The Priest Is On (the cover, at least)!

Sandro’s website is up and running. Take a look!

I am thrilled with Sandro’s art. He is talented, and professional. I don’t think I could ask more from him, although I tried…

The Ginecean series is on its way to publication. The Priest is currently waiting for the final foolproof editing, Pax in the Land of Women is in the editor’s hands, and I am trying to write the final chapter, Pax at War. I am experiencing a few problems with the writing part, the fool-proofer is taking a mental vacation, and the editor is dealing with her daughter’s illness. All in all, a mess! But, comes September 1st, The Priest will be published. I had to put it black on white. Now, I can go back to painting murals on my parents’ house.

The Priest Is On (the cover, at least)!

Cover Frenzy (the cover journey VIII)

Sandro is starting to work on Pax’s cover, but he still has some energy to play around with The Priest’s.

The Final Frontier (aka cover # 15)

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Sandro fixed few little details out of place (a white spot under Mauricio’s ear, and a juxtaposition line on his neck), and I asked for the sun on the horizon. Roberto doesn’t like the sun centered, he prefers it by the side. Maybe behind the City of Men?

Cover 15A

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Different font for the title

Banner#3

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Thumbnails

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My final requests are: Sun centered by the side, my name bigger, and the shadow under the title. And then, that’s it!

Cover Frenzy (the cover journey VIII)

The Final Cover? (cover journey VII)

Without further ado:

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The Other Banner

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As a personal note, I prefer the first one with the tear (dot of the i) on the other side of the eye. But it is still awesome!

The Final Cover? (cover journey VII)

The Last Touches (the cover journey VI)

My editor sent me the last three chapters yesterday, blessed the people who work on Mother’s Day Sundays. At the same time, Sandro sent me the final layouts for the cover and the banner. In less than a month so many things have changed in my life, I have cried and laughed. I have felt the whole spectrum of human emotions between pure happiness, and absolute sadness. My family and my writing are the only constant. Here is something that makes me ecstatic.

The Last Cover (to be retouched slightly)

This is lucky number 13!

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I like everything, I only asked Sandro to play with the fonts to free Mauricio’s eye.

Getting Closer and Closer!

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I like this one better, but I would make the black background bigger to enlarge the title’s font. I also would like to see more of Mauricio’s neck. And probably we have to put back the shadow under my name to make it easier to read at thumbnail size. Or maybe not, I can’t decide.

The Best Banner Ever!

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I absolutely love this banner!

The Last Touches (the cover journey VI)

The Final Countdown (the cover journey V)

Seeing all the layouts together, and scrolling up and down between images has given me a clear idea of what I want to show on The Priest’s cover. Although the last two models were clearly attractive, judging from the comments I received, I disliked the Jacob-looking one, and I thought that the other one was too beautiful. Mauricio is raggedly handsome; he is definitely not a pretty boy.

So I decided to go back to the first Mauricio, and combine two different layouts.

Working on the final cover (hopefully!)

Amazon is killing me. They didn’t do a clear job at explaining what they require regarding the cover’s format. So, Sandro played around with the numbers we found, which clearly don’t make sense, as you can see from the examples below. Anyway, I asked him to try something at  960×1280 at 72 dpi, and let’s see what happens to the cover. For now, what do you think?

First batch

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Second batch

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The Final Countdown (the cover journey V)

Found New Face? (the cover journey IV)

When I thought I had decided for the first model, since I disliked the second immediately (who knows why? But such is the human condition: volatile and flimsy at best), Sandro came up with a third option.

The Newest Hunk

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He is definitely Mauricio. The pyramid is just there to show how the City of Men will be positioned on the final cover. My name screams “Arabian nights”, and it got to go. And the problem remains about the title. I still don’t like the font. There is also something strange with his hand. I would cut that too.

 

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I like the sepia tone of this second layout. I don’t like the faded shadow on top. I love my name. Still, the name must be BIGGER.

 

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Chocolate is nice too.

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I read somewhere that every cover should have a hint of yellow, or blue. Maybe it’s true. I can’t decide. You tell me.

Found New Face? (the cover journey IV)

Looking For New Faces (the cover journey III)

Sandro has just sent me three new layouts. Be the first to take a look, and tell me what do you think!

The New Hunk

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I’ll let you judge the model, but I only say that I would like bigger eyes. And I don’t like the font used for my name.

 

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I like my name much better, but I don’t know. I am not convinced, yet.

 

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I still don’t like my name, but I love the title. The only problem I see with the title put there, is that is going to hide the City of Men, but maybe is not such a big deal after all. I also think that the model’s forehead has a primate quality, but mouth and nose, oh my…

One last consideration, I prefer ma man shaved and disheveled, what about you?

Looking For New Faces (the cover journey III)

Still Editing, Still Drawing (the cover journey II)

My editor is way faster than I thought, and she is sending chapter after chapter, and I can barely keep up correcting The Priest after her. The result is that I worked double the hours yesterday to edit the next novel in the Ginecean series, Pax in the Land of Women. The goal is to have a polished manuscript for my editor to work on. I am one of those persons who try to straighten up the house before the maid arrives. Or I would be, if I had a maid (wonderful concept), and if I took any care in straightening up anything (my excuse is that I have teenagers). But I digress…

Meanwhile, Sandro, my most talented friend, is still working on Priest’s art cover. After much deliberation the following examples were created:

Third Batch

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I like the lateral title, it’s easy to read even when shrunk to thumbnail size. My name has a typo, and the font is too small. Nothing that can’t be fixed. The City of Men is big enough against the landscape, which I like a lot, but it gives the idea of a scifi novel (the pyramid creates a Stargate feeling). In the novel The City of Men looks like a mix between a gigantic Trullo, and the Sassi di Matera. Mauricio could benefit from a lower forehead, but again, easily fixed by a genius like Sandro.

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    Trulli di Albero Bello

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image                Rappresentazione dei Sassi di Matera

 

 

Matera     

 

 

 

Fourth Batch

Then, since Sandro doesn’t go to sleep, he produced more examples. None of them has the city, because he asked me to draw a sketch of what I meant:

 

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I like the font in the last one, but there are several problems with the layout:

  • my name should be all in caps
  • the shadow over Mauricio’s head covers his eye
  • the two shadows combined make the design busy
  • Mauricio has definitely seen better days Smile If I were the President’s daughter I wouldn’t want to run away with him… The half-moon crescent scar must go away!

Fifth Batch

Now it has become a game of find the difference:

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and this is how it looks thumbnail size:

 

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The half moon crescent scar is even more visible when shrunk, and my name is still too small to be read easily.

 

 

 

My Revision

So, I took my Wacom and put it to good use to better communicate with Sandro:

 

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Conclusions (for now)

We are pretty much deciding the sex of angels here, but I feel strongly about having the best cover I can get. And Sandro is an amazing artist, and will deliver perfection to me.

Still Editing, Still Drawing (the cover journey II)

The Cover Journey

Today I have been busy reading inputs from my editor, and looking at the covers my talented friend, the Italian artist Sandro Fiorini, has been creating for me.

Sandro and I have been emailing each other several times a day for the last week exchanging ideas and deciding on fonts. He hasn’t read The Priest, and so we are proceeding slower than we would otherwise. Also, as an author, I don’t seem to be able to describe my book succinctly enough for my cover designer.

I have decided to post our progresses and our failure in communication to show what an incredible journey is going from a merely formed idea to a final cover.

The Beginning

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Beautiful cover, but it gives the reader the wrong assumption about the genre. The Priest isn’t a romance novel, and the potential buyer would feel betrayed by the art. I had briefly spoken with Sandro about the project, but it is evident that I should have taken few more minutes to explain what I wanted.

 

 

Second Attempt(s)

I gave Sandro few details about The Priest’s story, and he drew three sketches.

 

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Needles to say my friend is talented.  Sandro should start drawing The Priest’s graphic novel right away.

I realized at that point that we were getting definitely closer, but few details were off, and that I needed to give Sandro more information about my work. First my novel’s genre isn’t romance or fantasy, but a combination of alternate reality and love story. The drawing style would be perfect for a fantasy cover, but it gives the wrong impression for The Priest’s modern day setting. Ginecean technology is similar to ours, so the futuristic jet was out of place. The City of the Men looks like a natural pyramid from the outside. Finally, the main character is a man, the slave Mauricio. I liked the idea of having a close up of the face, and the landscape as the background.

But Sandro’s time isn’t wasted because the general atmosphere and the attire in the drawings could  work for a scifi project like Green Glass and High Tide (working title).

Second Cover

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Well, I loved this image from the beginning. I like the sepia color, and I think that Mauricio’s face is sad enough, but his hair has to go. A slave doesn’t have time to style his mane. Also both the road and the city are too civilized. The City of Men is hidden in the desert and there is no road to get there.

 

Variation of the Second Cover

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Much better already. Maybe I would change the fonts? Also my personal techie commented that the proportions are wrong.

Second Variation of the Second Cover

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Changed the fonts. I would go bigger, and I would change something in Mauricio. The forehead is too visible?

For now I will send Sandro to sleep. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

The Cover Journey