This is the initial rough sketch of a cover design done by John Ward. We’re collaborating in public on Google+ to get a cover worked out and I’ve really enjoyed this process more than I know how to say. John is very gifted and has done some amazing work. He absolutely nailed Withrow’s morphology and the incongruities of the story: the goofiness and cartoony violence and the silliness and sarcasm involved I try to juxtapose with horror and tragedy. He’s going to modify it in a couple of ways at my request: Withrow will be wearing a bright t-shirt with a glassy-eyed kitten on the front instead of a Christmas sweater and he’ll be smirking more than grinning. I told him Withrow is more sarcastic than joyful most of the time and he was extremely accommodating about my pickiness.
He told me that he sees the cover of a book as a promise to the reader that they can find a certain kind of story inside and I thought that was an absolutely genius way of describing it. John immediately understood the way to contrast all the competing elements and themes in an active way, visually. I was very nervous about shelling out cash to have a stranger design the cover but I am so incredibly glad I did.