Thursday, April 23, 2015

I often say, "I can't visualize for sh*t": Getting on the Same Page with Your Partners, Part 1.
Thursday, April 23, 2015

I often say, "I can't visualize for sh*t": Getting on the Same Page with Your Partners, Part 1.

Cover for The Cheongsam Bombshell: Coming Soon!
Cover art by Mark Anthony Taduran
Cover art, like visualizing your new mobile app or software service idea, isn't always so simple. As I often say, "I can't visualize for sh*t," and I suspect most others can't as well. It's the classic problem of having 30 art students draw the same tree, you'll get 30 different trees.

When it came time for Al McDermid (co-author of A Halo for Red Betsy) and I to determine the cover for our new Frank Keegan pulp noir mystery, The Cheongsam Bombshell, it was clear to me that we were not in synch. But let's back up for a moment and describe our process for our first cover, A Halo for Red Betsy.

Back in late 2013/early 2014, as Al and I were finishing our draft of A Halo for Red Betsy, we needed to figure out a cover for the book. As creator owned, self published work, we definitely had a lot more freedom in our choices for what we wanted. We sought out the services of good friend and indie comic book legend Mark Smylie, Founder of Archaia Entertainment.

Our description for Mark was a hollywood spectacular, mountain top, guns blazing, 100 dollar bills flying scene with Frank Keagan and Maggie Mason running. What we got instead was the following "Mark Smylie" cover. We'll actually, the initial image had "Betsy" completely naked. We requested the Navy whites as a compromise.
A Halo for Red Betsy
Cover Art by Mark Smylie
Needless to say, the final result wasn't anywhere close to what we requested. Upon further contemplation, it's a much better cover than what we expected, despite any initial apprehensions, since the cover actually features the "Betsy" in the title A Halo for Red Betsy. Our original cover concept idea wouldn't have explained the title.

When it came time to conceive the cover for The Cheongsam Bombshell, Al's initial description to me and what I wrote down for the description often varied. To the point, that it was clear to me that we were both visualizing in our mind's eye two different things. For our process, Al lead the way in working with the artist, and the results speak for themselves. Fortunately for us, our new artist Mark Anthony Taduran patiently made corrections based on Al's descriptions.

The underlying belief we have is that the truism isn't "don't judge a book by its cover," but rather reader's buy based on the visuals of the cover. In a physical store, the worst case situation is that a book is judged by it's spine, based on how many books are displayed in a physical store.

Let's see if the new Frank Keegan mysteries cover, The Cheongsam Bombshell, is enough to get you to buy it. Available Spring 2015.