Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ghosts of Covers Past

I expect to post the cover and description for my next book soon. Some authors like to create a lot of hype and fanfare around a cover reveal. I’m not going to do that. I know that anyone who gets excited about seeing one of my covers will likely be disappointed. Let’s be clear that I’m only talking about the cover here. We should all definitely be getting excited about the book itself. The story will be wonderful. I promise.

But the cover…

I decided that the best way to keep expectations in check (as well as the best way to embarrass myself) would be to show off exactly how bad the cover could have been. Since I never delete anything I was able to go trolling through the digital wasteland of covers past to pull out some examples of covers that did not make the cut. These are the rejects, the covers that I created on the way to… something else.

The first thing I did was find the very first cover I ever made. Here it is.  Finding this cover made me very sad. There’s no question that it’s terrible. But what I eventually chose for the print version of Dear Jane Letters is no better. That’s what makes me sad. In fact, I’ve come to dislike that cover so much that I almost wish I’d have gone with this one.

I found this interesting picture in the folder for Zero Station.  I say it’s interesting because I don’t even remember creating this. I have no idea where I was going with the concept. It looks like a sound wave and there are some communication themes but… where was I going to put the title? Is there any chance that’s actually a capture of me saying the book’s title? I don’t know.

I found more bad examples for the next few books but let’s skip ahead a bit. I don’t have an amusingly bad cover for The 4th Floor Lounge to show off but I did find something in that book’s folder that made me laugh. I use this brilliant naming convention where each concept along the way is saved as cover1, cover2 and so on. Usually the file I upload with a book ends up being something around cover8 or cover9. While I didn’t have nearly that many tries, the final cover for The 4th Floor Lounge was saved as cover240. I’m thinking I was pretty frustrated at that point.

I was late putting together a cover for Meet Cute: 5 Romantic Short Stories. I needed to print up a few books to pass out for editing and feedback and used a placeholder cover. When I unveiled the first attempt at a background people said the boring one was better. Aren’t I lucky to be surrounded by friends willing to offer such ruthless honesty? In this case, I was too stubborn to listen. I only toned down the image for the final.

I wrote about my trial and error process while I was working on the Hartford covers and since I specifically mentioned the one that gave certain people the wrong idea aboutJealousy & Yams, I have to show that reject here. That’s boiling water, people. Not soap. Not that it makes a difference.

And last we have this almost cover for Collecting Zebras. If you compare, you’ll see this is very close to the actual cover except for one significant difference. I forgot how close I came to naming that book My Last Zebra. The title was a last minute change. Was that a good call?

I don’t think we can say that each of my book covers is necessarily better than the last one but I think we can see improvement from beginning to end. And probably some improvement within the pages as well. I hope people I know and people who read my books will continue to tell me what they like and don’t like. I’m always open to feedback. I’m stubborn but still willing to learn.

Thanks for coming with me on this trip down What Was I Thinking Lane. I’m going to hide now while you all stop laughing.