Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Cover Evolution

Glyn wanted to run this by everyone for comments. You saw the cover synopsis the other day. Here is the book cover that goes with it.

Glyn sent a photo of the snow last winter, then the three men (and some others). So this is what we have at the beginning.

I thought the men needed an anchor, something so they weren't just pasted on top of the background, and also so they didn't get lost in it. So I put them on black boxes.

It was still too monochromic so I translused the background by 50% and changed the boxes to burgandy color. Looks more real with the spine text and the ISBN box, doesn't it?

Here is the synopsis as it stand now:

Doctor Peter Latymer, full of innocence and hope, arrives at his new position on a council estate in Leicester. He quickly becomes the local miracle worker. Without a grasp of the complexities of life, he sets out to right injustices that he doesn't fully understand and unravels the delicate balance between nobility and poor, and the struggling economy still reliant on rationing and the black market in post WWII England.

And Glyn's Bio:

GLYN POPE lived on a large council estate in Leicester, England. He studied theology at Nene University. Glyn and his wife and daughter moved to France where he pursues a full time writing career.

This isn't close to finished, but there is your sneek peek.

Or there is this...please watch.



  1. Just so you know, I'm nervous about showing this to Glyn on First Draft. Keep in mind, it might be like the Cactus Rain website screen shot I showed you a few weeks ago, and be nothing like how it began when it is finished.

  2. Whew! Glyn emailed that he approves. I can go to bed now (It is after MN and I have my day job in the morning.)

  3. Ok - Why in the bio does it mention Mr. Pope having lived in Leicester? It doesn't seem very relevant. Also, the single sentence bio is a bit clipped, it could do with opening up? Its nice to see the cover transform from a low resolution home made snow photo into a mock-up of a "real book" but I'm not sure what the intended message is... maybe the Doctor, Mendacious Minister & Plutocrat could be left to the imagination, rather than presented for us all to see? Is it set in winter?

  4. I agree with above re: bio. I don't want it to look as if I'm writing about an estate I knew, memories, autobiographical. Why not, 'Born and raised in the UK Glyn Pope moved to France with his wife where he pursues a fulltime writing career.'
    The novel is set October to December so the scenery is correct.
    I wonder though whether figures are necessary.
    Thanks for your comments Anon. The point behind the exercise is to get as many as possible so that we can get the best finished product. I know Nadine would agree with me.

  5. I agree about the bio. Reading it, I assumed Glyn was writing about an estate he knew and had lived in. A slightly longer bio would be good, I think, but I think the synopsis is great. It does the job very well. I'll disagree with Anon now and say that I like the 3 figures. I think the cover needs to have people in it and the 3 figures do feel like they are a peek into the story. I'm glad you got rid of the black boxes. The burgundy is much better. I am wondering (since you asked) about the type face. It looks a bit light and cartoonish, and I think I can assume (knowing Glyn a bit) that what he's written is far more serious than that. Is there a typeface that is still curvilinear while being a bit more forceful looking (without looking like the New York Times, if you know what I mean). But these are very nit-picking comments. I really do like the cover!

  6. 'But these are very nit-picking comments.' Nit picking is what you need to make things perfect. Thanks Sue.

  7. Sorry Teach.....but here goes,
    The background image I'd say needs more contrast to bring out the hedges and give more depth to the scene (it looks quite grey at the moment). The borders on the photos are a little basic for my tastes and i feel the hard edges jar with the pictues and the background (I guess the pics are quite low resolution due to their age and probally dont have any hard edges in them).
    I agree with Sue with regards to the typestyle used on the the title. I tend to keep to one or two typestyles max (i think there are three at least used here) the Titling is quite light and seems inappropriate, there are tons of typestyles that have variants like Bold, Heavy, light versions of the same fonts like Caslon, Garamond etc

    yours (with opinions)
    Nick Patterson

  8. Glyn,

    I agree with the further contrast comments on the snow background made above and too many different fonts; but the whole picture does look very distinguished.
    PS I don't remember you having the beard at school!

  9. Whew, back from work - a long day indeed. Thanks so much for all the comments. I'll try to catch up and address them, simply to explain some things in the process and to take onboard others.

    Let's start with the two fonts on the front. I'm not loving them either. I have tons of fonts, so if anyone wants to suggest one - jump in. I'm willing to buy fonts, if the price is right and often download free ones for special projects, like the font in Nidhi's book cover some time back. So jump in and suggest. I was wanting something that looked like the late 1940s, and have no clue what that would be except that I'll know it when I see it.

  10. Goodness, no! Nit-picky is good. I want every comment to consider and then...

    I'm glad to get so many comments. Keep them coming.

    Back to the fonts, there are only two font types on the front, and that is where I'd change them. The back has reasons for the font. That stays pretty much as is. The spine will match the front, if that long title fits in a new font (how did I let you talk me into such a title, Glyn?)

    Personally I do not like fonts with serfs, but I think for the era, they should have. Garamond is very popular among some American cover artists. The length of the title does pose a problem, but I don't want to change that. Keep the suggestions comming.

  11. I meant above that I don't want to change the title at this point. But oh yes, I do want to change the font on the front. Suggest more fonts.

    Talk to me about the background. First off, I'm hoping never to do a cover with a white background. Never say never, but they don't post well on many internet sites.

    I was thinking of minimizing the presence of the background even more, not through more transparancy, but through other 'blending' effects. But I don't want the effects to look too modern (digital) or it doesn't fit the period and it is historical fiction. So, jump in with ideas. I'm listening.

    If you feel it should have more depth, then tell me why, from a marketing standpoint, not from a photographer. Give me some food for thought.

    We are no where near finished with this book cover.

  12. What else haven't I addressed? Hmmm, oh the three photos. I considered clearing the backgrounds, but a test proved to make them look 'posed' and not fitting the time period. Please don't mention sepia, I'm not a fan and can't say why. Perhaps I should lighten photo 1 (from L to R) and make it more like photo 3. Three is about as dark as I can get it without painting it by hand only lovely pixel at a time.

    I agree the black (red) isn't quite right. I'll play with that a bit, but then again, if this was made by hand in the 1940's it would be a bit crude by today's standards. I'm torn. Jump in with ideas, you are helping things turn in my mind.

  13. The bio. It is a draft from two source materials. I don't like the repeat of the location and think Glyn's suggestion a good one, though he did email a hold on that change.

    I don't want to go memoir with this. They don't sell. A Million Little Pieces has all but ended the memoir sales by unknowns. The only reason publishers sign clebs for memoirs is they bring with them a fan base, not that most of them are interesting reads.

  14. More on the bio. The consideration is to leave real estate for the great reviews the galleys will bring. Since Glyn is new to the American market, (sorry to say) and not a selling point, the back has to be mostly about the book content.

    In trying to balance the photo with the text box, it gets tricky. The text was larger than the photo. Changing the photo took more space and make the text move in a way that took even more space.

    There are pesky rules (that I sometimes break) about not dividing location names between two lines. That makes the text get rearranged into some pretty strange sentences, that hopefully don't stay.

    That said, the bio as is, isn't good. Post rewrites. I'd like to hear them.

  15. Lastly, I think you are very brave, Glyn, to suggest posting these transformations. Also, I think your friends are true friends to comment rather than say it is fine when it isn't.

  16. I think it's great, and I'm being honest./

  17. Thank you, Joey. There will be more in just over an hour.

  18. I, Glyn have a few anon comments:
    1. R wrote 'The cover is OK but the lack of colour will not make it stand out on a bookshelf, especially the grey spine. If the background was colourful the black and white photos would make more impact.'

    2. K wrote 'Oh my Gawd!! I Hate it!! I'm sorry Glyn, so sorry. The snow photo is lovley..but those boxes pasted on the front, and then a red?? box around them? UGH! It does nothing for me what so ever. :( I am a visual person, I am not a reader. so for someone who actually is going to look at the text and read the book, it might be fine. When I am in a book store, what jumps out at me is the cover, if I think the cover is beautiful, I pick it up and look at it, see what the book is about. I would walk right past this book. I"m so sorry, but I wanted to be honest.'

    3. C wrote 'I had to look up the words plutocrat and mendacious, but other than that it looks very exciting indeed. i prefer the black border or no border at all, the red looks bizarre.'

  19. Watching the formation of your book is great, thanks for sharing Glyn.
    Grand job, Nadine.