Hi, here’s another facet of being an author that many readers have asked about. How does a book get its cover?
The process varies between publishing houses. At most houses, the author is asked for input and information about the covers and the text that appears on the outside of the book. But 98% (my estimate) of all authors do NOT CONTROL what goes on the cover of a book. Who does?
Though editors have some clout, it seems to me, the marketing department holds sway over covers. (I often think about being an artist and having to paint a cover to please a marketing department in addition to picky authors–the artists have my sympathy!)
At Steeple Hill, a division of Harlequin/Silhouette, Love Inspired authors like me fill out an AFS-Art Fact Sheet-for each book. The form is done online now and is quite exhaustive–covering a short synopsis of the books plot, a complete description of hero, heroine, important secondary characters, season of book, and the description of three scenes from the book. It takes hours to complete.
At other houses, I’ve been given suggested covers to comment on. One house even let me choose the models for two of the covers and another house lets me help write the back cover text.
At one house, however, I wasn’t asked for any input and was just given covers. One of which was the most hideous cover ever known to mankind–Just my opinion. But I think that a book cover ought to ATTRACT a reader to pick up the book from the shelf (or click Larger image button on the online page)–not repel them.
So here’s the cover I’m talking about. Look at the heroine’s face and the hero’s and all the clutter!
In the story, I said that the heroine wasn’t good-looking in the usual way, but that didn’t mean she was UGLY! And she’s a daring 1920’s flapper–not a school miss! And would you be tempted by that hero???? I ask you.
Nearly a decade later another house bought my Blessed Assurance series, all three books, and reissued it. Now I think this cover is ATTRACTIVE. Look at the first one and then the second one. Which do you prefer??
I have tried over the years to cultivate a detached attitude toward covers because ONLY THE NY TIMES BESTSELLING authors have control over their covers (and not all of them either probably). And what to me might be ugly, must have looked good to somebody, right?
Drop by my website and look at my book page. Let me know what your favorite cover and least favorite there are. Do you agree with my opinion of the covers above?
Next Tuesday, I’ll be posting another of these How It Works articles.
Hope you’ll drop by!