My target audience is generally adults and young adults who enjoy quirky novels in an ebook format. The novel is humorous but also edgy and unconventional, so it may appeal especially to readers in the 18-35 age group. Females typically read more novels than males, but this novel may attract more males than usual. It will be primarily marketed to an American audience, but will be available to readers in Great Britain and Australia as well. The book will especially appeal to readers who like genre-bending offbeat novels, who enjoy darkly comic literary novels, sci-fi,
fantasy, and psychological thrillers. They may be fans of such authors as Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Paul Auster, George Saunders, Italo Calvino, Lewis Carroll, Tom Robbins, and Christopher Moore.
Technically, the novel could be considered transgressive metafiction. Transgressive fiction focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways. Metafiction self-consciously draws attention to its own status as a work of imagination, rather than reality. It poses questions about the relationship between fiction and reality, usually using irony and self-reflection.
In terms of genre, INCOGNOLIO could be called a psychological thriller, although it also contains elements of mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, and surrealism. It starts out as an absurdist comic novel, however the story grows progressively darker and ends tragically.
A major theme of the novel involves the struggle to achieve transformation and freedom by becoming a whole person who has faced one’s inner demons and sources of self-loathing. Imagery from the novel that could be important for the cover design includes mirrors, self-reflection, self-consciousness, and male-female twins, both separated and conjoined. The novel touches on adult-sibling incest, which is meant primarily as a metaphor for the integration of dualities within the self: male/female, evil/good, body/spirit, creative/destructive, etc.
Plato’s myth of the Split-Aparts: “According to Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, each human being is part of one soul, which they only have half of. The idea is that the soul was “split-apart” and separated from each other– and, since that time, the two halves have been forever searching for one another in order to join together and regain their sense of original created wholeness.” This myth can be applied to so-called soulmates, but also to the divided self.
As soon as I have a cover, I’m entering my novel in Kindle Scout’s ongoing contest to be chosen for publication and promotion by Amazon. Featured novels are on the site for 30 days and can be nominated by readers to be published, so a cover with wide appeal is crucial. Here is the link to Kindle Scout:
From my Kindle Scout submission:
One-Liner: (45 characters or less)
Unravel the mystery of Incognolio or go mad!
Book description of 500 characters or less:
Adrift in the dreamlike narrative of his own novel, Muldoon traverses identities, planes of reality, and the dark recesses of his psyche in an effort to grasp the enigmatic Incognolio. Is he writing a story in which his stillborn twin sister has come to life, or is he the one who died at birth and it’s his sister who’s writing the novel? Guided only by the whims and dictates of his subconscious mind, Muldoon must finally face his demons and write his way to freedom or succumb to madness.
INCOGNOLIO is an unconventional novel, so I’m looking for a creative, innovative, visually- striking cover. I will describe my design concept, however I am open to any and all variants on the concept, as well as original designs that are wholly different from mine. (Addendum: I'd like to emphasize this last point. The first design submitted has nothing to do with my concept, and I like the composition. It has also disproved my notion that the title can't be presented horizontally without breaking it up.)
Cover text should be one of these three, depending on which one best fits your design:
a novel by
The nature of the title, which is a single made-up word containing ten letters, presents a challenge for the cover designer. I think the title is too long to be presented horizontally, unless it is broken up into two or more segments. This could work, but I worry that an unfamiliar word that is segmented might be too difficult to decipher. Therefore, I think a vertical presentation of the title is best.
I have chosen a design that duplicates and mirrors the title, creating an inner space. (See Attachments #1 and #2.) I am leaning toward the #2 design since it includes the mirror-image of the title and is visually more interesting, although I like both of them.
One possibility which could look cool is to use different colors for the two titles and then have them merge at the top I and the bottom O. (Blue, red, purple, for instance.)
My concept also includes an interesting, possibly textured, background. Here are several that I like and are available for free, but you need not restrict yourself to these:
Dirty Blue Painted Metal
Dirty Old Blue Painted Metal
Grunge Paper Background
Grunge Background of Old Paper
Hessian Bag Texture pfQ96yy.jpg
I don’t have a clear vision of the space created by the joined titles, so I’m open to anything. Some ideas I’ve had include:
• All black.
• An eye or eyeball peering out at the viewer.
• An indentation, hollow, fissure, gash, or bottomless hole. (Although be sure not to make it look gynecological!!!)
• A glimpse of an interior landscape. Could be of Nature, alternate universe (but not too different from Earth), surreal, mysterious, or an interior landscape of the psyche. (See Chilean painter Roberto Matta, Paul Klee, or Joan Miró for the latter.)
• An image related to mirrors, reflection, twins, or conjoined twins.
• A comedy/tragedy image.
The interior space formed by the lettering could be shaped differently than mine. It could be a keyhole, although I fear that this is something of a cliché. If I choose a keyhole design, then I would change my Kindle Scout one-liner from Unravel the mystery of Incognolio or go mad! to Unlock the mystery of Incognolio or go mad!
Two adult twins, male and female, (perhaps back-to-back but not necessarily) trapped in a womb or amniotic sac, tangled together by their umbilical cords!
As specified by the Kindle Scout folks:
“Your cover image needs to be taller than it is wide (we recommend 2560 pixels in height and 1600 pixels in width or a 1.6 height/width ratio). We're unable to accommodate images less than 500 pixels in either direction. Also make sure that it is in PNG (.png) or JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg) format and no larger than 5MB.”
Note: Although I prefer custom work, since so many designers use stock images I've decided to provide an additional budget allocation of up to $100. However, note well that I will reject any design that just imports a stock image and plops it on the cover. The design can incorporate stock imagery, but the cover must be a unique design that can't be easily replicated.
#1: Suggested lettering design.
#2: Alternate design using mirror-image lettering.
#3: First three chapters of INCOGNOLIO as Word doc.
#4: First three chapters of INCOGNOLIO as PDF file.
#5: Two-page synopsis of the novel.
That’s it! INCOGNOLIO represents four years of hard work on my part, so I’m eager to find a cover design that knocks readers’ socks off, boosting the novel’s chances for publication. Please feel free to send me a message for further clarification or for feedback on your design-in-progress.