Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cover art

I heard from my editor about the design idea for the cover of TDD (a.k.a. Tall, Dark, and Dead). She said that they're going with a cartoon -- which would put the audience they're hoping to capture squarely in the chick-lit demographic (works for me!) The image my editor described is of Garnet at the book shop with Barney the cat. She said the style they're going to try to shoot for is not unlike that for Kitchen Witch by Annette Blair. This sort of thing is exactly what I was hoping for. As a reader in the target audience, these kinds of covers have been catching my eye. If you're wondering what input I had into the design, the answer is none. These sorts of decisions (at least in my experience with a large publishing house) are always done in committee. I'm not going to comment as to whether or not I think that's a bad thing, not because I think it is, but because the hows and whys that some books sell well and others don't is a complete mystery to me. I've heard it said by other professionals in the field that they believe their book sold well because "orange" was the hot color to have on a romance cover (this is an exact quote from a colleague of mine in RWA, and she was being dead serious.) And, when people in the field (particularly editors and agents) talk about why the books written by my dear friend Lyda Morehouse didn't sell well, they all bandy about their catch-all phrase "bad packaging." Whatever that means. I do know that covers sell books. People do judge books by their covers (and their back cover copy!)

4 comments:

Paul said...

Speaking of hot colors, I went to a talk about the picking of future hot colors for cars, clothes, etc., and heard that one of the hot colors for cars in the next two or three years is going to be--and to quote Dave Barry, I swear to you I am not making this up--denim. Those Who Determine Hotness are even working on a way to include little yellowish flecks that suggest stitching.

And the packaging of Lyda's first three books was terrific. The publisher completely bit the noodle on the fourth one. What could the justification possibly have been in deciding to go with Artist B for the last book in a series when the first three had all been done--again, terrifically--by Artist A? The marketeers not only shot themselves in the foot with that one, but blew it clean off.

tlmorganfield said...

Hopefully you don't get this twice. I tried posting a comment through Livejournal and it doesn't appear to show up here.

In regards to Paul's comment, Bruce Jensen did all four covers of Lyda's books, but there clearly was a departure from the pattern with the fourth, perhaps Roc's attempt to correct the so-called "packaging problem" of the other three, though I completely agree that the covers of the first three totally rock. It was the cover of Archangel Protocol that drew my attention in the first place and made me buy it. Bruce Jensen is one of my favorite cover artists and I would consider myself extremely lucky if I ever had the good fortune to get him as cover artist for my own work.

Taking a closer look, the first three books also have a cover designer while the fourth doesn't seem to, so perhaps this is what Paul was referring to.

Paul said...

Ach, my mistake. Apologies all around. I guess this points out that the cover of the fourth was so different from the other three that it seemed the artist must've been different. Which also points out that Bruce Jensen must be pretty good to be able to look like two different artists. And that Paul should get the books in front of him and check these things out before making such assumptions. And stop referring to himself in the third person.

Jen Pelland said...

And, when people in the field (particularly editors and agents) talk about why the books written by my dear friend Lyda Morehouse didn't sell well, they all bandy about their catch-all phrase "bad packaging." Whatever that means.

What? The covers for the first three books kicked ass! The cover of the first one was what caught my eye in the first place when I was browsing the shelves at the bookstore.