STATUS: Feeling giddy! I’m just realizing that my assistant Sara is so efficient, I’m having trouble keeping up with her! But, because of her wonderfulness, I’m almost caught up. I have some queries to review from last week, a small stack of screened partials that are unfortunately from late April or early May (sorry!) and of course, three or four full manuscripts that I’ve been woefully behind on reading. For those of you waiting, I apologize. A response is just around the corner.
What song is playing on the iPod right now? US AND THEM by Pink Floyd
Let me repeat for good measure that the good majority of authors only have cover consultation and not cover approval. So what’s an author to do?
Well, I push them to be pro-active about the cover in a meaningful way—as soon as right after the sale. If they have ideas, let’s list them. Let’s highlight scenes that might make a good cover image. I even tell my authors to make a visual chart (with jpgs included) of covers they love and list the reasons why. (This works better if you choose covers the publisher has actually published recently.)
For SF & Fantasy, a lot of writers know the artists and their work (Linnea LOVES Dave Seeley’s stuff and was over the moon when she found out he was going to be her cover artist.) If an artist might be a good fit, why not mention it and send the editor the weblink to the artist’s website.
My historical author sent a whole gallery of pictures from the era of her story. The photo album included pictures of all the principal characters in the story, tidbits on what living person today descended from these historical figures, pictures of the main settings etc. All rich detail to inspire the cover artist to really imagine a romantic image of the time. We’ve gotten some gorgeous covers.
And I’ve never had editors say NO to this kind of input. (Remember, they want their authors to be happy with the cover.)
Will it ensure a good cover? No. The publisher can disregard all input.
However, it allows the author to participate in the discussion.
And Publishers do listen. Just this week, an author and I asked for some cover tweaks and the publisher obliged.