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Thread: Can a writer have a say over the cover art of her book?

  1. #126
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    KDante, what are your goals in publishing? You need to establish those right now. Do you just want to say 'I have been published', and know it's okay if you sell no more than a dozen copies a year? Do you want to aggressively market your self-published work,in hopes of being the next Konrath or Hocking?

    Because you're going to have to do everything a 'trade' publisher would do for you, by yourself, and at least as competently - if not more.

    Why do you think a publisher's art department WOULDN'T work with you, to a reasonable point? If your cover ideas work, they'd probably be high on the department's wish list. Even if they aren't 100% effective, elements and ideas can be adapted.

    If you've been following Tor.com at all recently, there's been a lovely series of articles about cover art inspiring short stories, and about the cover evolution of new Jordan/Sanderson Wheel of Time books. And let me tell ya, I'd love to have Tor's art department and Michael Whelan on my side!

    I like self-publishing...done right, it's as valid a platform as any. But it is a really harsh environment for the millions of titles released to fend for themselves.

    I don't know you. I don't know your art skills. But for the sake of your future earning power, I'd humbly beg you to undergo an honest, objective review of your art design background. If you can create covers that compare favorably to the best of the elegant indies and the Big Six, then go for it.

  2. #127
    I keep my head firmly in the clouds MorganMarshall's Avatar
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    Why don't illustrators read the books they illustrate? Or at least read the descriptions of the characters they're reproducing? Obviously the book is interesting, or the publisher wouldn't be publishing it. So why are the cover illustrations so often totally off the mark from the actual story? *Tears hair out*
    "We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." ~ Stacia Tauser

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  3. #128
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. AW Moderator Torgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganMarshall View Post
    Why don't illustrators read the books they illustrate? Or at least read the descriptions of the characters they're reproducing? Obviously the book is interesting, or the publisher wouldn't be publishing it. So why are the cover illustrations so often totally off the mark from the actual story? *Tears hair out*
    At the very least the designer ought to read the book.

  4. #129
    i'm a girl. (i have tendonitis) defyalllogic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganMarshall View Post
    Why don't illustrators read the books they illustrate? Or at least read the descriptions of the characters they're reproducing? Obviously the book is interesting, or the publisher wouldn't be publishing it. So why are the cover illustrations so often totally off the mark from the actual story? *Tears hair out*
    Because art is an interpretation of the artist's imagination and the seeds planted by the author. The author and the illustrator and the audience or readers might all see the character differently.

    Maybe the author and illustrator agree but you're interpreting differently. Maybe the author sees the illustration and thinks, "hm, that's an interesting take. I'll take it."

    Remember how the hunger games described Rue as a dark skinned girl and then people were shocked (and even appalled) to see her played by a (half) black girl in the movies?

  5. #130
    Holding out for a Superhero... Sheryl Nantus's Avatar
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    I've had input on *all* of my covers. I've made suggestions, filled out sheets and had to approve the final artwork.

    However I'll admit that I tend to lean towards accepting what's suggested because this is what an art department is FOR, what they train and get degrees in, how to produce marketable artwork and something that'll appeal to the public.

    Look at "Blaze". *points down* I would have NEVER thought of that for a cover image but it sure is a hell of a great picture. Same with the first "Blood of the Pride" cover which now works in with the series.

    On my own I would have never picked up such great covers. I just don't have the expertise or knowledge to do that.

    JMO.

  6. #131
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Why don't illustrators read the books they illustrate? Because at most levels of publishing, they don't have time. That's what art directors and cover art forms are for - so the writer and art director can meet somewhere in the middle.

  7. #132
    Runs With Scissors RedWombat's Avatar
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    Because it varies substantially from house to house how much information the artist actually gets.

    When I was doing bargain basement covers, I got very quick descriptions. I never got a manuscript to read. They wanted a very fast turnaround (which is why I had work--I was fast, reliable, and cheap. I just wasn't GOOD. You'd be amazed how much the first three made up for that last one at some places.)

    Other houses I've heard of have elaborate forms to fill out that cover every base in terms of physical descriptions.

    I wouldn't assume that the artist has actually read the book. Some do, but some don't get the chance and are working off descriptions from the art director.

  8. #133
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    Ha! This thread resurfaces just after my book cover gets changed. It turned out to be a compliment, but the Barnes & Noble buyer liked the book, but not the cover, so they were back to the drawing board.

    Still, when they showed me the new cover, they definitely wanted my input. If I had hated it (which I didn't, I really like it now that I've got my head around such a drastic change) they would have worked with me.

    Same deal, different cover: they do care whether I'm pleased with the book in all aspects.

  9. #134
    Wicked Safari release date March 17 gingerwoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belle_91 View Post
    Can a writer have a say in what she wants the cover of her book to be? Can she say what she definatly doesn't want?

    Example, I'm writing a historical romance and I don't want the cover of my story to have a couple embracing in a thin night-shift and breeches, while their hair billows in the wind.

    Is that alright?
    It entirely depends on the publisher. I had a lot of say in my Samhain Publishing cover which you can see in my avatar. I asked for a snow glob for sexy abs, for the heroine to be a redhead, for the three people in the menage to be depicted but (knowing there might not be much space in the snow globe i said heads and faces did not have to be shown. ) see how they put everything I asked for in and made it totally beautiful? Some publishers however will just tell you to like it or lump it. If you get offered a contract you can ask if you will have a say in cover art.
    The other thing to consider though is that they may have a better idea than you do about what will actually sell your book.
    Paranormal Romance -Menage - Erotic Romance from Samhain Publishing 4th place for Best Published Paranormal in the Passionate Plume award.

    Read the blurb for Wicked Safari and buy it here.




    To find actively acquiring publishers and agents visit my blog
    http://lisawhitefern.wordpress.com/

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