What's in a cover?
I thought I’d use a couple of these posts to talk about some of the things that happen before a new novel hits the shelves (or at least my experiences with them.) I’ll start with watching the cover come together for 'Shadows'.
Whether we like it or not, readers judge books by their covers. Hopefully they’ll get as far as the synopsis before making a final decision, but there’s no doubt a cover influences whether or not someone picks up a book in the first place. And let's face it, people's views on covers are totally subjective.
I didn't have a cover in mind (a good thing, I think), but I was hoping for something atmospheric, a little moody and more indicative than literal. I wanted to give readers a hint that 'Shadows' was slightly left of centre.
The process with my publisher (Text Publishing) was incredibly inclusive. My editor, Alison Arnold, kept me in the loop and asked for my feedback as we went along. It's not always like that for authors (especially newbies like me), so I know how lucky I was.
Ali and I chatted about the cover and then she briefed WH Chong, Text's awesome in-house artist. (You only have to check out the Text catalogue to see the range and depth of his creativity.)
Here's his initial, stunning design:
I loved it. Ali loved it. My agent – the very experienced and savvy Lyn Tranter – then pointed out that while it was beautiful, it didn’t necessarily fit with what readers of paranormal stories look for in a cover. She made the valid observation that most of those stories have covers with figures of people on them (or faces in some cases).
Chong went back to the drawing board and produced something totally different – a guy with a hoodie and wings. We loved that too (all of us).
Ali showed the two concepts to Text’s marketing gurus and several booksellers, and everyone agreed the most striking cover was the guy with the hoodie. The gold design on the white background just leapt off the page.
So, after a few minor tweaks, this was the end result (complete with the wonderful quote from Claudia Gray, who kindly read 'Shadows' earlier this year):
And, in case you’re interested, here’s a completely different cover for the edition of 'Shadows' being released in the United Kingdom in January through Indigo Books (Orion Books):
What do you think?