March 15, 2012

Adventures in Title Treatment

As a dry run for New Tales of the Yellow Sign, I’ve decided to disseminate a free short story to the various ebook venues. Longtime blog readers may remember “The Star Makers” as a piece I once released into the wild in PDF format. This contemporary supernatural adventure features Orlando Frank, who turned his back on the family occult crimebusting business to pursue his muse as a mildly famous indie rocker.

In this exploration of self-publishing, I’m envisioning a tiny, bewinged John Nephew on my shoulder, advising me not to do anything he wouldn't. In other words, parsimony must rule the day. So while I’m commissioning a gorgeous cover from Jerome Huguenin for NTYS, I can’t justify the cost for a sheerly promotional effort. Which is to say, it falls to me to put together an at least creditable virtual cover.

The story’s contemporary period and music scene backdrop allow me to reach for something photographic, sparing the vulnerable masses from my attempt at drawing. For the design vocabulary I’m looking at something you might see on a book by Chuck Klosterman or Sarah Vowell. A simplified band poster motif seems like it fits the bill, and, if need be, provides a template for future variations. The poster’s guitar neck pentacle fuses the rock ‘n’ roll and supernatural elements.

So here's what I’ve come up with, in two variations. They’re not going to keep any actual graphic designers up at night, but I think they fall within the standard of the freebie story ebook cover. Which of these grabs your eye?

Before you hit send on the comment button, remember that these have to play in at the very small 155 pixel height a book cover gets in an Amazon search result. Does this change your perception any?