Friday, September 2, 2011

Kick-Ass Artwork

Let's talk about cover art work.  Again.

Yeah, yeah; I know.  I've rumbled around in this attic a few times before.  I've said that artwork is critical in the decision-making process for someone browsing through a bookstore idly. 

First the eye finds an appealing book cover.  Secondly, the curious shopper takes the time to check it out and read the back cover.  Third, (and if you're damn lucky, buddy!) the curious idler makes a decision to take a chance and buys your work.

And if you're talented AND very lucky--the story matches the artwork and you've just dropped into your hat another committed fan of your work.

But, Pookie . . . what happens if it is an e-book?  There isn't a back cover to read.  There aren't any shelves.  There's no bookstore to speak of.  So is artwork that critical any more?

Ah . . . . ayep.  It is.

There is a bookstore.  Go to any of the sites that sell electronic books and you literately go through a maze of title after titles in your shopping excursion.  Perhaps e-books sell more because word of mouth ("Hey, Eunice!  Did you read the latest from Joe Blow?  The bastard rocks, baby!").  But thousands, if not millions from around the world, get on the sites and just . . . browse.  Browse looking for something to read.  So yeah.  Artwork is important.

I'll confess; I've been pleased as punch in the covers that Trestle Press has come out for the Call Me Smitty series I'm writing.  Every damn one of the covers . . . I think there's five of them now . . . and each one slaps you right in the face and grabs you by the throat.  The latest edition, 'Call Me Smitty: Three Deadly Sins' may very well be the best.  But I dunno.

I thought the very first cover was excellent. Call Me Smitty came in all black with red lettering and my name in vivid green.  Eye catching, Pookie.  Really eye catching.  And it did something else.  It caught the essence of what the stories and the main character is about.  An assassin who is brutally efficient, yet one who acts on a Code of Ethics.

That's what great covers are supposed to do.  Somehow they have to capture the essence of what's inside.  Suggest to the reader something about to context within.  If a cover is designed that its composition literately leaps out and grabs you by the throat AND gives you an enticing hint at what's inside---well now, we've got a hit here, brother!

Check out the Smitty series.  I think you'll enjoy each and every one.  Smitty is . . . Smitty.  He's not your usual hit man/assassin.  Nor is he some sadistic, cold blooded killer.  There's something about the guy that makes you want to root for him. 

Like I said.  A different kind of character.

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