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Glass Valkyrie
07-05-2016, 02:41 AM
Hey everyone.

I have contracts for two of my books, and both publishers are wanting some ideas on the cover. These will be my first published books so all of this is really new to me and I am completely stumped on what to tell them. I of course know how I want my characters to look (I have some drawings of some of them) but I have no idea what should go on the covers. Should it be a scene? Just a pick of the characters? What kind of info are they really wanting from me? I have no idea. One is a children's chapter book called ONCE UPON A UNICORN (I posted some chapters of this one in the SYW section a little while back), and the other is a young adult novel called LITHIUM.

Those of you who have been through this before, in your experience, what kind of ideas are the publishers looking for? Should I just send them the drawings I have of my characters and let them come up with a design? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Cyia
07-05-2016, 02:49 AM
Honestly? Don't count on your ideas/suggestions having an impact on the cover at all.

Find some existing covers or pictures that fit the tone you're going for. Maybe suggest a scene, but the designers are going to make a cover based on what will sell, not what fits the book in the literal.

Toothpaste
07-05-2016, 05:00 PM
Like Cyia said, don't expect them to end up using your suggestions, but it is nice that they are asking you. I'd send them some images (not too many, mind you, don't inundate them). I'd send some other book covers you think are in the same category and genre and style as you think yours should be. And then maybe some images you feel represents characters or a scene or something from your work. Try to give them as much information as you can how you visualise your book's final product.

As for what goes on a cover: I'd go to a bookstore, go to the section of the store where your book will be shelved and look at the covers there. See what kinds of images are on the covers, are they literal, are they symbolic, are they merely type, etc. See what you find resonates with you, what kind of covers, etc.

JoeSlucher
07-05-2016, 06:55 PM
Another voice here to say that the publisher will probably do whatever the publisher does for the cover regardless of your input. They are likely going to come up with a great scene or whatever that is appropriate and sells the book. The best input I imagine you could give them is what you believe the tone is and what style of art you think would fit. When being art directed I always love hearing things like,"This cover should say adventure/thriller but not like Inception but more like Big Trouble in Little China if it was made for 12 year olds and art directed by Studio Ghibli." As an illustrator that gets my gears turning and I know exactly what you are looking for without being nailed down to a specific scene and you don't have to send a big collection of style reference images that way.

Glass Valkyrie
07-05-2016, 07:26 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice! I was thinking that they pretty much do covers without consulting the author so that's why I was surprised when they wanted ideas on how I wanted them to look. I've been looking at covers in my genre like you all suggested. I am going to gather a couple images to send and hope for the best!

gtbun
08-12-2016, 06:24 PM
Speaking as a designer, asking for the author's ideas is very much a courtesy and we rarely if ever actually pay attention. Every client will have their own ideas on how their stuff should be designed, and when we do it and present it next to what we do ourselves it is VERY rare that the client will pick their original idea. By all means present your ideas to the publisher, but when things are passed to the designer these ideas will likely be hacked to pieces and used only sparingly - and if they're not you might have a bad designer on your hands.

Gale Haut
08-13-2016, 12:50 AM
Thanks everyone for the advice! I was thinking that they pretty much do covers without consulting the author so that's why I was surprised when they wanted ideas on how I wanted them to look. I've been looking at covers in my genre like you all suggested. I am going to gather a couple images to send and hope for the best!

I find it odd that they asked. You might want to simply say you would like the book cover to reflect what the prospective reader/consumer wants and not what you want because you'd like your words to fall into the right hands.

What an odd situation.

Glass Valkyrie
08-14-2016, 01:15 AM
Well, I have no idea what they thought of my ideas. I haven't heard back from them since then. I have been debating sending an email asking for an update, but I don't really want to be a nag.