I was pleased to have the opportunity to design a friend’s book cover recently. It’s a self-pubbed title by Lisa Compton, an author who has written a Star Trek novel, a number of TV scrips among other projects.
“Epiphany” is a novel about a woman who sees her husband, a former rock star, knifed to death in front of her outside the revolving door of a NYC hotel. It deals with her confusion and grief over the event and the tribulations of finding the man who committed the murder. Everyone is a suspect, even the woman herself who suspects for a time that the trauma may have skewed her memory.
The process of arriving at the cover idea was interesting to me. I used to think that one needed to read a whole novel to know what is necessary to include in the cover. I mean, how could one know if he was on the mark. But I knew this wasn’t going to happen. I’m a painfully slow reader, I have my own writing to do and to be honest, I didn’t want to put down the book I’m in the middle of.
Instead, my wife and I had the luxury of sitting with Lisa. After sharing drinks and about an hour of back and forth Q & A I understand what the heart of the story was — the inciting event, the murder itself and the specific nature of the main character’s learning of it.
So my challenge was to suggest as many relevant cues about that event as possible without confusing the potential reader as to the type of story being told. Simple. For all practical purposes, that’s what I do in my day job. The added difficulty of an e-book cover is designing it so that it is both genre-identifiable and legible — both title and author — in both the full-sized and what we in the print/web industry call “thumbnail” size.
This will be my first e-book cover design to end up being sold. I’ve designed others for projects that have died on the vine or remain alive but on indefinite hold, so I’m pretty excited about it in my own nerdy way.