12 November 2006

Calling All Would-Be Book Cover Design Experts

I have a very long post on the techne, phronesis, and really the ontos of hot tubs. I don't know if anyone really wants to read it, but I will be compelled to write it. However, I can't put that together until or if the tub stops leaking like a sieve.

So, for now, something that may interest more readers. I just found out that the publisher of the book I hope to be submitting this spring actually wants me to pick out the cover image. On the one hand, it sounds fantastic to have some control over such an important process; on the other, I haven't a clue what to pick and the 'power' scares me. On my first book I had zero input on design/cover/layout issues.

The book is an attempt to illuminate queer theory through readings of US television shows, and to use queer theory to offer a set of readings of TV shows and to produce a set of arguments about the politics of television. The book is titled 'The Queer Politics of Television' and it will have six chapters on various shows (Six Feet Under, Desperate Housewives, The L Word, Big Love, and one other). With that in mind, I ask all of you:

What image should go on the cover?

8 comments:

sageblue said...

1) Are you writing this, or editing this?
2) Pink static?

Ruth said...

Well, if you want to use images from any of the shows themselves, you'd have to get permissions and pay, no?

This could be bad.

I also don't like the narrowness implied by this approach: that is, if you reference specific shows on your cover that way, people will be expecting something less broadly theoretical than I assume the book will offer. You don't want to end up shelved in the "communications" section of the bookstore.

Dare I suggest: hire an artist/graphic designer to create an image for you?

And make sure the spine is recognizable. Just my .2 as a former bookstore clerk...

television is the drug of a nation said...

can you play off of the emergency broadcast system look with somekind of queer symbolism like a pink triangle?

cover rules: simple, minimalist asthetic, sans serif fonts, and limited number of colors. looks like black and pink are two of your three colors already. look at saint foucault's cover for inspiration.

Sam said...

sageblue:
1) I'm writing it (single authored).
2) Very tempting

ruth:
Agree completely: I don't want an image from any of the shows. The larger point of the book is about cultural politics, not about any particular television show. And I'm tempted by the hire a graphic artist plan, but I worry A) about the money and B) about finding someone whose work I would trust

u2 fanboy:
I love the emergency broadcast idea! But the book needs itself to be cross-cultural, and I don't think UK readers would get the ebs thing.

television is the drug of a nation said...

black and white picture of a 1978 13-inch tv with dial, sideways on book and filling the entire cover, with black screen and pink block letters, all-caps, across the middle of the screen (i.e., bottom to top if holding the book properly) reading "The queer politics of television." Authors/editors names in thin, elegant sans serif font like arial circling around the dial.

dan said...

yay, congrats & so exciting!!

i really like grainy pictures of television screens, especially in art. i've done a bit of this type of photography myself, based on the practice of gay porn websites making a series of low-quality stills of naked male celebrities in movies and on television.

i was leaning toward a shot from one of the shows -- a grainy photo of the screen depicting a moment or character or scene from one of the shows that you talk about, that is a full back cover to front cover bleed with muted colors. the image could be not obvious in terms of the primary subject -- that is, eva longoria would not be front-and-center on your cover, to avoid what ruth mentions. perhaps something that one would have to have seen in context to know; otherwise it just reads as an image, not as a publicity still.

i have to say, though: being asked to choose an image is kind of...odd...right? that supposes that you have an image in mind. otherwise, a graphic designer would come up with something (such as the pink static or playing off the EBS iconography).

I always appreciate when authors use the opportunity to showcase an image by a working artist that they feel captures the sense of the text. Seen any good work lately?

Transient Gadfly said...

i am thinking a picture of you giving big hugs and kisses to your tv and slingbox. nothing says queer like you and technology.

sageblue said...

tg, word. i think santorum meant to say that gay marriage would lead to man-on-tv after man-on-dog.