The Book Cover Conundrum – How to Make it Great

This guest post originally appeared on My Loves, Lives, and Passion

The cover for every book is critical, sometimes even more important than us writers want to admit. We want to think that the story we’ve crafted alone should be enough to ‘sell’ our books, but let’s face it: covers sell books.

I’m the same way when I buy books. The cover absolutely helps draw me in.

Genius De MiloWith that in mind, I had very specific ideas about the cover I wanted for my latest novel, Genius de Milo.

I knew I wanted a yellow cover with red type. Why? Because the covers to my other novels are red/purple and blue, respectively, and I wanted contrast as they are lined up on the bookshelf!

But the color scheme is only one aspect. Now I needed a design concept. So I enlisted my pal and fellow author Roy Mauristen, who designs covers for a lot of authors, and does a great job at that.

I started off with the idea that I wanted a lot of turtles on the cover. And I wanted them flipping around like popcorn. Why? Well … it’s important to the story. We tried to make it work, but Roy just couldn’t find the right turtle image. So finally we started over.

And that’s when I switched to the bubbles filled with DNA helixes. Again, these are important to the story. Once I had that idea Roy went off to the races. He did an absolutely fabulous job bringing my idea life, and then added the hand with the pin about to pop one of the bubbles. I wasn’t so sure how I felt about it at first, but I was totally wrong, because it works great, and never would have come up with it myself. That was all Roy.

At that point we made a few tweaks, but otherwise the cover just fell into place.

The response I’ve gotten so far has been fantastic. I’ve gotten nothing but enthusiastic reviews of the cover, so to my pal Roy … thank you!!

The words may tell my story, but the cover helps sell the book.

Now that you can see it for yourself … how’d we do?

Dear Reader By Russ Colchamiro – I Write Some Wacky Novels. Or Do I?

This guest post originally appeared on The Writer’s Life eMagazine

Dear Reader by Russ Colchamiro Dear Reader 3

The Writer’s Life newest feature, Dear Reader, gives authors a chance to talk to their readers – YOU!  

Today’s guest is Russ Colchamiro, author of the scifi/comedy, Genius De Milo.

Dear Reader…

I write some wacky novels. And yet they are also not so wacky.

I’ll explain …

My first book, Finders Keepers, is loosely based on a series of backpacking trips I took through Europe and New Zealand, set against a quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA. ThinkAmerican Pie meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It’s a scifi backpacking comedy that falls under the category of what I like to call ‘Cosmic Lunacy’.

So when people ask me what my book is about, and I give them the explanation, I pretty much get only one of two responses. The first — my favorite — is this one: “Wow! That’s so crazy! How do you come up with this stuff? I gotta read that. Sounds awesome!”

And then I secretly (or not so secretly) bask in the glow of the compliment.

write letter - manYet the second response is juuust a bit different. Which is to say that I am on the receiving end of a blank, stern, judgmental stare — and utter silence.

And though no words are exchanged, I can see the thought balloon above their heads as clearly as the daggers being shot at me from their eyes. And the thought balloon goes something like this: “You are an imbecile. Leave. Now.”

So let me ask: Are you, dear reader, the sort of folk who insists upon rigid, predictable storylines that don’t dare venture in the world of wacky? Or, like yours truly, do you like to have loads of fun?

Because if you are fans of authors such as Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Tom Robbins, and Christopher Moore, or movies and TV shows such as Harold & Kumar, Bill & Ted, Hot Tub Time Machine, Time Bandits, Groundhog Day, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Quantum Leap, Northern Exposure, and Third Rock from the Sun, you might want to check out Finders Keepers, and my latest novel, Genius de Milo.

Genius de Milo is the second book in the Finders Keepers trilogy, where our bumbling 20-something backpacking heroes Jason Medley and Theo Barnes are once again tasked with retrieving a radioactive jar filled with the Universe’s DNA … before it wipes out the galaxy.

And whereas Finders Keepers was set predominantly in Europe and New Zealand, the action in Genius de Milo has shifted mostly to the U.S. And, of course, there’s lots going on in Eternity, the ‘cosmic’ realm where the Universe is created.

So Genius de Milo is more Midnight Run meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Also, since we’re sharing … well, technically, I’m sharing … even though my novels have that authentic you-are-there, on-the-ground feel to them, I kinda, sorta … fabricated all of the backpacking and Earth-bound travel scenes. Yep. I made them up.

But all of the scifi shenanigans are totally real and based on my personal intergalactic experiences.

Because it turns out — shhhhh, don’t tell anyone — I’m actually a fugitive from another dimension and the intergalactic agency in charge of such matters is hot on my trail, looking to drag me back to where I’ll face my day of reckoning.

Can’t say I’m ever looking forward to that.

Anyhoozle … while I’m still on Earth and up to no good, I like to write about the big questions we ask tend to ourselves: What does it all mean? Where do we come from? Is this all a dream? Is life random or is there some grand design?

And then I juxtapose those themes with the smaller, day-to-day questions we all face: How do I feel about my personal relationships? When is the plumber getting here? Is my Internet service working? Can I get the girl? Will my career ever amount to anything? Can I pay my rent? When are we going to see the new Star Wars movie?

So … wacky, but not so wacky.

There’s so much more I could tell you about what I get up to, but … I’ll leave that for my novels. Because if this letter gives you any indication as to the type of author I am, then you know you’ll be in for one heckuva ride.

Wanna come along?

Yours truly along the space time continuum …

Russ Colchamiro

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Finders KeepersFinders Keepers
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