My sci-fi thriller short story “Pyramid 76” has been out for a while now and I decided it was time for an update of its cover art. The original cover was the product of a half hour’s work with my laptop’s built-in graphics program. (One of my beta-readers absolutely hated it at first sight.) It wasn’t particularly good, since I’m no wizard with visual art and was in a hurry, and it was more of a stop-gap cover than anything else.
However, a few weeks later, I had a brainstorm about how I wanted the final cover to look. None of the artists I know were interested in doing and I didn’t have the art skills to pull it off with a pencil or paints. That left photography, which meant props were needed. Unfortunately, some of those props (like the medical bottles) are a little hard to come by. Then, last week I had a lucky break and got some that would work. After that, some fancy work with some superglue and playing cards and it was photo time.
Getting the picture turned out a little harder than I thought it would be, thanks to some unwanted help (pestering) from onlookers and the bad shape of the background cloth. None of the numerous shots I took looked particularly great, but while I may not be any good with a pencil, graphics programs are DEFINITELY within my abilities.
After some judicious smudging, blearing, copying, color balance modifications, and other assorted photoshopping (oh, and a neon outline mask) I had four different cover versions. I ran those by several readers and they all settled on this one as the best suited to “Pyramid 76”.
I’m pretty pleased with it and all the people I showed it to were impressed. The blend of sci-fi and realistic feels like it’s balanced just right to fit the story. Each element in it is important to the story in one way or another. (you’ll have to read it to know just how, though!)
All in all, this cover really finishes “Pyramid 76”. The story had been feeling incomplete for a while now, but that feeling is gone. The cover is the part of the book that snags the very first bit of the reader’s attention. What do you think? Does this one do its job?