Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Got it Covered

Old picture, but new decisions

Conventional wisdom suggests one should have a book cover done by a professional. Almost every blog, article and book about self-publishing advises the self-publisher to hire out the job of making a cover. The argument is sound: “People really do judge a book by its cover, Bubba, and you don’t want your ineptitude with visual artistry to scare people away… save your writing for that.”

The thing is, it’s fun to be involved in every aspect of the self-publishing process. If it wasn’t, I’d be shooting out queries right and left. Maybe that’s just a rationalization thing. Perhaps I, in fact, like to torment myself. Who knows? (Maybe the potty-training by cattle prod left psychological scars.) Whatever the answer, I’m taking the chance and have started working on the cover for my novel, Somewhere West of Roads. 

With that in mind, I’ve got three photos that are contenders. I would like to get opinions from those who occasionally wander through this blog about which they think would work best as a book cover. All three of the photos are shot looking west from Kenai, Alaska, and have been cropped to fit the size of a standard, U.S. trade paperback.  (Most of the story takes place in Nikiski, Alaska, or on the west side of the Cook Inlet. Nikiski, also on the edge of the Cook Inlet, is just north of Kenai.)

To leave a comment, simply click on the small, green “Comments” text at the bottom of the post. Enter your comment, then in the drop down box for “Comment as:” click how you’d like to comment. If you don’t have some sort of account, simply select either “Name/URL” or “Anonymous.” If you select “Name/URL” you can leave just your name if you don’t have a URL.   

This is a shot of Mt. Spur from the mouth of the Kenai River.  Mt. Spur, and active volcano, is on the west side of Cook Inlet. I like this shot because of the steam rising up from the river. It gives the shot an air of mystery. Hard to tell, but Mt. Spur is about 60 miles from where the picture was taken.

If you like this picture, mention #6535 in the comments section.

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This is Mt. Redoubt, due west of Kenai, across the inlet. It is also an active volcano - you can see the steam from the vent on the north side of the vocano.  I like this shot because it's clearly in focus in the foreground then fades somewhat.  By the way, it was -17 degrees F when I took these pictures (-27 degrees C). Makes fumbling with camera buttons a little tricky.

If you like this picture best, mention #6540 in the comments.

Another shot of Mt. Redoubt, just an adjustment in angle and light. I think it has more interest in the foreground, but keeps the fading focus qualities of the other Redoubt shot.  Just by pure accident, the buildings visible on the bluff down river resemble the basic description of the lodge where much of the story revolves (although the buildings in the picture are a private residence).

If you like this shot best, mention #6544 in your comment.

I might mention that with all three of the pictures, I left quite a bit open at the top of the photo. That is where the title of the book will go.

I’d really appreciate hearing your comments, and would like to thank you for them ahead of time.

I hope to have the e-book available on Amazon by the end of December.


  1. Hey, don't be afraid to comment! Thanks,

  2. Hi Alan,
    I like #6540. It gives a little bit of interest but draws your eye upward to the mountain. The eye would keep going up above the mountain to the title. Glad you expained how to do this. I really enjoy reading them and seeing the pictures.
    Thanks. Talk to you soon. Dan

  3. I like all of the pictures. If I had to chose one, I would go with 6544. I like the wood in the foreground--slightly off center.

  4. Maybe because I am familiar with the story, but I like 6540. The foreground wood being off-center gives a better visual to my eye.

  5. oops! I meant 6544..guess my off center eye wasn't working or maybe it was my off-center typing fingers