August 27, 2013

Gimme an A

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine

If you were online over the weekend, you may have come across this amusing photo from an Alabama high school jamboree, showing a banner with the message: "HOOVER FOOTBALL CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSABLE FOR RUFFLED FEATHERS."  Apparently they can't be held responsible for correct spelling either.

The kids have already taken enough beating online for their faux pas, so I'm not here to join the fray.  In fact, as a writer, I thought the creativity they expressed in the ribbing of their opponents—the Falcons—was the bigger amusement.

As an artist, however, I find it hard to overlook the barely perceptible space between words, and around the edges too.  You gotta give the banner painters credit for using all available real estate, but it brings to mind one of the most recurring problems seen in amateur book covers, that of not leaving enough breathing room around the title.

Another common mistake is choosing a font that's hard to read, and in truth, the middle lines of this banner would have benefited from the bold treatment they gave the top and bottom lines.  While I'm at it, I don't like all these people standing in the way either, but I digress.

Rather than dwell on less-than-worthy works of art, my goal today is to remind you that this is your last week to vote for the book covers you think really do make the grade.  Through this Saturday night, August 31, tell us what book covers you find most visually appealing, intriguing, entrancing.  They can be any book ... recent releases, a few years old, even your own book cover (hey, if you got it, flaunt it).  In the November issue we'll show you the books that lead the pack, and better still, we'll talk to the authors and artists about how they designed their winning covers.

What's in it for you (besides what's certain to be an enlightening and inspiring article)?  Everyone who votes is automatically entered in a drawing for one of 10 online subscriptions we'll be giving away next week. So rummage through your bookshelf, or your local bookstore, or better yet, visit the Southern Writers Bookstore right now and pick out up to five covers that catch your eye.

Then swing by and simply fill in your entry form to win. Your favorite authors will appreciate the nod, and it could be a banner year for you too.

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