Dear Mr. Goldberg

Allow me to express my heartfelt congratulations on your two successful books.  Since I am an illustrator, and it falls within my professional interests, I must profess admiration for the covers of both your books.  The smiley face with the Hitler mustache is iconic and jarring.  Furthermore, the cover’s simple design intertwines nicely with the books academic leanings, but the smiley prevents it from appearing humorless.

The Roman Genn cover is equally provocative and conjures the aesthetic of opinion journalism.  R. Genn is a master of his craft and a fearless caricaturist (I noticed when I went to his site that he’s annoyed some soviet/anarchist hackers, which would be easy for anybody, but for R. Genn it must have been as effortless and natural as breathing).  At any rate, I have nothing but respect for the artistic decisions of Doubleday, RandomHouse, and Penguin.  Indeed, as everyone knows, art directors are second only to the angels.

I notice a few things.  One, Liberal Fascism is academic but softened with irreverence,  whereas the Tyranny of Cliches is irreverence hardened with academics.  Your latest book has as many pop-culture references as the sermon of a nondenominational evangelical youth pastor.  It becomes clear that your nerdy love of C-PAC and your nerdy love of Comic-con are both branches on the same tree.

I can’t imagine this would happen, but if your buddies at the American Enterprise Institute encourage you to write a somber conservative think-tanky book, or if you feel goaded into it by the pompous condescension of the world’s Joe Kleins, I think you ought to resist.  For your third book I think you need to go full nerd.  Don’t do something like this:

Let’s face it, there are a gazillion of these books, and they are read by a very narrow demographic.  Instead, do something like this:

AND… let me do the cover.  The title is a little slapdash, and I assume that you could get Vince Vaughn to give you another quote.  BUT, here’s the deal: Nothing makes a book jump off the shelves of the bookstore like a cover with flaming hands.  I know you know this.  My proposal is simple.  Resist the somber, serious third book.  Continue your blend of serious and silly and go full nerd.  Also … let me do the cover.  Email me when you’re ready.


Zach Franzen


Published by Zach

I'm a writer and illustrator living in Creedmoor NC.

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  1. I read most of Jonah Goldberg’s books and I would love to see your cover art on the next one. It is cool and not completely nerdy.

  2. I LOVE this pitch! Very inspiring (I’m a freelance illustrator as well). I’m a big fan of Jonah Goldberg… and now I’m a fan of your work, too. Awesome that you got mentioned in NRO and on his twitter feed. Best of luck!

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