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.


  1. I discovered your blog web site on google and examine a few of your early posts. Proceed to maintain up the excellent operate. I just extra up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. In search of forward to reading more from you later on!…

  2. If I were the one having to write this content, all these readers would be disappointed. It’s a good thing you are the writer and you bring fresh ideas to us all. This is interesting.

  3. Quality content. This is sometimes an oxymoron, but not in this case. You have written content that is the kind of quality I can appreciate.

  4. It’s hard to dispute valid information, and you have made your points with valid and persuasive content. I thank you for this quality informative material.

  5. Your article piqued my interest in ways no article has in a while. I think your unique points make sense and all are certainly interesting. Thank you for interesting content.

  6. You’ve hit the bull’s eye with this content. I agree with your points and I love your approach in this writing. Your writing style is right up my alley. I enjoyed your article very much.

  7. Hi, I found your blog through MSN search and read a couple of the posts here. I’ve to say that your blog post are very informative that i’m unable to find elsewhere. Your blog have benefited me in many ways and I want to say Thank You! I’ve bookmarked your site and will be comming back often.

  8. Thank you for submitting this article. This is information I have been looking for. I’ve been hoping to find clear and concise content like yours. Your unique points helped me think about this information differently.

  9. I applaud this writer for writing such unique and quality information with viewpoints I can understand. I couldn’t stop reading this article. I got so engrossed in this material. Thanks!

  10. I bookmarked this content so I can review it further later. I have to ponder on few of the points you made. I do agree with most of this information.

  11. Check out my awesome GTA 4 Cheats Pages

  12. You’ve made some really great points in this article that I feel make readers think. This is unique content loaded with great information. Thank you.

  13. I’ve read a lot of online articles on this topic lately. Yours is the only one that really made sense to me. Thanks a bunch.

  14. Anytime I see great content I just have to say something. You have written an informational article with unique views and interesting content. It doesn’t get any better than this.

  15. I don’t say much about articles often, but your article was begging me to say something. Your information is intelligent. Thank you for writing this.

  16. I feel the need to thank you for your great writing ability and unique content. Your article reflects many of my same views. You have written some very interesting content.

  17. Simply put, this article is pure excellence! You’ve really put things into perspective for me. I am impressed with your writing style and abilities. Thank you for making this content easy to understand and interesting.

  18. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information here.

  19. My ideals were somewhat different from the writer’s until I read this well-written and documented set of real facts supplied in this article. Thank you.

  20. You have made some great points here that are thought-provoking and intriguing. I am glad I found this article. I really appreciate all the work you put into this content. This is very impressive work.

  21. How often I wind up reading dull and poorly written online commentary. This article was a refreshing change from all that. You make great points and present them in an interesting way. It’s just smashing.

  22. You’ve done an excellent job expressing your thoughts in this article. I concur with a lot of your thoughts and appreciate your vast knowledge and forward thinking. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us.

  23. I am enjoying reading your article. It grabbed my interest and I could read it over over again. I really like this content. Thank you.

  24. Thank you for writing such a great article. I’m impressed with your views on this matter and I agree with a lot of your ideas.

  25. Great article! This information really made me stop and think about it. I agree with much of the information you have written. I will have to read this over again.

  26. Great job on this article. I like your viewpoints and I agree on a lot of your content. Thank you very much for sharing this.

  27. Your article is most uniquely written and very informative. You got my attention by sharing your viewpoints so effectively. I agree with a lot of your content. Great quality article.

  28. This article is a prime example of great informational material. Your points are valid and I agree with much of your data. Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge on this subject. This is great.

  29. I very much enjoyed reading your informative article. I do agree with a lot of your original material and believe it to be quite interesting.

  30. The viewpoints you make in your article are so well stated. This is easy to understand from the beginning. This is interesting to read. Thanks for clearing up some things I have been thinking about.

  31. It’s not often an informational article engages me enough to continue reading it, but this information is well written and interesting. You kept my interest from beginning to end. This is a very good article.

  32. I love reading information that makes my brain work and you really have my gears turning. Thank you this information. You have a talent for putting things into words and making it easy to understand.

  33. I cringe when I think of the work you must have done putting this information together. I am glad you did it though and appreciate it. You’ve hit the mark.

  34. You are obviously very good at gathering data and writing it in clear terms for your readers. I like your unique take on this topic and I agree with you on a lot of it.

  35. I have to thank you for being so insightful and forward-thinking. Your article reflects intelligence and common sense. I thought all common sense was gone, but you proved me wrong.

  36. Content like this should be recognized by literary committees. I think you should win an award for how well you laid this information on the table and kept it really engaging. I love your work.

  37. Good writing skills take more than just education. It’s passion that sets the good and great writers apart. I see you have passion and skills.

  38. It’s totally refreshing to find quality content like this online. I’ve found it more and more difficult to find quality articles like this one. I’m glad I found this article.

  39. Your article is more than just information to me. To me, you have captured the reader’s attention with engaging and unique content. I like your original presentation of views and agree on many of them.

  40. Very helpful information particularly the final part 🙂

  41. Thanks a lot! I really enjoyed reading this. It makes me want to create my own blog.

  42. The comments expressed in this article are very organized, well-researched and very easy to read. There’s no mistaking the points you are making. I agree.

  43. When you can grab my attention in the first few words of an article it’s an accomplishment. You’ve ignited my interest on this subject and I thank you for this.


  1. Acai Berry scams - The best website…... [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]…...
  2. Better search engine placement - The best website…... [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]…...
  3. Bungalow Ile Maurice - Trackback Link... […] … great article that everyone should read […]...
  4. Social Security Calculator - Please read my blog too!... I enjoyed reading yours!...
  5. Mauritius Villas - Nice Site... […] … great article that everyone should read […]...
  6. Villas Ile Maurice - Trackback Link... […] … great article that everyone should read […]...
  7. Location Ile Maurice - Trackback Link... […] … great article that everyone should read […]...