Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cover Story

In my last post, I discussed the controversy regarding misleading book covers.

I’ve been so lucky with my covers. All of them have been designed by the genius Elizabeth Clark at Disney-Hyperion; the cover art for the last three were done by illustrator Larry Rostant .

I’ve been to bookfairs where I’ve seen teens walk by, spot my books on display, and make that sharp turn we all hope for (toward me, not away). You can’t ask for more than that.

With The Warrior Heir, there was a huge controversy about roses on the cover (which I like to refer to as The War of the Roses). The question: Would boys buy a book with roses on the cover?? Even one with a big sword in the middle?

If so, what kind of roses were the most macho? These?

Or these?

In the end, the book designer made the decision to leave the roses off.

With The Wizard Heir, my editor came to me and asked, What ‘s an object we can put on the cover, you know, like the sword? And I couldn’t think of any. The wizards were using amulets, but they were mostly nondescript stones with runes on them.

Well, my editor said, could you put in a wizard staff or something? I couldn’t picture Seph McCauley walking around with a wizard staff. So I gave one to Gregory Leicester.

Did you know these things went on?

By the time I wrote The Dragon Heir, I knew enough to be thinking ahead. Dragons, I thought. Dragons were always good on a cover. So I put the Dragonheart on a cool dragon stand.

With The Demon King, the book design was tricky. As the first book in a new series, we wanted a design that would tell my current readers to pick it up, that it was a book by an author they knew. But we wanted it to be different enough that people would realize it was a new series. I want to attract new readers without disappointing fans of the Heir Chronicles.

We thought a landscape background would set it apart.

That didn't seem atmospheric enough, so

They revised the layout to be more similar to the Heir Chronicles, and added the text, A Seven Realms Novel, to let readers know they were onto a different series. I just received the proof of the final cover, all foiled and spot varnished. It’s gorgeous.

The important thing is—when a book cover makes a promise, the book must deliver. Or nobody’s happy.

No comments: