Cover reveal for “A Welded Wave”

My First Book!

I don’t have words for this because it’s my first book cover and it’s so gorgeous!

Well, I lied, I do have words. I’m not sure if there’s anything that can render me completely speechless. I’m on of those people that always has something to say.

First, I want to talk about the cover itself, then I want to give Megan Derr and Less Than Three Press credit for being so awesome and provide context for people wondering what it’s like to work with them. I already spoke about my experience with the editor they assigned to my story in a previous post.

Why this cover works so well:

In “A Welded Wave” the main character, Mark, is working on creating a welded bike chain sculpture of “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” The image in the background is an illustration of that artwork. That’s where a third of the fantasticatude of this image comes from.

The other two-thirds comes from the colors and textures that were used by Aisha Akeju. All the tones come from metal oxidation, some from rust and some from the blue oxide that results if you heat up steel past 590 degrees and then let it cool. All of these colors would exist on bike chain that Mark welds.

Aisha hit upon the mottled appearance that rust has perfectly. The amusing thing is that the original image the dots as part of the spray from the wave. They fit nicely into the appearance of corrosion. The scratches throughout the image look like polishing lines in the metal. It looks as though the image was created upon a sheet of metal.

Below is a comparison between the section of the original image used in the cover and the cover itself:

Great Wave off Kanagawa beside Book Cover

Notice how the mottled texture, the lines, and the colors are all Aisha’s doing. She took a concept and crafted something outstanding with it. She was one of the two artists I requested when I was asked what I wanted for cover art.

Lastly, I want to draw attention to the lettering. The font of the title blends constructively with the textures behind it making a seamless whole. The W of “Welded” and the W of “Wave” make a wave-like line. So des the connection between the A and the V in “Wave.” A nice touch bringing the wave theme into the lettering itself.

My experience with LT3 Press:

Yes, I was asked what I wanted for cover art by Less Than Three Press after I signed the contract to have my book published. It was part of a form they have you fill out where they ask you about what you want for your author bio and other details.

This is how I responded to their question about cover art:
My two favorite cover artists on LT3 are Natasha Snow and Aisha-O. If either of them could incorporate some aspect of “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” that would be awesome since it’s the art piece that the main character is working off of in my story. Whether to include bike chain, the medium the main character works in, or not, I leave up to the artist.

I would never have come up with making the whole image look like it was done on metal to bring in the aspect of Mark’s chosen medium.

Not everything was perfect with the first draft of the cover. I sent it off to people who had helped me edit my book asking for feedback and one problem got a unanimous response from them: the A in “wave” in the title had two lines connecting it to the V so that it looked like the word was “Waave.”

Three of the people thought I should ask to have something incorporated into the cover image that would clue people in to the fact that the story takes place in Minnesota and not Japan. Some people wanted the title font and the author font to match better.

With two of the people, I hatched the idea of putting the Minneapolis skyline in place of Mt. Fuji to make it so that people would understand that this story wasn’t about Japan. I put this suggestion and the other things that were pointed out by my test readers in my response to Megan Derr about the cover.

She was kind and invested in her response saying:

  1. Adding the Minneapolis skyline to the cover would make it too busy and since most people don’t know what the Minneapolis skyline looks like, they’ll just assume its Kyoto or something.
  2. That the blurb and the cover work together to tell the reader what to expect.
  3. The author font being different makes it stand out from the title better and is more readable.
  4. The A V problem was something she would ask the artist to fix.

It is important to note that Megan Derr is a talented cover artist herself and I was careful to think about her points before I responded. I came to the conclusion that she had very good points and asked if we could change the blurb to include the fact that Mark got his MFA from the University of Minnesota so that people would not be as confused.

She said that changing the blurb would be perfect and sent me the proof of the cover. It is then that I noticed the cover still had the “Waave” problem and sent another email asking very nicely for that to be fixed.

The next morning, I got a revised cover from her and the problem was fixed. All of this occurred over the course of two days and I was often the slower to respond.

Initially, when I had to ask for changes, I was stressed. It turns out that my stress was unwarranted and working with Megan to get my cover out there was a positive experience. I got the feeling that she was just as invested in me getting a great cover as I was.

Does this make you want to show Less Than Three Press some love? Go over there and buy their books or get your copy of “A Welded Wave.”

What are your thoughts on this book cover or book covers in general? Put your thoughts together and ship them to me through the comment box.

“A Welded Wave” is Available for Preorder!

My first book comes out on February 14th! The title is “A Welded Wave” and it’s being published by Less Than Three Press. It’s a contemporary romance featuring a trans man artist and his gay best friend. The story is set in Minneapolis Minnesota. The blurb for the book is below:

 For Mark, choosing to transition was one of the best decisions he ever made. And life has been looking up recently because he’s got his MFA and landed a huge commission to build one of his welded bike chain sculptures. He’s even got Enis, the most amazing best friend anyone could ask for. The only thing he’d really like to add is a lover, but so far his romantic relationships have been nothing more than learning experiences.

Then a breakup leaves Enis available, and Mark starts to see possibilities he hadn’t before—but intimacy could ruin the friendship he values more than anything, and that’s assuming Enis would want him at all once the clothes come off.

Both Mark and Enis are total unabashed nerds. They know their internet memes, they actively follow comic book movies, and they could argue about which Star Trek captain was the best at their job. There is a strong undercurrent of “nerds in love” in this book. I too am an unabashed nerd, so I could not resist.

What I like most about this book is that I feel I succeeded at creating whole characters that are introspective about themselves and their relationship. My experience with relationships is that sometimes conflict comes from the way people think a relationship should be not matching up with what the relationship is.

Other than introspective characters navigating the road to becoming lovers, I have a body and sex-positive narrative that is playful and very down-to-earth. The story is told from Mark’s perspective and I had great fun writing the way he thinks. The sex in this story doesn’t leave much out, so be prepared for much hotness (or be ready to skip over some of it if you’d rather not know the specifics).

I’ll get the cover up as soon as it’s finished. An amazing artist named Aisha Akeju is the cover artist and I can’t wait to see how the cover turns out.

If you’re looking forward to having this book to read on Valentine’s Day, you can preorder it!

Have questions about this book or other commentary? I’d love to hear what you have to say below.