I need a cover for an e-book (novel) that could also be used, eventually, as a cover for a paperback version. I will put up the e-book on "Kindle Scout" with Amazon, so visitors to the site will see a small but clear cover when browsing.
The title of the novel is "SUICIDE ITALIAN STYLE", a variation on an old Italian movie with Marcello Mastroianni called "DIVORCE, ITALIAN STYLE"
The author's name is Pete Pescatore, which is also the name of the chief protagonist and first-person narrator of the novel.
The "Kindle Scout" genre is "mystery/thriller".
Narrator Pete Pescatore is a freelance copywriter and journalist. In this novel, the first of a projected series, the action takes place in Milan, Italy and Lugano, Switzerland, a city notorious for its money-laundering banks. The flavor is noir/pulp fiction.
The dark heart of Italy bleeds in Milan
Milan is high fashion, design and luxe, but expat newshound Pete Pescatore is drawn to the city's darker side. After a high-speed crash leaves him a widower out of a job, Pete turns to writing to pay the rent — about wine and watches for lifestyle slicks, and crime for a gritty Roman tabloid. When Pete's old boss commits suicide and his editor sends him to track down the story, Pete has to pay the personal cost of his own dark pursuit of easy money.
Anyone browsing the "mystery/thriller/suspense" pages on "Kindle Scout" or on an Amazon website should understand immediately - just by looking at the cover - that this is a crime novel set in Italy.
Pete Pescatore's former boss is found dead in Lugano, Switzerland, an hour north of Milan by car. Assigned by his newspaper to track down the story, Pete returns to the city where he once worked and gets into life-threatening trouble there.
Pete Pescatore writes for a low-rent tabloid based in Rome called "Cronaca Nera Italiana" (roughly: Crime News Italy, printed in black ink on pale yellow newsprint). His boss in the Milan office is named Gianni ("Johnny"), who has a penchant for sensationalistic headlines based on conspiracy theories. He also has a beautiful Russian colleague who runs the online edition of CNI, Anastasia "Stazz" Napolitano. Stazz is a former Bolshoi ballerina who left Moscow for Milan and married a sleaze-ball lawyer from Naples.
Pete has an on-again, off-again relationship with Stazz and is forever getting entangled with one woman or another. So there is always some sort of a "femme fatale" figure in the story.
These are all classic elements of noir and pulp fiction, and you as the designer are free to play with these elements and with the dark side of Italy's reputation abroad (mafia, violence etc).
The pistol involved in this story is a SIG Sauer, standard issue Swiss Army pistol. It was used to shoot the victim in the head, and the plot revolves to some extent around the old trope, "suicide or murder?"
I am looking for a graphics/design style that will work for this novel and for future novels in the series. The series titel is not set yet, so there is no need to have it appear on the cover. I would hope to work with the same designer for future novels in the series. I have a second one in the works.
All stories begin in Milan and take the hero to another city somewhere - this one to Lugano, Switzerland, the next one to Shanghai. At the end of his adventures Pete always returns to base in Milan. He's been living there for more than 20 years after leaving Los Angeles, where he covered the crime beat before falling in love with an Italian woman and moving to Italy. He's a widower now, but that's another story.
I am open to your suggestions as to what you think will attract potential readers to a crime story set in contemporary Italy, and invite you to play with the ideas and information I have given you here. Both content and style of your cover design should evoke Italy today.
Should you wish to present the narrator/protagonist on the cover, a word on what Pete looks like: Despite his modest income he dresses like an Italian, and his looks are Italian as well – his family was originally from Sicily. He is just over six feet tall, in his early forties, has blue eyes, dark hair, no mustache/beard, and looks more weather-beaten than old. He's "hard-boiled" but by no means a cynic, loves his wine, women and song and all the other good things in life. He has little tolerance for the well-dressed weasels running the country, but has no time for conspiracy theories (or for the sensationalistic headlines his editor akes up to help sell copies of the newspaper. Remember, Pete is also the author of the novel, and it may help to know that the in the novel itself he makes fun of this sort of headline). He prefers facts to sensationalism, but recognizes that Johnny's headlines sell papers.
I will need the front cover, spine and back cover for SUICIDE ITALIAN STYLE The front cover image should be a separate file: 4500 pixels in height and 2820 pixels in width, (a 1.5 height/width ratio), in JPEG format, maximum size 5MB. You should probably check out the Kindle Scout site to see how the cover will be displayed online.
The back cover, apart from amplifying/continuing the theme presented on the front cover, should add the log line ("The dark heart of Italy bleeds in Milan" along with the "blurb" from above and the following comment about the author:
"Pete Pescatore lives in Milan, Italy, where he writes about crime, wine and watches." Please also include a dummy ISBN graphic on the back cover of the paperback version of the cover design.
Although this novel is intended as the first of a series, I don't want the series reference on the cover. I can always add it later.
The file(s) should be delivered in Adobe Illustrator and .pdf formats, with a separate cover image in JPEG format, both as specified above (4500 pixels x 2820 pixels) and in a high-res version.