Ron Miller wrote:
Kevin, Ron, Cliff,
In reading over your comments again, I came across something I thought I'd like to clear it up, just for propriety's sake. You had asked about the explosion on the front cover, and the answer I gave didn't do the subject justice. My fault. Sorry.
The background photo on my cover depicts the Marine barracks bombing, Oct 23, 1983, at the airport in Beirut. FBI investigators said later that it was the most powerful non-nuclear blast they had ever investigated. There is only this one photo of the event. Nothing, to my knowledge, is known of the photo's origins. However, considering the unique vantage point and timing involved, it seems most unlikely that it was taken by an innocent who just happened along at the right time with the proper equipment, and therefore most likely that it was taken by someone who had advance warning of the event, which makes him a bad guy, by any definition. I've attached the photo, sans my added foreground clutter. Thanks again to all of you for your help. Tim
I don't know about that...Judging by the cloud, it would appear to be some moments after the explosion (it has already had time to drift and the mushroom vortex is very high). There are amateur photos of nuclear tests that show the explosion at a much earlier stage---doubtless because the photographer wasn't taken by surprise. I don't know what you mean by "vantage point." The explosion would seem to be quite some distance away and would apparently have been visible from anywhere nearby. "Proper equipment"? All that would have been required would be a camera. Given how many unusual events have been caught by photographers, the fact that this photo exists does not surprise me in the least.
In any case, the information I have been able to find about the Beirut photo credits it to the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC
Photo ID: 1038763 VIRIN: 131011-M-ZZ999-002
I won’t address a comparison between the two photos, but how did you find that archive number? I still can’t find it, even knowing it exists.
You inspired me to dig a little deeper into the source of my photo. My brother is 99% certain that the printed photo passed through his office as part of a packet he sent to his counterpart in Beaufort, SC sometime in the chaotic weeks after the bombing, so that is why it is cataloged in a Marine archive. He has never known where the photo came from, nor how it would have been developed, with his lab in the BLT destroyed. But he just happens to be reading a book, Semper Fi, 2010, by H. Avery Chenoweth. The photo is in that book, along with a caption stating it was taken by a Marine about two miles away. I inquired about the caption just now in an email to the address on Chenoweth’s Amazon page, but it bounced, with the notice: user is over quota.
So it’s still a mystery, but a little more interesting for your having questioned the source. Now, if you can come up with an email address for Mr. Chenoweth…
Tim, I now understand the look on the front cover, but as Ron has pointed out, the reader should not need an explanation for the cover -- this is a fact that Ron has often had to explain to me.
Only Ron?! I also say it often, nah nah.
An effective cover might be made by going an opposite direction -- I tend to favor photos over computerized graphics,
Which become 'computerized' graphics.
because I can make them at home without much trouble, using tools already at hand (when you have a hammer...)
That would be very impossible when creating many covers. Even pre-computer days many were made from pasted images, often airbrushed, or even some remarkable artist painting exactly what is required. Often always that. Take a look at many examples. http://search.aol.co.uk/aol/image?q=book%20covers&s_it=searchtabs&v_t=keyword_rollover
So, here's a thought: What about a cover photo that consists of several objects lying on, say, a letter from a law firm? The objects might be dog-tags (name carefully obscured), a few cartridges (to suggest military and active duty), a black and white photo of a Marine in uniform (could be casual or formal), possibly an insignia with the globe and anchor, and a newspaper headline about the Beirut bombing?
All those things can be pasted together from existing digital images in some PC software nowadays. You are suggesting he ditch his original idea when really it just needs simplifying and tidying up. It would also call for access to cartridges! I for one example cannot get such things, I would have to use cut and paste from somewhere, or just draw one.
These would immediately tell the reader that it is a story about a Marine and that the Beirut bombing is involved.
But what about the farmer and his house and the dogs? They must be of some relevance to be on there. Forgive me if I am wrong, but I get the idea that this is about an ex-soldier now living on a farm, but perhaps haunted by his past?
Or simply a background that consists of the shoulder and sleeve of a USMC dress uniform, with decorations showing. The text of the Title and the Author's name could be in a contrasting color. This would tell the reader that it's a story about a marine, and the blurb on the back would then give him context such as Beirut and the perils to befall Our Hero.
I suspect there's far more to the story than just the military aspect.
Just some thoughts.
02-10-2017 07:36 - edited 02-10-2017 07:37
Pick one image that best conveys the basic theme or subject of your book. This should be the dominate visual element. You might have one or two other images, but these should be subordinate to the main image. (In short, they should not all be of equal importance.)
Be careful to select imagery that will be understandable to potential readers who have no pre-knowledge of the book's subject or story. Also be careful to select imagery that does not require any special knowledge to appreciate (for instance, if you want use Marine Corps badges, uniforms or weapons, be sure that these would be immediately recognizable as such even to people with no experience with the Marines).
Always remember that a cover needs to work in the split second glance a potential reader may give it. It needs to hold their eye and keep them from moving on to the next book. It needs to immediately convey what kind of book it is or what its basic theme may be. To this end, it doesn't have to tell the entire story---simply the basic idea behind the book or what it might be about.
I have said before that book covers are in reality simply small posters. If you think of them that way, it may help.
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