Cover story

Phil: The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that last time the post showed a book cover rather different from the one we are reading at the top of the page. Have we gone and written another book and forgotten to come up with a different title ?

No – it’s just that I like messing around with pictures and so when the test copies were produced, I made up a few different covers.

I should start by saying that I know whatever we put on our covers won’t matter a jot once a publishing house becomes involved. When that happens (surely any day now), the front of the book will be handed to the marketing department who will get out their best new coloured pens and fresh pots of glitter (Candice: Oy, watch it or you’ll get a smack) and having consulted various focus groups, will come up with the design most likely to persuade a casual passer by to pick up a copy and head toward the tills to pay for it. The idea will then be passed to a MacMonkey sitting in front of a huge white computer that has a picture of a fruit on the back and he will turn it into the finished product. If we get to be involved at all, this will be limited to being shown a picture to which we are expected to say “That’s nice” or attract the scorn of people who know what they are doing.

So, all this work is just for fun. That doesn’t make creating them a bad idea since the only thing I waste is my own time and it’s good fun !

Book cover - 1st goCover One

Here we have the sort of scene that we are supposed to imagine when being told that our job is about to vaporise. The person telling us will be waffling about new horizons, times for personal growth, chances to try new things, please don’t hit me etc. etc.

This is kind of the idea we were thinking of when talking about a “change management” company. In truth, I nicked the image from one of the party manifestos at last years general election. You could see this as a biting satire on politics – they wanted to say “Hope for the future” and we said “You’d being chucked out in the cold” – but really my artistic skills don’t run to drawing this sort of thing from scratch.

Book Cover - Second go with added tractorCover Two

A Lanz Bulldog tractor features in part of the story. In fact it plays a prominent part in the grand finale. I fancied that this made a photo, taken of a machine seen in a collection of tractors I pass by regularly, very appropriate. To soften the edges for the female audience, there are some flowers stuck on the front in the manner of a doll on a dustcart.

The big change here is the new and exciting female friendly pink title in a handwriting style font. I’ve looked at covers of other novels in this genre and that seems to be the way things are done. Who am I to mess with convention ?

This book went to test reader Steve, who we have previously established isn’t a girl. Giving him a more macho cover hopefully stopped any reticence at diving between pink fluffy covers. And if Harry Potter can have an adult cover, why shouldn’t we have a blokey one ?

Book cover - third go with footy cabbageCover Three

Now we are in chick-lit territory. High heel shoes, you don’t get more lady friendly than that. Unless you are a man wearing them and trying to attract the ladies obviously.

Bung “High heels football” into a popular photo sharing website and this is sort of what you get. That and a few hundred other pictures that make you wonder about the state of humanity. A few minutes work with the photo editing tool sees the ball replaced with a cabbage and voila ! A book cover suitable for Ros, my friend who is a girl and as such, likes shoes.

Obviously the vibe I’m working is the strong woman taking control of the vegetable boffins. Our main protagonist, Kate, certainly sees life in this way, even if life doesn’t always pan out as expected.

So which one do you like ? Were I trying to justify myself, I suppose these have been created to be a visual version of the famous “elevator pitch” everyone is supposed to have for their novel. An attempt to get the entire story over to someone who can’t read, or can’t be bothered to.

Or maybe I have too much time on my hands !

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Filed under Phil, Writing

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