if people hear what it's about, there'll get a ton more people reading it for sure! :)

    Really insightful guest post, Randall! I'm actually kind of intrigued about how the cover would make perfect sense later on haha! ;)

  3. Great guest post! I confess to nearly always (probably always) judging a book by it's cover. It can't be helped, I guess. I'm glad to hear that the title and cover of this book DO relate to the story even though the story isn't quite what I might imagine from first glance.

  4. I was a little taken a-back by that cover and title, just because it's not what you normally feature. Interesting to hear the author's thought processes when choosing that somewhat misleading (unusual?) title and cover image. There's so much that goes into all of that!

  5. Alison - I wonder if he'll consider changing the cover to something that fits the book, but is more appealing to those who haven't read it and makes them want to pick it up:) It would be hard to design your own cover I think!

    Mimi - Yes, I scrolled to the bottom of his email and balked a bit when I saw it. When he asked for ideas for a guest post I tried to politely ask him to steer clear of anything overly religious and he was super nice and told me religion didn't play a huge role in his book:) Then I did a double take of the cover and asked him to explain!

    Sam - I do too. I can't help it. I have passed on a gorgeous book cover once I've read the blurb though, so I like to think my decision isn't solely based on the cover. Though a lot of it is o_O :)

    Mary - Hahhaha I know, it needed an explanation. I needed one too before it went up on the blog:)

  6. I'll admit, I was questioning the cover as soon as I saw it.

  7. know some of you are going to take one look at the title of this book and the cover and think you've landed on the wrong blog.

    BAHAHAHA! You hit the nail on the head Jenny!

    I didn’t write these books or select the title because I thought it would appeal to people. I wrote what I wanted to write. The story was in my head and I needed to get it on paper. I think too many publishers, agents and writers are trying to produce the next incarnation of yesterday’s best sellers. The end result is a market that’s flooded with indistinguishable titles.

    Admittedly this isn't something I have thought about before, but it makes perfect sense (especially right now as I look at the book covers on the left hand side of Jenny's blog here and Underworld, Until I Die, and Hemlock almost have the exact same covers- purplish-blue with swirlies and girls on the front all waering dresses). So, good for you for sticking to your guns!

  8. Jennifer - I did as well. It has a textbook feel to it I think.

    Avery - As soon as the cover when up I knew I would have to do a little explaining:) And you're right, a lot of the covers on my sidebar look very similar:)

  9. Hmmmmmmmm- this sounds interesting however I hate reading stories about the antichrist......Ill be honest I dont like that cover....

  10. This is a great post and I'm being perfectly honest here! The story itself sounds absolutely great and I really think it could appeal to many readers!

    A cover is absolutely and super freaking important at least for me. I look twice at a book if the cover appeals to me and some books just don't get a second glance...

    I guess it's great that once you read the book the cover makes sense, but it first has to draw in the reader right?

    I truly and honestly would consider redesigning it..

    See, I have a very good example for you. I got an request from an author and her cover was ... well let's say it didn't appeal to me, and the author admitted I was not the only one.
    Then, she changed it and suddenly people were more and more interested in her book, she was even featured in a Cover Love post. Truthfully, your success didn't came only from the new cover but from the awesome story, but it made people aware of her.

    So, yes I am a cover whore, fully and totally! And it makes me a little sad that some books don't get the attention they deserve just because the cover is not appealing. But ... one can always change this :))

    Woot, long comment! Sorry!

  11. yes, I thought when I got here, what the heck? I totally avoid books with heavy relisgious themes, but after reading the synopsis I think it is something I would enjoy. But I agree wiht Danny, if I saw this book while browsing, I would immediatley pass it over based on the cover, I know that sounds shallow, but I would assume it is a religious book. You might be missing your target audience because of the cover, eve though it ties into the story.

  12. Nice guestpost by the author, still, well the cover is bad yes, but I am not drawn by the story either. Still too religious for me

  13. People do judge books by the cover but his cover and title generate talk and that has to be good, like the adage, any press is good press!!! I am glad Randall stands by his convictions but I would tire of having to continue to explain. Good luck to him.

  14. Me? Judge a book by it's cover? Never!!! hehehe. I wish.

    I'm inclined to agree with Danny's comment. Sure, all is well enough when someone finishes a book and then says, ah now I get it. But first you have to draw them in and make them want to read it in the first place, right?

    Still, I admire the author going against the grain. Nothing irritates me more than when the story inside the book doesn't live up to it's gorgeous cover.

  15. Tina - They're not typically my thing either, but I am curious to see why he thinks the cover is so fitting:)

    Danny - Talked to you on Twitter about this, and you know I agree with you:)

    Heidi - Hahaha I know. It doesn't really go with the other books I feature in terms of premise until he explains it and then it fits a little better:)

    Linda - Religion is just so personal to everyone that I try to stay away from it in general.

    Cathy - I'm guilty of it for sure! And I agree, I would tire of having to explain why the story isn't what the title/cover suggests, perhaps he'll think about changing it:)

    Missie - It can't be helped really. The cover is a marketing tool - it's purpose is to catch a reader's attention on the shelf and then the blurb increases or decreases their interest, so I think it's important to have an interesting one:)

  16. I agree with Danny! It's all about the cover that makes me want to buy it. Of course, the plot and characters have to interesting too! I really don't like when a story or the character doesn't match the cover. I received a request to review this book. I usually shy away from religious type stories as well. But after reading this post I am intrigued! But yes, change the cover! There's tons of great websites that design book covers.

  17. Mkay, this book is very...intriguing. I like the sound of it.

  18. Well, with the quote from the groundskeeper, I might read it. However, I admit, I'm one of those people who would have shied away from the book based on the cover.

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