Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Beyers Tip: Judge this Book by its Cover

I’m sorry, folks. For two reasons.

For one, my Syracuse basketball team lost in the Final Four last night - so I’m a bit distracted. (The game we made the Final Four, my wife clocked my heart rate at upwards of 100 beats per minute – meaning, for me, sitting on a couch with chips is a better vascular workout than, say, jogging in place for thirty minutes.)

And secondly, and more importantly: this blog is aesthetically boring.

The problem is, I’m writing it. And putting it together. And making the decisions. And my idea of a pleasing image is a sentence that reaches the end of a page.

So in order to rectify this situation, I’m employing the same tactic I used to make my book itself not-aesthetically-boring: the help of a friend.

Without the help of a friend, the cover of The Almost Crime would look like:

The Almost Crime 
a novel
by Christopher Beyers

And the back-flap description would be black letters on a white background, with awe-inspiring text, like:

This book is good. You should read it. (Hint, hint: I didn’t write the back-flap.)

Don’t get me wrong: many friends of mine, and family members, and brief acquaintances, and friends I haven’t met, yet, and won’t, helped in the creation of my book. (If you think a book is a solo venture, skip to the acknowledgements page, if there is one.) But in order to add an element to this book that Suggested Changes in Bold didn't have, I decided to try and sell it. And in order to do that, I wanted some cool cover art. Like, done by an artist. And I wanted it to look cool.

So this blog post is about one amazing person in particular, and her name is Laura. (Link will take you to Laura’s awesome art blog.)

When Laura agreed to be a friend in need (and, therefore: a friend, indeed), I brainstormed with a few people I haven’t publicly thanked here, yet, and we concocted image ideas from Chapter 9: Say “Cheese” and Chapter 24: The Grey-Green Car and asked Laura to try and “do something” with our ideas. Laura was kind enough to read the chapters in question, and put these sketches together for me (Can you tell which one I selected?):


Laura then asked me about paint types and dimensions and on and on, and I fumbled to find answers for her. She wasn’t finished being thorough, though. A week or two later, I was on my laptop, minding my own business, thinking I had fulfilled my end of the art-bargain, when this message popped into my inbox: 

“Hey Chris,

As I am painting this book cover, I am realizing: Your story takes place in the winter, but my original sketch shows sort of a spring/summer backdrop. Would you like slush and snow and evergreens and bare branches instead? 



So, in conclusion: I am breaking an adage and asking you to please judge my book by its cover, because I believe Laura has done at least as good a job representing me as I have. In fact, throughout the process of spicing up my book’s aesthetics, Laura had only one minor oversight I had to bring to her attention. She has dubbed it, “The Accidental Cover Text.” I’ll show you some of her samples – see if you can spot it:


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