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aadams73
07-18-2010, 04:53 PM
So I was sitting here sipping on my morning coffee when I noticed this over at Jennifer Crusie's blog (http://www.arghink.com/2010/07/12/this-week-in-insanity/):



Some of you may remember the Trust Me On This (http://www.arghink.com/2010/03/17/the-joy-of-publishing/) cover post. I thought we were good to go and so did Bantam, but a major distributor hated the cover and cut its order by 35,000 copies because of that. Thatsa lotta copies, so we went back to the drawing board. The kicker: They liked the dog on The Cinderella Deal cover. They’d really like another dog. There is no dog in Trust Me On This. We thought about just slapping a dog cover on the book, but that would be dishonest. So instead, I edited the book and put a dog in. I know, I know, but you know what? I think it’s better with the dog. His name is Walter. Well, I like him.


Like Ms. Crusie said, that's a whole lot of copies, and all on the strength (or weakness) of a cover.

These are the original cover choices (http://www.arghink.com/2010/03/17/the-joy-of-publishing/). None of them would entice me to pick up the book if I hadn't enjoyed some of her stories in the past (and this one is Chick Lit so I'd pass anyway unless it was a freebie).

Covers really do matter.

SPMiller
07-18-2010, 05:02 PM
Got to give them credit for not doing the dishonest thing. Still, squeezing a dog into a novel where the dog was apparently unnecessary to the plot is not artistically honest. The moral of the story is that we're entertainers, not artists.

aadams73
07-18-2010, 05:15 PM
Still, squeezing a dog into a novel where the dog was apparently unnecessary to the plot is not artistically honest.

I think the dog thing is fascinating. How many times have we read books where the covers had nothing to do with the story inside? I can remember staring at covers after finishing the book, wondering how the hell did they come up with that?

Guardian
07-18-2010, 05:39 PM
I think the dog thing is stupid. It's not a very interesting cover but put a dog on it and it's gold? They couldn't have picked something that was more interesting but <b>rewrote the story</b> to put a dog in it? Yeahokay. Good to know that a dog is worth 35,000 copies. I'll put ten on my cover. (That's the answer, right?)

seun
07-18-2010, 05:56 PM
Never judge a book by its cover.

Or do in this case.

aadams73
07-18-2010, 05:59 PM
I think the dog thing is stupid.

It is and it isn't. In the past, Crusie covers featuring a dog have sold well. She often has a cool/quirky dog in the story, too, so it's not something they've pulled entirely from thin air.

I think it's interesting because we often hear authors comment that the art department did this or that, when really the decisions about what's on the cover can come from somewhere completely different.

Paul
07-18-2010, 06:01 PM
Got to give them credit for not doing the dishonest thing. Still, squeezing a dog into a novel where the dog was apparently unnecessary to the plot is not artistically honest. The moral of the story is that we're entertainers, not artists.

this

aadams73
07-18-2010, 06:18 PM
The moral of the story is that we're entertainers, not artists.


this

Yup. Which is why I laugh and shake my head when certain types come in and get all huffy when we tell them they're not going to get to design their own covers--and a lot of the time they won't even be entitled to input.

ChaosTitan
07-18-2010, 07:29 PM
I think it's interesting because we often hear authors comment that the art department did this or that, when really the decisions about what's on the cover can come from somewhere completely different.

So true. And I've heard other stories of covers being changed because some major chain or distributor hated the original version. This is why publishers have marketing departments and cover artists--so they can design and test covers that will sell books. We, as authors and readers, may not always understand the reasoning behind certain changes, but choices are rarely made for the hell of it.

I've been chatting recently with my editor about cover ideas for Dreg City #3, and one of our ideas for the "background entity" was to go for a creature featured in the book. She then decided to go with something a little more human, to make it "sexier." I don't think my series is really very sexy (bloody, yes; sexy, not so much), but because there's a huge crossover in readership between Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance, she wants to entice as many eyes as possible.

leahzero
07-18-2010, 07:53 PM
The moral of the story is that we're entertainers, not artists.

They're not mutually exclusive.

And to distill this moral from a story about a popular chick lit author's cover choice is cheeky.

Alitriona
07-18-2010, 08:04 PM
I'm open to almost anything where my books are concerned. I didn't expect any imput on the cover but actually have been asked for some, although I'm well aware the end result will be decided by publisher.

I'm afraid where I would draw the line would be to change the story to suit the cover. Sounds like a total sellout to me. It's part of the reason I don't lean to reading chick lit, a lot of it is about selling books rather than writing a good story. Not all of it of course, but a lot of it.

Jamesaritchie
07-18-2010, 09:30 PM
That's not the importance of a cover, that's simply the personal taste of some idiot distributor, and one of the things that seriously worng with publishing right now. All the power has moved from the publishers to the distributors, the chain bookstores, and even to agents.

It would be fine if those distributors were always right, but they're wrong so often it's frightening.

CheshireCat
07-19-2010, 01:12 AM
That's not the importance of a cover, that's simply the personal taste of some idiot distributor, and one of the things that seriously worng with publishing right now. All the power has moved from the publishers to the distributors, the chain bookstores, and even to agents.

It would be fine if those distributors were always right, but they're wrong so often it's frightening.


QFT.

Seriously.

Libbie
07-19-2010, 04:33 AM
I think the dog thing is stupid. It's not a very interesting cover but put a dog on it and it's gold? They couldn't have picked something that was more interesting but <b>rewrote the story</b> to put a dog in it? Yeahokay. Good to know that a dog is worth 35,000 copies. I'll put ten on my cover. (That's the answer, right?)

If it came down to sticking with the original cover and leaving a dog out, or putting a dog in and getting 35,000 guaranteed sales (less reserve against return, of course), I'd put the goddamn dog in.

That's a lot of books. That's a lot of paycheck. Libbie gotta pay her bills, son!

aadams73
07-19-2010, 04:37 AM
That's not the importance of a cover, that's simply the personal taste of some idiot distributor, and one of the things that seriously worng with publishing right now. All the power has moved from the publishers to the distributors, the chain bookstores, and even to agents.

It would be fine if those distributors were always right, but they're wrong so often it's frightening.

And I don't disagree, but I do think the original cover choices were extremely weak.

I guess my point is that covers DO matter, and to more than just readers. Big decisions gets made (right or wrong) on the strength of a book's cover. I'm endlessly fascinated by the publishing business.

artemis31386
07-19-2010, 04:38 AM
I've seen covers for books that made me feel like I'd been lied to because the cover didn't match up with the story inside. At least she did the honest thing so the reader won't feel cheated.

friendlyhobo
07-19-2010, 07:27 AM
Can someone explain in more detail about how covers get chosen and the different circumstances or give me a link or something? Like I had no idea that distributors get a say. I'm very curious now.

kuwisdelu
07-19-2010, 08:16 AM
The moral of the story is that we're entertainers, not artists.

It has more to do with marketing than entertainment.

Meh.

I don't get why people get so bent out of shape over covers. Both writers and readers. Personally, I'd be fine if all books just had blank covers with the title and author in the center.

But then everyone would argue over the best font for the title.....

Sigh.

Xelebes
07-19-2010, 09:19 AM
Can someone explain in more detail about how covers get chosen and the different circumstances or give me a link or something? Like I had no idea that distributors get a say. I'm very curious now.

Every link in the chain from the marketing department to the end-reader has a say on the cover. It's ultimately up to the reader if the cover grabs their attention or not. It's up to the distributors and retailer to say how much they are going to buy with certain covers, depending on how much they trust certain covers will grab reader's attention. The marketers have to sense the whims of both of these if they want to keep their jobs.

Ken
07-19-2010, 02:33 PM
... writers, themselves, are in part to blame for things of this sort. If they stood up for themselves and put their foot down they'd get more respect. Sure, in the short term they'd wind up with less money on an individual level. But after awhile of saying "No" to stuff like this distributors and company would quit making such demands and writers, in general, would be much better off.

I know it's tough though. And if I was in this author's spot I'd probably be sticking a dog on the cover too along with turtles and hamsters if asked.

shaldna
07-19-2010, 03:39 PM
Covers really do matter.


They sure do. A cover is what attracts me most, I know what I like and what I don't, for example, I love sci fi and urban fantasy and high fantasy and m/m romance. So a pink cover with some shoes or a shopping bag is not going to draw my interest. A big feck-off spaceship however is likely to catch my eye.

I have bought books purely on the cover art alone.

Kitty27
07-19-2010, 04:02 PM
Covers matter a great deal to me,both as a reader and a writer.

Given the epic fail with Liar,MUG and now Silver Phoenix,I cannot abide cover switchups and foolishness.

I wonder why writers don't get more input about their book covers. A proper book covers means so much.

kaitlin008
07-19-2010, 04:03 PM
They sure do. A cover is what attracts me most, I know what I like and what I don't, for example, I love sci fi and urban fantasy and high fantasy and m/m romance. So a pink cover with some shoes or a shopping bag is not going to draw my interest. A big feck-off spaceship however is likely to catch my eye.

I have bought books purely on the cover art alone.

I've never bought a book purely because of the cover art, but I do generally skip over anything that looks like something I'd never want to read (which is usually anything in the chick lit section, to be honest--shoes, coffee cups, swirly writing, sunglasses, etc. Nothing wrong with it, but not my thing.) and other things just catch my eye, and I'm more apt to pick them up and see if I might be interested.

If you're browsing through a bookstore with no particular books or authors in mind, what else are you supposed to pay attention to, besides the cover and title?

backslashbaby
07-19-2010, 05:25 PM
If you're browsing through a bookstore with no particular books or authors in mind, what else are you supposed to pay attention to, besides the cover and title?

I randomly pull books out and read the back, then the first few pages if the story seemed interesting. I don't trust covers at all, myself.

Some are really cool, though.

kaitlin008
07-19-2010, 05:33 PM
I randomly pull books out and read the back, then the first few pages if the story seemed interesting. I don't trust covers at all, myself.

Some are really cool, though.

I always read the back of the book & first pages before I actually buy one, but I won't get to that point if the cover (and/or title) repels me.

megan_d
07-19-2010, 05:53 PM
If a cover is really quirky or clever it'll draw my eye, and I have been no to buy a book based solely on the cover before. Sometimes it works for me, and sometimes... Sometimes it does not.

shaldna
07-19-2010, 06:59 PM
I've never bought a book purely because of the cover art, but I do generally skip over anything that looks like something I'd never want to read (which is usually anything in the chick lit section, to be honest--shoes, coffee cups, swirly writing, sunglasses, etc. Nothing wrong with it, but not my thing.) and other things just catch my eye, and I'm more apt to pick them up and see if I might be interested.

If you're browsing through a bookstore with no particular books or authors in mind, what else are you supposed to pay attention to, besides the cover and title?


exactly. I think covers are a very good indicator as to the content of the book, and even the colours used. For instance, I would never think of a hard-core sci-fi with a bright pink cover with flowers.

I think a cover should give and indication of the contents, the story, and the FEEL of the story.

Libbie
07-19-2010, 08:00 PM
Every product relies on packaging to sell the product itself. Books are no different, nor should they be. In our culture, we rely on packaging to tell us certain things about the product before we buy it.

The lack of cover art is, in fact, the reason why I haven't bothered to get an e-reader yet. I trust and rely on cover art to tell me a thing or two about the book before I buy it. No cover art? I'm not interested. I need that packaging to manage my expectations.

I think I'm no different from most other readers in that respect.

profen4
07-19-2010, 08:26 PM
Every product relies on packaging to sell the product itself. Books are no different, nor should they be. In our culture, we rely on packaging to tell us certain things about the product before we buy it.

The lack of cover art is, in fact, the reason why I haven't bothered to get an e-reader yet. I trust and rely on cover art to tell me a thing or two about the book before I buy it. No cover art? I'm not interested. I need that packaging to manage my expectations.

I think I'm no different from most other readers in that respect.

Yep, me too. If a cover looks like garbage, I don't touch it. I won't even take a free copy because I don't want it on my bookshelf. I will, conversely, buy a book based entirely on the cover sometimes (not often, but sometimes).

scarletpeaches
07-19-2010, 08:31 PM
Every product relies on packaging to sell the product itself. Books are no different, nor should they be. In our culture, we rely on packaging to tell us certain things about the product before we buy it.

The lack of cover art is, in fact, the reason why I haven't bothered to get an e-reader yet. I trust and rely on cover art to tell me a thing or two about the book before I buy it. No cover art? I'm not interested. I need that packaging to manage my expectations.

I think I'm no different from most other readers in that respect.Huh? E-books have covers. I'm confused.

SPMiller
07-19-2010, 08:56 PM
Oddly enough, it took me until recently to learn that I can't trust anything about any novel except reading the text myself. Back-cover blurbs, titles, recommendations, reviews, genre classifications, author names, and most especially cover art are worthless in determining whether a given book will interest me or not.

scarletpeaches
07-19-2010, 08:58 PM
Covers are important to me, I admit. Just like I judge people by their external appearance (don't tell me you guys don't). One rampant piece of book-snobbery is that I won't buy a movie adaptation cover. I don't want people thinking I'm only reading a book 'cause the film's out.

Phaeal
07-19-2010, 09:26 PM
Yeah, I prefer to skip the movie tie-in covers, too. Unless the actors involved are really hot. Like Daniel Day Lewis looking awesomely tousled on the cover of The Last of the Mohicans. Come to think of it, I also have him looking awesomely dapper on the cover of The Age of Innocence.

I love to look at cover art and to figure out the commercial motives behind it, but bad art won't stop me from buying a good book.

kuwisdelu
07-19-2010, 11:37 PM
Huh? E-books have covers. I'm confused.

I think she means that if the eReader has only e-Ink without any color LCD, there's no way to see them.

Though not all eReaders are like this.

kuwisdelu
07-19-2010, 11:39 PM
I randomly pull books out and read the back, then the first few pages if the story seemed interesting. I don't trust covers at all, myself.

Some are really cool, though.

Same here.

What I wonder is when writers know how little input the author has on the book cover, why do writers-as-readers still put so much faith in them?

scarletpeaches
07-19-2010, 11:39 PM
Well my ereader shows covers - admittedly in black and white, but it still stores them. Also jpegs, but I never use that function anyway. If I want a digital photo frame, I'll buy one dedicated to that purpose, which shows colour.

scarletpeaches
07-19-2010, 11:40 PM
Same here.

What I wonder is when writers know how little input the author has on the book cover, why do writers-as-readers still put so much faith in them?Because 'publisher knows best' is drilled into us but the one who knows the story best is the author. That's not being precious, that's just natural.

Bad covers make us wonder what the publisher was thinking, and did they even read the book?

shaldna
07-20-2010, 12:04 AM
I have to admit that I don't buy movie tie-in versions either. I don't want that on my shelf.

friendlyhobo
07-20-2010, 01:17 AM
I've started to ignore covers (it's very hard), because I've been pleasantly surprised by quite a few books that one would think are cliche, boring, or cheesy based on their covers but instead I find that the contents are fabulous. But I mostly read fantasy and science fiction, so I feel like this is easier to do if you're sort of confined to an area. It does not work so well when I'm out roaming amongst the plain ol' fiction stacks.

CheshireCat
07-20-2010, 01:33 AM
If it came down to sticking with the original cover and leaving a dog out, or putting a dog in and getting 35,000 guaranteed sales (less reserve against return, of course), I'd put the goddamn dog in.

That's a lot of books. That's a lot of paycheck. Libbie gotta pay her bills, son!

If I understood correctly, that was a distributor's order, not actual sales. Given a healthy (in this market) 50% sell-through, the author might have netted 15,000 sales or thereabouts. Depending on hardcover or mass market, cover price, and royalty rates, probably somewhere between $8,000 and $35,000 give or take a few thousand.

Not peanuts. But the problem is that every time an author allows someone else to dictate content -- for whatever reason -- we lose just a little more of the pitifully small control we have over our own work. Yes, as working writers we have to weigh such "requests" against that painful reality, and it'll always be an individual decision.

Have I ever changed content to match a book cover? No. But then, I've been lucky. I've had input into cover design for many years now. But I'm a working writer, supporting myself, so I can't say what I'd do, faced with that situation.

Something as relatively minor as adding a dog, especially if it was something I was known for and which had in the past garnered a measurable increase in sales? I'd probably do it.

Then I'd insist on tracking that distributor's sales of the book, and if there wasn't at least a 50% sell-through, I'd let my editor know I was unhappy and that such requests in future would be weighed with that in mind.

In other words, I'd do my damndest to maintain the illusion of control as long as I possibly could. :Shrug:


... writers, themselves, are in part to blame for things of this sort. If they stood up for themselves and put their foot down they'd get more respect. Sure, in the short term they'd wind up with less money on an individual level. But after awhile of saying "No" to stuff like this distributors and company would quit making such demands and writers, in general, would be much better off.

I know it's tough though. And if I was in this author's spot I'd probably be sticking a dog on the cover too along with turtles and hamsters if asked.

It's a pity more writers can't or won't put their foot down. But I've been watching writers for a lot of years, and I can tell you it's difficult to get them to agree on anything, much less stand and fight together. It's just not going to happen -- not with the wildly differing levels of success and author-treatment by publishers.

I'm sure we could all name, off the top of our heads, at least six authors who very likely have never and will never hear such "requests" from their publishers.

And at least six authors who have had to cave on much larger issues simply to keep working and earning.


Same here.

What I wonder is when writers know how little input the author has on the book cover, why do writers-as-readers still put so much faith in them?

All the writers I know blame the publishers, rightly, when the covers stink. Of course, we've usually discussed, at length and months before, the real stinkers -- and commiserated with the authors.

SPMiller
07-20-2010, 02:46 AM
exactly. I think covers are a very good indicator as to the content of the book, and even the colours used. For instance, I would never think of a hard-core sci-fi with a bright pink cover with flowers.

I think a cover should give and indication of the contents, the story, and the FEEL of the story.Well, I found the pink: http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/notforglory.jpg

Still working on the flowers.

DancingMaenid
07-20-2010, 03:44 AM
I have to admit that I don't buy movie tie-in versions either. I don't want that on my shelf.

Yeah, me neither. Though, that's the only time I'm picky about covers for some reason. A bad cover won't put me off getting a book, but one based on the movie of the book will.

I've picked up books before because the cover caught my eye, so covers definitely do influence me. And a really bad cover will put me off a book somewhat. But I don't decide to read or not based on the cover. I'll read the blurb, and the first page or two if possible, and decide based on that.

HelloKiddo
07-20-2010, 03:46 AM
I don't see the new over with the dog on it. I looked the book up on Amazon and it had the martini cover. Where are you guys seeing the new cover?

Libbie
07-20-2010, 04:50 AM
Maintaining the illusion of control as long as possible sounds like a good plan to me.

re: the E-readers. I haven't seen one yet that displays color images. Black-and-white covers are okay, but I want the full experience.

Dakota Moss
07-20-2010, 05:39 AM
The cover is indeed important, unless the book is exactly what I want to read.

If the cover doesn't interest me, trust me, I wouldn't read the book no matter what. The better it is, the more likely I will read it.

I do judge a book by its cover, and same with real life people.

friendlyhobo
07-20-2010, 05:42 AM
I've seen many an attractive cover (or quirky interesting title) on many a terrible book. Same with people :D

Toothpaste
07-20-2010, 07:06 AM
The cover is indeed important, unless the book is exactly what I want to read.

If the cover doesn't interest me, trust me, I wouldn't read the book no matter what. The better it is, the more likely I will read it.

I do judge a book by its cover, and same with real life people.


While this does make perfect sense, I'm not so certain the almost dogmatic like way you pronounce this works for me.

Yes, we judge books by their covers, but as we learn the process of publishing, and how so often an author doesn't have say on what they get for a cover, how heartbroken an author can be and how little they can do to get it changed, I think it behooves us who understand this process to force ourselves to maybe check out the odd book with a cover we might not like.

We are not the layman here. We are people who know the industry, who understand how unfortunate it is for an author who has been cursed with a horrible cover, how it can ruin book sales for that author and how the cover truly can have little to do with the words inside.

So yes, we judge, that's what we do. I love a fab cover as much as the next person, but these days I try very hard to see past the superficial. Seeing as I was one of those authors who got a terrible cover that affected sales (not in North America for those of you confused, my North American covers totally rock!).

I think priding ourselves in judging books by their covers isn't really what people who understand how often covers aren't accurate reflections of their contents should do. And we should work to fight that bias, though it is impossible to overcome it completely. In any event, we definitely shouldn't be proud of it.

Dakota Moss
07-20-2010, 07:29 AM
While this does make perfect sense, I'm not so certain the almost dogmatic like way you pronounce this works for me.

Yes, we judge books by their covers, but as we learn the process of publishing, and how so often an author doesn't have say on what they get for a cover, how heartbroken an author can be and how little they can do to get it changed, I think it behooves us who understand this process to force ourselves to maybe check out the odd book with a cover we might not like.

We are not the layman here. We are people who know the industry, who understand how unfortunate it is for an author who has been cursed with a horrible cover, how it can ruin book sales for that author and how the cover truly can have little to do with the words inside.

So yes, we judge, that's what we do. I love a fab cover as much as the next person, but these days I try very hard to see past the superficial. Seeing as I was one of those authors who got a terrible cover that affected sales (not in North America for those of you confused, my North American covers totally rock!).

I think priding ourselves in judging books by their covers isn't really what people who understand how often covers aren't accurate reflections of their contents should do. And we should work to fight that bias, though it is impossible to overcome it completely. In any event, we definitely shouldn't be proud of it.

Actually,
I don't buy books in the bookstores, since it's out of my budget, just rent them from the library. And my books are usually non-fiction, so I generally seek something I want before just browsing.

The last book I bought though from the book store has to been at least a few years ago if not more. The cover on it was awesome though in my opinion, but it wasn't the reason I bought it. I had to check the back of it, before picking it. The cover only serves to me as a way of getting my interest. But it's important, since image is everything. Just saying that because that's the fact of life, but it's not something I follow all the way since I am very frugal and if I buy it, then it's a need, since I have to have it.

kuwisdelu
07-20-2010, 07:34 AM
I only care about a cover if it's something I'd be embarrassed to be holding in public.

And even then, if I read a few pages and like the writing enough, I can just read it at home.

Otherwise, I hardly even notice it.

HelloKiddo
07-20-2010, 07:59 AM
I only care about a cover if it's something I'd be embarrassed to be holding in public.

And even then, if I read a few pages and like the writing enough, I can just read it at home.

Otherwise, I hardly even notice it.

I'm intrigued, Kuwisdelu. I'd be keen to see a cover you'd regard as embarrassing to be seen with.

Cyia
07-20-2010, 08:19 AM
I only care about a cover if it's something I'd be embarrassed to be holding in public.

And even then, if I read a few pages and like the writing enough, I can just read it at home.

Otherwise, I hardly even notice it.

I think this is an area where e-readers come in handy.

Adults who are embarrassed about reading YA books and people reading erotica who don't want their coworkers or families to know, even men who might like "women's fiction" or heteros who like homosexual fiction and don't want to deal with the looks they might get. Stick whatever you want in a kindle or nook and no one's the wiser.

kuwisdelu
07-20-2010, 08:21 AM
I'm intrigued, Kuwisdelu. I'd be keen to see a cover you'd regard as embarrassing to be seen with.

Well, I, along with anyone with whom I would bother socializing, am a smug, pretentious elitist, so obviously, any kind of cover that gives itself away as being a genre title rather than a literary one. :D

To add: :sarcasm

shaldna
07-20-2010, 12:21 PM
I think they are most imporant when looking for something new or a new author outside of your experience. For instance, I'd buy a Terry Pratchett book no matter what to cover (although I love the Kidby and Kirby ones) because I know the writer and I know what to expect from him.

In the same way that I don't buy anything with a black cover and a single red and white image on it. I'm not needing puprle in my life right now.

Ken
07-20-2010, 04:06 PM
I'm sure we could all name, off the top of our heads, at least six authors who very likely have never and will never hear such "requests" from their publishers.

... most definitely. At least those at the top of their game don't have to dance circles for anyone. Maybe they should be the ones to stand up for those in less of a position to do so or to get the ball rolling in that direction at least.

aadams73
07-20-2010, 04:35 PM
I don't see the new over with the dog on it. I looked the book up on Amazon and it had the martini cover. Where are you guys seeing the new cover?

The new covers were only just posted. Here you go (http://www.arghink.com/2010/07/19/meet-walter/).

Now, apparently, the dog in the book is a dachshund, and yet the dog on the cover is most decidely not. In the comments Crusie mentions they're going to change it in the text from a daschund to a yorkie.

The comments are worth a read.

Do any of you prefer the new cover?

kuwisdelu
07-20-2010, 06:28 PM
The new covers were only just posted. Here you go (http://www.arghink.com/2010/07/19/meet-walter/).

Now, apparently, the dog in the book is a dachshund, and yet the dog on the cover is most decidely not. In the comments Crusie mentions they're going to change it in the text from a daschund to a yorkie.

The comments are worth a read.

Do any of you prefer the new cover?

Actually, I preferred the old one, but I doubt I'm the target audience.

And I like martinis.

AnonymousWriter
07-20-2010, 06:53 PM
Both the old covers and the new covers look quite tacky to me. Neither of the designs would attract my attention.

aruna
07-20-2010, 07:50 PM
I don't like either the old or new much and I wouldn't buy this book on the basis of the dog cover. Of the new ones, I like the turquoise one best.
But that actually proves that covers do sell books -- or not. These covers tell me I wouldn't like the book. They scream chick lit. But maybe I would...

friendlyhobo
07-21-2010, 01:03 AM
But if chick lit is what you read, then these covers are right on target.

aadams73
07-21-2010, 03:10 AM
And I like martinis.

Make mine with vodka. But not dirty.


But if chick lit is what you read, then these covers are right on target.

That's definitely something to keep in mind here.

Beyond like/dislike, each of the covers says something different to me about the story inside. Actually, it tells me something about the heroine before I've even opened the book or checked out the blurb on the back cover.

The martini glass, to me, suggests a younger heroine, one who's still at that stage of going out, partying, etc.. The dog tells me that the heroine is someone a little more settled, maybe a little older and beyond the partying stage.

And Crusie's heroines fall in the latter category. They're not fresh out of college, maybe a little ditzy and panicky about men and love. They tend to be more sure of themselves and where they're going. They're women with their own homes and the ability to commit to a pet long-term.

So regardless of the distributors original thoughts, etc., I think the dog cover is a much more fitting pick, even though the author had to write a dog in.

If I had both choices in front of me (even though I don't read much in the way of chick lit) I'd reach for the dog--not just because I'm a dog person, but because chances are good the heroine would be someone I'd empathize with...and probably like.

kuwisdelu
07-21-2010, 03:25 AM
You read a lot more into covers than I do. O_O

But then, my default is to assume the cover has very little if anything to do with the story that's inside. :D

aadams73
07-21-2010, 03:31 AM
You read a lot more into covers than I do. O_O

But then, my default is to assume the cover has very little if anything to do with the story that's inside. :D

I study covers--a lot. I spend ages in B&N or Borders just checking out covers. It's interesting to me to consider what they've chosen and why. And it's fascinating to see the cover trends from genre to genre. Like urban fantasy and the current practice of depicting a girl in leather pants--regardless of whether she wears them in the book or not. Or the cartoon covers that were so popular in romance for a while.

The psychology of covers is enthralling.

Jessianodel
07-21-2010, 03:42 AM
titles and cover art are very important. I have put a lot of books down because the cover looks boring or the type of book I don't want to read. For the benefit of the doubt I may read the back, but if it doesn't hook me, the book is done.

Readers are picky. We like what we like. Ans she didn't sell out! She made a revision that in the end strengthened the story, or at least didn't ruin it's integrity. What's wrong with adding a dog? It's just the basic rewrite process.

HelloKiddo
07-21-2010, 04:18 AM
I like dog cover better myself. It's the one I'd more likely reach for in a bookstore.


Beyond like/dislike, each of the covers says something different to me about the story inside. Actually, it tells me something about the heroine before I've even opened the book or checked out the blurb on the back cover.

The martini glass, to me, suggests a younger heroine, one who's still at that stage of going out, partying, etc.. The dog tells me that the heroine is someone a little more settled, maybe a little older and beyond the partying stage.

And Crusie's heroines fall in the latter category. They're not fresh out of college, maybe a little ditzy and panicky about men and love. They tend to be more sure of themselves and where they're going. They're women with their own homes and the ability to commit to a pet long-term.

So regardless of the distributors original thoughts, etc., I think the dog cover is a much more fitting pick, even though the author had to write a dog in.

If I had both choices in front of me (even though I don't read much in the way of chick lit) I'd reach for the dog--not just because I'm a dog person, but because chances are good the heroine would be someone I'd empathize with...and probably like.

That's odd because the covers did not suggest that for me at all. I don't think of martinis as a drink for early-twenties, right-out-of-college party kids. I think of beer as that drink. Martinis remind me of Sex and the City; I think of them more as something that thirty-somethings drink. They're more expensive than beer, people with a job with decent pay drink those.

The dog cover has a suitcase packed with clothes, which makes me think there's a trip involved, probably a single woman taking a trip. I say single woman because it's a pink suitcase with women's clothes and a dog that looks like one a single woman would likely have.

The first one looks like--woman goes to a bar and gets hit on by a shifty fellow. I'd rather read the second story.

aadams73
07-21-2010, 04:33 AM
That's odd because the covers did not suggest that for me at all. I don't think of martinis as a drink for early-twenties, right-out-of-college party kids. I think of beer as that drink. Martinis remind me of Sex and the City; I think of them more as something that thirty-somethings drink. They're more expensive than beer, people with a job with decent pay drink those.

The first one looks like--woman goes to a bar and gets hit on by a shifty fellow. I'd rather read the second story.

Heh, that's subjectivity for you. We all bring our experiences to the table when we look at a cover or read a book. :D

Lots of my friends drank martinis in their twenties because they had decent enough jobs and cash to spare (no families or mortgages yet.) Now that I'm in my mid-thirties, the only woman I know who still drinks them is in her forties. My thirty-something friends mostly drink wine or beer.

I should have taken a second look at that cover, because, yeah, I'd think vacation or trip, too. Which would make me even more likely to pick it up off the shelf over the other cover--if I were shopping for that genre.

kuwisdelu
07-21-2010, 04:39 AM
Martinis make me think of Mad Men and James Bond.

Sooooo..... yeah.

HelloKiddo
07-21-2010, 04:51 AM
Odd how the same image can evoke totally different responses from different people. I wonder if that's desirable or if a less ambiguous cover is a better idea? The second one seems less open to interpretation. It's a hot pink suitcase packed with women's clothes. Does anybody see that and not think "middle to upper-class female takes a trip?"

Probably with a hint of playfulness in the story because of the dog in the suitcase.

Amarie
07-21-2010, 07:12 AM
Anybody want to play a game and see how much your view is in line with marketing people? Guess which one of these got nixed. (To help you out, the target audience is middle grade, 9 to 12-year-olds)


http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp225/melia_059/DangersEdgeblog.jpg http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp225/melia_059/WildfireRunAW.jpg

8/31/2010 Harper

kuwisdelu
07-21-2010, 07:25 AM
The left one seemed more young audience-ish than the right one. The right one seemed more YA to me than MG. I prefer the right one, but I'll say that one was nixed.

But I don't really read either, so I have no idea what kind of covers they tend to have.

HelloKiddo
07-21-2010, 07:43 AM
The left one seemed more young audience-ish than the right one. The right one seemed more YA to me than MG. I prefer the right one, but I'll say that one was nixed.

But I don't really read either, so I have no idea what kind of covers they tend to have.

You took the words right out my mouth.

Ditto what he said.

aruna
07-21-2010, 09:48 AM
But if chick lit is what you read, then these covers are right on target.

Exactly! That's why covers are important. The select the right readership, and th ewrong readership doesn't waste time or money on the book. Covers, and titles. Very important.

friendlyhobo
07-21-2010, 10:03 AM
Exactly! That's why covers are important. The select the right readership, and th ewrong readership doesn't waste time or money on the book. Covers, and titles. Very important.

But the problem comes along that I will read a chick lit book if it's good. A cover won't tell me the quality of the book, just the genre, or who they're marketing towards. I'll read a book regardless of intended age group or gender etc, if it's been recommended to me, and I'll finish it if it's good. If I'm in the mood for a particular type of story the cover helps, but I have, truly, so many times, picked up attractive covers thinking the story must be good, and been so disappointed by the shit inside. Sure it was probably accurately giving me clues as to the genre or to some story elements (it's got action! it's historical! it's for middle-class housewives!), but a cover has never given me a clue to the quality of the writing.

LOG
07-21-2010, 10:55 AM
I've been chatting recently with my editor about cover ideas for Dreg City #3, and one of our ideas for the "background entity" was to go for a creature featured in the book. She then decided to go with something a little more human, to make it "sexier." I don't think my series is really very sexy (bloody, yes; sexy, not so much), but because there's a huge crossover in readership between Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance, she wants to entice as many eyes as possible.
Make it look sexy, cover it in blood and call it a day?
:P



What I wonder is when writers know how little input the author has on the book cover, why do writers-as-readers still put so much faith in them?
Good question.
For me it's not so much a matter of faith as it is a matter of time.
I do not have the time to browse through every book in the store in order to read the first few pages to see if it's interesting.
I need the cover to attract me, I need the summary to interest me, and then I need a good hook of a beginning.
Although I will admit I do still sometimes buy books purely because of their content, especially stuff like Blizzard, BioWare, a lot of RPG tie-ins... >.>



The lack of cover art is, in fact, the reason why I haven't bothered to get an e-reader yet. I trust and rely on cover art to tell me a thing or two about the book before I buy it. No cover art? I'm not interested. I need that packaging to manage my expectations.

The trick is to use the intrawebz to look at the cover art and summaries, then go buy it on the e-reader.



Not peanuts. But the problem is that every time an author allows someone else to dictate content -- for whatever reason -- we lose just a little more of the pitifully small control we have over our own work. Yes, as working writers we have to weigh such "requests" against that painful reality, and it'll always be an individual decision.

It's a pity more writers can't or won't put their foot down. But I've been watching writers for a lot of years, and I can tell you it's difficult to get them to agree on anything, much less stand and fight together. It's just not going to happen -- not with the wildly differing levels of success and author-treatment by publishers.

There was that Writer's Strike, which shows that some groups of writers at least have a modicum of power; the power to make companies lose money and piss of viewers who get delayed endings to their shows, or not get an ending at all, or not get a show.


Both the old covers and the new covers look quite tacky to me. Neither of the designs would attract my attention.
This.

kuwisdelu
07-21-2010, 11:15 AM
Another thing I'm curious about is how covers attract anyone when in a bookshop you mostly only see the spines?

scarletpeaches
07-21-2010, 11:42 AM
Never heard of front-facing?

aruna
07-21-2010, 01:29 PM
But the problem comes along that I will read a chick lit book if it's good..

So will I; but then it comes to me through a different channel than through the cover. In general I will never read a book that has a handbag, a high-heeled shoe, or a wine glass on it, or is predominently pink. But sometimes my attention is brought to a book. For instance, I recently watched th emovie In Her Shoes on TV, which was advertised as a chick movie; I watched it just to go to sleep. I found it excellent, so much so that I am certain to read th ebook it's based on one day, and if that is good, other books by that author.
But if a novel has a handbag, shoes or wine glasses on it I assume that shopping, shoes etc are the main themes. And my aversion to those things is so deep that I'm afraid I'm much too prejudiced to buy such a book!


Another thing I'm curious about is how covers attract anyone when in a bookshop you mostly only see the spines?

I rarely look at the shelves, unless I'm looking for something in particular. WHen browsing I head straight for the tables, where the books are piled face-up.

Amarie
07-21-2010, 03:24 PM
The left one seemed more young audience-ish than the right one. The right one seemed more YA to me than MG. I prefer the right one, but I'll say that one was nixed.

But I don't really read either, so I have no idea what kind of covers they tend to have.


You took the words right out my mouth.

Ditto what he said.

I am very happy to hear you preferred the right one, because that's the final cover. The first was all set to go, ARCs printed and all, before marketing people decided it wasn't working.

shaldna
07-21-2010, 03:33 PM
So will I; but then it comes to me through a different channel than through the cover. In general I will never read a book that has a handbag, a high-heeled shoe, or a wine glass on it, or is predominently pink. But sometimes my attention is brought to a book. For instance, I recently watched th emovie In Her Shoes on TV, which was advertised as a chick movie; I watched it just to go to sleep. I found it excellent, so much so that I am certain to read th ebook it's based on one day, and if that is good, other books by that author.
But if a novel has a handbag, shoes or wine glasses on it I assume that shopping, shoes etc are the main themes. And my aversion to those things is so deep that I'm afraid I'm much too prejudiced to buy such a book!

Me too. I think covers are a great filter.




I rarely look at the shelves, unless I'm looking for something in particular. WHen browsing I head straight for the tables, where the books are piled face-up.

I head straight for the sections I want, I start with fantasy and sci-fi, a trip to horror (cause it's on the way to YA) and a brief visit to childrens on my way to teh tills. I don't generally browse the general fiction unless I'm looking for a specific author or a gift for someone.

And even then, within genres, I look at covers first.

LOG
07-21-2010, 05:20 PM
<<Heads for the spines in the sections as well.
I consider the title to be part of the cover, so that's part of the visual of the front in my mind.

aruna
07-21-2010, 06:07 PM
Me too. I think covers are a great filter.





.

I had to laugh!
This is the cover for In Her Shoes (first time I've looked it up)
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41P36TEB3ML._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg

I would never, ever, in a million years buy or read a book with this cover (or for that matter, that title) -- if I had not seen and loved the movie first.
But now I certainly will! (I'll have to wrap it up in brown paper though, if I read it in public! WOuldn't be seen dead with that cover.)
Though they say the movie is better than the book. I'll have to check for myself, though.

shaldna
07-21-2010, 10:21 PM
I had to laugh!
This is the cover for In Her Shoes (first time I've looked it up)
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41P36TEB3ML._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg

I would never, ever, in a million years buy or read a book with this cover (or for that matter, that title) -- if I had not seen and loved the movie first.
But now I certainly will! (I'll have to wrap it up in brown paper though, if I read it in public! WOuldn't be seen dead with that cover.)
Though they say the movie is better than the book. I'll have to check for myself, though.


it looks like lesbian romance.

below is the original cover for The Sparkly Book of Doom. Not so sexy, huh?


http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t231/chosenbuffy100/TwilightUKfirst1-1.jpg

scarletpeaches
07-21-2010, 10:23 PM
Wow! It totally makes Bella look like a goggle-eyed, empty-headed cretin!

shaldna
07-21-2010, 10:27 PM
Wow! It totally makes Bella look like a goggle-eyed, empty-headed cretin!

as opposed to how she comes across in the books?

personally i think that cover makes her look like a heroin addict. her arms really freak me out

kuwisdelu
07-22-2010, 12:43 AM
Never heard of front-facing?

Hmm?

When I browse bookshop shelves, usually only a handful of books are displayed with their covers forward.


I rarely look at the shelves, unless I'm looking for something in particular. WHen browsing I head straight for the tables, where the books are piled face-up.

Heh.

I usually avoid the tables completely because I've never found anything on them that I like.

Also because I find the covers too distracting. I only want to see the title and author. :D