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October 30, 2013 by musehick

A book cover may represent that first visual handshake that welcomes a reader into the aesthetic of  your book, whether that be a poetry book or a fiction book (even a non-fiction book) but for me as the writer, and being an independent writer, the cover designer in most cases, it represents something else. I am often only partially through the project, and sometimes not even that far, when I conceptualise and execute the book cover, so it represents to me something more defining than a visual cue or clue  as to what is contained within. For me, at the moment of design, it can signify a crystallisation of the entire thinking behind the book. The image that I pick and the way that I visually twist or mix that, and the way that I compose the text, pick the font, assemble the layout of the cover, all of that can inform the way that I proceed onwards with the writing of the book.

If the book has a nice clean aesthetically simple layout then that often speaks of the concerns I will be tackling in the writing; of course the opposite can be true – choosing simplicity to ward off  the discomfort that can assail some readers when they perceive a “difficult book”. If the book is  somewhat messy or roughed up, using some kind of grungy take on the idea, then it may mean that I am exploring notions of that kind within the covers. In the book I am writing on the development of my aesthetic, pretentious to be sure, the idea of “dirt in the mix” is something I very much like – that scratchy busted, hauntological, used future  idea of a text … something which intruded into my consciousness way before  Bladerunner smacked around my sensibilites; something which seduced me in the lyricality of TS Eliot, danced all over me in the be-bop jazz stylings of the Beat Generation, and kicked me in the nuts with the Doc Marten insistence of Punk.

All of these things jostle at the front of my forebrain, jangle like loose change in the pocket of my left ventricle, and spark like a stuttering lightning storm through the clench unclench of my synaptic network. I am always excited by the next shiny thing, because the next thing is always shiny. Keep your eye on the shiny.

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