I’m in the final stage of revisions on Parlor City Paradise, my second novel. About all that remains is to dot a few I’s, cross some t’s and insert those pesky quotation marks I still have a tendency to forget. Once that’s all complete, I can work on my formatting for paperback and the various e-book readers. Kindle, Nook, iBook, Smashwords: they’re all slightly different. Good thing I have so much fun jumping through hoops. However, I can’t even begin that process until I have a cover. That, I’m hoping, is where you come in.

IMG_5387  They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. True or not, without an eye-catching cover design, it’s unlikely anyone will ever give that book a second glance. With that in mind, I have decided to sponsor a photo contest. The winning entry will be featured on the cover of Parlor City Paradise. In addition, the person that submits that photo will receive a signed copy of the book, a mention on the acknowledgements page and a modest monetary prize. Before you start flooding my inbox with pictures of anything and everything, I do have some guidelines I’d like you to follow.

The novel is set in Binghamton, NY, once commonly referred to as the Parlor City. That was mainly due to the number of large, stately homes. Many of those are gone now, and you don’t hear the nickname so much these days. It harkens back to a time when the entire area was far more affluent. The setting of Parlor City Paradise is contemporary, and most of the characters occupy the lower rungs on the social ladder. Click here to read a bit more about the book. The title has a heavy dose of irony, and I’m looking for a cover design that captures that same spirit. Specifically, I want a single image that exhibits the best and worst Binghamton has to offer. It can be edited or modified in any way. It could be multiple photos morphed into one. I really don’t care so long as the final product meets the criteria. I am collecting photos now and the deadline is April 15th, 2016. I will annonce a winner May 1st. Please email submissions to Include contact info and a brief description of your photo, and please put PCP Photo Contest in the subject line. I can only accept digital submissions. I’m sure you have questions and I’ll do my best to answer them here. If I fail, you are welcome and encouraged to send inquiries to the same email address listed above. Special thanks to William Bay and the Two Rivers Photography Club for the support and interest.

IMG_5385What are the photo submission guidelines?

 Please submit photos as email attachments. They should be in the jpeg format with a maximum width of 768 pixels and a maximum height of 1024 pixels. This is for a book cover so a portrait-style layout is preferred. File size should not exceed 1 MB with a maximum resolution of 100 ppi (pixels per inch). I will require a larger/higher resolution image for any winning entries.


What sorts of things am I allowed to photograph?

In a nutshell, as long as you are in a public place, you can take pictures of whatever you want. That includes people as well as private buildings and residences. That said, I would like you to try to avoid recognizable people and anything demeaning, defamatory or inappropriate. If you are still unsure, take a look at A Photographer’s Right from the Bert P. Krages Attorney at Law website.


IMG_5375Can I submit more than one photo?

Absolutely! I want the best cover I can come up with. The more pictures I have to choose from the better.


Does it have to be a photo?

 Well, it has to be submitted as a photo. However, if you want to take a picture of some of your original artwork (such as a painting or drawing) that would absolutely get proper consideration. Again, I just want something that represents the best and worst about Binghamton. Beyond that, I’m really not too picky.


What if none of the submissions are satisfactory?

In the event that I don’t care for any of the submissions, I reserve the right to not select a winner. I hope it doesn’t come to that because I currently have no other cover design ideas.


IMG_5378What if it can’t be narrowed down to just one winner?

I would love to have that problem. If the submissions are so good I can’t select just one, I reserve the right to use submissions on the back cover and/or inside the book. Anyone who submits a winning entry will receive mention on the acknowledgements page and a signed copy of the book. Only the submitter of the cover image will receive monetary compensation.


How much money will the winner receive?

You’ve heard of a shoe string budget? I’m not entirely sure what that means but my shoes are held together with duct tape. The winner will get $50. I’m afraid that’s the best I can do.


What do you mean by “the best and worst Binghamton has to offer?”

If I knew the answer to that, I’d go out and take the picture myself. Honestly, I have nothing specific in mind. The story is set in October. Trees are bare but there is no snow on the ground yet. Although the novel’s subject matter is somewhat dark and many of the characters aren’t terribly likeable, the overall tone is light-hearted leaning towards humorous.   Ideally, I suppose I’d like a cover image that’s both depressing and hopeful. Good luck figuring out what that means.


IMG_5381What happens to photos once they are submitted?

If you submit a photo, you agree to give Michael Sova royalty-free exclusive rights to that photo for the duration of the contest. Submissions can be used on blog posts, websites, social media platforms, or in any other promotional capacity. You also grant Michael Sova permission to use your name in connection with the contest and photo. If your photo is formally honored as a winner, you grant Michael Sova royalty-free exclusive rights to that photo in perpetuity. For non-winners, all rights revert back to the submitter once the contest has ended 4/1/216.


If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. Also, please pick up a copy of A Shot at Redemption, and look for my new suspense novel, Parlor City Paradise, due out in 2016.



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