Monday, June 25, 2012

The All Important Book Cover…

I have learned so much on my journey to becoming a published author and over the coming weeks and months; I’ll share some of those things with you. But because I am looking at them right now, I think I’ll share with you what I have learned concerning the all important book cover…

But first, a bit of background if you’ll indulge the whim. One fine day, almost four years ago, (and that’s another blog entirely) I finally picked up my pen (a.k.a. keyboard) and began writing the stories that had languished inside my mind for years. I molded them, shaped them, tweaked them, and even sang them lullabies (okay, I didn't really sing—my voice is horrible) before I sent them out into the cruel, cruel world, as I deemed them suitable for consideration. The rejections came en mass no real surprise there. I suppose I could paper an entire wall with all the short, terse, form letters. Nonetheless, because of the few positive, personal rejection letters and with a bit of a push from a very supportive family, I persevered.

And then heaven smiled. I sent a copy of the “Spirit of the Rebellion” to “The Wild Rose Press.” I love this publishing company (and that’s another blog entirely). My lovely editor, Sarah Hansen, took some of her precious time and taught me to write a much better book—much better. She patiently worked with me for several months, because, she said, there were parts of my book she really, really liked. Finally, at long last, I had my first contract. I didn't know then, how much more there was to learn. A contract is only the beginning.

But for now, let’s just skip to the cover. Most publishing companies, and Wild Rose Press is no exception, do not allow their authors to have any involvement whatsoever with the cover selection, save the information we give them on the cover request sheet. On this sheet, we provide a description of our main characters, mood, place, setting, and genre among other things. Once they have this sheet in hand, they have cover artists that spend several hours creating your cover. Most of the time, (for me anyway), the cover is not even close to what I envisioned…

But then how could it? After all, I created all of the elements in my book. Throughout the process of writing, my hero and heroine came to life inside my head and my head only. They don’t exist in stock photos, nor do the homes they live in. Stock photos are all the cover artist has to work with. (I’m sure you've seen more than one cover that used the same photographs). Once they select the photographs, they have to place them in consideration of the title and the name of the author.

These professional graphic artists make every effort to ensure the cover will stand out in all formats and sizes. Finally, the cover has to go through its own approval process from a committee that knows and understands the industry. These people want your book to be just as successful as you do yourself. If they didn't like it, they wouldn't use it.

So, when that cover finally arrives in your email, the only thing you can do is proudly display it and say… “Well everyone, what do you think?”

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