All right, so following up on the cover proof posted earlier today, here are some thoughts:
— the original cover IS lovely. But it doesn’t “pop.” What that means, according to @DavidRozansky (who you should all follow): “Try brighter colors, commuters in motion, speeding train coming towards viewer, vivid title font. ‘Popping’ means that the cover stands out from other covers. More about design and color than artwork’s content.”
–so we could go back to the original artist and ask him to make the cover “pop”. But here’s another problem: the book is funny.
I’ll be honest; I never gave much thought to Immortal‘s humor. Since I started writing things down the things I’ve written down have been funny, and I have far less control over this than you might think. I did not, in other words, set down to write something people would start comparing to Douglas Adams. I really didn’t. Adam just happens to be funny.
–The proof is intended to show Adam, drawn as a piece of cave art (the figure to the left is cribbed from the cave paintings at Lascaux) standing with three dimensional persons in a modern setting. But then it became difficult to get the contrast between him and the other figures right. The lighting became an issues as well. The bus stop went from a daytime thing to a night time thing, and then there were problems showing the figures that weren’t Adam well. A draft was put together showing a crowd of people with a red-haired woman in them, but then the hair was a problem.
Another version of the cover shows the bus stop and Adam drawn on a cave wall, but that didn’t have the necessary pop either, because cave paintings are surprisingly colorless, all told.
— the reactions to the existing proof are mixed. Some see what we were shooting for, but others just don’t see it, and any time you have to explain what a cover means, there’s a problem with that cover. A suggestion was floated that the kind of cover we should be shooting for is along the lines of the Hitchhiker’s Guide covers, but that’s a bit too whimsical.
So to summarize
I don’t know where to go from here yet. The cover needs to be something whimsical, iconic, basic, not depicting Adam realistically (if he is depicted at all) and has to “pop”. And unfortunately all of the “lightning bolt” ideas I’ve had to this point– the bus stop with the cave art guy was my first cover idea, before the current one– have proven much more difficult to do than they are to describe.
So, back to you, people-who-have-read-the-book: any thoughts? Please add to the comments below.