I can’t recall if I mentioned on this blog that I am working with a company called 99 Designs to create the book cover for this Florida crime fiction comedy caper series, The Naked Eye Series. The first book in the series, Naked Alliances, isn’t as much a caper as it is an adventure, but it does have situational comedy, sparring, and some really funny scenes like you see in true capers. It’s a finite niche genre for certain.
For 99 Designs, you start a contest, designers submit cover images and you ask for changes or eliminate those that don’t work. Working with designers until you have a final concept.
Crime and humor is a challenging blend, but a lot of fun to write.
Good comedy caper series develop over time as the ancillary characters become more central to the stories. I’ve seen it happen with characters like Serge and Coleman, Skink, Ike, and Bert the Shirt. Memorable characters in the series that weren’t in the foreground of initial books, but became iconic characters for the author. Sometimes accidentally.
The best authors never put their characters images on their covers, but leave it to readers to develop a mental image of them.
Tough and serious crimes are portrayed by humorous images, often from something pulled out of the story. It could be something as simple as a sign, a bleeding orange, or a car tag…but it has to scream Florida.
With 99 Designs, I asked for a cover for Florida Crime fiction with humorous undertones. I was swamped with hard core crime covers…and many just couldn’t let go of the gritty, hard core photographic images…no matter how much I pleaded for more comedic and less photographic images. I gave tons of suggestions. And finally, picked the six most hopeful designers to go into the final round with a submission, again, asking them to punch up the humor, giving them links to author pages in the genre niche, and told them the books would be competing for clicks with these authors. It had to be colorful, and eye-catching. I’m sure blending crime and humor was as challenging for them as designers as for me as a writer.
My husband–and this is his favorite genre–helped me pick the designs that might work, and we eliminated those that definitely would not work.
I have two weeks to choose a designer. My husband has picked his favorite. I love his pick, and I like the unique ideas the designer is contemplating for the series.
Do we go with his design, or poll to see what potential buyers might like?
I don’t want to poll just those who have read the story. I want to see what people may click on who are browsing for Florida crime caper. Or see what catches the eye of people scrolling on a page for reads. Or might draw the eyes of someone when it pops up in the “customers also bought” row.
Would you go with your gut (or you husband’s gut) and just select the one that most works for you, or would you poll?
I think if one cover took a landslide win from the cover we like, we might have to consider it.
I’d also like to award a runner up.
To poll, or not to poll, that is the question.
I’ve also had so much participation from you guys, I would hate to cut you out of the cover selection process. That’s half the fun of writing a book…picking out a cover. I want you included on the fun.