Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don't judge a book...but we know you will ;)

I don't think we've talked book covers much on Scribble Chicks before! Let's remedy that, shall we? :)

The good news is, book covers are important. They can make the reader pick up a book they might not have normally, help readers discover new authors (like YOU!) and really set the mood and tone of the story.

The bad news is, book covers are important. And authors often get very little if any say-so in the process.

This is where trust in the marketing department comes in! I've thus far been involved with three different publishers during the course of my career. The first was my small press, POD novel MIDNIGHT ANGEL by The Wild Rose Press 's inspirational line (now known as the White Rose Press) They actually let my uncle, an artist, draw up the artwork completely. I had TOTAL say in it. (I think things with White Rose have changed a little since 2006 in that regard but that was the case when they were new)

With my Love Inspired novels, I get to submit ideas for the cover, scenes from the story, mood/tone suggestions, etc. And they might or might not be considered. Of all my LI novels so far (Return to Love, A Valentine's Wish, Rodeo Sweetheart, the Christmas compilation Mistletoe Prayers, and my upcoming August release Fireman Dad) only Return to Love and Rodeo Sweetheart followed my scene suggestions (to a point, though Rodeo Sweetheart was almost dead on in my head what I pictured!! Loved it!) The marketing department for Love Inspired knows their stuff and knows what sales and knows that if there is a kid, puppy, or fireman (or other hero figure) on the cover, they will sell better. Its what that particular readership is after. Of course there are exceptions, but they take polls and really figure out those numbers and stats. Its not a guessing game. So, even if we might disagree at times, we have to trust the marketing dept knows what they are doing! :)

I'm not sure how things go cover-wise at Barbour Books, since I've only been contracted with them a few months and haven't seen my cover yet for my January 2012 release. But I did have to fill out a cover form with similar suggestions like I made at Love Inspired! But I've seen other Barbour covers and truly haven't seen one I didn't like :) So I feel safe that my novel will be in good hands with the art department! (and the marketing!)

Does the above come as a shock to you? Did you think authors had more/less say in the cover?

What kind of books do you as a reader feel led to pick up? What's a turn on and what's a turn off? I hate to admit it but for me, BEFORE I had my daughter, I wouldn't even pick up a book if it had a kid on the cover! haha. Now of course that has changed because I've changed. But it used to be a turn off for me.

So how do you judge??? :)


  1. The kinds of books that I read by it's cover, are the ones that explain their names. For example, the first Erynn Mangum book I saw was Matchpoint and I see what looks like in my mind, a wedding because of it's flowers... so I was verrrrrrry excited and couldn't wait to get through the other books. (Imagine my surprise when I finished the other books ansd realised it hadn't came out yet...Then we didn't have anywheres to get it)
    But something I always have a hard time doing, is naming my novel. Like a discriptive name. Like, I see that Betsy's latest book is going to be "Fireman Dad". I know it telllls some of the story in its title (although I cringe at the fact that that might mean he has to deal with LOTS of badly burn, or worse, victims :P But it sounds good!

  2. Emily, no graphic burn victims in Fireman Dad, don't worry. :) Titles are a lot like covers in how much say the author gets. Especially with Love Inspired - again, it all falls back to marketing and their knowing their audience. I had originally titled Fireman Dad "Rescuing Her Heart" but they changed it to have the word Fireman in the title because guessed =P

    Return to Love was originally Reclaiming Harmony. A Valentine's Wish was originally A Taste of Love (because of it taking place in a sweet shop) and Rodeo Sweetheart was originally To Lasso Love.

  3. I am actually a little surprised! I guess I thought that the author's had total say; but that is why there are such things as marketing departments!

    I'm more likely to pick up a book that just has a different cover; one that doesn't look like the normal. I love, love CJ Darlington's covers; adding the books on the front drew me in immediately!

  4. Interesting about firemen selling more copies. I guess that makes sense because since 9/11 especially there is an appeal to these "everyday heroes."

    I like books with unusual covers and I prefer not to see the faces of the main characters that way I can imagine without being constrained as much by the cover.

    Its a bit discouraging that you don't get more say in the covers.

  5. I'm more drawn to books with either really artsy creative covers or ones that really cute and pink :) Wow, I never knew that that even titles aren't completely up to the author. I think that would be so hard to let them change it! It would be like having the doctors change your baby's name...but I guess what really matters is what you write, not the cover or title.