Even if you are just reading ElvisBlog for the first time, I’m sure you recognized them as Santa Claus and Elvis Presley. However, if you’ve been a reader for the past two years, then you know them as Santa Man and Big E, the characters in my rock & roll Christmas fantasy.
Why do they have different names? In my story, Big E is how Elvis introduced himself to Santa when he first arrived at the North Pole. Santa Man is simply a playful nickname that Big E gave Santa once they became good friends.
OK, so what is the strange-looking thing they are flying around in? Again, first-time visitors to this blog might say: “Looks like a gold Caddy convertible with runners instead of wheels and some kind of red propulsion flame coming out the back. Long-time blog readers know this is Big E’s jet sled. It was specially made for him by Santa’s elves, and it plays a significant part in their teaming up to save Christmas in my book BIG E and the SANTA MAN.
This sorry-looking drawing was the jet sled image on the first printing two years ago. I traced the lines of a 1959 Cadillac and drew the runners. I was trying to keep the costs down because graphic artists are expensive. I did have to pay for her to add flames and sky background and to cut and paste Santa and Big E into the jet sled.
I knew it was pretty amateurish, so I put it on the back cover. I spent the real money getting the designer to make a professional-looking front cover. Then, last year, I saw this picture.
I was like “Wow,” that’s the kind of runners I want on Big E’s jet sled. More to the point, they would be the kind of sharp, stylish accessories Elvis would want on a prized vehicle. I had made a little money on book sales, so I forked out some of it to have the designer put them on my so-so drawing.
The shiny metal runners look so much better, and the red flames were an improvement, so this image went on the back cover last year. Still, I wasn’t really happy with it. Then I found this picture on the internet:
I sent the picture to the graphic artist an asked, “Can you change it to gold, and replace the wheels with runners, and put Santa and Big E in it?” She said, “Sure, but it will take some time and cost you some real money.” I swallowed hard and said, “Yes, do it, but be gentle with your bill.” What she produced was outstanding, so it was time for a new cover.
The title font is the same as on the first printing, and two weeks ago I explained about the change in the tag line.
Coming up with a book cover is a learning experience. Several folks suggested that because there are two title characters, they should both be on the cover. This was not the case on the first printing, and I could see their point.
Some observers said the first cover was too busy, too much stuff. I could see that, too. But, another thing surprised me. Half of the folks I asked had no idea what the building was. This was in spite of the presence of Santa in the title, the North Pole nearby, and the word Claus over the front door. One non-Elvis fan even asked, “Is it Graceland?” Give me a break.
As I mentioned two weeks ago, the tag line in the red ornament didn’t give any clue what the story was about. So, once I had the new jet sled picture, it was time for a complete front cover redesign. I’m really happy with it.
And you will be happy, too, if you get a copy of this book. It is available on Amazon.com. Click here to go to the book’s page where you can get it for $7.99 or the Kindle eBook for $2.99.
There is also one thing I failed to mention in the first two Christmas season promotional pitches. Although I wrote the book to appeal to Elvis fans, it can be enjoyed by adolescent or young adult readers. The story is squeaky clean. I want to get Graceland to buy my book and make it into a one hour animated Christmas special, which would be watched by all ages. Plus my chances with Graceland will be enhanced if Big E is portrayed as straight-arrow kind of guy. We all know he used some saucy language in real life, but not in my story.
The phenomenon of Elvis’ continued popularity is because new generations of fans keep coming along. Where do they get this inclination from? Mostly their parents or even their grandparents.
So, if you have a young family member who doesn’t know about Elvis like you do, give them my nifty Christmas fantasy. Once they’ve read BIG E and the SANTA MAN, they will like this Big E guy, and you’ll have an opening to tell them all about Elvis.
But don’t forget to get a copy for yourself or copies to give to others. The record for books purchased by one person to give to others is eleven. Like I’ve said before, this is the perfect Christmas present for all Elvis fans. So, how about clicking on this Amazon link and getting a copy?