Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cover Up with a Different Meaning

I'm the type who likes to know how to do everything when he gets involved in something. Back in the dark ages when I was editor and publisher of Nashville Magazine, I got intimately involved in every phase of the product. I was a journalist to start with, but I learned all about the production process, from typesetting to artwork to layout and design.

I also became well-versed in billing and accounting, plus circulation, advertising, promotion, and anything else required. Since the operation was touch and go financially at times, I wound up doing most of those tasks at one time or another.

Later on in my business career, I got into the field of association management. As executive vice president of a 4000-member statewide trade association, I got involved in lots of other jobs necessary to the operation of a large volunteer organization.

All this is prelude to saying what I'm currently doing that I probably shouldn't be. I recently decided to resurrect the first novel I wrote after getting into the business of fiction writing back in 1990. I had just retired from my association job and had told everyone I intended to write novels. Following up on my love of the spy genre, and filled with much research on the CIA and KGB, I wrote the first book in a trilogy involving a disgraced former FBI agent named Burke Hill.

I quickly found an agent for Beware the Jabberwock and toiled over the second book while eagerly awaiting action on the New York front. The agent's associate, who handled fiction, sent me rejection letters from editors at several houses including William Morrow, Harper Collins, Grove, and the Berkley Publishing Group. The Berkley editor wrote:

"It is a very well written thriller, but this genre is just too hard to sell in mass market at the moment. Maybe this would work well in hardcover."

Another said "it's a competent and entertaining piece of work" but not the kind of novel Grove was publishing.

It was the usual story, nice book but not one we can use. Unfortunately, following these letters was one from the agency saying the associate was leaving and the primary agent intended to concentrate on non-fiction. Now, twenty-one years later, post-Cold War stories seem to be in vogue again. So I've revised the manuscript and plan to put it up as an ebook. Which brings us full circle to my earlier reminiscing.

I need a cover for the book, and I'm working on an idea. I have a fair sense of design, but I'm no artist. I'd like to incorporate a swoosh into the design, but that's a little beyond me at the  moment. When it's done, I'll put it up here for your viewing pleasure (or not).

Visit me at Mystery Mania


Jean Henry Mead said...

Chester, there are plenty of stock photos on the Internet to choose from. Also, you can use your own photos with Photoshop and Indesign. I've recently ventured into indie pubishing and it's a lot of fun designing my own books.


P.S. I used to be a magazine editor too but never got into the business office end of it.

Jaden Terrell said...

Chester, I like Dreamstime.com for stock photos, but I know there are a lot of others, as Jean says. I look forward to seeing your cover.