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.Continue reading at Query Tracker.
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.
Enter The Eye of the Sword Giveaway until the 14th!