Cover#4: Adelaide’s Pop Psychology from ‘Guys and Dolls’

Our school play (musical) is ‘Guys and Dolls’, which is a darling of a show with incredibly upbeat numbers and period styling as it’s set in the 50s, and is one I produced back at University … unfortunately in the days just before social media and digital cameras.
One of the two pairs of romantic leads is Adelaide, the ‘comedy’ female lead. She has a brilliant number called, rather unimaginitively, ‘Adelaide’s Lament’, where she is reading a pop psychology book that explains that her constant cold is actually a psychosomatic response to having been engaged for fourteen years but not actually getting anywhere near the altar. This is clearly a sore point for her, despite her comically chirpy outlook, as she’s already written to her mother about her five kids and her husband’s promotion. The lyrics are a delight: here’s a version of it (at 6.18) with the scene leading up to it beforehand…

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cover#3 Time Is Money

Pfft. Sometimes self-publishing is annoying, like when, after a week’s wait, your .epub is rejected because there’s something you forgot to do. (Actually, this doesn’t happen very often, but happening once is bad enough.) Using Lulu.com’s ‘publish free books’ ability, I rushed out a free excerpt from ‘Death and Stationery’ without checking that the title matched the text (I left ‘Death and Stationery’ in the title, before ‘FREE story: Time is Money’, which is wrong because it is, in fact, a different book.)

The original cover was a quickie that made it clear that the download was only an excerpt from the collection, and that it was FREE – over a fade-out of the original cover, the title proclaimed this, rather loudly:

the original cover for 'Time is Money'
The original cover for ‘Time is Money’. Not massively exciting.

Going back to make a new revision, I thought, ‘why not?’, and took the chance to create a new cover for it.

I’m lucky in that I have quite a decent stock of images ready to make covers from, all of which I’ve taken myself – if something interests me, I’ll snap it either on my camera or my phone, forget about it, and then delight in it when trawling through old files. For the cover of ‘Time is Money’, I wanted something fresh and airy, and originally thought of a predominantly white background, a close up of a man’s chin, blur around the edges to focus on his stubble. It’s the beginning image from the story. However, I don’t have a picture like that, and I didn’t have time to accost someone and make one. Instead, I found a beautiful and unusual picture I’d taken at a tube station near me a few months ago.

I meant to capture the owl at the top, used to scare away pigeons, and the nice repeated shapes and brick tones of the stairwell, and managed to also capture a shadowy figure coming up the stairs. There’s a tube and a shadowy figure in the text. Perfect.

I still wanted to have white space, and the window at the tops allows for that amply. The font this time should be Baskerville, the same as the original cover, in order to keep some sort of link between the texts, rather than advertising that on the front. I played with the layout of the text slightly, overlapping the dots of the ‘i’s. The author, rather than being at the bottom where it would take away from the image, is tight with the title. The black ‘frame’ outline of the original photo was something I wanted to keep. Here’s the first version:

'Time is Money' cover version 1
‘Time is Money’ cover version 1

Once uploaded, however, I found that the bottom image just didn’t come across when the cover was miniaturised/thumbnailed. I tried a re-cropped version that looks far better, and which has the added bonus of highlighting the first word of the title.

'Time is Money' final cover version
‘Time is Money’ final cover version

Now the shadowy figure is more prominent – not my original plan, but being central does go easily on the eye. The figure is even more alone.

Read the story to find out what on earth I’m talking about.