Where book covers come from

“Love that cover!” “The picture of the girl with the hand over her mouth is sooo compelling!” “Great cover–it really makes me want to read the book!” And so on.

People think they’re complimenting me when they say that sort of thing, and I suppose they are. After all, my name is on the cover. And I did create what’s inside.

As for the cover itself? Er, well . . .

For better or worse, those are almost entirely the work of our publishers.

The cover creation process works more or less like this:

1. A year or so before the book comes out, the publisher sends the author a cover art questionnaire that asks for stuff like physical descriptions of the main characters, the story setting, objects that play key roles in the plot, etc.

2. About six months later, the publisher sends the author an e-mail titled “Your cover!” or something similar. It contains a .jpeg or .pdf file of the cover. If an author is lucky, the e-mail may even contain two or three cover choices to choose from.

3. The author spends the next week showing the cover(s) to friends and family. If they ooh and ah over it (like they did with this one), the author does a Snoopy dance and begins fantasizing about how the cover could be adapted into a movie poster. If there are multiple options to choose from, the author picks one and the cover creation process is over.

4. But sometimes the informal poll turns up negative results. The author’s critique group gives only faint praise. A more experienced author opines that it’s “not an eye-grabber.” Even the author’s mother hints that it doesn’t quite do justice to the book. The author is distraught. His or her agent gets an anguished call and is begged to do something–anything–to fix the horrible cover that is about to doom the author’s career.

5. If the agent agrees with the author, the next step is a call to the publisher to explain that the cover isn’t quite as good as the publisher thought. Sometimes the agent can talk the publisher into redoing the cover and sometimes not. It depends on how much clout the agent has, how much money is left in the publisher’s budget for the book, and how much the publisher likes the original cover.

6. With luck, however, the agent can get the publisher to fix the problems. And pretty soon the author starts getting misguided compliments about what a great cover he or she created.

129 comments

  1. I am seldom interested in reading topics in this arena since they are typically boring, but this material is unique. I am quite impressed with your writing and your efforts.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to make sure your content is properly written, formatted and easy to understand. I’m impressed with your writing quality.

  3. I think you’re content is interesting. It’s kind of funny and a little frightening how you seem to express yourself very much like I do.

  4. Your article is extremely informative without being intimidating. That’s a unique quality in a writer. I agree with not only the points you make in this content, but also with the way you present them.

  5. Good writing skills are only part of good writing. It’s obvious that you have these skills, but you also have a special flair. Great work!

  6. This article must have taken you a lot of research time. I am enthralled with your interesting content. I agree with many of your views. This is very good writing.

  7. I’m glad I didn’t have to write this because it would be so confusing. You did a great job with this content and I agree.

  8. Your article is great! Your viewpoints are valid and well-represented. This is useful and interesting data that I can appreciate. You are obviously knowledgeable in this area. You kept this content smart and very engaging.

  9. Magnificent writing! You have hit the nail on the head with your viewpoints in this article. I think you did a good job with this.

  10. Thank goodness this Informative article is interesting and clear. Others I’ve read made me feel like I needed a degree to decipher them. Thank you.

  11. Thanks for providing this valuable and quality content. Your writing style is impressive and unique. I enjoyed reading your article and agree on many points.

  12. Very good idea. With all the material available on this subject, I am very surprised nobody thought of this wonderfully thought out idea before now.

  13. I am very impressed with your content. I think it’s so engaging due to your unique ideas and interesting wording. Thank you for writing informative content that is written in a sensible and intelligent manner.

  14. It isn’t often I take note of a writer, but you have done a bang up job here. I feel the same as you about this topic. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Online skincare and skin treatment blog. Latest updates and discussion about most recent disease and its treatment

  16. What a great example of top quality article content. The article itself is very well-written, and contains great commentary that is able to hold your interest. Thanks for researching, planning and writing this great article.

  17. After reading your article twice, I had to think about the information. That’s a good thing for me. I agree with much of your content.

  18. It’s refreshing to read interesting content like this. Your unique writing style brings forth thought in the reader. I agree with a lot of this content. Thank you for writing this engaging and intelligent article.

  19. Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your web site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched all over the place and just could not come across. What a perfect web-site.

  20. It’s a great honor to read high quality material in this day and time. This article has all the qualities I expect in good writing. I hope you know you are truly talented. Thank you.

  21. Thank you for writing such a great informative article for today’s modern readers. Two thumbs up for great content and interesting views. I could only aspire to write like this.

  22. I’ve read other articles on this topic, but this one is sensible and intelligent. Thanks for making your article more interesting and informative than others.

  23. It takes a lot to impress me when it comes to writing quality articles. This article has impressed me with good writing I can appreciate.

  24. Thank you for this article. Personally, I think this material is great. I agree with much of your information here. It also motivates me to learn more. I await the next article with great anticipation.

  25. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. We got a good book on that matter from our local library and most books where not as influensive as your information. I am very glad to see such information which I was searching for a long time.This made very glad

  26. This is excellent content! I am highly impressed by your format and presentation of your views. I agree with you on most of your information.

  27. Excellent job on this article. I am totally impressed. This information has brought forth more brain power than I’ve used in some time. Thank you for writing this great article.

  28. It isn’t often I take note of a writer, but you have done a bang up job here. I feel the same as you about this topic. Thanks for sharing.

  29. After reading your article, I’m compelling to share your points on this topic. You have done a very good job with your attention to detail you put into this article.

  30. This is excellent content! I am highly impressed by your format and presentation of your views. I agree with you on most of your information.

  31. This is one of those articles I truly enjoy reading. This content kept me engaged from the first line to the last. I agree with many of the interesting views you made in this article.

  32. I enjoy reading good articles whenever I can, especially when the information is so well represented. You’ve succeeded in providing very interesting material in this article that people can understand.

  33. I have to say thanks for this great and useful blog post. It’s a kind of controversial point of view but I really have to say that you make your view totally clear and understandable. Thanks again for sharing this information. It was a pleasure to read. Have a nice day. 🙂

  34. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this topic with your readers. I, for one appreciate how much work you went to in putting all this together. Thanks a bunch.

  35. Hope to read more updates on your site soon!

  36. What a great article you’ve written! This is useful and well-thought out information with thought-provoking viewpoints and content. I’m impressed with how well you have presented this information in such and interesting and original way.

  37. I thought you should know I am in awe of your knowledge on this topic. Your information in this article is incredible and it reflects some of my same views.

  38. I don’t know how you did it, but you have hit the nail on the head in this article. I agree completely on many of the facts you have presented in this content. Thank you.

  39. This is true quality content that I can relate to. Thank you for your candor and great passion for this subject. This is good work.

  40. I enjoy a well-written article like many other online readers. I was surprised that this information was so interesting. You have given me cause to reflect on many aspects of your content. I like that.

  41. Great article like this require readers to think as they read. I took my time when going through the points made in this article. I agree with much this information.

  42. Eνегy weekend i uѕed to visit thiѕ ωeb site,
    foг the rеаson thаt i
    want enjoyment, sincе thiѕ this web page cοnаtіons
    іn fаct gooԁ funnу ѕtuff toο.

  43. I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at this web page is in fact fastidious.

  44. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this
    blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  45. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites
    really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Cheers

  46. At this time it appears like BlogEngine is the
    best blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

  47. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for where
    to buy the cheapest treadmill

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Location Villa Ile Maurice - Recent Blogroll Additions…... [...]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]…...
  2. ISO 9001 2008 Requirements Before Certification - Awesome info.... Sharing what I've found...
  3. Mauritius Holiday Villas - Website trackback Link... [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are…
.