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!