My new novel will be out in the next few days. I thought it would be fun to release the cover early as a teaser, and also as a shout out to Keith at Keith Draws Cover Art, who did it for me. I’m so happy with how it came out.
If you just want to see my new cover, scroll to the bottom, or go to the main book page HERE, otherwise, here is how it came about:
As with all my covers, the cover for Something After All: An American Story in the Disinformation Age began with me making a crappy, horrific sketch that barely captures the general sense of the vision in my head.
That version ultimately evolved into this version …
Once I have a sketch that at least gets me started, I go out onto the internet and see if I can find images that embody the mood and feel of what I am incapable of rendering on my terrible drawings. By doing so, I enhance my ability to communicate my idea to an actual, competent artist.
So, with the sketch and some general representation of what I’m thinking of, I am ready to find the right cover artist.
For Something After All, I spent a couple of evenings going through various artists’ websites. Most of you know the Galactic Mage Series covers have all been done by Cris Ortega. And no, she and I are not at odds. Not at all. I totally plan on hiring her for the rest of the series as it comes along—assuming she will continue to agree!
However, for this novel, a standalone work, I needed a completely different “mood” than what I’ve been doing for my Galactic Mage books. Cris Ortega captures the sensuous grandeur of those stories with her rich and elegant style (as you can see if you go look), and what I needed for this book was definitely something harder and more masculine—yes, I know, we aren’t supposed to have gender stuff anymore, blah blah (welcome to the reason I wrote this thing). Something After All is in your face; it’s contemporary fiction and bordering on dark. But with hope. Or I hope it has hope.
Anyway, Keith had a particular piece on his website that, when I saw it, I was like… THIS IS THE GUY!
I also loved this one, just because it’s gorgeous, the cover for The Loyalty of Water by Stephani Martin.
Anyway, he has tons of great work, so I sent my sketch and internet screen-caps to him, and asked him if he might be interested in doing cover work for me. Thankfully, Keith was into it and off we went.
The first indication I got that I had made the perfect choice for this story was when Keith asked me for a copy of the manuscript. He actually wanted to read the story. What a fantastic thing. I love that he cared enough about my project to commit that much time up front. Ironically for me as a writer, in general, we live in a society that doesn’t read. So, that was amazing. And you can tell in the finished project that he understood “it” when he did the work—which you will understand when/if you read it.
So with my terrible sketch, screens shots, and a couple of emails back and forth for clarification—and having read the semi-edited version of the story—Keith went to work.
He had lots of really good questions, so I made another attempt at clarifying visually. I think this helped in some ways, but was still not it. Too sinister. Too vacant. Missing the metaphorical underpinnings of the imagery.
Fortunately, Keith is brilliant and was able to make sense of my ramblings, opening up with the first concept versions. (Ebook and paperback cover on the left and audio book cover on right—audio book production has not started yet.)
I knew I had the right guy for this cover immediately.
I still love the second one, and will probably spend the rest of my life wondering if I went the right way. But I loved the idea of steamy glass. I thought the second version would give too much away if we kept developing it in ways it would need to be developed. (Both versions will make sense to you after you read it). Ultimately we went down the road of the first one , taking that idea and letting it evolve.
You can see how we went back and forth, triangulating our way to the final product.
I liked the second version, again, though I wanted it a little darker in the background. We made a few more tweaks, and I got nit-picky on fonts.
Fonts are trickier than most folks realize, and font types are made by font artists with copyrights, and you have to have approval for X-number of editions, etc. So, it gets complicated. Ultimately, Keith found one that we both figured worked well, reflecting the mood of the story, which is tough, given that there is murder and sinister stuff, but it’s also about technology, and gaming, and politics, and how language works be it prose, marketing, or computer code … like, basically it’s about everything. How do you pick a font that represents everything?
Anyway, we finally came up with a final version. I am so, so, so happy. Keith is brilliant. I can’t applaud him or recommend him enough. So, at long last–thanks for reading–here is the cover to Something After All: An American Story in the Disinformation Age.
Ain’t that badass?
So, if any of you guys out there are writers and need a cover, I can tell you Keith is great. He is super easy to work with. He listens. He cares. He reads your book. And then he points out possibilities that you could not have conceived of on your own. Check his website, at https://keithdraws.wordpress.com.
There’s a great interview with him HERE as well if you want to get into his head and history.
But there you have it. My new cover. Thank you, Keith. Thank you guys for reading and caring and buying my books. You Galactic Mage fans, please get this one even though it’s not in series. I promise you will burn through it. All my beta readers read it in under three days.