Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Cover Story

"That fat bloke on the cover looks vaguely familiar" writes reader Dave from Shillingford.

Indeed, he does. So how did I end up starring on my own book cover? Have I become so carried away with dreams of stardom that my massive ego has got the better of me?

Actually, it was more a case of needs must. I shall explain, but first let me introduce you to Daniela.

Daniela has been the cover artist for every one of my novels, from The Time Bubble onwards. She lives in Brazil and is one of a stable of artists who produce work for a site called selfpubbookcovers.com. It was on this site that I found the cover that I used for The Time Bubble. Since then I have got to know Daniela, working with her on the design of all my book covers since. I can't rate her highly enough. She seems to instinctively pick up what I'm trying to convey in my books. Here are a few examples of her work for me:

The Time Bubble trilogy - cover art by Daniela.
My favourite of these is Global Cooking which perfectly conveys what the book is about.

Daniela has also produced hundreds more customisable covers that are well worth checking out here.

As you can see, they vary in cost between $69 and $98 which quite honestly is a very small price to pay for a decent cover. It never ceases to amaze me the number of self-published authors who produce very polished novels but then bash out a cheap cover themselves and put it up on to Amazon hoping for the best. Fact is, people do judge books by their covers and getting it done properly is vital.

My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday - this cover is from the audiobook 
edition hence why it is square! A simple design using 
the backwards calendar which instantly intrigues the viewer.

Anyway, back to the story of the cover for the new book. My brief for Daniela was this, copied directly from the email I sent to her:

My new novel is another Time Bubble spin off about a middle-aged man who is down on his luck. He is 42 years old, has lost his job, is unhappy in his marriage and also has let himself go physically. He’s overweight, his hair is thinning and he is struggling to fit into his clothes.

Then he gets the chance to go back and live some of his life over again – back to the days when he was young, fit, happy and had his whole life to look forward to.

The rough idea I had for a cover was to have the man as he currently is (the unhappy 42 year old version) on the left looking into a mirror on the right and seeing his happier younger self, aged about 21, looking back at him. The younger one should be thinner, fitter, and have better clothes but be recognisably the same person."

What Dani does really well in her designs is to combine her own artwork with stock photos from Shutterstock. In this case, it was a little more difficult. If you go on the internet and search for pictures of fat blokes it's not hard to find them. However, in this particular instance, we needed someone looking in a particular direction and as you'll see from the cover, that's not an angle that people tend to pose for photographs in as a rule.

We found the young guy no problem - he looked great, young, good-looking, exactly as per the brief. But we couldn't find the older version. So in the end, I suggested to Dani that I filled the role myself.

Obviously in order to fit the profile of the middle-aged fat version of Richard Kent, the main character, I had to bulk up considerably, a bit like Renee Zellweger did to play Bridget Jones. It was a tough couple of weeks, but with plenty of trips to the Wimpy, doubling my crisp consumption to twelve packets a day and doing all my cooking with lard, I eventually built myself up to a profile I was happy with. Then it was simply a case of pushing out my belly as far as I could and posing at the right angle for the photo.

And here we have the end result!

Me as "Richard Kent", now and aged 21.

I think you will agree that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. As for the guy in the mirror, did I really look that good when I was 21? Well Dave says no, but he takes the piss all the time and he didn't even know me then, so I think I'll just say I did and hope no-one that knew me as long ago as 1991 reads this!

And when can you read this latest masterpiece? It will be out on the 29th July and is available for pre-order here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Midlife-Crisis-Jason-Ayres-ebook/dp/B01GOZRI9U/

1 comment:

  1. Well i throughly enjoyed this book and all the others. Even my teenage daughter loved this one and is starting the others soon. Well done Jason and love the cover pics