The Thinking Quill

Dear Reader Who Writes,

It always behoves me to assume that there will be at least one new reader of my inspirational course on ‘How to Write a Book’. So to that gentle reader I doff my hat and reveal that I am none other than Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV – author of the  brilliant and inventive novel, “Fatswhistle and Buchtooth”, a seminal work exploring the furthest conceptual reaches of science fiction and fantasy.

Today’s topic came to me a while ago and then I was distracted by my Muse offering other, more pressingly urgent dangleberries of wisdom and demanding that those took precedence. But then my focus was rehoned to the point by Mumsie walking into my writing cave, bearing her trademark pernod and gingerwine in a champagne flute with the inevitable green olive drifting in the murk. “Oh my god, Moons, this place stinks worse than a sumo wrestlers jock-strap!” I delicately pointed out that she was referring to my vetiver, bergamot and lemongrass aromatherapy oil, blended expressly to induce higher states of creativity.

Mummy was not, however, much impressed by this revelation. Instead she picked up my pristine first edition copy of Fatswhistle and Buchtooth and opened it, bending the spine and splattering droplets of her alcoholic creosote over it’s pages. Before I could recover from the horror of her deed, she had dropped the irreplaceably precious item back on my desk. “Don’t they say you can’t tell a book by the cover? Got it wrong with yours though. Shite inside and out.”

How to Write a Book – Lesson 14: The Write Cover.

A book cover needs to be a visual precise of your prose. It should capture and enrapture the roving eye as a reader runs through the rows of books either on a shelf in a shop or on a scrolling screen. Yours must be the cover that cries out as that putative reader sifts through stacks of books to find their next favourite fiction.

But how is this achieved? If you read the academic artists they will talk of proportions, the Golden Mean, of colour strengths and shades and other esoteric claptrap. It is actually stunningly simple – make it red.

Red is the most eye-catching colour as everyone knows. We are all primally preprogrammed to see red as a signal of something requiring our attention. Therefore, so long as your cover is red your book will be read.

A more sophisticated and subtle touch can be achieved by drawing on that other universal colour combination guaranteed to draw the eye – black and yellow. Our perceptions are precisely honed to hover our eyes on anything that resembles hornets or wasps. So, if red is not appropriate for your magnificent tome – black and yellow may well serve the same end.

Of course, to be sure, combine the two concepts.

Oh and put a naked lady on it, ideally headless.

Follow these infallible rules and you will create a cover that none will miss and your book will bound from shelves be those physical or metaphorical.

Until next time, au revoir mes petites poissons.

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

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