I need a front-and-back cover design suitable for both the e-book and print edition of my novel. The book is a very-near-future technothriller set in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's about a battle to control the most disruptive technology in human history, which starts out as industrial espionage and ends in full-scale war. I want the new cover to evoke other high-concept thrillers by writers like Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy.
I want a more colorful cover, as opposed to the current yellow-and-blue-dominated version. This book takes place in current-day or at most the VERY near future and the cover has to reflect that. Please depict technology or imagery that's available now.
An idea I had recently was to show a small silhouette of a man carrying a realistic torch in the low foreground. The sunset-lit skyline of San Francisco is in the background, below a red-gold cloudy sky that dominates the upper half of the cover, where the title will be placed.
A stretch of water reflecting the sunset is behind the man's silhouette. The man's body is turned away from the viewer, toward the city, and his posture indicates the fact that he's been running, but has now stopped suddenly because of some activity in the city. Perhaps flame and smoke is still trailing away behind him to indicate very recent movement. He is dressed in jeans, running shoes and a black long-sleeve sweatshirt, and has short, curly black hair. He's a scientist, not a combatant, medium height but powerfully built. It is important that he looks as if he's just arrived on scene and is taken aback by what he's seeing, but I'd rather that this emotion be conveyed by his posture rather than his expression.
There is a warship, perhaps a destroyer, on the surface of the Bay. In the background there are FA-18 Hornet fighters in the air over the city, and a black C-130 Hercules aircraft with a large spherical object attached to its nose. A pair of Army Blackhawk helicopters hovers over the shoreline. P3C Orion anti-submarine planes (no more than four) could also be visible. A squadron of at least two MV-22 Ospreys should be featured close to the water, and if any aircraft are clearly visible at all, it should be them.
Depiction of aircraft and ship(s) as silhouettes against the water and sky, without fine details, is absolutely fine. A-10 ground attack planes and B1 bombers are also a key ingredient. Perhaps show a small number of these, very small, silhouetted against the sky high above.
The aircraft are depicted as if they are moving fast and with purpose. The idea is to convey a sense of the setting and that something very dire and ominous is about to happen, and right now. I'll need at least a sprinkling of these aircraft on the front cover, but more can be added to the rear cover for the print edition. The last quarter of the book is basically a war, but I'd prefer not to show combat activity itself in San Francisco, because all of that takes place further down the peninsula.
I'm open to alternative designs but I definitely want the cover to convey the setting and the imagery of the torch-carrying man, and large-scale airborne military activity in the offing as described.
Typographically I'd like to use a sans-serif face that conveys a sense of seriousness and strength. If possible I'd like the design to be iconic enough to be useful as my author brand. Kindly use a font that's available as part of the Adobe Type Kit or freely available online.
I'll supply the specific dimensions of the book in a message to the finalists. It's a large trade paperback, roughly 9 x 6 x ~1.5 inches, with a 1/4" bleed around the edges. It needs to be at least 300 dpi at that print size. I will be using the front cover for the Amazon Kindle edition.