2021 Open Submissions Call: A Quick Chat with Book Cover Artist Rachel Lobbenberg

We’re open for general submissions as of September 1st and now excitedly diving into the wonderful speculative stories you’re sending us. Following our video series introducing writers the press, we’re sharing a short interview with Rachel Lobbenberg, the artist for the Impossible Resurrection of Grief cover, and the typographer for After the Dragons.

Poster featuring a photo of book cover artist Rachel Lobbenberg with pictures of the book covers she worked on: Octavia Cade's THE IMPOSSIBLE RESURRECTION OF GRIEF and Cynthia Zhang's AFTER THE DRAGONS.

What is your artistic background? What kind of art do you do for your job? What kind of art do you do for fun?

I have a combined Fine Art and Digital Media degree, and have been working as a designer and art director in the corporate marketing world for more than a decade; however, I am a newbie to the book publishing world – this is my first book cover design job. I’m enjoying the process and quite happy with the results so far!

What was your process for the cover for The Impossible Resurrection of Grief?

When Selena Middleton, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Stelliform Press, reached out to me, she already had a specific vision on the book cover design. After I learned about the story, the vision I created aligned with Selena’s. We agreed that the cover had to be dark, dramatic, yet vibrant. It had to have a punch to it like the book’s title.

For the cover design, I used a spotlight to feature these exotic and amazing animals [the thylacines] that are involved in the story, and juxtaposed them with a dark and yet rich in texture funereal background to convey the vibe of the story. Inspired by the Romanticism movement, I added some vibrant and jewel like plants to form a pyramidal composition, to create a dramatic, mysterious and vivid visual effect.

Tell us about the typography you did for After the Dragons.

The book has a majestic dragon in the center of the artwork, and I want the typography to bring out its liveliness. So I designed the title to intertwine with the dragon, with just enough subtlety to complement its subject and not too much to take away from the brilliant artwork.

I am very happy with the results for both covers, and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to create more interesting book cover artwork.

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2021 Open Submissions Call: Intro Videos Series

We’re open for general submissions as of September 1st. We’re still a fairly new press with two years of publications (four books) under our belt. But submitting a novel, novella, or short story collection that you may have been working on for years can be daunting. We want to give you more information about the press so that writers can feel confident in submitting their stories.

We’ve created a series of videos about the press including, an intro to the press’ origin and mission, what kinds of stories we’re looking for, our team and our process, and some testimonials from our authors. We’ll follow this up with a brief text interview with Rachel Lobbenberg, our book cover artist.

Video 1: A Brief Intro to the Press

Video 2: What Kind of Stories Are We Looking For?

Video 3: Our Team and Our Process

Video 4: Author Experience

Curious about our book cover design process?

Follow the link to read a short interview with book cover artist Rachel Lobbenberg, to did art and typography for The Impossible Resurrection of Grief and After the Dragons respectively.

After the Dragons Launch Video is Live

On August 19th we officially launched Cynthia Zhang’s After the Dragons, a tender queer urban fantasy. We were very lucky to have Elinam Agbo and Misha Grifka read poetry to open the event. Elinam read “On Your Way to SS Swedru,” a gorgeous poem about what we take with us when we leave our beloved homelands (and, by extension, the Earth). Misha read two poems ⁠— “drip” and “we expect sweet things to come from the ground” ⁠— both grappling with the practical challenges of deteriorating ecosystems, social systems, and the tenderness that remains despite these things.

Kari Maaren sang two hilariously true ukelele tunes, both challenging fantasy tropes. “Chosen One” and “Your Sexy Werewolf” provided some levity before we heard a reading by author of the hour, Cynthia Zhang. The launch then wrapped up with a Q&A and a prize giveaway.

The launch video is now online, with subtitles provided for those who need or want them. If you want to be notified of future launches, sign up for Stelliform Press’s newsletter here. If After the Dragons sounds like a book you can’t miss, go here to purchase a signed copy printed on recycled paper.

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Upcoming: Cynthia Zhang’s AFTER THE DRAGONS Book Launch

On August 19th we’re launching Cynthia Zhang’s After the Dragons, the book that Mary Robinette Kowal called a “beautiful jewel-box of a novel” and Booklist described as “introspective fantasy [with] enormous heart and astonishing depth.” Readers are excited about this soft fantasy and we’re excited to host an online launch party in its honour!

On a pastel sunset background, this poster contains a photo of the book cover, pictures of Cynthia Zhang, Elinam Agbo, Misha Grifka, and Kari Maaren. The text reads: Cynthia Zhang's After the Dragons Book Launch. On August 19th, 8pm ET, come to a fun online evening of poetry, music, discussion, and dragons as Stelliform Press launches Cynthia Zhang's debut queer fantasy novel. Plus join us on Reddit's r/fantasy for a post-launch AMA! Go to Eventbrite for more info and to sign up: https://bit.ly/ZhangLaunch.

On August 19th, 8pm ET, come to a fun online evening of poetry, music, discussion, and dragons as Stelliform Press launches Cynthia Zhang’s debut queer fantasy novel. Plus join us on Reddit’s r/fantasy for a post-launch AMA! Go to Eventbrite for more info and to sign up.

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Stelliform Opening to General Submissions September 1

Good news, writers! We’re opening for submissions from all writers, agented or non-agented, on September 1, 2021. We’ve been closed to general submissions for about a year, accepting submissions only from BIPOC writers. Now we are looking for 2-3 novellas, novels, or short story collections to publish in 2022 or 2023. BIPOC, LGBTQ2S, disabled and other marginalized writers are still very much encouraged to submit.

If you’re not familiar with what we’ve published before, have a look at our books here. On that page you can find links to excerpts and video readings, plus all the usual synopses and cover art. If you’re thinking of submitting, please read about the press and the kind of work we’re interested in, and our submissions guidelines. You can also read about our editorial, publicity, and design team here.

We recently did an interview with Toronto’s Word on the Street team, and this video gives a great overview of the press and some of the stories that we’ve already published. Publisher and Editor-In-Chief Selena Middleton and authors Sim Kern (Depart, Depart!) and Cynthia Zhang (After the Dragons) talk climate fiction, the power of speculative fiction, and the connections between these genres and subgenres and queer stories.

See you in the slush pile!

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