As a printer I had some hands-on training in graphic design, and as an indie author I enjoy taking care of the typography of my books and making my own covers. Hover over the cover of “D for Daisy” with the mouse cursor and click on the highlighted fields to find out more.
These are always a bit fake in the sense that they give the impression that the publisher wrote them, but as a rule it’s the author who contributes his own blurbs. The funny thing is, I always start a new book by writing the blurb. Just that. When I begin I basically don’t know more than anyone can read at the back of the cover.
Then I need to flesh out that very brief outline, and if all goes well I have the disturbing feeling that the story writes itself. That’s the difference between “pantsers” and “plotters”. But even authors who write by the seat of their pants still need to take off from some kind of short airstrip.
This is the biggest fake of all. I invented this mythical magazine to recommend my modest offerings to you unwaveringly, dear reader. It is also an interesting device for adding a different perspective to the cover material, less businesslike, more quirky.
Isn’t it dishonest to sing your own praises by means of a forgery? Absolutely, but I’m assuming that the deception is transparent enough not to have taken in for one moment such clever people as my readers. After all, they’re Mystery lovers!
Nick Aaron is my pen name, therefore fake, or rather: carefully designed.
My real name is Nicolaas Ouwehand, quite a mouthful, and not easy to remember. Nick Aaron seemed more catchy, with the added advantage that the surname will appear at the top of most alphabetical lists.
Some friends asked me if I didn’t mind using a Jewish name: “It might put off some potential customers.” I told them I didn’t want such customers anyway. As for my Jewish readers, I have to come clean: as far as I know the Ouwehand family has no Jewish lineage, but I consider it an honour to adopt a biblical name. I hope you have no objections.
On the other hand, as long as you like the stories, what’s not to like about Nick Aaron?
There is one rule you cannot escape in self-publishing: you have to own the rights. This includes the cover photos. I wouldn’t dream of using material not my own for my cover art. But fortunately photography has always been a hobby of mine.
At first I designed my covers with pictures of hands, but in the end only “D for Daisy” has remained from that first concept. Then I decided to use pictures of trees or vegetation, you can express a lot of moods with such photos: Parisian, tropical, Mediterranean and all. Lately I’ve added more classical landscapes, from Berlin or the Swiss Alps, and Roman ruins for Desiderata of course. Check out the gallery in the "posts" section if you want to see some originals from my book covers.
My brand in a nutshell, but why on earth did I embark on such a series? I guess I liked the challenge, and the fact is that it has stimulated my creativity in no small measure.
However, the idea of a blind sleuth is nothing new, starting with “Max Carrados”, the creation of Ernest Bramah (1868-1942) as a competitor for Sherlock Holmes. Add at least three other blind detectives from the Golden Age of the Mystery. More recently “crip lit” has yielded a number of “supercrips”, some with Fantasy elements, some not. All in all this a diverse and rewarding subgenre in its own right.
Again a fake that arises from the design. In my opinion a book does not look real without the name of a publisher. Just check out most indie publications, and you’ll feel that something is missing: no one owns up to publishing them. So I just made up a humorous name and put it at the bottom of my covers. But AIP does not really exist.
Having said that, I wouldn’t have minded a traditional publisher, I spent many years looking for one and never got past the gatekeepers. Self-publishing is not ideal, believe me, but if the only alternative is to go to the grave unpublished, the choice is easily made.