But what do I slap on there? The original cover was intended to give the messy 33% Non-Fictional story a sort of textbook feel. Thus, the template with the generic layout, the non-expressive font, and the totally uninteresting subtitling.
Plus, there’s the index at the back of the book, to add to this textbook vibe, providing easy access to all the Antony and Cleopatra and cheap hand job references.
But, I felt the casual reader would not understand what the hell I was aiming for, or why there are so many references to the Chevy Aveo. They may question how this tale can really be 33% non-fictional while still including so many robots. So I figured, here on the 13-ish month anniversary of the initial publication, Parade Day needed a new cover. Which brings us to today.
How do I go about such a thing? I’m no graphic designer, and my spatial comprehension sucks major tetrahedrons. So I boiled it down to the age old question – “How can I move an assload of this story easiest, at the briefest glance, with as little skill required as possible?” And that got the ball rolling.
First up, the idea of hiring someone else to work on the design was immediately rejected. Composing the cover would almost certainly require the artist to have read the book, and that unfortunately cut the talent pool down to me, my mom, and a handful of others.
So, back in my hands – the person who threw together the original cover – I lost a lot of faith. What brings people in? What sells? What books have big success and is the cover the reason for it? The Da Vinci Code is a hacky pile of clauses and contrived suspense. But does its cover force a customer to ignore those drawbacks and buy anyway?
So, would the Mona Lisa move copies of Parade Day, despite having nothing to do with the plot? Do we reference any other famous works of art we can slap on the cover? *Consulting index* It appears not, but there are a bunch of Yuengling mentions, so…
Bah, that’s not gonna work! I’ll get my ass sued off! And there isn’t that much ass to go around that I can afford to lose any! Okay, so if I can’t blatantly rip off another cover’s design, what can I use to pull people in? The promise of fun and excitement? And that it’s something good looking people do? Hmm…
No, that’s not gonna work. People don’t smoke anymore! And those that do certainly don’t read! They’re too busy coughing! So we can’t go with the All Fun angle. What about just good looking people? Sex sells! Can sex move Parade Day, a book featuring zero nudity and only a smattering of hand-holding? What if we put all the lurid excitement on the cover? That could work!
Dammit, but what about the ladies? They aren’t going to appreciate picking up a book with a thonged-up female posterior! Way to alienate your readership, Goats! Maybe we package the same book for women and men? Just like blue and red bag Skittles!
No, no, no, guys get a whiff that this cover is floating around and they will run straight back to their Field & Streams and John Updikes before you can say SKOAL: Always There in a Pinch! So what’s the solution? I’ve exhausted everything I know about advertising. Pizza, cigarettes, Dan Brown, asses, abs – that’s it, that’s how commerce works. I took Business 101, and I believe all we did was watch that Cindy Crawford Pepsi commercial the whole semester (I went to college in the ’90s, obviously).
The hell with it, I’m going to use my mighty powers of Paint and concoct a new cover from scratch! Something bold and alcoholic! Something iconic and subtle! Something guaranteed to rake in the cash and convince others that Scranton’s binge drinking is way more awesome than it is sad!
Boom! Done! Just look at this new cover, it’s a beauty! I’ll just open my wallet and wait for the moolah to jump right in! Wait, what? What do you mean that’s not how it works? What the hell else is there? Okay, smart guy, we’ll see which one of us is proved correct. Let the games begin!