I recently read Nick Hornby's novel , Juliet, Naked. I like Nick Hornby's writing - About A Boy is one of my favourite novels - and I enjoyed it very much, apart from finding the ending a little unsatisfactory (the offspring agreed). It's consistently amusing and thought-provoking. But one thing I really hated about it was the cover. I'm not even sure which character the man on it is supposed to be. I know authors are given little or no say in the covers that are assigned to their books, but you'd think an author of Hornby's stature would be able to put his foot down.
Researching this post, I looked at dozens of Nick Hornby's book covers, and began to think that he has been remarkably badly served by his publisher, Penguin. The classy and cool US Juliet, Naked hardback cover, seen here at the far right, is a rare exception.
Self-publishers know how important a cover is. Our names won't attract readers (initially at any rate) and we don't have the recognition factor of authors whose books are on display in book shops. A striking thumbnail image on Amazon might attract a reader to look at the blurb, and then the sample, and then maybe buy. All ambitious indies put a lot of work into designing or commissioning covers, changing them if we get a better idea. There are frequent threads on Kindleboards seeking reactions and comments on artwork before the author commits. We take the whole thing very seriously.
So are the bad covers another instance of the complacency of Big Publishing? Or have some commissioning editors just got seriously bad taste?