Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cover Contest

Make that contestS because there are several possibilities here. Four covers and four potential cover commissions.

If you saw my post on cover art at Sid Love's last week, you're aware that I'm working on a couple of little things before I dive back into Boy with the Painful Tattoo. And, as I've done before, I thought it would be fun and possibly inspirational to solicit art from readers .

I'm paying $75.00 for each winning cover (not including any photos that must be purchased) and the artist of course gets a cover credit inside the book.

There's not a huge amount of time on this because...I'm not that organized and this is how it's working out.  So basically the deadline is March 17th and then that gives readers a chance to pick finalists, and then me a chance to pick the winners. Assuming there are any entrants -- and assuming I like the covers!

So here are the projects:

1 – SLAY RIDE – A hardboiled Christmas short story set in the 1940s during World War II. Based on a true and rather grim event in the western US.

2 – WHAT'S LEFT OF KISSES?** – A collection of my historical novellas. The stories will include The Dark Farewell, Snowball in Hell, Out of the Blue, Slay Ride, and maybe This Rough Magic. So that offers several possibilities for the cover (and you can learn more about each title at my website where there are excerpts, etc.)

**The title is from a quote by Bertolt Brecht: “The human race tends to remember the abuses to which it has been subjected rather than the endearments. What's left of kisses? Wounds, however, leave scars.” **

3 – A SHOT IN THE DARK: 2 Novellas – The collection contains This Rough Magic and Ill Met by Moonlight.

4 - EVERYTHING I KNOW - contemporary novella about a young teacher wrongfully fired because of the thoughtless comments of a student's father (in other words, I have no idea how to explain this story).

Those are the projects. Everyone is welcome to submit -- professional, aspiring professional, and just-enjoy-fooling-around-with-clipart.

 Here's how it's going to work (at least in theory). Create your cover in jpeg format - 500 x 750 for our purposes (thanks to Lou Harper for pointing this out!) Remember to consider how the cover will look when shrunk down to thumbnail size.

On the 17th I'm going to post each title and the submission art. The art will be posted without the name of the artist to try and keep it impersonal and focused on the work.

On the 21st I will post the finalists. Of course if there aren't a lot of entries that simplifies that! And then on the 24th, I'll pick my winners.

If you need to purchase photos, try and select from Shutterstock because I already have an account there, and that makes it simple. Please don't use photos or cover art that is not in public domain (unless it can be licensed at a reasonable cost).

I think that's it. Feel free to post questions below.

40 comments:

  1. ...ok...a few questions...

    Where do we submit entries? I assume in this thread, but then you know what they say about people who assume. ;) Are you saying that since you have a Shutterstock account you will provide the photos we chose? (as long as they are public domain) Slay Ride, can you give us the area of the country the action takes place? Btw...thank you for this, Josh. I love how you inspire others, writers and artists alike.

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  2. I knew I would forget a bunch of stuff! Okay, if needed, I will purchase the photos for the winning covers. The photos can be submitted to the contest with the watermark.

    The submissions should be emailed to me at the address on my contact page http://www.joshlanyon.com/contact.html

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  3. Thanks, Josh. :) And for the record, I consider all writers artists, same as all us graphics types. I just couldn't think of a better way to differentiate when I was commenting above. Thanks again for the fun opportunity. Truly, I don't know how you find time for all of this.

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  4. Oh! And slay ride is going to be either Wyoming, Montana or North Dakota. Probably Montana since that's where it really occurred. ;-)

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  5. How fun! :-)

    Can one person enter more than one cover per title?

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  6. Is it possible to find out a general description of your young teacher in "Everything He Knows"? My brain is playing with that one (and another cover possibility). You are making my brain go into overdrive this morning, Josh. ;-)

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    1. Medium height, slim, dark hair, green eyes. Mid-twenties. (Now I have to remember that!)

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  7. Josh, I suggest accepting comps in 500x750 size. (It's the same ratio.) Those watermarked preview images for stock photo sites are usually too small and look like crap when enlarged too much.

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  8. Okay. I decided to try this, trusting that you will not post the rejects online for comedic purposes. You may laugh all you wish in private.

    I do wish you could give us a little bit more about Slay Ride. The setting is the west, a "grim event" during WWII. For example, you cite the time period is WWII, but is it military related? Cowboy themed?

    I searched all through your novels, novellas, short stories, etc., but could find no more about this particular work.

    Thanks.

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    1. So here's insight into the actual event. http://boards.ancestrylibrary.com/localities.northam.usa.states.montana.counties.silverbow/646/mb.ashx

      I've changed the time period to 1943. It will probably still take place in Montana. I've got a wounded vet sheriff and a young 4F reporter chasing a "fiendish" killer on Christmas day. :-)

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  9. Hey again!

    Did you post a snippet of EVERYTHING I KNOW somewhere sometime? Or was it another story? I remember it being about a young man working as a kindergarten teacher... maybe. And there was a lively discussion about its possible title at the time. ;-)

    Aaaanyway, if there is a snippet somewhere, that would be highly helpful . :-)

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    1. Yes! That is exactly the story. I'd abandoned it when I realized how out of date my teaching experience was. But I found it this weekend and realized it's potentially a great little story.

      I'll try and post a snippet later today.

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  10. I have written several books and designed my own covers. When the first was submitted I gave instructions to the publishers who said 'it was too complicated' then made one myself in a matter of minutes. I can e-mail you the covers if you like so you can see how simple and rewarding it is to do yourself.

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    1. I appreciate that thought, Justin. Feel free to share a link so we can see.

      I actually like incorporating and encouraging other people's creativity. PLUS I do not need to add one thing more to my already insane roster of stuff to do. :-)

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    2. I understand that, it was just frustration that prompted me into action.

      The first book is available in print (but currently being revised for a schools edition). The second will be published in July also in print.

      The other two are experimental e-books in the erotica genre, the first of which will be available at the end of the month, the second in July.

      Each of the covers took very little time (as you can probably tell). I combined three pictures for the first, the second was the artwork of a friend. The third is simply an old oil painting and as such not subject to copyright and the fourth is just me piddling about.

      http://wetdaydreamer.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html?zx=658d9ef791711e4a

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    3. I've definitely had covers that drove me to wish I *did* have the skills! :-)

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  11. Might I have some more details about SLAY RIDE to help me come up with a cover concept?

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    1. So here's insight into the actual event. http://boards.ancestrylibrary.com/localities.northam.usa.states.montana.counties.silverbow/646/mb.ashx

      In case you didn't see the comment above... I've changed the time period to 1943. It will probably still take place in Montana. I've got a wounded vet sheriff and a young 4F reporter chasing a "fiendish" killer on Christmas day. :-)

      I think what I'm looking for here is a noir vibe. Maybe atmospheric landscape as opposed to focus on a particular incident or image?

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  12. I've got the title for the historical collection: WHAT'S LEFT OF KISSES?

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    1. I only now realize that the tittle is from a quote by Bertolt Brecht. That's brilliant, Josh. I love the quote.

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    2. It's a really nice quote, isn't it?

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  13. Wow! Did I get an education this evening. Thought I'd just "Bing" "free male gay clip art," in hopes I could find some nice romantic male couples. Hah! I didn't fully "explore" the site, but just the thumbnails had me wanting to Lysol the screen. Please don't take that the wrong way. I am not fond of m/f porn either. I don't mind tasteful erotica, but... Back to the drawing board, so to speak.

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    1. DEAR GOD. :-D

      You know what I think can be very effective, just an angled shot of a very attractive face. Just the eyes or the mouth or some other attractive corner. Or an angle of the embrace itself.

      Black and white is classic. IMHO. Not that that has to do with anything. Just thinking aloud...

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    2. Quite an education. I always thought I was somewhat worldly, but...

      I LOVE b&w and tend to lean that way - especially for the 1930s. One problem for the historicals is finding the right hair and clothing and that wonderful thin man look in 2014.

      I've even considered my hunky nephew for the western thing, but would need his permission to use some of his shots. He's very athletic and did a Jack Kerouac across the U.S. last summer. Thinking of mountains and daredevil stuff here.

      Fun to play around with, even with very, very dim talent.

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  14. There are some nice images to be found on Shutterstock. Just search 'man hugging man' or 'man kissing man,' though I did run into an image of a man kissing his own bicep. Not sure what that was about. lol

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    1. NEVER SETTLE FOR ANYTHING BUT THE BEST!!!!

      :-D

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    2. Thanks Karan. I went through virtually all the Shutterstock images (I think) under multiple search terms and just couldn't find the one that speaks to my imagination.

      This is a lot of fun, isn't it.

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    3. It is...and perhaps a wee bit addictive. :D

      Josh. LOL.

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    4. Heh. Yeah, addictive is the right word for this. ;-)

      I'm not sure if I should be thankful or angry to Josh for introducing Shutterstock to me. I'm doomed. And I'm not kidding.

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    5. :-D :-D :-D

      Well, there are worse addictions!

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    6. Oh yeah? I wouldn't be so sure about that. ;-)

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  15. Hello, Josh.
    My name is Minu and I am from Spain. I am thrilled to participate in the contest but I'm nothing covers expert in such things. Neither spoke English, but I really liked Sombras Fatales, although the translation is not too good. I've already sent my covers and I hope I have understood everything right because sometimes the google translator is not very accurate.
    Thank you very much for this fun competition.
    Saludos.

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    1. HOLY MOLY. Thank God you reminded me of that new official email address because I forgot to check and there were a bunch more submissions there! Yikes. Got them -- thank you.

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