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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Book Is Done, But What About the Cover?

Those of you who are regulars know that I turned my latest book in to my editor July 1st. (It still has no official title, BTW, so it'll be interesting to see what it's going to end up being called.) Along with the book being finished, there are a few other immediate steps. (There are other steps like revisions, copy edits, and galleys, but those come later) The first was writing some back cover copy for the story--my editor writes the official version, but she likes to see the author's take on that blurb--and the second is the Cover Concept Memo.

I always consider the cover art information a type of author purgatory. I used to fill them out in excruciating detail--now? Not so much. No point investing a ton of hours in it. I've learned that the hard way. So what do I include?

Pictures of my hero and heroine. Lots of pictures if I have them. I always have pictures of my characters by the time I start writing chapter 4. Sometimes it takes hours and hours or even days to find just the right image, but once I see it, I immediately know it's him or her. I use the pictures to keep details straight about the h/h and I figure a picture is worth a thousand words for the art department, which is probably staffed with people who are visual.

I also describe my h/h's attitudes and give information about their height, eye color, the way they wear their hair, what kind of clothes they like to wear, and any other key information like in The Power of Two Cai always wears a ring. That's important to know and if you look really closely at the cover, you'll see the model has a ring on just like I said.

The art memo also asks for scenes I think would make a good cover, but I've stopped taking the time to describe those and just give the mood of the book. Dark or Very Dark. Those seem to be my defaults. :-) If you look at the cover of my latest book, In Twilight's Shadow, it's not a scene, it's more of a mood-type of cover.

After I do all this--and even with the cut down version of what I do now, it does take a lot of time--I send in the memo form and pray to the cover gods. Please, I beseech, let me have a cover that I'll love, that readers will love, and if you're feeling particularly benevolent, please let the characters on the cover bear a passing resemblance to my hero and heroine. And then I let it go and hope that I'm thrilled when I see my cover art.