"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cover Love Thursday: How to Judge a Book by its Cover

A little twist on my normal Cover Love post... Inspired (as you might guess) by Polaris. On Friday we went to a panel called "How to Judge a Book by its Cover." It was really fascinating. The panelists were Stephen B. Pearl, Julie Czerneda, Erik Buchanan, and the lovely Nikki Stafford. So there were authors, art directors, editors... pretty much the whole gamut to give us a perspective on how a cover is chosen, what makes a cover good or bad, and what a publisher is trying to do when they slap a cover on a book.

The interesting thing is that most authors have little say in their covers, but Erik and Nikki both work for/with smaller publishers and Julie used to work in publishing (if I'm remembering correctly) so they have had a greater opportunity for helping choose or, in some cases, actually putting together their covers. Stephen is working with a larger publishing house, so he's had very little say in the final product.

They talked about the "thirty foot rule" in that, having a cover that stands out, or at least has a visible title from a good distance away is important. Nikki talked about her original cover for her Season 6 Finding Lost book, which featured a chessboard with a black king and a white king in the center and red lettering. The thirty foot impression was of Twilight, not Lost, so they reworked it.

Though I liked the original, I absolutely ADORE this cover.
It sums up the final season so well in my mind.
And I got my copy autographed, so I'm thrilled :D

Erik had both of his books, Small Magics and Cold Magics and talked about how the stock fantasy imagery was so corny that he actually worked with a couple of friends that do photography to shoot what became the covers of his books.
This is his second novel - note how the white swirl
draws your eyes up to the title
Julie shared some of the interworkings of publishing houses and how they buy art, sometimes not even for a specific book, but keep it in the files to use someday.
This has nothing to do with what she talked about,
but I wanted to throw up one of her books
And I think this cover is sweet!
Stephen also had one of his books with him, which he passed around and shared the humorous confusions that can sometimes occur when an artist isn't quite getting the same picture the author provides.
See that windmill? That's supposed to be a wind turbine.
It's also supposed to be on a solar powered van
Which you can kind of see under the windmill.
Disconnect much :)
But overall, he liked the effect of the cover
It was just such an interesting panel to listen to how authors work with their publishers to create the best possible cover, the ups and downs authors and editors have trying to produce the best product possible, and the types of things they themselves look for in covers.

So what catches your eye on a cover? Have you seen any covers you've loved recently? Have you seen the cover of Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me?!

2 comments:

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

pshaa. Wind turbine. Windmill. Same thing

Naomi Ruth said...

I still have not seen Tahereh's cover! Ah!