I’m often asked how I create the covers for my books. As many of you know the author doesn’t create them, the publisher does. The author’s input can go from nothing at all (the cover shows up in the mail, or e-mail these days) to cover approval, which means the cover must be approved by the author before it goes on the book. In the latter case, the publisher usually tries to get the author involved from the beginning.
Some publishers have cover art forms. They can be anywhere from 10 plus pages long to a page. I’ve been asked to write a paragraph description about each main character or to send pictures of settings, models and other covers I’ve seen that have a similar style or theme to my book. Once the publisher even sent modeling composites and let me pick the models we would use on the cover. That was fun.
What happens most often these days is I’m sent an early version of the cover, after I’ve sent ideas or descriptions, then I get to tweak. My agent gets involved. Sometimes the final product is far from the original. The most obvious example of this was for the cover of my Nightcreature Novel, MIDNIGHT MOON.
I said, hmmm. Historical? Not really. My agent’s assistant sent some suggestions.
One had a more contemporary look.
This appeared in the Doubleday Book Club catalog.
Which was minutely better than this:
In the meantime, I pointed out that the book takes place in the jungle. There is no beach. My editor asked if I could add a beach. Hmm.
I do so with a pretty darn good dream sequence that begins like this:
Last night I dreamed of the beach in Haiti. The rolling waves, the smooth, warm sand, turned white beneath the light of a glistening silver moon. The dream continues to haunt me because on that beach I said goodbye to everything I’d been and welcomed the woman I would become.
But what about my fabulous beach sequence? My editor agreed that the beach prologue was too good to lose, so it stayed. So did this cover, though I wasn’t sure up until the books came to my door what, exactly, might appear.
And there you have the birth of a cover. Thankfully most deliveries are not this excruciating.
Does it bother you if a cover doesn’t match the book, or does it just need to be appealing? Do you prefer concept covers (landscapes, flowers, beaches or jungles) to people covers or vice versa? Beach book or jungle book?
And in a completely random aside, my alter ego, Lori Austin is giving away a free download of the first book in the Rock Creek Six series, REESE. Just go to: