Always judge a book by its cover

Vagrant Kings Book CoverThe first idea involved a stolen shopping cart filled with dirty, old Kings basketball gear. Above the cart, in navy blue letters, the words “Vagrant Kings.”

The shopping cart routine seemed a little too high-concept for a book on the history of the Sacramento Kings franchise. So I decided to keep it simple when designing the cover for “Vagrant Kings: David Stern, Kevin Johnson and the NBA’s Orphan Team,” due out in a couple of weeks on Amazon Kindle and iBooks.

Here’s what we have: The title in capital letters above a basketball swooshing through the sky, leaving a purple contrail. Now that makes a statement.

Book covers are a big deal. In preparing “Vagrant Kings,” I  had several wonderfully talented art directors offer to produce a cover for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. No doubt their cover art would have been beautiful. But I wanted something that instantly said what the book was about: a basketball team that couldn’t stop moving. Until now.

Another decision involved the colors. The Kings have worn many hues, appropriate for a franchise that bounced its way across the U.S. from Western New York to Southern Ohio, to Western Missouri and even into Nebraska, before landing in Northern California.

Along the way, the Kings have been navy blue, baby blue, red, white and blue, black and purple. The “Vagrant Kings” cover colors highlight the key parts of that spectrum, blue, purple and black (and the ever-present burnt orange for the basketball).

I don’t know anything about art design or computer graphics, but have been fortunate to know people who are very good at those things. My thanks and appreciation goes to my talented friends, who are named in the acknowledgements for “Vagrant Kings.”

I’m eager to hear your thoughts about the “Vagrant Kings” cover. It will appear on e-book editions. As for the hard copy print edition, I’m still thinking about the cover. Maybe the flying basketball cover will stay, but who knows?

Maybe a shopping cart filled with dirty old Kings gear.