“What’s THIS One About?”

I like the covers for my books.

There are some I like more than others but I do have positive feelings about all of them. I know a lot of authors aren’t able to say the same thing, so I consider myself very lucky.

When people come up to my table at cons and compliment me on the covers, I think they think I have a lot more to do with the process than actually I do.

For example, with the books where I’ve worked with Samhain Publishing, they have me fill out a questionnaire to pass along to their art department. These artists haven’t read the books. I’m not even sure they’re horror fans at all, and considering that I try to make my suggestions for the cover art as straight-forward and visual as possible. I offer colors I think would work well, describe some central images from the book, attach some “mood” art to the file, then send it off and hope for the best.

This process was how the cover to my second novel, The Summer Job, was created and I’m happy with the results.

For the most part. It’s a good cover, I like the colors and composition, but maybe it’s a better cover for a book that’s not The Summer Job. I’ve heard from people who’ve picked it up thinking it would have more in common with the erotic horror of my friend John Everson. It’s not, and I’d be bummed if I picked up a book thinking it was one thing and getting something way different.

Coming off of my first title with Samhain, I really wanted to mix my style up and not do a novel that would read like Video Night Part 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold.

The Summer Job was a deliberate attempt to write the anti-Video Night. That book had a ton of characters who got their own perspective chapters? I tried bolting The Summer Job‘s perspective down to the protagonist for most of the book. That book had crazy, over-the-top alien violence? The Summer Job would be much more restrained in that respect. That book dealt with the obsessions of teenage boys? The Summer Job would be an honest attempt at a much more feminine point of view.

So, as much as I like the cover Samhain came up with, I’m not crazy that my deliberately more restrained and demure book has a cover sporting a woman in a sheer gown, her nipples visible.

The cover for Samhain's paperback edition.

The cover for Samhain’s paperback edition.

People like the cover, it probably helps sell books, but still: what I had in mind while writing wasn’t that cover. And that’s cool, that’s the way of the world. I am not a graphic designer, nor a marketer, nor an editor. But I do know that the cover captures attention, this last weekend at Scares That Care (shout outs to Joe Ripple and Brian Keene for a great con, everyone go next year!) I had a lot of people look down my line of books and stop when they get to The Summer Job.

“What’s that one about?!”

The cover definitely does its job.

When I was first approached by Sinister Grin Press about doing a signed limited edition hardcover for one of my books, I saw it as an opportunity to get a “director’s cut” version of this cover. I found Sasha Yosselani’s work by complete chance, she was set up at the Philadelphia Comic Con and I took down her information just in case. Her art is miraculous and her style is an exact fit for the book.

Here’s her cover, title and further design by Frank Walls:


And here’s some internal artwork that will be gracing the inside of this very special edition:

summer job internal

Whoa! I love this art. Privileged to have some of the work I’m proudest of looking this good.

Not content with dope art, Sinister Grin went so far as to secure new a new blurb for a book that’s been out for a couple of years:

“Adam Cesare’s [The Summer Job] is reminiscent of the slow-burn, atmospheric films of Ti West, full of foreboding, uneasiness, and the notion that evil can lurk right next door…or, in this case, just beyond the trees. With smooth prose, likable characters, and deepening sense of dread, horror fans will find much to like here.” –Ronald Malfi, author of December Park and Little Girls

As a fan of Malfi’s work (and Malfi the guy), this was an unexpected perk of this new edition.

Pre-orders are open from now until August 8th (I think). And if the book  hits its production limit before then, not even getting an order in before the 8th will secure you a copy. Order now if you want one!

As I’ve said in the past about limited editions*: I know these books are expensive. They have to be to pay the artists, writers, printers, and editors involved in producing a book with such a small print run. But they’re for a specific kind of book collector and I certainly won’t be offended if you’d rather opt for the cheaper ebook or trade paperback editions of The Summer Job.


In other news, my second Paper Cuts column is now up on Cemetery Dance Online. Pleased as punch to be there. This one’s about three pieces of fiction that demand to be adapted to film. Read, share, comment until your heart’s content, people! Thanks!

*and, a quick update on Zero Lives Remaining, a book many people have been asking about and many pre-orderers have been VERY patient about: proofs off the book and packaging have been printed and are being looked over by the editors as you read this. I’ve seen pictures and they look AMAZING. There’s still no concrete shipping date for the book (Shock Totem has made and broken a lot of deadlines for this incredibly involved project, so you can forgive them for not wanting to break another one), but it’s almost done!

One thought on ““What’s THIS One About?”

  1. This is a great piece. Nothing seals the deal better than an awesome cover that pays service to the book, and this is a superb cover.

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