Book Cover Ideas

 

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So I’ve recently seen some other fantasy writers’ cover art (Aurian and Jin, among others) and it’s got me actively thinking about my own.

I’ve spend the past four years considering this book cover idea, and I’ve had several “THAT’S IT!” moments. To be perfectly frank, if this book were a baby, I’d’ve had two false labors and two botched C-Sections. Yeah. Nothing about this enjoyable piece is coming along smoothly. Actually, I’ve come to think of it more as a Pinocchio than a real boy. I redid that poor boy’s left forearm more times than anything else…

So the title was a really, really long process. The words themselves took half of Mr. King’s so-called million words, and the cover art is no better than anything else. I’m not sure if I have many followers, or watchers, or whatever, still interested in this webpage, but I want to run it by people, and if interested, you could leave your vote on your favorite book cover idea.

The tagline for the book is “Soren has run from his demons all his life, but when a priest begs him for help, he can’t help but take up arms against those in the Astral who would go to war against him. And this time? The demons are real.”

Three sentences. Yeah whatever. Given it’s book one in a series of seven (I like series of seven. I don’t know why.), It’s got a few themes. Titles, for instance. This novel is named “Of Salt and Wine,” because those are the symbols/tools most connected with the evil he fights. Book two is “Of Earth and Blood,” and so on. It’s taken from one of the lines he says in the book, 2/3rds of the way through: “Those of Salt and Wine, I come for you.” Kind of like a war cry, I guess. It was originally called “It Gave Me a Name,” because his darkness, yes, a character, gives him the name of a demon. I liked the rhythm, but it had too many words. People would get confused, I thought, so I strived to be more and more simple in my idea. It perhaps could even end up as “Salt and Wine,” although I absolutely love the “Of” at the beginning, as if it were part of a much larger thought. Which it is.

So the book cover should be as important. I began this project with the idea of a layout of symbols or tools, a la Game of Thrones or Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels. Book one would have a series of thirteen horizontal staves, or several pieces of jewelry, or better yet, a vintage 1800’s tattoo of skulls and vines and whatever the evil looks like. Several experts added their thoughts, stating the best way to sell a fantasy is to depict a scene from the book on the cover, with Magic: The Gathering-esque card art for the cover, similar to the Wheel of Time books. It would most likely have Soren standing in a septagram on the altar of a church while a big read, Diablo-inspired demon pours green liquid into a played priest’s throat. I like those ideas, but I’m thinking a little more traditional. Something I could lay out for all seven books in the series, with small but connective variations. In fact, I’ve already rough-draft finished book two. I’m that serious about this stuff.

So, I’ll run through a handful of ideas. If any single one presents more of a visceral response, please please please say something about it. I don’t mind if you’ve never been here before and are never coming back. I’d absolutely love the feedback.

1) Horizontal (or vertical) staves, all of different woods, straight, like prison bars

2) The “O” of “Of Salt and Wine” being Soren’s personal symbol, while the S of Salt is actual salt and the dot of the i in Wine is actually a goblet of wine

3) The wall of masks Soren has in his home, all looming down

4) A tattoo of Soren’s, laid over polished hardwood floor (he has twelve)

5) The Blackwood Shillelagh, his Modus Operandi for the book and most important item he uses, glowing at the bulb

6) Vintage 1800’s art in the form of a tattoo, possibly using a human or demon skull as the focal point, with dandelion leaves spread out (think this, only inked and not so 3D)

7) Closeup of a man in a suit, tightening his tie, with his sleeve cuff charred or burned or even aflame

8) Closeup of a man in a kurta, signing a mudra, the head of a snake tattoo stretching across his wrist

9) “Evolution” type silhouette, with the four demons, Jack, Olivia, and Soren, walking down the street one behind the other

10) Demon symbol for Ferrulous (circular and striking)

11) Soren at the top of the stairs, wailing at a door half-covered in tar

12) Soren in the septagram, hands up pleadingly, in the classical pose like daVinci and other Reformation artists, toward a demon

13) Soren’s childhood door, half-covered in tar, with Soren’s symbol scratched in chalk

14) A goblet of wine, ringed in salt like a Margarita

15) A man in a top-hat, face obscured, standing off-kilter to a backdrop of brick

16) A man playing chess alone in a park

 

That’s all I got. Any thoughts? 

 

Chris

Why Twitter is So Cool (For A Writer)

I have three followers on my Twitter account (unless that changed sometime today).

On the other hand, I am following 21 people and growing. I created the account to accomplish one thing only: to help me get published.

Before last week I found Twitter annoying, overwhelming, and uninteresting. It wasn’t for me: I don’t update with my every thought (I don’t have any followers anyway, so that didn’t matter x2), I don’t have many RL friends that visit/update, and those who do simply aren’t interesting to me. So why did I set up an account?

To stalk people. I would add maniacal laughter after that, but the medium simply won’t allow for it. I am “following” all the agents I have submitted to in the past, or plan on submitting to in the future. On the surface it’ll probably seem like a step sideways: I don’t get my name tothem(it’s not like they noticed my little “click”) and they are busy people constantly tweeting about upcoming events, how-to-write seminars/blogs/novels, and the release of their clients’ work. You might ask yourself:where do I fit in? I know I did when I stared at the “sign up and follow The Rock or Barack Obama!”

Because it shows you care. It seems (I might be wrong) that start-up writers are 20% writing, 75% resume/public face, and 5% luck/masochism. How does it show you care? When it comes time for me to query a letter to XYZ at CoolAgency, I can, with authority, say, “I’ve been following your releases, and believe X Author’s Y Title Urban Fantasy novel is very similar to mine, and while the styles are different, I think you’d like the similarities.” Boom. Fireworks. Maybe.

If you’re a reader, or if you’re just starting out, reading about these agents’ workshops and releases will also help get you involved with the scene. You can read what they’re publishing (as a fun hobby) and possibly find a workshop taking place in a city near you (you’re bound to have them). When you’re confident enough with your WIP to send out, you might be surprised how far a little “connective” comment in the query letter will go.

Write on.

Invent Yourself.

I’ve met far too many introverted writers, and far too many extroverted writers who fizzle before they finish. The former comes with its own set of interesting conflicts: branding and marketing yourself. The latter has to do with dedication to solo writing.

Introverted and extroverted people–not just writers–need to brand, and need to find ways to interact with the world concerning their abilities; especially with social media the way it is.

Until the infrastructure breaks down (which might come sooner than you think), brand marketing goes hand-in-hand with any writer, and any individual looking for a job.

I’ll talk about introverted writers first. One of the biggest hurdles for any writer to overcome is the confidence to put your work out for the world to see, but it’s generally magnified by those who prefer to gather energy from the inside. The US market system is geared toward hiring extroverted workers (“I promote synergy in the work place.” “I’m a go-getter self-starter with a keen interest in assisting both the internal and external customer.” “I prefer to work in groups.” Etc). The truth of the matter is over half the US populace is introverted, and have their own ways of interacting.

Extroverts have their own hurdles to overcome: the marketing side is almost too easy, while the product is difficult to hone (I’m not saying everyone is like this, of course). I’m an extrovert, and some of the most difficult lessons I’ve learned is that just because I have a great group of friends doesn’t mean my work is worth crap. And I can’t just zip out a novel and expect it to shine. I may love it, my friends may be impressed by the word count and “ability,” but the rest of the world won’t. Ease of communication only gets you so far; the rest must come from ability.

Resumes, social media such as Facebook and Linkedin, and understanding the market are essential to landing a job in the field you’re looking for. The easiest way to do that is consistency, and have an active presence on the internet.

The World Economy is struggling. If I’m to follow my father’s advice, and by extension Kiyosaki’s (Author of Rich Dad Poor Dad), this economy will once more fall flat on its face when the bubbles actually DO burst, and won’t recover until somewhere around 2020. This is why understanding self-marketing and putting yourself out there is so incredibly important: everything is changing. The economy and job market are fluctuating.

I read on a Snapple cap: “The mark of true literacy in the 21st century is not in the ability to read, but the ability reinvent yourself.” (I can’t believe so much was under a tiny little cap. I also can’t believe I forgot the person who said it).

Anyone can read. Anyone can write. Read WELL? Not so much. Write WELL? Not so much. One’s ability to look professional ties hand-in-hand with one’s ability to write and present one’s self.

In this culture of social unaccountability, a strong presence means you garner your client’s/audience’s respect and confidence. It says, “I’m here, and you can trust in me that this is who I am.” A strong presence also means when a position open up, someone out there might have you in mind to fill it.

Self-promotion isn’t for small-business owners anymore, or relegated to product placement: it’s for everyone. Even if writing or graphic design isn’t your thing, creating a true-to-life persona on the internet is the same as writing a living resume.