On Cover Designs

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It seems to me a miracle that any workable cover designs ever get produced. I’ve poured over the covers of all those best selling thrillers for ideas, but most of them have nothing to offer: The figure of a man in silhouette on a foggy day, car headlights in a serious smog, a half-open door in (you guessed it) a fog. So you go to your cover design graphic artist dude/dudess and this is the sort of conversation that ensues:

Writer: I need a cover for my new thriller.
Artist: Leave it with me.
Writer: Don’t you want to read the book?
Artist: You must be joking. No, all I need is a rough idea to get the creative juices flowing.
Writer: It’s a thriller—
Artist: Right, give me a week and I’ll come up with a few ideas.
Writer: It’s about a detective called Ben Jordan. A protected witness gets shot—
Artist: What’s it called?
Writer: St Patrick’s Day Special.
Artist: It’s a thriller, right?
Writer: Yes, it’s set in Dublin in 2004.
Artist: Right, leave it with me. I’ll come up with a few ideas and get back to you.
Writer: But—
Artist: I’ll call you.

By all that’s holy, how can any cover designer work with so little information? Imagine the analogous situation in the construction industry.

Architect: I’d like you to erect a building for me.
Builder: Right, leave it with me.
Architect: I have the plans here—
Builder: Oh, don’t confuse me with plans. What sort of building is it?
Architect: It’s a hospital.
Builder: Right, wards and stuff. Got it. Leave it with me. I’ll build something and get back to you.

My thriller is finished. It’s been written, rewritten a dozen times, polished primped and preened. And it’s been professionally edited. The next step is to publish. All I need is a knockout cover. Being less than happy with what my cover designer dudess came up with, I spent the last two weeks working with her and this is what we came up with.

What do you think?

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St Patrick's Day Special
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