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Book Cover Design Competition

Book Cover Design Competition

MidnightSun Publishing is on the hunt for Australian creatives to design covers for two of our upcoming novels. Whether you are currently studying, new to the field, or an experienced designer, we would love to see what ideas you come up with. This is a unique opportunity to have your work shown on a real published novel set to be released mid-2022 and win a cash prize of $500 per cover.

MidnightSun spines
MidnightSun spines

The brief is to design the front cover, back cover, and spine based on a description of each novel. We are looking for something that encompasses the tone of the story, but also incorporates elements of the characters and plot. If you would like references to see the types of work we have published previously, please feel free to look through our Books Page. These examples may help grasp the type of style we usually go for on our book covers. However, we are looking for bold, new directions in our designs so please send unique and interesting work. We especially encourage entries from First Nations designers and designers from diverse backgrounds.

The two cover competitions will be assessed separately, so you can choose to submit a design for one or both novels. As the tone of the books are very different, we would love to see how you can implement distinctive styles based on the different briefs. Along with your submission, we are also asking you to include a short personal statement so we can get a better understanding of your background and design process. This doesn’t need to be too detailed; it is just an opportunity for you to outline any previous work, experience, or education you may have. The personal statement will not have an impact on our assessment of your cover design.

Applications are open now and will close on Sunday 10th October 2021. To submit your entry, please follow the links below to visit the application forms. As a point of reference, there is a template available outlining the dimensions for the cover. The link to download the PDF and InDesign template can be found on the application form.

The winning designs will feature on the published novels, which comes attached with a cash prize of $500 per cover, and there is the opportunity for other entries to be highly commended. Submissions will be assessed by MidnightSun’s Director Anna Solding and the rest of the MidnightSun team as well as the outgoing designer Kim Lock after the 10th October, once the closing date has passed. Successful applicants will then be contacted within two weeks.

If you have any questions about the competition, please email intern@midnightsunpublishing.com

Good luck to all!

Covers
MidnightSun covers

 

 

 

Book 1:

The Rider on the Bridge – Appy Here

SHORT DESCRIPTION:

The Rider on the Bridge tells a story from 20 years ago of a young narrator’s escape to Melbourne in an attempt to flee his unstable mother. After encountering the charming Julia, he is invited to stay with her friends in a derelict two-storey art deco squat hidden behind an overgrown wilderness. The story follows the narrator’s recollections of the adventures shared with his manor companions, as well as a memory recounted by his mother of a boy precariously riding his bicycle on a bridge high above a busy motorway.

LONG DESCRIPTION:

In late autumn, Kitten, so named by a girl he met long ago, sits and remembers an aching adolescence; not of lost love and romance, but of wild and unbound joys and sorrows. And of those enduring friendships that linger at the periphery, that come with the hope that one day everything will return to what it once was.

The Rider on the Bridge tells of an episode that occurred 20 years previously in the life of the narrator when he was fifteen: He escapes from an unstable mother and flees into Melbourne where he encounters the charming Julia. She names him ‘Kitten’ and invites him to stay with her friends in their Balaclava squat that they refer to as The Manor. It is a derelict two-storey art deco building hidden behind a wilderness of overgrown trees and bushes. Here, Kitten meets Brad, erstwhile leader of the group, Sophie, Julia’s associate, and Jake, a come-and-go wanderer with a penchant for unplanned adventure. Together the group decides to save money and move to Byron Bay.

The title of the book comes from a recollection Kitten has early in the novel. His mother tells him of how she saw, on a rail bridge nearby, a boy ride his bicycle along the edge of the bridge, high above the two-laned road below. The boy’s companions gathered money from people who stopped to watch and to bet that he would fall. This image of a precarious balancing act that hovers between thrill and disaster, the obscene fascination of those gathered to watch, stays with Kitten.

This is a story that takes place, predominately, in late autumn and winter. Their tones inform Kitten’s memory of the boy on the bridge and his recollection of the experience he shared with his Manor companions.

Book 2:

Random Acts of Unkindness – Apply Here

 SHORT DESCRIPTION:

Set against a post-pandemic Melbourne struggling with the effects of climate change, the story follows three characters as their lives collide. A novel about destiny, and how the choices we make may be able to change it, if not always in the way we might expect. It explores the importance of compassion and human connection in an increasingly fragmented world.

LONG DESCRIPTION:

Random Acts of Unkindness is set in a Melbourne of the near future, where the effects of climate change mean that the weather can be volatile and extreme. Bushfires burn on the outskirts of the city, low-lying Pacific Islands are underwater, and tsunamis devastate India’s south-west coast. Australia is in a protracted cold war with China, and Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens has become an encampment for refugees and the homeless.

Against this post-pandemic background, fifty-two year old photographer Roz Hale lives in an inner-Melbourne Housing Commission flat with her black Kelpie, Sam. Her life is a daily struggle to put food on the table, and keep the electricity on so that she can work on her colourful abstract photographs and listen to her beloved jazz music. Roz was born with an excess of empathy, and her ability to tune into other people’s distress allows her to see a short way into the future.

Emily is a thirty year old behavioural psychologist at the University of Melbourne, who is carrying out experiments on white lab rats to research the effects of overcrowding. She also volunteers at Careline, a telephone counselling service that Roz likes to use. Emily meets a young Indian man, Rajiv, who gives her his card showing a pink lotus flower unfolding on a blue background, and they start a relationship. At around the same time, she begins to receive threatening calls and text messages from an unknown stalker.

Rajiv’s beautiful, horoscope-loving sister, Amala, is in Melbourne to study social work, but misses her home town of Pondicherry, on the Bay of Bengal. To cover her tuition fees and living expenses, as well as satisfy her love of expensive clothes, she secretly works as an escort. She also has a blog called ‘Random Acts of Unkindness’, where she invites people to post their stories of the spiteful and unpleasant things that others have done to them, and then responds with her special brand of light-hearted advice.

The three characters’ stories collide when Roz has a vision of a female suicide bomber blowing up a Melbourne train, and believes that Emily and Amala are in danger of being caught up in the disaster. Roz will need to overcome her lack of faith in herself if she is to help the women. But first, she has to solve the puzzle of what may be about to happen, and even then, there may not be enough time to save both women.

 

Open for Submissions!

The month of August has arrived and MidnightSun is now open for submissions. Thank you for your patience. It’s great to be back! We have managed to read through the slush pile (when I say ‘we’ I really mean our amazing editor Alicia) so now we are looking for new work.

We are especially interested in picture books that tell an intriguing story; it could be contemporary or historical. We love books that reflect the diverse society we live in, that considers the environment and give children hope for a better world. However, books that are didactic and only have a mission to teach, rather than to tell a story, bores us. We want stories about kids with two mums or two dads (or more), stories about kids who don’t conform to gender norms, kids who are adventurous, shy, scared, happy, travelling the world, looking after their parents. Stories that surprise and delight us. Most of all, we want stories where the language sings.

In terms of middle-grade books for 8-12 year olds we want books with strong protagonists who experience a lot in a short space of time and change through their adventures.

We are always on the lookout for edgy, contemporary YA stories. Maybe the characters are rebelling against gender constraints at school or explore their sexuality. Perhaps they are saving the world through activism, coping with the death of a loved one or are bullied.

Adult fiction is the backbone of MidnightSun and we love stories that are not easily defined or pigeon-holed. Stories that cross over several genres: literary fiction and thriller, crime and speculative fiction. We regularly publish short story collections, often by new writers, because we love them. As for all the books we publish, the language has to lead the way into the story.

In fact, the bottom line for every single book we publish is that we have to love it! So send us your most beloved writing and we look forward to reading it. Just remember to please read the updated submission guidelines carefully before submitting. Thank you!

Massive 30% Discount Sale!

COVID-19 SALE

During this time of isolation, until the end of June 2020, MidnightSun has decided to offer an unprecedented 30% discount on our entire range of published books (currently in stock) if you order over $50 worth of books. Plus FREE shipping anywhere in Australia. All you have to do is apply the code COVID19special at the checkout and it will happen automatically.

No Neat Endings cover
No Neat Endings cover
Hide cover
Hide cover

There are so many great books in our back catalogue, for readers of all ages. Why not delve into some clever short stories about frail Australian masculinity in Dominic Carew’s No Neat Endings or come along on an intense crime thriller ride in S.J. Morgan’s Hide?


Anisa's Alphabet cover
Anisa’s Alphabet cover
Born to Fly cover
Born to Fly cover

Read about a refugee girl’s search for a new life in the stunning picture book Anisa’s Alphabet by Mike Dumbleton and Hannah Sommerville or fly high in the sky with a pioneer aviator in Beverley McWilliams’ CBCA Notable book Born to Fly.


Cryptosight
River Stone cover
River Stone cover

For 8-14 year-olds we have the thrilling adventure story Cryptosight by Nean McKenzie. Young adult readers can find escape in the dystopian love story River Stone by Rachel Hennessy.


Or why not try some more short stories?  We have collections by single authors, such as the masterful Wild Gestures by Lucy Durneen, as well as amazing collections by many writers such as Breaking Beauty and Crush.

Wild Gestures cover
Wild Gestures

Now is the time to stay at home and read good books for yourself or for your children. The sale will be on until the end of June 2020 so you have plenty of time to order, but don’t wait if you know what you want. Some books are going to sell out.

Keep well and keep reading!

What is Cryptozoology?

Nean McKenzie, author of Cryptosight, shares some of her experiences of the publication of her first book, an adventure story for 8-14 year-olds.

Cryptosight cover
Cryptosight cover

Staring into thick bush, full of shadows and tangled plants, I’m always aware there COULD be something in there that I don’t know about. It’s probably something I’ve heard of before. But what if it’s something hidden, something unknown? And once I started thinking about this, Cryptosight began. Cryptozoology is a little zone between fantasy and reality. I have spoken to two quite normal people since Cryptosight has been published, who both claim to have seen a ‘black cat’ (the puma that is frequently sighted but never confirmed, all over Victoria). I find this quite fascinating.  How do so many people see these things? Do they exist? And if they don’t, why do people think they do?

When I was growing up Continue reading What is Cryptozoology?

New Year – New Books

The year is planned out for MidnightSun and it’s full of exciting titles including a book for 8-12 year olds called Cryptosight. It’s written by Nean McKenzie and it’s her first book so we are extra excited to see it come to life. The cover design by Jenna Vincent is stunning and we are sure that it’ll capture the imagination of lots of kids around Australia.

Cryptosight

It’s fabulous to have so many wonderful books coming up this year! Keep an eye here on the website and on our Facebook page for more info as the months pass.

New Submission Guidelines

We have recently updated our submission policy!

MidnightSun Books
MidnightSun Books

MidnightSun is always accepting submissions.

Please send a digital copy of your manuscript to submissions@midnightsunpublishing.com Please include a subject line stating your name, the title of your manuscript, and its genre (eg: Jane Doe, ‘High Tea’, Picture Book). Please attach your manuscript as a Word document titled, ‘Name: Manuscript Title’ (eg. Jane Doe: High Tea).

Send the first 20 pages only! If we are compelled to read more, we’ll ask for the rest. We want digital manuscripts with 1.5 or double line spacing. Choose Times New Roman or another easy-to-read font.

Please proof-read thoroughly and always Continue reading New Submission Guidelines

Another Guest Post by Fern

Hi all, it’s Fern again, MidnightSun’s favourite intern. Also their only intern, but I digress. In my brief time at the company I’ve mostly worked with Heaven Sent, the YA novel by S.J. Morgan. My tasks have been to find reviewers and speaking with writers’ festivals to invite Sue along. But that cannot begin to compare to the work Sue has spent writing the novel, and the time Anna and Lauren have spent refining and preparing it for its debut. The moment of truth finally arrived and MidnightSun was proud to launch Heaven Sent this past Sunday.

Heaven Sent
Heaven Sent

The hall the launch was held in was deftly transformed from what looked like an office into a cosy reading room, made even better by the inclusion of wine and nibbles.

Wine
Wine
Continue reading Another Guest Post by Fern

Guest Post by Our Intern Fern

I’m Fern, the second intern to grace the halls of MidnightSun. I’m in my final year of studying Creative Writing at Adelaide University, and I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to look inside the world of publishing. I’m the sort of oddball who researches as much as they can about any given situation before heading into it, but the internet can only prepare you so much. Luckily, Anna has been a wise and gentle support in guiding me through this busy new world.

Beneath the Mother Tree
Beneath the Mother Tree
Continue reading Guest Post by Our Intern Fern

Exciting new acquisition

MidnightSun acquires debut novel Beneath the Mother Tree

MidnightSun has acquired world rights to playwright and radio dramatist D M Cameron’s debut novel Beneath the Mother Tree for publication in 2018.

D M Cameron
D M Cameron

Beneath the Mother Tree is a ‘fast-paced’ mystery and love story set in an Australian town similar to the one in which Cameron grew up, and uses Indigenous and Irish mythology to create a spiritual subtext.

‘We are thrilled to have won the rights to this exciting novel, which generated a great deal of interest as a manuscript,’ said MidnightSun publishing director Anna Solding. ‘There were several other publishing contracts on the table, and we had to fight for this book!’

Solding said she sees ‘potential’ for the novel in the international market. ‘We anticipate Beneath the Mother Tree will garner interest overseas, with its Australian setting, contemporary love story and universal themes,’ said Solding. ‘We will be taking it to both London and Frankfurt Book Fairs.’

Meet the Authors of Crush: Michele Fairbairn

Next up in our series of Q&As with the authors of Crush is Michele Fairbairn. Read on to get to know her and her writing process, and to see an excerpt from her story ‘Fettucancé’.


Michele Fairbairn, author.

Can you give us a bit of background about yourself? How did you come to writing?

At the risk of sounding naff, it did not feel like I came to writing. Story is woven into the fabric of who I am. My first recollections as a child were feasting on stories oral and written, as well as the wordless stories that I could sense in the land I grew up on in the Barossa Valley. I have always felt the need to tell stories and had an intuitive sense of the transformative qualities of story in my work both in arts and health.

I crave and embrace adventure. Not the bungee jumping variety but the diving-without-safety-cord-into-learning-and-experience variety. As a result of this, I have studied and worked extensively in the health and arts sector including as a youth worker, counsellor, community health worker, art therapist, naturopath, remedial/manual therapist, transpersonal psychotherapist, playwright, performer, theatre devisor, visual artist and Psychology student. Continue reading Meet the Authors of Crush: Michele Fairbairn

Happy Birthday to us!

MidnightSun is turning five!

Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday!

From our humble beginnings, with Anna Solding’s The Hum of Concrete in 2012, we have grown to one of the largest publishers in South Australia, publishing everything from picture books to adult literary fiction. So many people have helped along the way: designers, writers, illustrators, editors and readers. 2017 looks to be an incredibly exciting year with at least seven books published. It’s our Year of Stories so three of them will be short story collections, beginning with Lucy Durneen’s exquisite Wild Gestures. To thank you all for your support, we are having our first ever sale. We’d like to offer all our books at 20% discount from 9-11 February 2017. Don’t hesitate. Just go to our web shop and put in the coupon code HappyBirthday.

Call for submissions – Love anthology

Ain't Love Grand AnthologyDEADLINE EXTENDED! Submissions now due Friday 2 December 2016!

MidnightSun has teamed up with Flinders University to create a short story anthology in 2017. The theme is ‘Ain’t Love Grand’ because it’s about romantic love, in any of its guises. We would particularly love unusual interpretations of the theme. Word length is max. 3000 words. Submissions will be judged blind, so please don’t put your name on the submission itself. Continue reading Call for submissions – Love anthology

Introducing Paul Mitchell

We. Are. Family.
We. Are. Family.

Paul Mitchell is the latest writer to join the MidnightSun family. Here he is talking about ideas for his novel We. Are. Family. which is due out in September 2016

Ideas – guest post by Paul Mitchell

My friend D. asked me a question I hadn’t heard for a long time: where do you get your ideas? We were sitting at a Castlemaine pub’s outside table. The night was almost freezing, we were dressed in great coats and beanies, and avoiding the trad jazz playing in the main bar. We were drinking pints of beer that were Continue reading Introducing Paul Mitchell

Continually expanding

MidnightSun has been growing over the last three years and we have become a force to be reckoned with, in adult and children’s literature alike. We only publish books we love and we spend months making sure we edit the text to its absolute pinnacle and design the best possible cover. We are incredibly proud of all the books we have produced so far and very excited about the ones we are now signing up to publish in 2016 and 2017. Soon we will reveal more of our authors and projects but for now we just want to say thank you for your ongoing support of MidnightSun. Without you, loyal readers, we wouldn’t be here.

The first MidnightSun book cab off the rank in February 2016 is gorgeous and Continue reading Continually expanding

Proudly presents… Amanda Hickie!

Amanda Hickie
Amanda Hickie
Every now and then, out of the massive MidnightSun pile of unsolicited manuscripts, appears a story that really grabs us by the throat and shakes us around. Because we actually read every single one of those manuscripts, we come across a mixed bunch of stories, from children’s picture books to self-help manuals. But mainly the pile consists of fiction for an adult audience, just the way we like it. Lately, we have been fortunate enough to find one such throat-grabbing gem in our pile and we thought it was time to introduce this writer to you. Continue reading Proudly presents… Amanda Hickie!