The first thing which struck me about this book cover was not the title, but the blue. Unrelenting blue – a strongly masculine colour – in seeming contrast with the subservient-looking dachshund. It’s this contrast, with its undertones of power struggle, which provides the intrigue.
If you don’t believe me, imagine this cover in pink. You see? Bye, bye tension.
It’s almost irrelevent whether the power struggle is sexual or simply a relationship struggle, but not quite. Because sexuality is brought into the sub title. Not a book about man and dog, but specifically about gay men and their dogs.
The promise of intrigue and tension offered by the cover’s visual semiotics is given a serious veneer by the font used. It is the kind of font used by serious newspapers. Although the title contains a pun, the cover persuades that there is more depth to this book.
And the dachshund? This shows how much thought does go into book covers. Co-author Neil Placky tells me that his publishers cross-referenced zip codes where gay men lived with zip codes for dog breeds and the greatest correlations was with dachshunds.