Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cover design

Patti Abbott's post about cover art yesterday has prompted me to share four possible cover designs for The White Gallows. I like to take an active role in this aspect of a book because, frankly, some of the covers on my other books have been stinkers. Whether I have a good eye or not is though a different issue. The designer is presently away on holiday and when she's back we have to decide on a cover. Whilst she's away I've taken the opportunity to take the initiative and come up with a sample of four designs. It seems that a common theme with contemporary police procedurals for cover design is to use a photo, so I've stuck with that trend. I'm leaning towards one of these, but I thought I'd see what others thought. Which cover do you like best, or do you think I should scrap them all and start again? Click on them to get an enlarged image.

The front cover relates to one scene in the book where a noose is found hanging in an oak tree on the farm owned by the victim in the first case McEvoy is investigating. The back cover is of Trim Castle, where the body at the centre of a second investigation is discovered.

BTW, if you ever want to attract curious attention, wander round a park with a forty foot length of thick rope with a noose tied to one end and then set it up in a tree.


Anonymous said...

Rob - Thanks for sharing your ideas for cover desgin! I look forward, by the way, to reading The White Gallows. My vote is for design #2, where there's a cloudy sky and your name appears near the noose. It's quite effective!

I empathize with your comment about taking the 'photo, too. Some of my blog 'photos have certainly gotten people's attention, and I'm just fortunate that I have a decent camera in my mobile, so that I don't have to be too conspicuous.

Mack said...


First impression - I like the one at the top left. To me it is visually more interesting and I like the placement of the noose. My eye went from left to right and "discovered" noose hanging there as I imagine it happening if I encountered it in real life. It has a greater impact for me that the close up views of the nose.

2nd choice - top right

3rd choice - bottom right

4th choice - bottom left. Too cluttered for me.

Uriah Robinson said...

I thought number two was the best. On number three you can't pick out the author's name, and number one is a little too bland for me as I like the larger nooses. Number 4 would be my second choice.

Dorte H said...

I am sure we are not very helpful as I prefer the first. I like the lines in that picture.

And I would have loved to see you roaming the park with your rope! (Well, knowing what you were there for).

Bernadette said...

For what it's worth my vote is for #2 - it's the most striking cover - though i think #1 is a slightly better photo I think a book cover is about more than just good image composition - it's a bit too easy to miss the gallows all together with #1.

And may I say "yipee" - can't wait to meet up with Colm McEvoy again

Anonymous said...

My first choice would be #4 and my second choice wuold be #2. I thought #3 was too busy and in #1 the noose wasn't prominent enough. In any case it must have been fun walking around with the noose in the park!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Also number two. I like the rope but the blue sky promises good times. And three is a bit busy.

Mack said...

Looks like we are outnumbered Dorte. Number two was my second choice so I don't feel too out of it.

Bernadette, it's funny but for me I liked number 1 because the noose was understated.

Bill H., I can't imagine walking around Virginia (where I'm from) hanging a noose from a tree limb.

seana graham said...

I also thought one was a great photo but maybe too understated. But when I clicked on a larger image of it, I thought it worked very well.

I liked two best in the thumbnail. I suppose the question is, are you going for bold dramatic relief or subtlety to reflect the novel itself?

kathy d. said...

I like no. 1 and no. 4.

I like the composition of no. 1 where the noose is to the right.

And no. 4 has a beautiful blue sky and clouds in the background.

No. 2 where the noose is more prominent turns me off. And no. 3 is way too busy; hard to figure it out.

Rob Kitchin said...

Thanks for all the comments. I'll mull them over. My personal choice is no. 1, for the same reasons identified by Mack and Kathy d - I think it's a more interesting photo and the noose is kind of subtle rather than dominating the picture. We'll see what the designer says - expect something completely different!

Richard Robinson said...

I like #2 best, but given the title, I'd print it in negative, so the noose, branches, etc. are white and the text is black. Whichever you choose, I hope you do it in black and white, not color.

Rob Kitchin said...

Richard, thanks for the advice. I am going to play around with making the cover black and white and printing in the negative to see what it looks like. I suspect the designer will want some colour on the front cover to draw the eye, however.

gautami tripathy said...

I like the second cover best. THe starkness attracts me to pick up the book.

Btw, I liked the last paragraph!

Beth F said...

The last paragraph made me laugh. I think the cover really can make a difference. I love the final cover.