“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Picture Tells 80,000 Words

As all Three Regular Readers will be aware, yours truly has a novel on the way: ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL, which will be published by Liberties Press this coming September. Yesterday was one of those very nice days in the pre-publishing process, when three potential covers arrived for my delectation. But which to choose? I’d be happy with any of them, I think, although I’m particularly impressed by one, and I’m keen to know if your opinion - yes, YOUR OPINION - matches mine.
  By the way, and for those of you who aren’t one of the Three Regular Readers, AZC is a black comedy about a hospital porter, Karlsson, who takes it upon himself to blow up ‘his’ hospital. Hence the medical references in the cover art.
  And now over to you, dear reader. Which of the covers below strikes your fancy most, and why? Would any of those covers put you off buying the book? And how important, in the grand scheme of the overall book, is cover art?
Number 1



Number 2



Number 3

  The comment box is open, people …

28 comments:

Michael Malone said...

my vote would be for no 3

Donna said...

Ooooh - how exciting! It's a close call, but I think 1 then 3 and then 2. None of them would put me off - after all, they all have the name Declan Burke on the cover.

John R said...

I hope/imagine it's not the case in the working file they've got, but #3's got heavy pixellation around the cylinder (especially the gauge on top), which I'd worry about because the text and the layered safety symbols are crystal clear, so I'm guessing the cylinder's been enlarged from a much smaller pic, and the clear remains of a "SHUTTERSTOCK"-type watermark off to the right where the gas mask thingy is ("TOCK" is written across the mask).

Assuming none of that were the case in the final thing, on the design side... hmm... close call I'd say between 1 and 3. Though they're all good. I'd probably lean towards 1 over 3 for the black comedy side, or 3 over 1 if it was more thrillery.

Declan Burke said...

Much obliged for the feedback, folks. And Donna, bless your cotton socks ...

John - they're still in the rough draft stage, so I take on board your concerns about image quality; but it's mainly about the impact of the images / covers ...

Cheers, Dec

Alan Griffiths said...

Number three for me, Dec!

BTW - just finished CAP on my new Kindle; congrats on a terrific read, sir.

Best, Alan.

Maxim J. said...

Nr 3....

Anonymous said...

#1 because that's the position you want it to be on the bestseller lists. Also because I think it's cool.

Jerry House

Mike D said...

1 feels a bit more like a mainstream literary cover even with the flames

2 I sort of like and says more comedy or offbeat to me and would probably work best as a thumbnail cover image online.

3 feels more like an outbreak/virus novel to me for some reason

Tony Black said...

# 3's the one for me, Dec.

Cliona Lewis said...

My vote would be for Number 3 Declan

Naomi Johnson said...

I like #1 okay, but #3 just grabs my attention -- that's a cover that would make me pick up the book.

Meen said...

I prefer the first one. That flying furniture would make me at least read the blurb to find out what is going on.

Josh C. said...

# 3

Adrian M said...

No 3 for me. Clear, sharp and would make me cross the shop to look, without seeing the name.

michael said...

Number 2 would make be look at the book because it is the most comedic of the three.

But having read an early draft, number 3 is the best fit for the story.

Robert Carraher said...

Number 2 is the most straight forward, the thermometer/dymamite gives the medical reference. Number one I wonder what's blowing up..we have a chair, and what could once you knew what the book is about be a hospital bed/stretcher I guess, but what's that in the 'O' of zero? Hypodermic? Crutch? Rocketship crashing to earth? And 3, just doesn't do it for me. That said, Declan Burke on the cover would make me read further, so none of the three is off-putting. As for whether covers matter, I answered a similar question on Murderati earlier this week (if my memory survived the fever...) and what a good cover provides is a clue that what's between the covers may just have the same attention to detail.

lil Gluckstern said...

I like number two because it is very clear, and cool to the eye as well as clever. But I think #3 is very attention grabbing and would do what I think a cover should do-make me want to know what is going to happen in the book, get a sense of the atmosphere that I'm going to see. Your name should stand out, yes.

salazarbooks.com said...

I like #3 and then #2 not so keen on #1

Looking forward to seeing it, what ever the cover, on my shelf in the future.

Seth

Lrakyawnoc said...

Fairly close for 1 and 3 for me. 3 maybe just pips it as it is quite striking colourwise. 1 is quite eye catching too. Nothing wrong with 2 either but very blue.

I think covers a very important. A good cover will often make me pick up a book without knowing the author.

Anonymous said...

Number 3, gotta be!

Niamh O'Connor said...

I'm useless at coves Dec, but no. 1 appealed straight away. Hearing great things already about it.

Dana King said...

I think Number 3. maybe that's just because my uncle was in the medical gas business, but I like its superficial ordinariness, the underlying threats notable only in the stickers on the bottle. I also like that it's a photo and not a drawing. Personal taste, but i don't care for drawings on covers.

I can't say that I've ever bought a book because of its cover, but there are books I've not bought because of covers. There are also books I've bought because I knew I'd like them, and thought, "I wish it didn't have this crappy cover" when I bought it.

September, eh? Will it be available in the States then, as well?

seana said...

I think I'd have to agree with Dana. I like the other covers, actually, but they don't seem to cue hardboiled, which I assume to some degree this will be. There's a lighter feel to the others, so if I've gotten the sense of this upcoming book wrong, you could still consider.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Number 1, just because a flaming chair and a flaming hospital bed flying through the air are so weird. Just saying it: "Flaming hospital bed flying through the air!' You won't be able to help smiling.
==========================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
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Declan Burke said...

Much obliged for the feedback, folks. And thanks to everyone else who commented over the last couple of days, even if the recent Blogger foo-pas managed to gobble up all your valued opinions ... Sorry about that.

Cheers, Dec

bookwitch said...

No. 1 is most pertinent to the story. But no. 3 is a great picture in general.

I often avoid reading books with bad covers, and as with shoes and handbags feel that a good cover can sell me almost anything.

Deborah said...

Now, I was going to say no. 2 - which just goes to show you can't please us all!

Rob Kitchin said...

I think no 1 will get the most pick-ups. It invites the curious to find out more.