Cover Stories

It’s been a while since I posted on here but I’ve been busy finishing off the new book, “Face Value”. Due out in mid-May the final edits are almost complete and the big, big news is the cover has been picked. Finally!

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I’m going to guess some are going to love the image, some are going to hate it and some are going to be completely apathetic towards it. But all is okay. I’ve come to realise that whatever reaction is forthcoming a book cover seems to epitomise President Lincoln’s “You can’t please all of the people all of the time…” quote.

It’s been a trek that has spanned from Northern Ireland to Australia and Latvia (I think). Two separate photo shoots from half a world away with an outstanding photographer and a couple of lunchtimes spent working alongside a remarkable graphics designer. After all of that I still couldn’t decide so I canvassed a few opinions from as far afield as Canada, the UK, the Middle East and Australia. Now this wonderfully modernistic “social-media-centric” process, has resulted in a finished product.

So, just so you can see what sort of work goes into picking a cover, here are the highlights:

The initial idea of mine was to have a woman in a trench coat, standing under a streetlamp, it’s nighttime, drizzle is falling, very film noir, black and white with the red heels she is wearing being the only colour. It was inspired by the example of the old fashioned Private Eye books, Philip Marlowe and the Big Sleep, that sort of thing. But ultimately although my lead character is a PI, she is anything but old fashioned. With an ensuing delay caused, believe it or not, because it wouldn’t drizzle on demand in Northern Ireland I had a change of plan; a woman in heels with blood nearby (reflecting some of the early passages in the book). Cue the first photo shoot…

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Image courtesy of Argyle Images (Larne, Northern Ireland)

But despite being exactly what I asked for and Bernie the photographer doing a great job, it wasn’t right. It also coincided with a new idea that came from the graphics designer I mentioned, who showed me a stock image of a full-face shot with a “1000-yard” stare. But the image was of a youth and it needed to be an adult. Time for photo shoot 2, back in Northern Ireland and Bernie produced some remarkable imagery:

Image courtesy of Argyle Images 

Meanwhile, the worldwide stock photography galleries were turning up some alternates out of which (after many hours of searching) the most suitable seemed to be:

The one on the right, a shutterstock image by a photographer based in Latvia (I think), seemed to be a definite potential and so it was that the process moved on to the graphics design phase. Eventually there were in excess of 30 different cover mock-ups and layouts put together. Some of the highlights were:

At which stage I had looked at so many of them I really couldn’t decide and so it went out to opinions that I trusted. Some chose one, some chose another but the majority vote was clear cut. They all gave the same reason; it was the one that they would pick up, which after all is the purpose of it.

Interestingly, they mostly also commented that had the book been a “vampire” type story they would have all gone for the same alternate, I’m sure you can see which one that would be. Perhaps I shall be able to use it in the future.

For now though, a big thank you to all involved and welcome to the image that will be the cover of Face Value (cropped for paperback):Final

Ian Andrew
Australia
Whilst listening to some strange reality TV show?

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