Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sometimes, You CAN Judge a Book By Its Cover

One of the many items the publisher of my novel, FINAL VECTOR, wanted input from me on was the cover design.

You would think that after dreaming for so long about getting a novel published and working so hard to make it happen, I would have some very definite opinions about what its' cover would look like.

You would be wrong. I had been so focused on the actual writing and rewriting and editing and submitting of the book that I had literally never once thought about something as simple as what my cover should look like if I were ever fortunate enough to find a publisher willing to take a chance on an unknown novelist.

So when I saw that question on the Pre-Publication Title Sheet, I had to step back and think long and hard. I've read plenty of thrillers in my life; I have been a fan of the genre for as long as I can remember. So it's not like I hadn't seen my share of covers. I needed something which would convey the proper tone - dark and foreboding. I needed something that would evoke a mood of suspense, and I thought it would be good to emphasize the aviation aspect of the novel.

Beyond that, though, I was pretty clueless. I finally decided a radar scope might make a good cover. Everyone knows what a radar scope looks like and yet nobody but air traffic controllers really understands exactly what we do with them. Familiar but mysterious; seemed okay to me.

I finally decided on suggesting a couple of alternatives: A scope with blood splattered on it or perhaps a radar scope as seen through the crosshairs of a weapon.

The contract I signed with my publisher was very specific - they would retain the right to design the cover they deemed most effective in terms of setting the mood, which of course will hopefully translate into more sales. I was fine with that since, after all, they have been doing this publishing thing a lot longer than I have.

But I was still more than a little curious. Would they take any of my suggestions into account? Or would they decide to go in a completely different direction?
I got my answer this past week, when Medallion sent me their cover design for my book:

I have to say I think this is awesome; even better than I had hoped for. The colors are perfect, setting a tone of mystery and menace, and the lettering is fantastic.
I have no clue what comes next in this mysterious and kind of magical publishing process, but I will let you know when I find out. Thanks for coming along for the ride. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Anna Lucia said...

You're right, that's a great cover, Al! Congrats.

Al Leverone said...

Hi Anna, thank you so much, and thanks for stopping by!

coleman said...


What a pleasant surprise to run across reading of your success. All the best on your debut outing! The cover is captivating! I found that my eyes wandering in the graphic to seek details of what's to come behind the cover page. Always been a fan of your "vectors".

p.s. Am I going to be able to purchase a poster size repro of your cover?

MkCrittenden said...

I think it looks great!