The Mind of Matt

Since 1961

A Book By Its Cover

Now that I’ve written my first gay-themed novel and sent it out into the world, I realized that nobody was going to notice it because the cover design I created using vector clip art was boring. Apparently, you don’t get noticed in this genre unless you have a cute guy or two on your cover.

I use Adobe Software to produce my books, doing everything but the actual printing. The cover design and the typography within are all 100% me. My membership in the Creative Cloud entitles me to ten free images from Adobe Stock, so I went to work.



I have no idea who this guy is. He’s some model who sold this picture of himself for others to use royalty-free. I took one look at him and said “Yep, that’s Adam.” I shose him especially because of the intensity of his eyes, as Adam’s eyes figure prominently into the story. Alas, my innominate model has hazel eyes, so I turned them blue in Photoshop.

Since this is a love story, I also need to find my virtual imaginary friend a boyfriend who’s also a cop.


Two Faces of Steve

Adobe Stock had several images of this guy in various poses. I licensed both images, both wearing a poker-face (another element described in the story) and cracking a smile while he check’s out Adam’s tight, round, perfect little ass.

Wouldn’it be a kick in the butt if these guys know each other in real life? Wouldn’t it be a gas if they were really boyfriends?

The really nice thing about both of these images were that the subjects were posed in front of solid, neutral backgrounds that I could easily remove in Photoshop and add in my own background for each of them. Here’s where I had to get really creative. The backgrounds are all my own photography, including the anti-gay sign pictured in the promotional video.

saloonBecause in the story Adam is a regular customer at The Saloon, I superimposed him over the bar as a backdrop. I took this photo in 2014, so it’s pretty much what the place looks like in the story.

nicolletmallFor Steve’s background, I went into my archives and found a generic picture of Nicollet Mall, so that Steve can be pictured posing in front of the city he protects and serves.

For the front cover, I combined three images: Adam in the foreground with Steve standing behind him, poker-faced. I decided it would look better if one of them was smiling, and while I have several images of Steve to work with, I have only one of Adam.

They had a lot of poses of the cop, but many were’s usable because he’s brandishing his gun, and while I leave it to the reader to notice this, at no point in the story does Steve ever draw his gun.

coverartThe finished cover composites Adam in the foreground and Steve standing behind him. I applied some lighting effects and a lens flare to the background and gave Steve a bluish glow. (I call it an “Obi-Wan glow.”

Finally, the text. I complete the cover using Adobe Illustrator, which allows me to precisely position type elements, then turn them into outlined shapes so I don’t need the font file. I set the front and back covers separately, then merge them into a wraparound cover complete with spine text. Combined into a cover plate, the end result looks like this:

front cover

Now there’s a cover that will get noticed.

Updated: October 18, 2016 — 8:18 AM
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