So, at long last, we have a cover for “Football for a Buck,” my upcoming USFL book.
Selecting a cover is, perhaps, the weirdest part of the whole writing experience. So, as the author you’re given a pretty strong say—but not the final say. You have an idea in your head, but my art skills are … well … um … eh. Here, take a look:
In other words, a publishing company would have to be cracked out to take me overly seriously.
In regards to the USFL cover, we went back and forth—a lot. I envisioned something entirely different. You know, a really 1980s ooze to the whole thing. Bright colors, big hair, Jim Kelly and Donald Trump and Herschel Walker. The uniforms. The tube TV. Keith Jackson and Lynn Swann side-by-side in garish beige ABC blazers. But, come day’s end, I’m not the expert, and I’m also commercially biased. This book is my baby. But taking ownership of a project doesn’t mean you’re also thinking sales and marketability. The publishing company’s first priority is moving product. So, ultimately, it’s their call. And, also ultimately, I’ve grown to dig this cover. It’s different. It’s strange. It also doesn’t carry the political baggage of Trump’s face.
I get it.
Anyhow, this is my eighth book, and my covers have been a pretty mixed bag. I can actually break them down quite simply. Or, even better, rank them from worst to best. So here you go …
Boys Will Be Boys is probably my biggest seller. But, Jesus, it’s a tragic cover. Looks like my 11-year-old son decided to do something creative with his iPad while blindfolded.
My Barry Bonds biography, Love Me, Hate Me, was a disaster from the get-go. First, it came out two weeks after Game of Shadows. That’s never good. Second, nobody understood the cover. I’d do interviews, and people would say, “Jeff is the author of a new book, ‘Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero.” They missed, entirely, the thing across Bonds’ chest.
Showtime isn’t terrible, but it’s sorta weird. I dunno. It’s super shiny and yellow, which is nice. But why is A.C. Green there? I never asked, because I didn’t want to offend. But Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Riley, Buss, some cheerleaders … and A.C. Green? Why?
It took me a long time to like The Bad Guys Won! cover—but now I do. It’s very 1980s tabloid, and sorta screams everything you need to know about the content. That said, the subtitle is laughable. I wrote the damn book—and I only have 30 percent memorized.
I absolutely love the Gunslinger cover. It’s classic and classy and, if one looks closely, he can see grass being kicked up from Favre’s feet. No complaints.
I didn’t enjoy this experience, and the sales were pretty meh. But the cover for The Rocket That Fell to Earth is wickedly cool. I particularly dig the font, and the font angle. Loved this from the very start.
I just think it’s perfect. Sweetness.