Following Tuesday's teleconference, today the design coordinator at iUniverse sent me three different cover mockups for The Earthworm That Blows No Trumpet. That was quick: They said within two weeks, and here I have it within two days. Not bad, iUniverse.
Unfortunately, I'm not entirely happy with any of them. One of them, at least, is closer to what I want than the other two. All three feature the same setting sun, chalice, flame, and earthworm, but each has the chalice placed differently and different fonts for the title and author's name.
The main main [sic] problem is that the chalice is not a standard UU chalice. It's a regular silver goblet. The novel centers around a UU church in a fictitious university town in Central Texas. Given the role that the large Catholic church in this town plays, it might be appropriate to have a standard Holy Eucharist chalice with flames coming out of it. Sigh. There just isn't much in the way of UU chalice representations on thinkstockphotos.com, which iUniverse uses for assembling book covers. Even a look at uua.org didn't produce the chalice I was hoping to find.
The other main problem is that the sun is setting over a darkened ridge, but there's no landscape that one would recognize as Texas. I asked for a sunset over a prairie, and if there's a prairie in the photo it is obscured by everything else. It's the same problem I had with A Small Town for Its Size, which takes place in Houston—in fact, Houston is as much a major character as a setting—but has nothing on the cover that one would recognize as Houston.
To get in all the elements I originally wanted would cost more, because it requires paying fees for multiple stock photos. I understand that too many elements makes the cover too busy, but I think we can do this with a picture that spans the front and back covers.
Oh, here's the other thing: This is a comic/satiric novel. The sun setting (truthfully, it looks to be rising) over a darkened ridge lends an air of mystery and menace. There's plenty of mystery and menace in the book, but it's played for laughs. It needs to be lighter.
Despite all this, it brings this work another step closer to publication. I'm pleased. It's making me start the planning process for author events. "Plan" has always been a four-letter word for me, but it has to be done.
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