...sometimes it's better.
like I had envisioned – and, boy, am I glad.
I remember the very first time I stopped to consider the cover. My publisher
Thomas & Mercer had sent a questionnaire in which I was asked, among other
things, to describe my ideal cover and the mood I wished it to convey. They also
asked me to submit images or other art to guide the cover designer.
thriller about the dark side of social media, so I knew immediately the cover
should feel foreboding. And my story revolves around a hero who goes on the run
to save himself and, it turns out, pretty much everyone else. So I thought my
cover should feature a man looking over his shoulder as he escapes a group of
people linked together in a network of spokes and nodes. As a second option, I
suggested a collage of a face of a woman, suggestive of the socialbots in my story.
Many weeks passed as I lost myself in copy editing and proofreading my story.
Then one day I received an email with two cover concepts in an attachment. I
fumbled with my mouse as excitement got the better of me. I clicked on the
attachment and the covers popped onto my screen... Ugh!
The first cover was an assault on the senses, starting with the x-rayed images
of people superimposed on a network of colorful nodes and connecting lines that
gave way to a big black hole in the center of the frame. The title and my name
were laid out within this circle. I hated it. The second concept featured a
collection of pixelated faces, washed in a blue-green tint that felt cold and
distant. A total turn off.
The strange thing was that even though I viscerally disliked the images, I could
totally understand how the designer came up with those covers. They certainly
fit with the vague notions and art samples I’d submitted on the questionnaire.
I was worried. As a new author, I didn’t know how much I could or should push
back. Making matters worse, my agent really liked the first concept. In the end
I decided to speak up. We could do better, I said, and to T&M’s credit they
quickly agreed to go back to the drawing board.
A second round of covers, concepts three through five, arrived several weeks
later. These were better but equally unsatisfying. Concept three featured a man
running through a tunnel but the image simply didn’t resonate with me. Number
four took a minimalist approach; nothing more than big block letters
superimposed over a metallic blue background. The third one came completely out
of left field. It featured a tangle of bright green lines wrapped around the
title. The lines, I was told, were supposed to represent computer cables. But to
me, they looked more like strands of algae, and it didn’t help that the
background was also deep green. I couldn’t help but think I was staring at the
cover of some bio-thriller, or perhaps a horror story about the swamp monster.
I hopped on the phone with the T&M team a short while later and tried to
diplomatically share my thoughts. At one point, however, the phrase “swamp
monster” slipped from my lips and I quickly tried to soften my criticism by
adding: “It might work… if the lines and background weren’t all green.”
I didn’t know it at the time, but that throwaway line sealed the deal. A day
later, on a second call, the T&M team declared that it was time to come
together behind a concept and move forward. Their clear favorite was the “swamp
monster” – with a new color scheme. And since I’d suggested it, I couldn’t
really back away from the idea.
I endured a very uneasy week, worried I’d be saddled with a cover I didn’t like.
But when it arrived, I found myself staring at an image that was at once very
similar and yet completely transformed. The cables were now various shades of
green, yellow and blue and the once green background was predominantly charcoal
black. It looked darn good. In fact, the more I looked at it the better I liked
it. I couldn’t have asked for more.
Scott Allan Morrison was a journalist for almost twenty years, covering
politics, business, and technology in Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
Morrison arrived in Silicon Valley as a reporter for the Financial Times during
the darkest days of the dot-com crash. He later covered the Web 2.0 boom for Dow
Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Over the course of a decade,
Morrison covered most of the world’s top tech companies and chronicled many of
Silicon Valley’s greatest stories, including the rise of Internet insecurity and
the explosion of social media. Before setting his sights on journalism, he spent
four years teaching English and traveling in Southeast Asia. He speaks fluent
Spanish and very rusty Mandarin. He lives in Northern California with his wife
and his hockey sticks.
Circles is the most popular social network in the world: vast,
ubiquitous, and constantly evolving. Days before expanding into China, Circles
suffers a devastating cyberattack—and a key executive is brutally
As he fights to save the company he helped build, top engineer
Sergio Mansour uncovers evidence of a massive conspiracy that turns the power of
Circles against its users. But as Sergio investigates, someone is watching his
every move—someone ruthless enough to brand him a criminal and set a vicious hit
man on his trail.
Desperate to clear his name, Sergio turns to Malina
Olson, a beautiful and headstrong doctor who has an agenda of her own. Now, he
and Malina must survive long enough to expose the truth in a world without
hiding places, where a single keystroke can shift the global balance of
2 comments posted.
I love that cover! Even if it didn't scream "I'm a bunch of wires and stuff," it's cool looking and eye catching. And that's what really matters (I think!).
(Teri Anne Stanley 1:35pm January 13, 2016)