Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Book Cover Conundrum

I'm officially announcing that we will be moving publishing companies in the fall. I've found a wonderful little start-up publisher that I absolutely adore, and I couldn't be more excited.

But as you know, new publishers mean new ISBN numbers, a once-over through the edits, and a new cover. While I've loved every cover that has graced the Kailmeyra series, I'm still looking for that perfect depiction ... something that portrays fanstasy, romance, paranormal, good-and-evil, and, most importantly, the power of love. Not easy shoes to fill by any stretch of the imagination.

And so I've been stalking the cover scene, perusing everything from horror, to straight fantasy, to those amazing YA covers.

What I have discovered reinforces the truth that marketing drives cover design. We all know marketing is an relentless monster, eating time and creating chaos wherever it lurks. It is a necessary evil, one that cuts a path through our overloaded world allowing our stories to be exposed to potential readers. But it requires subtlety, stealth, and, most of all, intuition.

Here are three excellent examples of authors at various stages in their careers.

This cover is Hope Collier's debut novel. Striking, isn't it? I love the muted trees in the background, the shadows streaming through the water, and most of all, the sense of intrigue. She's done an amazing job capturing the essence of the book and realizing that new authors must market what's important ... the story. 

Now here's a sweet cover that has a ton of marketing already built in. Notice the NY time best seller above this author's name. The font isn't huge, making it seem like a formality, but I'm sure the bright color was no accident :-). Also, notice the author's name is bigger than the title. This is what happens when the author has an established reader base that will buy anything they put out. Kenyon is known for her dark romance, hence the overall dark cover. Also the cover really doesn't tell us much. Honestly, strip away the words, put an unknown author on the front, and many would say it looks like a self-pubbed cover. 

JK Rowling has reached icon status. Her Harry Potter series is the most financially successful series in the world. Ten to one that black X in the box will become the focal point for this book's recognition. I'm sure Little Brown wanted  to distance themselves from the Potter franchise, but this is overkill. My point is this: Rowling's name recognition is enough ...  she doesn't need anything else. Regardless of the hideous cover, the book will sell.

Who knows? Maybe Little Brown will set a new trend of condiment colored covers ... only time will tell.