It could be rockin’

The old church Cassia’s family buys in my novel What’s Left might have looked like this. How many people do you think it would fit as a rock venue?.
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KEEPING THE COMPANY IN CHECK

Across New England, the spire on city hall typically had prominent clock. Its purpose, I’m told, wasn’t just civic pride.

No, it was to keep the mill owners in check, just in case they were tinkering with their own clocks to squeeze unpaid time out of their workers.

It’s comforting to know the town fathers could stand up to corporate powers. Most of the owners, by the way, lived far from these sources of their wealth. Many of them were Boston Brahmins clustered around Harvard.

In honor of the workers and those who stand up for them, Happy Labor Day.

ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Earlier this year, I updated the cover and tweaked the contents of my novel Hometown News.

I liked the new image, of a house on fire rather than one of a girl in autumn leaves. The story is, after all, about a community in crisis rather than the delights of living in idyllic repose.

The new image, however, challenged the use of placing the book title and author. The colors jump all over the place, and I just couldn’t figure out a way to drop the words in effectively. Well, you can see what I did. Still, I felt ambivalent about the results.

And then, a few weeks ago, I was looking at my revised lineup at Smashwords and sensed this one just didn’t quite match the style or tone of the others. Time for a few tweaks.

So here’s what we have now:

Hometown News

After this:

Hometown News

Which replaced this one:

Hometown News

The covers of my Smashwords editions originally paid homage to Richard Brautigan’s classic books of the ’60s, each of which had a portrait of a pretty young woman.

Any reactions?

SOMETHING MORE COMPELLING

Looking at my new lineup at Smashwords, I felt one cover just didn’t match.

The first round of my editions there had covers that were an homage to Richard Brautigan’s classic books of the ’60s, each of which had a portrait of a pretty young woman.

As I looked at the cover image, though, it felt dated. Looking closer, I realized it also didn’t reflect the edginess of the contents. I wanted something more compelling than a woman in quiet reflection.

So here’s what we have now:

Blue Rock

Rather than this:

Blue Rock

Whaddya think? For more, go to Blue Rock.

TWO TWEAKS IN THE DESIGN

As I moved from the Advance Reading Copy to the First Edition of my new novel, I decided to make two tweaks in the cover design.

The photo itself remains unchanged. It’s the typeface that altered.

When I lined the original cover up beside the covers for the related books in the cycle of Cassia’s discoveries, I realized it’s serif typeface was out of step with the sans serif on the other three volumes. As much as I love serifs (they have more character, for one thing), I also saw that a sans would have more punch on the thumbnail size used to display most ebooks. OK, so that changed.

Again, as I considered the four books together, I saw something else happening. The next book in line, Daffodil Uprising, features a prominent daffodil bloom in a bright yellow antique-style drawing. The contrast between its artwork and the photo on What’s Left works, I think, but the white title somehow felt out of step.

That’s when the thought flashed, “You idiot! It has to be yellow! Like the yolk! Like the daffodil, too!”

Here’s the progression. First, the ARC:

What’s Left

Then the sans serif:

And finally color:

What’s Left

So here you have it. Any reactions?