Monday, June 13, 2011

A Plea for Help

Okay, blog readers, I need your help. If I decide to e-publish my young adult novel, I need cover art. I have a friend who’s a graphic artist (and has actually designed a book cover before) who’s promised to help me. But she’d like some input from me. And I’m a total blank. For someone who thinks in pictures, it’s pathetic but true.

On my last post, Lydia volunteered to help—and I thought that would be a great idea. So I’m asking all of you for suggestions. Here’s the pertinent info. My YA novel is called Screwing Up Time. It’s a rom-com (romantic comedy) with a dark edge. This is the hardest aspect for me. How do you convey darkness and romantic comedy? Plus, the novel is told from the male point of view. So no cutesy covers and no pink—it’s got to appeal to teenage boys as well as girls. The significant “objects” in the book include a poison ring, a fedora, and the colors of time.

Here’s my pitch paragraph.

Mark Montgomery is a slacker content with his life. He’s a senior at New Haven Prep, has a great friend, and after graduation he’ll get a brand new sports car from his parents, assuming he stays out of trouble. Then, she comes into his life—Miranda with her I-just-escaped-from-a-Renaissance-Fair clothing. Only, she hasn’t.  She has come from Bodiam Castle in the Middle Ages and demands a secret ingredient and a book of recipes for traveling through the treacherous colors of time. Although Mark has never even heard of either before, he must find them, or Miranda will die. To save her, Mark must break into a psych hospital to visit his grandfather who once tried to kill him, pass through the colors of time, take on a medieval alchemist, prevent Miranda’s marriage to a two-timing baron, and keep it all hidden from his parents. The sports car is definitely in trouble.

Have at it. I’m eager to hear your suggestions.


  1. How about a picture of a certain really studly dude on the front cover with part of his face in shadow? Not that I'm suggesting anyone in particular.

  2. What first comes to mind when you think of "colors of time" is the "faster than light" warpblur that speeds by at massive speeds, streaking from dots into light.

    From my limited experience, I've often liked the covers that displayed a scene from the book. Anything else is just kind of random in some ways.

    Have you thought about how you'll write the title? Have you picked out a font, or considered any sort of alluppercase or alllowercase?

  3. My friend sent me a cover option that she made after reading this blog post. I was blown away. It's fantastic. I had this idea that I'd know the right cover when I saw it. And I did. I can't wait to show it to you all.

  4. I can't wait to see it too!

    The first thing I thought of when I saw your title was a picture of a clock with screws, instead of sweeps (or hands). And a fedora perched on top. And the numbers in different colors.

    Or--a clock where colors are busting through the numbers, like beams of lights, one by one, as if it's being destroyed.

    I'd have black be in the background it a sinister edge.

    That's all I've got for now!

  5. How about a male character, his face scrunched up in concentration, tongue sticking out the corner of his mouth, winding an alarm clock with a huge cartoon-like screw?

  6. I got to see the cover draft, and it's absolutely awesome. How did she manage to draw that up so fast?!

  7. ooh. How about a blue clock kissing a pink clock and the blue clock is wearing a fedora and the pink clock has braids! And all this happening on a stack of gold or something. Ok, not really. I always thought of contrasting cloud swirls intertwined with roman numerals (getting more and more archaic as they progress into the background) while in the center the two main protagonists holding hands (female in the background) and the guy in the foreground trying to keep his fedora on his head. Ahh...that sounds really lame.... D:

  8. Just read your update on your cover option. Can't wait to see what your friend has come up with! :-)

  9. I can't wait to see what your friend has come up with. The design aspect is my main worry about self-pubbing too--I'm so much more aural than visual.

  10. How about a man holding onto a the hand of a giant clock with stained glass on the face. He can have a look of horror and she can have a look of amusement, perhaps looking down at him from a castle wall? Maybe the clock can be on the castle wall. One of the parts that sticks out, like at corners could resemble a grandfather clock?

    I can see it even if I cant explain it. Good luck!

  11. Ah! Excited to see the cover your friend drafted!

    Your book sounds like a fun read. :)

  12. I can't wait for it's publication!! Woohoo!!