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Creative Brief

The Closing Days


Front Cover Text

Title: The Closing Days
Author: Isaac Kovach

Book Genre

Literary Fiction


Hardcover, Paperback

Trim Size

TBD (~5×8)


When Alex Vogel is expelled from Stanford for plagiarism, he travels to Vienna to escape the disappointed glare of his parents and to forget about how thoroughly his last girlfriend dumped him. His trip begins promisingly when he meets Johanna, a captivating student with whom he immediately shares an intense connection. He takes a job working for her grandfather and grows close with them both. They provide the sense of family that Alex often failed to find back home.

One afternoon over coffee, Johanna’s grandfather asks Alex to spy on a man as a personal favor. Alex accepts. What he observes forces him to consider that Johanna’s grandfather may have long hidden ties to National Socialism. Reluctant to falsely accuse her family, Alex keeps his suspicions from Johanna while he searches for the truth. Unsure whom to believe and desperate to preserve his relationship with Johanna and her grandfather, Alex plunges forward in pursuit of uncovering the past.

With a dry, observational wit similar to The Idiot by Elif Batuman and clean, haunting prose reminiscent of The Topeka School by Ben Lerner, this reflective and gripping story will appeal to readers of both literary and upmarket fiction.

Example Book Covers

Example Book Cover Descriptions

Catcher in the Rye
I think my favorite cover. Crisp text, room to breathe, a splash of color. Elegance.

Clean, refined, balanced. Just a little color and intrigue.

Pure Colour
Simple, yet striking. Love how the spot creeps onto the title. It’s an arresting cover.

The Trial
I like the split colors on the title. You can read this from across the room. Menacing.

Beautiful, clean text with an unmistakable image and just enough color.

Feels like a million other covers, but better. Clean.

Our Last Year
Almost perfect, but also almost too minimal. I go back and forth on this one.

Clean illustration, playful yet controlled.

Wrong Direction Book Covers

Wrong Direction Book Cover Descriptions

Too much color, the font of the author name is too slim, overall it’s too busy.

The Last Stars in the Sky
Every book cover looks like this. Too colorful, awful. Gives live, laugh, love vibes.

The Virgin Suicides
Looks like a hallmark card. It’s clean, but not striking.

General Likes & Overall Vision

I would like something that is crisp, clean, with splashes of color. I want you to be proud to hold and read this on the subway. The cover needs to have enough to intrigue, so it should be minimal but not look like a textbook. I’m going to be self-publishing, so a design that prints well on Print on Demand or a relatively low quality printer would be a good thing.

The photos on this flickr account are mine, so I could use them if you wanted. Many pics (like this specific one) are of Viennese cafes, where much of the novel takes place:

Cafe Hawelka II

Dislikes & Things to Avoid

No use of AI or any similar generative technologies.

I don’t like busy covers. I don’t like full bleed photos. I don’t like when it’s hard to read the title. I don’t like colored text over a dark background.

Stock Image Budget

$60 USD
At a Glance


$500 USD




4 weeks

Pub Date

June 2024


Matthew Kuhlke
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