Monday, 23 March 2015

Cover Reveal for SORROW LAKE - The first March and Walker Crime Novel

The Plaid Raccoon Press is thrilled to unveil the cover art for Sorrow Lake by Michael J. McCann. Set in eastern Ontario, Canada, Sorrow Lake is the first installment in the new March and Walker Crime Novel Series. It features Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police and Detective Constable Kevin Walker of the OPP's Leeds County Crime Unit.

This cover will be available for both the e-book and the paperback editions of the novel. Now, when shopping for a paperback, most people who are attracted to a book by the front cover will pick it up and turn it over to find out more about the story itself. With that in mind....


Cover Design Q & A

Now it's time for a quick interview with the author, who designed and produced this cover.

What was your overall concept for the SORROW LAKE cover design?

The novel is set in Canada, as we discussed in a previous post, and takes place in early December. Because the ice on Sparrow Lake, nicknamed Sorrow Lake by the locals, is not yet thick enough to walk on safely, it poses a danger for anyone attempting to cross it.

The footprints through the snow on the surface of the lake in the great front cover photograph by Oleg Koslov, licensed through iStock, suggest that someone has foolishly ventured out onto the lake nonetheless, and it conveys the sense of danger and suspense found in the story itself. The back photo cover, which I took on the road where I live, was shot on a very cold, overcast morning.  Along with the colour scheme, the photos convey a strong sense of a bleak, cold Canadian winter day.

Did you go through several draft designs before choosing this one?

Yes, it's my habit while writing the manuscript to spend my down time drafting cover designs. It helps sharpen my sense of the mood of the story, and it keeps me motivated during the very difficult process of completing the first draft. I had two other possible designs, both featuring photos that were predominantly blue, but one looked too much like a romance novel and the other was too bright and cheerful. Not appropriate for a police procedural set in a cold northern clime!

Everyone wants to know WHY you design your own covers. Isn't that a no-no for an independent author?

Yes, I suppose it is ill-advised in many cases, but I happen to really enjoy the process, and I approach it the same way I do everything else--with a great deal of advance research, with care and attention to detail, and with the proper tools and equipment.

Part of my research is studying the cover designs of the bestsellers. For example, while I'm in the drug store getting my prescriptions filled, I'll wander over to the book racks while I'm waiting and just stand there, looking at the rows of bestsellers, noticing how they arrange the text elements (author's name very often at the top for better visibility in a middle row!), colour co-ordination, how they place graphic elements, and so on. I read somewhere that outdoor photos are more successful on a book cover than indoor photos, and I keep things like that in the back of my head.

My son has a Mac Pro with Adobe Creative Suite 3 on it, and since he's migrated to a PC laptop these days I've confiscated the Mac. I've taught myself how to use InDesign, which is a very powerful tool for creating both the book block and the cover, and I try my best in Photoshop when I need to tweak something. I take however long is necessary to produce a product readers will find attractive and (hopefully) error-free!

If you'd like to see the cover on Amazon, you can find it here.

Do you like the new cover? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Next week: Sorrow Lake becomes available for reviews!

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