Monday, May 05, 2008

The Story of a Book Cover

"Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?" ~Pablo Picasso

I got my cover for One Night in Memphis, from my editor yesterday, and I LOVE IT!! It's so perfect. I can't share it with you yet, though, until it gets the official OK from the head honcho at Samhain.

In the meantime, I thought it might be interesting for my non-writer friends to know what's behind the process of getting a book cover, once you sign that golden publishing contract. I didn't know much about it, before I published my first book (and I have to warn you that, from what I've heard, authors have much less input and control when they publish with the big NY houses. Small presses can work more closely with their authors, I think.)


1. Soon after you sign your contract, your editor and/or the art department sends you a book cover info sheet. This is what Samhain's asks:

 Title of Book
 Series name (do you want this on the cover?)
 Author (name to be on cover)
 Author Email
 Editor name and email
 Genre & Time Period
 Where is story set
 Hero Description (Whatever details will help the art department)
 Heroine Description
 Short Summary of Story
 Author ideas/what would the author like to see (Please include specific examples and/or links, attach drawings or pictures if available, to help give art department as clear an idea of what you’re looking for as possible)
 Is there anything you don’t want on the cover or any comments

2. You fill it out, making sure you're as detailed as you possibly can be. You send it back and hear nothing for weeks or months. Then one day, surprise! You open an email from either your editor or your cover artist with your proposed cover.

Note: It may or may not resemble what you wrote on your info sheet.

3. You, your editor, your cover artist, and the publisher make a final decision. This, of course, is how One Night in Boston ended up, after I agonized whether I wanted the heroine on the front:

When I filled out my book info sheet for One Night in Memphis, I emphasized that I loved the clock-face overlay and hoped it could look similar to the Boston cover. And let me just say again: I LOVE IT.

Fingers crossed that the publisher will too, and I can post it here soon!


Marianne Arkins said...

You would be STUPIFIED at the different covers I got for Liv.


Maybe that's a blog post in itself.

Can't wait to see the cover for Memphis!

Dru said...

Which part of the whole publishing aspect do you find daunting?

I liked how your covers transpired from the first one to the end result. I do like the idea of a clock in the background.

Do you know why authors don't have much influence in the cover design?

I can't wait to see the cover for Memphis.

Have a good Monday. We're expecting temps in the 70s so I hope you are as well.

Amy Addison said...

After looking at those covers, I'm anxious to see the cover for One Night in Memphis.

windycindy said...

It sounds like a longer process than I would have expected. I am glad the author gets some say in their own book cover! I am a book cover looker!
To me, representation is very important. I am waiting to see your new book cover. Thanks,Cindi

Allie Boniface said...

Marianne, I definitely would love it if you blogged about your covers...I know it was a much longer process for you!

Dru, Definitely the marketing aspect - choosing where and when to promote, and how much $$ to spend, and how to creatively get the word out. The rest - editing and such - is more familiar to me, as a writer. But business savvy I have none!

Devon Gray said...

Oooh, cool cover for One Night in Boston. I can't wait to see the new one. I have to say I was a little stunned seeing the first version (me breaking out into a cold sweat and starting to pray). I've read that the smaller publishing houses do work with their authors if it doesn't feel right. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed for mine. I know one thing that threw me was when they asked for his eye color. Gray was not an option. In the "other" field I typed the correct color. How many people actually have gray eyes...hmmm, not too many. Note to self- no more gray-eyed heroes! Looking forward to your cover.

Virginia said...

Love the final cover Ally. Great job!