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Running for Cover

I’m down to the final couple cover options for The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller. It has been remarkably difficult to pick one; I’ve loved so many of the designs. But I had to think about what would look good both as a thumbnail on sites like Amazon, what would look intriguing enough that people would click on it (or pick the book up in a store), and what accurately represents the contents without being so generic that the cover would fail to give any sense of the book.

For those who’ve read either St. Peter in Chains and/or St. Peter at the Gate, you know the story is a 60s British spy drama. But this isn’t James Bond. There are no car chases, no big gun fights. It’s part character study and part intellectual cat-and-mouse. The tension is mostly within Peter as he tries to figure out whether his lover Charles is actually an enemy agent.

So here are the final two:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00028]


Which one would catch your eye? Which one would interest you enough to make you pick it up or click on it?

The second one comes in another color (or two colors, really):


I’m partial to the green, though. I don’t want to bias anyone, but I think it’s interesting that my friends with design backgrounds seem to like the retro cover (“Saul Bass” they tell me) while those without that angle seem to gravitate toward the first. And really, they all seemed to like ones with big British flags on them, but I eliminated those because they were somewhat generic. I mean, those covers could have been on any kind of book: history, historical fiction, general dramatic literature . . . They were beautiful but didn’t say anything definite.

And then there were some covers that were very cool but promised more action-spy-thriller than I think my book actually offers. My fear there was that readers would ultimately be disappointed if they chose the book in the hopes it was Tom Clancy in tone. It isn’t.

Finally, there were a few that struck the right tone but were indistinguishable from other book covers in the category. I didn’t want to blend in too much and get lost in the shuffle.

So. That leaves these. Thoughts?

Oh, and Happy New Year!

ETA: The green is now out of the running. Much as I love it, I think the red and blue would stand out more on a bookstore shelf or table and would catch more eyes online. Plus the green one could be a comedy while the red and blue suggests more tension.



Comments (4) for post “Running for Cover”

  • Overall, I like the first one better. I think it does convey some sense of drama, without giving it an “action” feel that you say it doesn’t have. However, the second one in green is more eye-catching, but … the way it’s designed (uneven squares and font), for ME gives it a somewhat quirky (comedic) vibe.

    So, my two cents for what they’re worth. ^_^

    • I did wonder whether people might think, based on the second one, the book was a comedy. Yet I’ve also heard people say it reminds them of the Vertigo movie poster . . .

    • I was wondering whether the red and blue might be the best of both worlds in that it suggested the British flag (in color) without using it. Of course, red and blue are also American colors . . . But there’s the Clock Tower too . . .

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