I’ve joined a new blog team with monthly themes. This month #Inkripples is talking about book covers. Check out the other bloggers and what they have to say about book covers at Mary Waibel’s World at Katie Carroll Observation Desk and at Kai Strand’s blog.
Why? For one reason, we’re writers, not artists. How are we supposed to come up with a cover that tells our story? It’s hard enough to write a short blurb to describe a 300 page book. But, creating an image that tells it all keeps me up at night, tossing, turning and worrying.
What exactly is the book cover supposed to do?
- Give the reader a glimpse of the story inside
- Help identify the theme or genre of the book
- Attract readers to the book and to want to read more
- Create the “image” for the book
Need I say more? With all those jobs, finding that perfect book cover is indeed a challenge. With my first books which were nonfiction and published by a large publishing house, I had little to say about the cover. In fact, my first book cover was chosen by the publisher, and I could only okay it. My second book had two choices. By the third book, they gave me a bit more input and three choices, but I couldn’t tweak the choices. Notice, how little involvement the writer has!
With my fiction books and a smaller publisher, I had more input. I was assigned a cover artist. She asked me to identify the images that tell my books story. That was harder than having no choices! I struggled with that question. She also asked me what colors represented the theme of my book. Colors represent themes? Again, not being an artist all this was baffling. Nonetheless, she took my meager suggestions and created a magnificent cover. One that did everything I wanted. She did the same with my second book, which I thought would be much harder to depict. For my third book I worked with a different artist. Again, I had to share my meager observations about the book. From that she tweaked and worked till she came up with the perfect cover.
They know how to take pieces of information and turn them into just the right image. Writers are more verbal than visual. That’s another reason we have such trouble with the cover. Artists, however, can capture that visual with amazing skill. I bow down to them.
So what about you? Do you judge a book by its cover? Maybe now that you understand how hard it is to create the perfect cover, you’ll be less picky. Yes? Probably not…
BTW, here are some my favorite book covers. Two are mine. The rest are not.
I have felt some of the same pressure over my covers. “I’m not a visual artist!” But then I take a deep breath and realize they need a place to start from. And I do paint word pictures, so I do my best to paint one for the cover artist. Sometimes I’m WAY off and we have to start again. Whoops.
I do love the cover of The Clock Strikes Midnight!!!!! So glad you’re joining us this year for #InkRipples.
Joan Curtis says
Hey Kai, Glad to be here. I’m enjoying the conversation about book covers. Most readers have no idea what it takes to develop the perfect cover. One cover I hated for a book I loved, was the cover for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Remember it? I had the book on my desk for years before I read it. Why? The cover didn’t appeal to me. Once it became a best seller, I picked it up. Otherwise that wonderful book might still be languishing on my desk!
Mary Waibel says
Great post, Joan, and great cover choices. Love the vibe I get from both of yours…very murder mystery.
So glad you’re joining us this year!!
Joan Curtis says
Thanks, Mary. Glad to be part of this group. There was much more to say about covers than I realized! 🙂
Katie L. Carroll says
Definitely much respect to designers! They do amazing things with book covers.
So happy you’re joining us, Joan….looking forward to reading more of your posts. 🙂
Joan Curtis says
Thanks, Katie. And, I appreciate your stopping by. I’m happy to be part of the Inkripples team!