Cover Art Confidential
If you want to stab an art director through the heart, take away her privilege of calling the shots. I was an artist and art director for more than thirty years. It's hard to let go and allow someone else to design your work.
If you've never had a cover designed for you before, let me put your mind at rest. They'll pretty much ignore your ideas. It's not personal—just business.
Let's take True Believers for example.
• I asked for a warm color palette for the cover. They went with fire engine hot.
• I asked for an elaborate font. Since the main character, Rachel is an archeologist, I thought something like carved stone would work well. After a little negotiating (read: begging) I got the font "Traditional Arabic". It was definitely better than the first choice.
• I asked for the heroine to be young with exotic Middle Eastern features. After all, her father is none other than Gilgamesh, formerly of Sumer.
…well, she's dark-haired anyway. :grin:
After the kerfuffle Bloomsbury caused using a white model for LIAR, a novel that demanded a young black woman, I think publishers are becoming more mindful about casting a little closer to the true race of a character.
But in this business, it's all a matter of degrees. Go too far in the wrong direction and you can create an incident of viral proportions.
After the incident with Bloomsbury ended up with egg on its face. Yet all the publicity was a boon to the author by virtue of grassroots movement. So even bad covers can work in your favor if you've got an angle.
I can't complain. Carina did all right by True Believers. It's not the cover I would have designed, but judging by the response, it's a cover that drives attention. And in the publishing business that's all that matters.
Authors: Have you liked all your covers? Are there any you would have designed differently?
Readers: Do you expect a cover to tell you what's inside or are you content simply with the tone the art represents?
Maria Zannini's latest release is a science fiction romance called TRUE BELIEVERS.
Mix one cynical immortal and one true believer and throw them into the biggest alien-hunt the world has never known. Rachel Cruz is a Nephilim masquerading as an archeologist and she's stuck with an alien who believes she can lead him to his ancestral gods. Black Ops wants to find these gods too. They want them dead.
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