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Book Cover Illustration Idea



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Mystery? Looks like a little orient, a little North America and a pinch of central Europe.


A disheveled writer walks into a small but prestigious publishing office. The publishing agent watches in amusement as one of the oddest-looking ducks he's seen fumbles his way through the big oak door.

The publisher's mind drifts for a moment as he takes in the larger picture of the yellow shafts of light filtering in through the old, wrinkly glass windows & the mixture of dust & pipe smoke drifting gently through the room. His brief reflection on a time when this might have been a young Earl Hamner shyly making his awkward way is broken by the door slamming shut & the violent little swirls of visible air pulling his attention back, & he focuses his gaze on the character who has just stepped into his world.

The writer's clothes are dirty & ill-fitting. His hair looks as if Einstein had just gotten out of bed after a night of sleeping standing on his head. His glasses are crooked, his shirt buttons misaligned with the button holes, his shoe strings loose & dragging the ground. The most conspicuous feature of the writer is his shoes; they appear to be several sizes too large, & they flop on his feet like the ones of a falafel vigilante the publisher had known & lost contact with decades ago. The writer carries his manuscript in both arms--what appears to be a scrambled pile of files & tying paper he had just scooped out of an office garbage bin.

The publishing agent agrees to look at the manuscript out of sheer curiosity. As the agent & the writer discuss the concept of the book, the agent inadvertently passes by the title page. He reads the first page... then the second... & before he knows it, half an hour has gone by, the writer & the agent have settled into a pair of over-sized leather chairs, & he's more than 25 pages into the manuscript.

He finds the writer's style quirky & captivating, although there's a raw sense to it--there are short passages where the writer seems to completely lose his grasp of language & rhetoric, but as a whole, the work is approaching genius. The agent thinks, "With just a little bit of editing, this guy could be what Vonnegut or John Kennedy Toole should have been."

Excitedly, the agent calls a secretary in with a contract, & in the process he "closes" the pile of the manuscript & looks down at the title for the first time... The Tramp Stamp.

That'll be the first thing we have to work on...


Very evocative!

john cox:


Captivating stuff. Hope you can sit down and concentrate on what appears to be a fine gift for writing. It's always about discipline, though, isn' it?

Tasty little appertizer.


Thanks John.

Focus can be a problem--but not the problems that the publishing "industry" & literary agents are.

Publishers say, "Get an agent."

Agents say, "Get back to me after you're established--& then I'll want 100% of your cut of the first 2 projects."

I asked, "If I have to establish myself, what do I need you for?"


quirky & captivating is right. "falafel vigilante" :)

w00t, T!


John Cox is a painter, cartoonist, and illustrator for hire. For information about purchasing existing work or commissioning new work, contact him by e-mail at john555cox [at] hotmail.com.

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