I thought it might be fun to shed some light on the creative process here at Engen Books by showing the things that didn’t make it to the production floor. It’s a truism that you can learn as much about people by what they don’t say as what they do, and I don’t think we’re any exception.
Ignorance is Bliss was the first Engen title to receive international distribution. The seven titles published before it were only available directly through us, back in the early days of small-press publishing when acquiring a distributor was difficult. As such, the cover was a turning point for the Black Womb series: we could stay with the black & white ‘horizontal window’ look we’d been using all along because of the limitations of our first printer, or we could shift to a new design.
Those who know we I’m slow to change on such matters, so it should surprise no one that my initial impulse was to stay the course. Thus was born the cover above: which remained black & white despite our new printer being capable of color, and retained the design scheme of the first five Black Womb novels, albeit with a slightly bigger size. Continue reading Rejected Covers | Ignorance is Bliss→
A Special-Edition hardcover collecting Black Womb, Transformations in Pain, and, Smoke and Mirrors celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the release of Black Womb! Available in print only through contacting Engen Books!
Black Womb: Habeas Corpus (Hardcover)
No novel or franchise is without sin — that’s the thesis statement behind popular channels such as CinemaSins and Red Letter Media, who have made careers out of lovingly and painstakingly point out the contradictions and gaffs in their favorite forms of media… so why should the Engen Universe be any different? 🙂
Over the years we’ve gotten tons of comments from fans, reviewers, and professionals of varying fields who have read our books and cared enough — been invested enough — to point out some of the senses-shattering plot holes that Engen Universe titles have to offer. What with all the positive spin we’ve been pumping out preparing for Fantasy from the Rock and the Black Womb 10th Anniversary Edition, we thought it would be good to show the flip-side of promotion an unveil our Top 5 Suspension-of-Disbelief-Shattering Moments from the Engen Universe! 🙂
(mild spoilers ahead) Continue reading Top 5 Suspension-of-Disbelief-Shattering Moments from the Engen Universe→
We were going to keep it secret, but Ellen Curtis spilled the beans to a local YouTuber at a recent show, so it seems like we should maybe get out ahead of this one. 😉
At Sci-Fi on the Rock 11, to help celebrate our 10th anniversary, Engen Books will be releasing the first of 3 Black Womb hardcover Ultimate Collection editions.
These massive hardcovers will collect entire Black Womb storyarcs, with the first edition collecting Black Womb, Transformations in Pain, and Smoke and Mirrors, forming the pivotal events of Xander Drew’s origins and introducing Engen, Adam Genblade, and Julie Peterson.
The collections will be available only direct through Engen Books and the author and limited to 100 signed and numbered copies, each with certificates of authenticity.
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On October 31, 2006 the first (and now extremely rare) ashcan edition of Black Womb hit the Newfoundland independent publishing scene with just 500 copies. The publishing company, Engen Books, saw its full release in 2007 with the release of Transformations in Pain at the second annual Sci-Fi on the Rock convention.
In the 10 years since, Engen Books has become a force to be reckoned with in the indie publishing market. It has produced over thirty titles in that time and brought over two dozen Atlantic Canadian authors to print. The original Black Womb series completed its 10 book run, as intended, as spun off into the Xander Drew series. The Infinity series was launched, as well as the broader Engen Universe with light|dark, and the From the Rock series, which highlights local upcoming and established talent side by side.
Longtime readers of Engen Books might remember when, in the early days of ashcan-like editions published in Pocket Paperback editions by Calgary-based printer Blitzprint, the back covers of the first five books in the Black Womb series looked like this one, on the left.
The covers were simple: plain black background with white text, title above. Sometimes issues with the printer made them faded and illegible — such are the woes of starting out in publishing. But while we’ve improved immensely, there are some things that have been lost along the way as we’ve gotten more polished: avant-garde ideas that traditional publishers wouldn’t try that made us stand out on the bookshelf. And that was, ironically enough, the back cover.
We had the interesting idea of not wasting the back cover with a hook or synopsis or out-of-context trailer to try and force the reader to buy: we wanted to bring them in with our storytelling ability and our sharp, witty dialog. So we did something very few other novels have done: we made the back cover a part of the story.
Instead of touting reviews or plots or spoilers, Engen back covers were short stories in and of themselves: short monologues written from the first-person (sometimes second-person) perspective of the characters within the story, as though they were being interviewed after-the-fact. Engen back covers didn’t waste space: we were given a venue to tell stories with, and we wanted to use every page and surface available to us to tell a story.