Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C = Authors as Assistant Cover Artists

So Camp NaNoWriMo finally started for me yesterday. I had a rough start and am still very much behind at 727 of 30k but it is a start at the least. And it constitutes at least one more blog post worth of material for the Kagerou's Journal story. Yay for getting ahead!



Every book needs a cover and the cover design process starts with the author. But what of those of us who aren't good at art or Photoshop?
Have you ever designed your cover in your mind? I used to design covers in sidewalk chalk while my preschool-age children drew flowers and monster faces. They were about as good as you'd expect with sidewalk chalk, which is to say about as good as I'd be able to produce even in a professional art studio with the entire contents of Oil Paintings And More at my disposal. I'd splash my title across the top and my name along the bottom and then some stick figure bit in the middle.

Then the rain would come, and the world was thankfully spared my artistic genius, assuming anyone even recognized that as a drawing in the first place.

You can't tell a book by its cover is the truism, but of course we judge books by their covers all the time. It's the face your work presents to the world. Your book cover is the introduction you're making to a potential reader.

My first novel's cover arrived in the mail one day. I was given no opportunity for input, but I thought it was okay (it grew on me later). Since then, working with small presses, I've had the opportunity to design four covers, and if this happens to you, you should know what to do. (Because at least one of those cover artists probably put a picture of me on a dart board.)

First, your book is a multifaceted work filled with interlocking meanings and chained symbols overlaid over a theme and a mood. And before you step any further, you need to know: a cover won't capture it all. You thought a 250-word query letter was insufficient? You're going to be longing for those 250 words.

What that means is you can't ask the cover artist to cram every bit of meaning in the book onto the cover. I've seen covers where the author and aritst seem to have plotted out every molecule of space: We'll put the main character here and the love interest looking in the opposite direction over there, and we'll superimpose that over the image of a rose, and beneath that we'll have the images of a locked treasure chest and a kitten, and in the background we should have an old Victorian house with birds flying overhead.

(I pulled that out of thin air, by the way. If I accidentally nailed your cover, my apologies.)

The problem with a cover like that is while you might think your book cannot be encapsulated without the rose and the kitten and the treasure chest, someone else's brain can't process it all in a glance. We don't know where to look first, and we don't know what the story is about.

So back up. The most important thing you can keep in mind when working with your cover artist is that the cover art is a selling tool.

 Continue reading at Query Tracker.

Enter The Eye of the Sword Giveaway until the 14th!

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I'd hire out for a cover designer. There are so many options these days at all kinds of price levels. I almost went to art school, and tend to be pretty artistic, but I don't know jack about designing for commercial book covers. That said, I would love to have input on a future cover, but I understand that isn't always the case for authors.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Labels

11 Questions (2) 2008 Olympics (1) 2013 (1) 500 Words (1) A Breath in Time (8) A Fairy Mistake (1) A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas (2) Across Time (63) Advent (1) Adventure at Anwar (8) Agent (6) Agents (5) Airlines (1) AJAiken (1) Alice in Wonderland (1) Alice Oglethorpe (7) Alphasmart Dana (6) Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (1) Andromeda Spaceways (3) Angel (5) Angel Eyes (15) Anne McCaffrey (2) Announcement (1) Annoying (1) Antique (1) Apple Bread (1) April Fool's Day (1) Arthur C. Clark (1) Asian Cuisine (3) August CSFF Blog Tour (1) Author Media (3) Ballet (2) Benjamin Franklin (1) Bird (1) Birth of a Novel (10) Bliss (1) Blog Design (7) Blog Feature (4) Blog Giveaway (30) Blog Serial (19) Blog Traffic (1) Blogging from A to Z (38) Blogging tips (1) Bond (1) Book Awards (1) Book Design (1) Book Review (6) Books (1) boxes (1) Brahms (1) Broken Wings (1) Brunch (1) Business Plans (1) Camp NaNoWriMo (20) Campaign Challenge (2) Captain America (1) Care Package (1) Carol of the Bells (1) Cat (1) Cathy St.Onge (1) CGV (1) Character Names (2) Characters (4) Chargers (1) Childish (1) China (1) Choir (2) Christmas Carol (6) Christmas Party (1) Christmas Picture Countdown (54) Christmas Tree (3) Christoper Paolini (1) Chuncheon Dak Galbi (1) Chuseok (1) College (2) Completing a First Draft. (1) Computer Trouble (2) Constant Reader (1) Contests (5) Contracts (1) Copywriting (1) Costuming (1) Cover Art (1) Creation Museum (1) Criminal Background Check (1) CSFF (7) CSFF Blog Tour (6) Curiosity Quills NaNo Virtuosos (1) CWC (1) D and D (1) dabi71 (1) Danny Kaye (1) Dark Halo (1) Darkness (1) David Garrett (1) Deadbeat Clients (1) Debut Novel (1) Decoration (2) Delia Tracy (1) Dialogue (1) Doctor Who (1) Doddie (1) Dog (3) Don King (2) Downloads (1) Dream of a Dream (6) Dreams (1) Ebooks (4) Editing (9) Elementary School (1) Elijah David (1) Ellesar (1) Energy Drinks (1) Ereader (1) Erlkonig (3) ESL (4) Evelyn (1) EvelynElizabeth (1) Exams (4) Excel (1) Excerpt (19) FallenFaerie (1) Fantasy (22) Fantasy Duology (2) Father's Time (1) Financial Reality (1) Firefly (1) Firequeen (8) Fireworks (1) First Chapter (1) Fjörgyn’s Tears (1) flash fiction (3) Flickr (1) Floral (1) Flowers (1) food (4) Free books (1) free ebook (1) Freedom (1) Freelance (2) Freewrite (6) Frozen (1) Gaming (1) Gathmandais (1) Gears (1) George MacDonald (1) Gift Wrapping (1) Good Christian Men Rejoice (1) Google (1) Google Authorship (1) Gooseberry Patch (1) Guest post (2) Gus Sanchez (2) Gymfan15 (1) Haiku (4) Hand (1) Hand painted (1) Harry Potter (1) He's a Pirate (1) Hearth (1) hereslookinatukd (1) Hero Journey (1) Hiking (2) hogglestock (1) Holly Jolly (1) Home (1) Horror (1) Houses of Enemies (2) How Great Our Joy (1) How to (1) Hunger Games (1) Hunting the Unicorn (2) ICCM (1) Imitation Novels (1) Indie Beware (1) Infant Holy Infant Lowly (1) Inheritance (1) Inheritance Cycle (1) Instant (1) Intergalactic Medicine Show (1) International Space Station (1) interview (18) It's A Wonderful Life (1) Jaap Kemp (1) Jane Eyre (1) Japanese (2) jenngersnap (1) Jennifer Mitchell (1) Jerry-Rigging (1) Jesus Jesus Rest Your Head (1) Jingle Bells (1) Job hunting (3) Joe (1) Journal Squirrel Observation (1) Joy Men (1) Kagerou (16) Kaja Colony Crisis (12) KDP Select (1) Kids (1) Kindle (1) Kite (1) Kitty (1) Korean (2) Lady Arwen (2) Lady Courage (1) Letter Game (3) Lia (2) Lia Noel (1) Light (2) Links (11) Loans (1) Local (1) Lotion (1) Love (1) Lucky Agent Contest (2) Lucy of Narnia (2) Lully Lullay (1) Lwyn: A Space Trader's Daughter Series (8) Magazines (2) Magic (1) Make a Memory (1) Mark Suddaby (1) Marketing (2) Masters in This Hall (1) Melian (1) Melian_Maia (2) Meltinalle (1) Military (1) Mistakes (1) MountainFireflower (1) movie (3) My Other Blog (1) My Place Journal (2) Mythology (1) NaNo (129) Nanoisms (2) NaNoWriMo NW Feature (23) NaNoWriMo Spotlight (22) NaNoWriMo Winner (1) Narnian_Badger (1) NarniaWeb (23) Narniawebbers (26) Nature Journal (2) Nature Writing (10) New Year's (2) Newsletter (2) Nicole Lewis (1) Noel Nouvelet (1) North Korea (1) Novel Ideas (2) Observations (2) Operation Christmas Child (2) Ornament (2) Out of Season (1) Outlining (1) Painting (1) Pathfinders (18) Pathfinders Journal (15) Pern (1) Photo Challenge (13) Photo Journal (7) Photos (12) Piano (2) Pictures (15) Pirates of the Carribean (1) Platform-Building Campaign (6) Play (4) Playwriting (3) Plot Bunnies (1) Plot Structure (1) poetphoenix (1) Point of No Return (8) Poll (1) Preschool (1) Present (4) Presidential Election (1) Publishing (3) Publishing Companies (1) Publishing Map (1) Publishing Opportunites (1) Q (3) Query (4) Query Shark (1) Query Tracker (2) Quotes (5) Rain (1) Random House (1) Recital (1) Recommended Reading (1) Rejection (1) Reka (1) RekaStormborn (1) Relaxation (1) Rembrant (1) Representation (1) Rise of the Runelords (15) River_Song (1) Robin McKinley (1) Ryn (1) Sales (3) Sandy (3) Santa (1) Sarah (1) Scams (1) Scarf (1) Scene Transitions (1) Scene Writing (1) School (24) Sci-fi (25) Scientific Wings (1) Script Frenzy (2) Self-Publishing (7) Senior Thesis (1) SEO (1) Shadowrun (1) Shadowrunning (2) Shakespeare (1) Shannon Dittemore (2) shastastwin (1) Sherry Rentschler (1) Shimmer (1) Shine (1) Short Story Ideas (1) Sickness (3) Sing we all Noel (1) Singing Bears (1) Sister (1) Sittybus (1) Snake (1) Snow (5) Social Media (2) Soft to Touch (1) Song (2) South Korea (8) Space (1) Stardf29 (1) Stephen Lawhead (1) Story (15) Story Beginning (2) Story Inspiration (1) Supernatural (3) Suspense (1) Tainted Loves (1) Taxes (1) Teaching (7) Thanksgiving (5) The Bone House (1) The Court Jester (1) The Door in the Sky (6) The Eye of the Sword (11) The Harper Hall of Pern (1) The Hobbit (1) The Old Has Passed Away... (5) The Piano Guys (1) The Skin Map (1) The Spirit Well (1) The Story Within (4) The Telling (1) Thriller (1) Ticket (1) Timber (1) Time Novella #2 (2) Time Travel (53) Time Traveler (24) Touristy Stuff (1) Traveling (1) Triva Quiz (1) Trivia Quiz (1) Twilight (2) Twitter (3) Unseenedge (1) Vacation (1) Valerie Hamer (1) ValNomad (1) Vanity Presses (1) Victor's Crown (1) Victory (1) Video (16) Villains (1) Vintage (1) Visa (1) Wattpad (1) Website building (1) Weekly Roundup (7) Whetstone (4) White Elephant (1) Why not? (1) wild rose (2) Will (2) Wine (1) Winterlife (1) WIP (1) Wonder Writer (1) Word Fun (1) World Book Night (1) Wren (1) Write-in (1) Writer's Block (1) Writer's Digest (2) Writing (3) Writing Concepts (1) Writing Contest (8) Writing Goals (1) Writing Links (35) Writing Village (1) Wuthering Heights (1) YA (3) Yakisoba (1) Yard Sale (1)