Saturday, 24 July 2010

Fretting over the cover

Book covers are important; people really do judge a book by its cover.

Vital for sales, they will attract a reader to pick up the book or click on the image - or not. Publishers decide what you get, because they are the best judge of what will sell. It must be nail-biting for an author, waiting to see how his book will look, when he has little or no say in the final decision.

A recent favourite of mine is the beautiful and witty cover of Gary Corby's soon-to-be-released The Pericles Commission; browsing yesterday in Waterstones I thought that the images and lettering on books has never been better - even though they are subject to fashion, and are now more genre-specific than they've ever been.

It's a bit daunting for anyone like me who plans to self-publish - but at least I won't get lumbered with something I hate. I've resumed my tempestuous love affair with Adobe Photoshop 7.0, and the image here is my best effort so far.

The purpose of this post is to get a reaction from readers of my blog. If you click on the picture it comes up larger. What do you think? Would you pick this up in a bookshop? Should I have the boasty quote on the front? And what would you expect the novel to be like going by this cover?

Honest opinions, please, don't spare my feelings.


  1. It's beautifully done. The proportions, layout and colour look good to me.

    The picture suggests to me that it's about a young woman and maybe her children and I wonder if it's something I'd read. She looks nice and rather dreamy. The title suggests it might be a romance.

    I hope that helps. I know from experience that people take very different things away from the same image.

    It does look professional quality to me, which I think is important.

  2. Thank you, Fairy H - though I feel you are a kindly commenter.

    I'm still pining over my first title, Catch a Falling Star, which Jade Goody used so I had to drop. 'Heart' in a title does suggest romance - and indeed like most books Heart of Rock has a romance in the mix.

  3. Wow! I think I'd have preferred it without the pale and interesting woman looking off into the distance - but that's because I love the rocking horses scattered around the pic - and having read a bit of the story - I know why they're prominent. Maybe the thriller aspect of the story could be shown visually too? I don't know how - maybe a discreet smashed pic of Ric - just something sinister to say that all is not well in this poor woman's rocking -horse filled room...!!

    Hope this helps (and if not -whoopsie!).

    Take care and GOOD LUCK!!!

  4. I'd love a picture of Ric - but where to find a charismatic hunk the right age (preferably with own Strat) to pose for me? I've browsed stock photo sites and found nothing.

    Any of my readers thirty, male and gorgeous?

  5. Sorry. It's not working for me. I know the rocking-horse tie-in for the story but in the snapshot it's not there.

    The cover might work for "The Rocking-horse Chronicles" or some such, but the horses and the pretty one in front don't connect with "Heart of Rock".

    Lovely picture though.

  6. Do you think she should be more hands on with the rocking horses then, Norm?

  7. Not knowing much about what this is about, I would pick this up based on the cover. I would read the back, and the first few paragraphs. That would determine if I'd buy it or not. But based on the cover and on the synopsis on your sidebar, I'd definitely be interested.

  8. Thanks Karen, that's encouraging.

    I feel I need to take a slightly different shot - I think I'd recognize it when it was spot on. If I can, I'll have another photographic session.

  9. I don' think so. The problem may be the title, "Heart of Rock." The cover and title need to be complementary.

  10. I've racked my brain repeatedly to think of a better title that hasn't been used.

    Heart of Rock was the best I could come up with.

  11. Time to hold a contest! The winner gets a character named after them in the story.

    Provide the synopsis (w/out the ending which would be in an agent query) so that we know what the book is about, and let your vast readership come up with as many ideas as they can.

    Rules? Hmmm... (your call) here are my thoughts:
    - Titles may be reused (they aren't copyrighted)
    - in the case of a repeat, the first title to show is the entry.
    - More than one title per person is encouraged.

    Should be fun.

  12. Wow Lexi, I just popped in after a break of a few days, and here you are saying such kind things about my cover!

    I am very, very flattered.

    I'm late to the party, so I'll move to the latest version for comments.