Sunday, August 25, 2013

Evolution of a book cover

My work in progress (or WIP as they are known in the biz) is a humor piece about a fly that follows a trio of bumbling friends on their misadventures while clubbing. The story is a humor piece, so I wanted a cover that was not too serious, yet was still evocative of the concept I’m trying to get across. The title of the story is a whimsical play on the pick-up artist term “wingman.” Whimsical in that the story is told through the eye of a fly.

My first cover idea was simply to put a close up of a hairy disgusting insect on the cover with the title whimsically displayed in cartoonish lettering. When I asked the denizens of kboards for their feedback they said it was off-putting. This had been my concern all along, so I quickly fashioned another cover using free images available through Wikicommons. I felt I was on to something with the first image, but I didn’t like the way the reflection trailed out of the cover frame. Also the fly was impossibly large, but if I had made it to scale it would have been entirely lost in the thumbnail. So I made a second attempt focusing closer in on just the top of the glass.

This allowed me to scale down the size of the fly (although in reality the fly is exactly the same size on each cover,) but something still seemed lacking. Another commenter on kboards suggested that my idea would be well served by adding a background, so I created yet another layer and added a background image which is also freely available on Wikicommons. I now felt I was on to something, but was not happy with the placement of the people or how dominant they looked in the image. So I shifted the image around until I found a placement that showed what was happening behind the Martini glass without distracting from the focus on the fly. I then added yet another layer, a gray fog, which gave a smoky feel and softened the impact of the cluttered background.

Final version
The story and blurb are a work in progress, but I’m fully satisfied with the cover. I’ll be sending copies out to a few beta readers for now, then sending the story to any reviewers I can wrangle. Look for Wingman to be released sometime in October.

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