Oct 28, 2011

Covering Covers: Red Shirts - John Scalzi (with blurb)

Cover Designer: Peter Lutjen

Earlier this morning, Tor debuted the cover to John Scalzi's next project, REDSHIRTS. I received a call from a Tor employee shortly thereafter.

Tor: So what do you think about the cover?

Me: My opinion? I can't wait to read this book.

Tor: The cover makes you want to read the book?!?.

Me: Oh you wanted my opinion on the cover?It's alright I guess. It's kind of boring. But it doesn't really matter, I just want to read this book.

Tor: Yes, we understand that it's Scalzi. Everyone loves Scalzi. That's why we bought it. But we're asking you about the cover art. We don't just conduct probably fictional interviews with amateur bloggers to predict that a NYT Bestseller's book will do well. We employ an expensive sales team to do that.

Me: An expensive sales team? To predict if the next John Scalzi novel will be a bestseller? That seems a little overkill.

Tor: Well it's not that expensive. Besides we are publishing the next John Scalzi novel, that's going to sell like a gazillion copies. We can afford it.

Me: I'm not sure that's the best way to think about it. Wait, did you say "a gazillion copies"?

Tor: Yeah. I've got the sales report right here. [Sound of papers being moved around]

Me: I'll take your word for it. Listen, can I just talk to Irene Gallo?

Tor: Who's Irene Gallo?

Me: [silence]

Tor: Still there?

Me: Yes. But I'm starting to doubt this is a real call.

Tor: No, I'm really part of the Art Department. I can prove it!

Me: How?

Tor: I'll send you the alternate versions of the REDSHIRTS cover.

Me: You mean these?

Tor: Oh have you already seen those?

Me: Yeah, I love the 1st alternates. The 3rd isn't bad either. I think they're actually better than the final cover which, frankly, doesn't do a lot for me.

Tor: But I thought you said you liked the cover.

Me: No, I said I wanted to read the book. There's a difference.

Tor: Does that mean you're not going to buy it? I'll go get the sales team to rerun the numbers. We should have them by Thursday next week. We'll have to get Sanderson to write another book to pay for it, but I think he can have that to us by Wednesday if I catch him before he leaves.
Me: [facepalm] Let's move on. Is there anyway I could see the blurb?

Tor: [Clears throat]

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better...until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed. Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is...and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
Did you get all that?
Me: Is there anyway you could just send it to me?

Tor: How? Like in the mail? I'm not allowed to buy stamps anymore.

Me: Wait what? Could you just e-mail it to me.

Tor: E-what?


Tor: Hello? Hello? ........... Hey Irene, I told you I could get a fanboy to willingly give up on an interview with me. I prefer 2-liters and thick cut, maple glazed, thanks.


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