My last blog in this journey we're taking focused on series creation. We're moving on to letter K in our nonsensical alphabet. K = cover design. The old adage “a picture paints a thousand words” is quite true, but for an author, that picture paints more like several hundred-thousand words, so it needs to be as spot-on as possible. It should give you a feel for what you’re getting yourself into, what you’re about to spend many hours reading. As a writer, I’m very much about the details—the little things that come together to create an excellent experience for the reader. Covers are an important part of it.
In this crazy industry, you may have little idea what goes on behind the scenes in creating the book images you tap on your reader or hold in your hand. In many cases, authors have little or no say about the images that dress their manuscripts, others have some, a few have all.
Friend and colleague, Matthew Peters, author of Conversations Among Ruins, was offered two designs by his publisher. Neither pleased him, but he had no real choice. His wonderful book (and soon to be play) about a drug addict clawing his way from the dark well is fantastic, and I hope you'll check it out. Like him, I don't believe the cover does this powerful book justice.
Harlequin gives New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Romance Author Lori Foster the opportunity to meet and choose the male models whose rock-hard chests beckon to her readers. Boy Lori, that must suck!
Unfettered when it comes to covers, I have free reign, which is both exhilarating and truly terrifying. I trade my author hat for a marketing one and pretend I know something about consumer research and current design trends (PS I did not major in marketing in college, so eek!) My choices may lead to glorious success or abject failure. Regardless, it falls on my shoulders.
The Interview: Susan Wade Saga Book 1 needed a cover, of course. I mean, it can't go around naked! So, I turned to my designer extraordinaire, Ashley Fontaine of One of a Kind Covers for her sage wisdom and a kickin' design. After providing her with a summary of the story, she came up with a look that fit the title and context perfectly.
Her design is clearly geared toward the female audience, my primary readership; though a percentage are male and like my writing enough to look past the, well, “look” of the book. The design has the semblance of our heroine, Susan Wade, crossing the cover with a determined stride, briefcase in hand, going somewhere in a hurry—a city, based on the backdrop. She’s wearing a professional-looking outfit and some mighty fine heels. Hmm…she’s probably en route to an interview, as the title suggests. Beyond the feminine, the pink edging has story significance, as readers will soon discover. Ashley's also chosen a font that's contemporary and and a little quirky, which suits the theme and hints at Susan Wade's personality. Unlike Lori Foster, I didn't have the opportunity to meet the woman whose lovely legs grace the cover, but her images now live on the first two books of The Susan Wade Saga, The Interview and The Carrot. There's continuity for you!
When you view The Interview’s cover, you immediately think Chick lit—a term currently unpopular in the publishing world. The industry now favors “Women’s Fiction”. In fact, Amazon Almighty does not actually have a category termed “Chick lit”. You can search the words, and a number of books will pop up in no particular order, but that's because the author has incorporated said term in his/her metadata (we’ll talk about that at a later time). Interesting, no? But readers are not bound by such terms or fads. We know what we like to read.
So, whether you're looking for Chick Lit or Contemporary Women's Fiction, this cover fits the bill, and the story will give you exactly what you've paid for.
What thoughts do you have on cover art? Please leave them in the comments section below. I’d love to know.
Also, don’t forget to put yourself on my Readers List. I’m always giving away wonderful items to thank my fans for their support. In celebration of the January 2016 release of The Interview, I’m offering up a Kindle Fire. Don’t miss out on that action!
Part 3 of our series focuses on the pages in between.
In the meantime, I hope the next book you read is outstanding!
The influx of self-published books and their success in the marketplace is indicative of an open-minded audience willing to try unfamiliar names not backed by large publishing houses. It’s a truly great time to be an author!