Monday, August 14, 2006

Evolution of a cover


So this is where we're at in the continuing saga of creating a cover for BERMUDA SCHWARTZ. Since I'll be attending a couple of bookseller trade shows in September and October— the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and the Great Lakes Booksellers Assocation—my publisher is in a big hurry to get out the advance reading copies (ARCs) within the next month. This is the image that will appear on the ARCs. But it's not the final image.

As covers go this one is OK. It's a start anyway. There are some things about it that I like: It's simple. They got the title right. And my name is spelled correctly.

Here's what I don't like about the cover: All those blue dots. The shorts aren't Bermuda shorts but swimming trunks. There are knives on them. And there's nothing about knives in the book. The colors are way muted. Consequently, the title doesn't pop and neither does my name (because this is all about me, isn't it?)

But like I say, it's a start. And my thanks to St. Martin's for not just saying: This is the cover. Live with it. They are still tweaking it. And listening to my suggestions.

So if you've got ideas for turning an OK cover into a killer cover, go ahead, lay 'em on me ...

15 comments:

Duane Swierczynski said...

... crapped out after eating a can of alphabet soup

That's awesome, Bob. I'm going to use that from now on.

Kristy said...

Bob, the very first thing I thought, before reading your post, was that background has GOT to go. (I think they look a little girly. But then I thought that about my own cover, so maybe I'm just projecting.) And yep, the shorts aren't Bermudas, noted that too.

I think the knives are kind of interesting, they do get across the "danger" element and I'm not sure anyone is going to really note the fact that no knives are used in the book. And they look like diving knives, which says danger and fun in the sun all at the same time. :-)

Damn, this stuff is so hard, isn't it?

(And I think you gotta cut a little slack over the Swierczynski thing [I had to go look]. I mean, really, who's ever gonna get that one right? I bet HE misspells it all the time. I bet when he signs a book he just puts a big S and then a bunch of little squiggles after it, right? Maybe he goes for a legible "y" at the end... ;-D )

Bob said...

Kristy -- Girlie, huh? Well maybe that was the intention. St. Martin's sez they want to attract more female readers to my books because there are strong women characters and there's this whole love thang going on between Zack and Barbara. But this cover does tilt a tad too much toward chick lit...

As for the knives, well, there is a bunch of scuba diving in this book so maybe those knives work after all...

Kristy said...

Bingo on the reason for the diving knives, and I'll bet that's why the shorts are swim trunks too. I don't think either of those elements are bad.

I just realized what exactly the background makes me think of: the way grahic comics have that dotted background when they're doing a close-up, usually of a woman with black hair and glossy red lips, usually gasping, possibly with the back of her hand to her mouth.

Duane Swierczynski said...

Kristy, I don't misspell it as much as you'd think. And when signing a book, I most certainly do not just do an "s" and a line of squiggles. I try to sneak in at least a "c" or "z" in there.

But seriously...

You know, the cover is the tiniest bit chick lit, but I think the colors are still manly. My main criticism is that it's a little muted. Nothing jumps out and slaps you in the face.

Jimmy g said...

Its not Bob, not up to the earlier covers but not bad.

Jimmy

PJ Parrish said...

Bob,
Okay, I tried to not chime in (you know, if you can't say anything good idea), but when I looked at the cover again this morning, I just couldn't be quiet. (Ha! But you know that about me, right? But if your friends can't tell you, who can?)

LOVE the concept, hate the color combo. Its schizo (earthy guy colors for the shorts and girlie stuff for the type and background). Who is this book targeted to? MIXED SIGNALS!

I'm sorry, it looks like something the art director crapped out after eating a bag of gummy bears.

Bob said...

Thanks for the critiques, especially the gummie bears, PJ. I'm passing all this on to my man Resnick...

Julia Buckley said...

Considering how your blog has showed us how lovely the Caribbeean is, I would think that they could give it a sense of Bermuda, as well as the shorts, to make for a memorable cover. Maybe a pair of legs walking along the sand against a Bermuda sunset.

Ron Coates said...

Greetings from the Northeast
actually Southeastern PA,

About this book cover, to me it
doesn't matter what the cover
looks like, if the flyleaf is
interesting then it's a go. But,
I would suggest to keep you name
the way it is on the other two
books, and the same type of back-
ground. In your case, that's what
drew me to your book in Beaufort,
SC.

Jim Rodriguez said...

The positioning of a couple three of the knives on the shorts is a bit disturbing (warbled in a falsetto register!)

jim rodriguez said...

Just a thought...How about a pair of shorts with a pair of large ugly daggers as legs, maybe a grotesque octopus erupting above the waist line with one ugly yellow eye. OK....Probably one Mojito too many!

susievfromthekeys said...

OK - how about the Bermuda shorts, and a dive mask, with a reflection in the mask of what ever dastardly tool your villan uses in this book (yes, I am the nerd who would notice that kind of thing) The "draft" cover doesn't have enough island in it for me... maybe it's that background...

Anonymous said...

As a Bermuda resident I have to say those 'shorts' gotta go. Bermuda Shorts are always a solid color - pink is common. And of course they go to the knees and are worn with knee high socks and dress shoes.

Pat Brown

Bob said...

How right you are, Pat. Those definitely aren't Bermuda shorts. New cover is still in the works ...