Today, my first ever cover reveal on Books Are Cool. And I’m starting with a real bang. Here’s a fantastic cover for a book that you must read when it’s published. It’s honest, gritty, funny, startling, moving… but I’m jumping the gun. For now we focus on the cover.
I talked to Paul about his cover.
OK, so why this cover for Paulyanna: International Rent-boy?
I chose this cover firstly because out of all my attempts it really was my personal favourite. I simply liked the colours. It was also created organically and without much outside influence, meaning I didn’t blatantly copy any other book.
I allowed the layout, colour scheme and font to develop as I went along. Trial and error and this was made up of many errors. A bit like myself and therefore a very apt choice.
What does the cover tell us about your book?
I am not glossy or over produced, I’m simple,perhaps a touch plain, therefore so is my story. I think it truthfully reflects the content.
Symbolically I am one among many and ALMOST like every other rent-boy, only red.
What were you trying to achieve with this cover?
I wanted to grab attention, draw the eye to my book. I think it is also more special if the author creates their own cover – it inserts an additional personal touch, a nice completion to the whole creative process. I am no designer and these things are taste preference anyway. I am aware that some people simply don’t like green.
Was is it easy to design?
To design, yes to lay-out and implement my ideas, no. But that turned out to be a good thing. As I said this cover developed more out of the things I couldn’t do, Mistakes I thought looked OK and then played around with.
I used a basic drawing program that was very limited, sometimes insufficient. I searched online and used another program when mine fell short.
How many other cover designs did you discard on the way?
Nine, I got right into the designing process and could have continued on and on. My first was terrible and I got a bit better along the way. The only image I kept throughout was the royalty free clip art of the lone figure.
I’m not even entirely sure if I did get better. I enthused about all of my covers. But seemed to like the latest one more than the previous. I get bored easily so perhaps it was the new and the different I liked.
Did you ask for other people’s opinions and was that helpful – or confusing?
I did ask for opinions which was VERY confusing. Online you don’t know if the person you’re asking is colour blind, abstract minded or a top notch graphic designer.
Working for two hours on a design to get the response “I don’t like green” is not helpful, especially when another comes back saying, “Oh green, how lovely”.
I found it better to create a straight-forward photo poll with my shortlist. A poll with the simple option to click your favourite leaving no room for discussion.
Having been through the process, what tips can you pass on about designing a cover?
Scroll a book site, see what sticks out or appeals to you and start from there. Chances are your product with morph into one of your own making and not particularly like anything you initially spied. Keep it simple whenever possible and try to consider the content at all times, it is amazing how quickly you can get carried away.
Finally, tell us about Paulyanna: International Rent-boy in 100 words.
A quick decision that steered me down a rather dodgy path.
Without added glamour and grit this is the tale of a 1990s British rent-boy. Risk and danger mixes with fun and thrills in my twelve-year career as a male prostitute.
A precarious existence on the streets of London and Los Angeles boulevards.
May not have been pretty but I had the audacity to succeed. This is not an erotic tale, more an intimate portrayal of day-to-day life as viewed from my quirky perspective. What goes on behind a glassy-eyed smile.
A road-book adventure in search of happiness.