Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A Cover Story

When I saw JK Rawling's new book cover (aparantly she's written another book) I was amazed how basic it was. It didn't drag me into it and I certainly didn't feel I just HAD to pick up a copy and find out what it was all about. I really didn't!.... and I still haven't. But I couldn't help thinking that if any other author had written The Casual Vacancy with a cover like that it wouldn't have seen the light of day, let alone the contents of my wallet!

So, does the cover really matter? You bet, though there obviously are two rules:-
1. If you're really, really famous and a multi-millionairess writer you can get away with anything people will buy your book even if the cover's rubbish, or even blank. The Beatles White Album is a great example. Mind you the album was brilliant!
2. As an author becomes better known, the title of the book gets smaller and the author's name becomes bigger. Terrry Pratchett is a great example. People buy his next Discworld novel because it's a Terry Pratchett and they know it'll be a cracker.

For us other poor mortals, the design of the cover is most important. It's the selling point and gives you less than 10 seconds to grab the potential buyer's attention and make them what to discover more. No amount of well thought out blurb will do that. 10 seconds, that's what you have to sell your book....hopefully a thousand times over, again and again!

Having launched my first book Leap of Faith (shameless advert and link at the end of this post) I talked the cover design over with the brilliant Tracey Tucker who onentscame up with a fantastic piece of artwork that had the teenage heroine shushing and in the background many of the main story components. The balance was perfect and she managed to avoid the deadly mistake of overloading. Book two in the Temporal Detective Agency series (Trouble With Swords) is coming out in November and (I think!) after weeks of talking to Tracey and Caleb my publisher we've got it right. Once again the model girl (Tertia the heroine and narrator of the story) strikes an interesting pose that attracts the casual browser and draws the viewer into looking at Excalibur, the sword in the stone as well as the Roman Coliseum. An intriguing mix and one that actually represents the book and its plot line.

The cover is important therefore, but seemingly less so as your fame grows. Shame really because I've had great fun helping to design the cover and I'd hate to think I could get away with a cover showing a small box with a cross in it.

Blog on, Dudes!

1 comment:

  1. I was really disappointed with the Vacant Casualty cover,thought it looked cheap and poorly designed, and yes you are right, if it were you or I, our sales would drop. But, as long as we like our covers, and enjoy working with the cover artists - I loved the fact that a personal friend designed the cover of Jigsaw Pieces, and I was shown the design as it evolved, then I say, stuff the famous! It's our lovely product, and we should be proud of it! #my2p