The Library of Forever is a ten-episode short-story/novella science fiction series. Each "episode" is approximately 8,000 words and will be published separately through Kindle Select starting in early 2017. It will later be available in print and ePub format through other vendors such as iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.
In this contest, I am commissioning a front book cover* that will also serve as the signature style for the series "brand."
My target audience are the readers who go to space opera stories trying to capture the feeling they get when they look at a Hubble Telescope photograph, or read about a rover on Mars, or root for the latest SpaceX launch, then get frustrated that our society is not nearly as far along in space as we would wish. That is, they go to science fiction to see what could be, not to read about space monsters or to project our planet-bound fears and paranoia into the stars. The Library of Forever is about looking into the night sky and wondering what’s out there.
Space opera book covers show: (1) wide shots of space, (2) sweeping, dusty starscapes, (3) spacecraft, and (4) subdued, harmonious colors.
(*) Obviously, with this being a series of ten "episodes"/stories, there is a good chance other work will be commissioned beyond this initial front book cover. Specifically, I am envisioning this book cover will be the "base" book cover for all episodes. There will be a spot on the cover for (1) a changing episode title and (2) a smaller, changing, superimposed episode-specific image (depicting, e.g., key episode characters, planets, or space phenomena).
Artistic Cover Description: **PLEASE BASE BOOK COVER ON THESE SPECIFICS **
Commissioning: A book front cover image in Photoshop (.psd) format with three layers as specified below:
1. The title, The Library of Forever
2. Author name, Nancy E. Shaffer
3. Primary image
4. Removable episode title name
5. Removable episode-specific image
Note: Pinterest reference images are parked at https://www.pinterest.com/masqthephlsphr/tlof/.
Font is at the artist's discretion, but it should not draw attention to itself at the expense of the Primary Image. I prefer soft gold or bronze-colored fonts rather than white; that is, not too much contrast with a dark space background.
2. Author Name
Font is at artist's discretion, and can be different, but complementary to the title font.
3. Primary Image specs: **PLEASE FOLLOW**
The Primary image will feature (1) the Library spacecraft (2) emerging from an interdimensional portal (3) against a dust-strewn star/spacescape.
a. Library spacecraft
The Library was originally a sphere. Now that sphere is the hub of a spoke-covered spiked star or mace head-shaped craft. (see Pinterest board reference image #1 Spiky star shape).
Each spoke of the station is a separate module added by a different alien culture in a different epoch. The overall impression of the Library craft is not elegant, not entirely symmetrical, and yet it has an aesthetic that comes with years of alien parts forced to work together in cohesion.
The Library is millions of years old. It has been stumbled upon drifting through space and adopted again and again by myriad cultures who have repaired, upgraded, and altered it to suit their needs. You as an artist have an opportunity to imagine some of its history in your depiction. What might one or more of its spokes look like? What happened to the Library to make it look that way? The spokes will all remain pointed conical shapes, but their surfaces can be any color or texture as long as they each look like space craft exteriors of some sort (see Pinterest reference images #08, 09, #10, #11, and #12 for examples). I.e., you have to be able to imagine walking or storing material inside them.
Within their hulls, different treasures of knowledge, art, nature, or memory are stored in every encoded medium intelligence life in the Milky Way has ever conceived.
It is reasonable to expect their surfaces have suffered space debris pummeling and maintenance neglect.
b. The interdimensional portal
The Library craft will be fully visible on the book cover image after having emerged from a still-open interdimensional portal.
A dimensional portal is a theoretical/fictional phenomenon similar to water spinning down a drain, but closer to the size of a planet. It is a pinwheel of dust and energy, a doorway to a dimensional passage that lets the Library craft cross vast distances within the Milky Way in a brief period of time. In the cover image I envision, the Library craft would have just been expelled out the center hole of the whirlpool into a new area of space. See Pinterest reference images #05, #06, and #07 for the interdimensional portal and #03 and #04 for the concept of a craft emerging from an interdimensional portal.
c. Background: dust-strewn star/spacescape
The background around and behind the portal will be a dust-strewn starscape. Such backdrops are pretty standard in space opera book covers nowadays. I have attached some reference book cover images (Pinterest reference images #19 and #20) and general aesthetic images (Pinterest reference images #13 and #14). To make the image attractive and appealing, a nebula could be included if possible (Pinterest reference images #15 and #16).
Also, I would like there to be a sweep of an arm of the Milky Way (Pinterest reference images #16 and 17), but it should not dominate or overwhelm the image, just give readers a familiar point of reference for what can sometimes be an alien and alienating scene.
The Primary Image should NOT feature a planet or moon in the foreground (e.g., in the space that the Library craft is emerging out towards). Such space bodies can appear in the background sized proportionally for intermediate distance as long as they do not inordinately draw the eye. The main reason for this is that the Episode Specific image (see below) may be a planet or moon at some point, and I don't want them competing with each other and confusing the reader's eye.
4. Removable Episode Title Name
The episode title name for the contest image will be "Episode One" and will be its own separate Photoshop layer superimposed over Layer One. On Layer One, the coordinates of the episode title name should be a well-placed space containing inessential portions of the background image only. To judge the size of the space needed, understand the episode title name as a subtitle that will be in a smaller (different or the same) font than the title.
5. Removable Episode-specific image
The episode-specific image will be its own separate Photoshop layer superimposed over Layer One. On Layer One, the coordinates of the episode-specific image should be to the side of the Primary Image. The episode-specific image will be a MUCH SMALLER IMAGE than the Primary Image (taking up a dog-eared corner, for example), depicting key episode-specific characters, planets, or space phenomena.
I want the episode-specific images to have stylistic coherence from episode to episode and between the episode-specific image and the Primary Image, so while this contest is for the Episode One-specific image only, whoever gets the gig will likely be hired to do the other episode-specific images as well.
For Episode One, the image will be the main character. See attached character profile.
Please feel free to leave any questions you have in my customer profile inbox. Thanks!