1. GrayFlux
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    GrayFlux New Member

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    Author Input on Cover-art

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by GrayFlux, Jan 6, 2012.

    I've read that authors are best to leave the cover-art to the 'professionals' who are skilled at graphic design and know what appeals to the masses. But when I look around in a bookstore, there are so many books with just horrible covers.

    If an author has a particular scene in mind, can you ask the cover designers to sculpt a particular scene? Or can you hire artists that you know that you know would do a great job?

    I just think it's a little strange that an author doesn't have priority when it comes to the creation of the cover-art...

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    If you're going to self-publish, you can hire your own cover artist to design a cover for you. And because you pay the artist, you can suggest what you'd like for the cover. If you're to be published by a publishing house, you most likely will have no say whatsoever on the design of your cover, since the publishing house will pay for the cover.
     
  3. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Well, that's not entirely true... you can have a degree of influence on it, depending on which publisher you're with. It is the responsibility of your agent to negotiate with them on cover art, but yes, to a large extent it is down to marketing and graphics departments to design a cover that they think will sell your book. Having a nice pretty illustrative scene from your book may satisfy your artistic and creative needs, but there is only one thing that matters to a publisher: saleability. It's all about visual marketing and getting a casual browser to pick up your book over the hundreds of others on the shelf.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as noted above, it all depends on the contract you sign with the publisher... if you have a good agent with lots of clout, you may get much more say than if you're dealing directly with the publisher, or have a new agent with little or no juice...
     
  5. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    And if you have a name for yourself, like James Patterson, who is a former advertising exec. However, precious few beginning writers get any influence whatsoever on cover art or even title - publishers often have the right to change your title if they think it's unsuitable/unsaleable and they will exercise that right.
     
  6. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    I self-published and if you're adamant about certain elements/characters being on the cover then that's the way to go. I have a specific vision in mind for the cover art and the artist I worked with was happy (and patient) to go through them all. Even though my vision was clear, he gave me some professional insight that I would have ignored otherwise and it made for a much better rendering in the end.

    Having that level of control gave me piece of mind but if I didn't have an exact vision in mind then I would gladly defer to a professional's opinion.
     
  7. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    They'll even change your name if you'll let them!: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/dec/07/writers-pen-names
     
  8. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It does depend on the publisher, but larger publishers generally don't allow the authors create or have major input on the cover art.

    My publisher will seek an artist and provide the cover art for the authors, or given a budget, the author can seek an artist (of course the final cover art has to be approved by the publisher). But my publisher isn't one of the big ones. Nevertheless, I am very pleased with the cover art of my two novels. If interested, you can view them by clicking on my website in my signature file.

    Working with the artist, I learned a lot about what makes strong cover art, including content and layout. I also learned that depicting a particular scene, as the OP indicated was the desire, isn't necessarily the a good way to go.

    Cover art is very important. People do judge books by their covers. Not only in the bookstore, but online as well. A poor or cover (art and/or layout) can cause potential readers to move on without exploring further. There are tons of thumbnails and books to scan through.

    As has been said, marketing plays a large role in a cover's design. Having an experienced professional do the job when possible is the way to go, even if the author has little to no say in the matter. Sure there are exceptions, but they're exceptions.
     
  9. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Even though the publisher has final say, if you show them your idea and it's a good one, it very well may influence what your cover looks like. After all the marketing people who design covers are human too. If they see a good idea, it will influence them. However they will probably change it just enough that they can say it was completely their idea. :)

    If I were you I wouldn't get your own cover art too set in your head. Unless you self-publish, it will be different than you planned. You can only hope that that difference makes it more selable than yours would.
     
  10. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    I totally agree, with one stipulation - I never want a cover feature the faces of my characters. I want to leave their looks to the imagination of my readers.
     
  11. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    And has anyone noticed how many YA fantasy books have a picture of a teen girl in a dress on the cover lately? It's starting to make me feel dizzy. I would probably throw a fit if the cover art on a book I wrote was a girl in a dress.
     
  12. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Perhaps they think that since the target audience is schoolgirls, they better put something on the cover the audience recognizes?
     
  13. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    How many schoolgirl's have you seen wearing a dress lately? ;)
     
  14. Felipe
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    Felipe Active Member

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    They aren't the best covers but I've seen worse. I designed them free with the templates from Createspace.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Felipe
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    Felipe Active Member

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    They aren't the best covers but I've seen worse. I designed them free with the templates from Createspace.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    In the Netherlands? Plenty.
     
  17. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Really? Other than prom I doubt many of the girls here even own a dress. Well maybe a mini but that doesn't count as a dress, not enough material. Anyway, I just think it's annoying that so many book covers are so similar.
     
  18. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    the pirate one is pretty cool i reckon :)
     
  19. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    the pirate one is pretty cool i reckon :)
     
  20. GrayFlux
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    GrayFlux New Member

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    Thanks everyone. :)

    I find all this extremely disconcerting. I can't stand the thought of my book getting published with coverart that I'm dissatisfied with. Especially if they try altering the titles...
     
  21. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Well, that's one reason why some writers prefer self-publishing, to retain that control. And it's a valid reason, although self-publishing has severe drawbacks too, so don't run off to self-publish before informing yourself of the pros and cons. And be careful not to take one person's advice as gospel, get your information from a variety of sources.
     
  22. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    This is part of the growth and acceptance you have to attain as a writer if you want to write commercially - you are not in control. The publisher is in control. You can have a lesser of greater degree of influence on their decisions, but unless you're a guaranteed times bestseller with a million fans waiting to snap up your next publication, the book that ends up on the shelves will probably not be identical to the one you envisaged or fought for.

    But if your main concern about getting published is cover art design, then you're looking at this all wrong. If you ever get to that stage you should be thanking your fairy godmother that someone gave you a gorram book deal in the first place - that would make you one in a couple hundred thousand who fail to get published.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what's 'a gorram deal'?
     
  24. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    'Gorram' is lingo from the TV show Firefly. ‚ÄčA way to simulate cursing on network TV without getting an FCC fine. It has since taken on a life of its own in some circles.
     
  25. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Ooops, forgot I wasn't speaking to my fellow browncoat (fanfic buddy). Hehehe, I do love Firefly though...
     
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