Backstage: Do judge a book by its cover

book covers

Don’t judge a book by its cover.  That’s a weird saying.  Covers are designed to help you judge the book.  They’re designed to make you pick them up, or click on them, to find out more.

Look at these above – you can see which is science fiction, fantasy, horror and not sure.

Think of the last fifty novels you read.  In how many did you think, oh that cover misled me? It might have been a terrible book, but was it in the ballpark of the sort of book you wanted?  You didn’t pick up a light women’s fiction beach read and find duelling dinosaurs in it, for example.

Agents and publishers know covers matter, not least because booksellers care about them too.  Big publishers have been known to consult Waterstones and the supermarkets.  I’m told a publisher once paid for a special cover just for Tesco, cos the supermarket didn’t like the planned one.  Smart self-publishers pay for professional designs, even when their book is primarily sold on Amazon.  Covers matter.

Authors have rights to be consulted on the cover, and I detected just a touch of nervousness in The Big Publishing Office.  A little warming up work as they prepared to show me what they believe Our Child of the Stars should look like.  They showed me the proposal – and I loved it.  It really suits the book.  It has the mix of wonder, love, beauty and a hint of darkness that it needed.  They love it too.  We sat in the canteen and loved the cover together.   It’s been presented to the sales team, and they love it.

An important feature is that it is designed to appeal to a very broad audience, which is what the book wants and needs.  I’m very happy with where we are going.

No, it’s not quite ready yet, and probably the cover reveal will be next year when more is sorted.  Why not be the first to see it? 

And I will be trumpeting the designer’s name because we creatives gotta stick together.

PS: I could have given a million examples but contrast Alison Littlewood’s dark and chilling Gothic, and a beautiful take on Jeeves and Wooster

Jeeves and Wooster, Bertie up a tree

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