Thoughts on Cover Art

One enjoyable milestone on the journey from submitting one's manuscript to the publisher to publication is The Reviewing Of The Draft Cover Art.  I recently got to see the draft cover art for THE BOOK OF KELL - exciting!

Exciting for me, but not for you, since I'm not going to share it with you.  Nope, Dear Reader, you'll just have to wait for the final product.

Cover art is tricky.  I am no artist myself, but have always admired the talents of those who can draw and paint and do stuff like that.  Like lots of folks, when it comes to any kind of art, I know what I like and what I don't - that's the extent of my knowledge.  A while back, I had the pleasure of visiting The Getty (museum) in Los Angeles.  I greatly enjoyed the fact that it was free.  The physical setting was amazing - I hung out for at least an extra hour just taking in the various views.  (I love LA.)  I even kind of liked the Westworldian train ride from the parking structure.  I also was enamored of their cacti:

And by cacti, I mean possible alien pods about to hatch.  Either way, they were adorable.  (maybe you had to be there)

I didn't really like the art, though.  Just not my style.  Way too over the top and froufrou.  I prefer a lot of American art from the 19th and early 20th centuries, although there's earlier stuff from other places I enjoy as well.

But back to cover art, specifically.  There is a whole team of people involved in getting a book published - it's not just the writer and the publisher.  The cover artist is an important member of that team, too.  Spare a warm thought for the cover artist the next time you pick up a book with a great cover.

The bestselling paperbacks in the rack at the grocery store often have no cover art - just the title and the author's name in giant, colorful, eye-catching font.  Nothing wrong with that.  If you're a fan of that author, that's all you need to know.  If your book has an attention-grabbing title, it may be best to emphasize that over some graphic representation of the book's contents.  I have bought books in the past solely due to a great title or wonderful cover art.  (sucker that I am - I don't think any of those ever turned out to be books I wanted to re-read)
As far as lesfic cover art, I find that I am often not a fan of it.  Maybe it's too generic - stock photo of pine forest, stock photo of rugged coastline, etc.  Or it's a stock photo of a woman peering over her shoulder (or other body part) while coyly smirking.  In all fairness, those are generally the romance novels which I don't read - and I find the cover art for hetero romance novels (which I also do NOT read, but see them in the aforementioned grocery store racks) even more appalling.
But there are some great covers out there in lesfic world.  Go check out the covers for Bella's new releases here and I think you'll find some!  I did.
But back to cover art for Amy Briant books, specifically.  I'm guessing that designing a cover is easier for some books than others.  My first published novel, SHADOW POINT, was a ghost story set on a beach.  Hmmm...picture of a scary lighthouse?  DONE!
I really liked the cover art for my last published novel, HEAVENLY MOVES - the colors!  the bass!  That was a tough plot to capture in a single picture:  1980s rock'n'roll murder mystery set in a Northern California beach town with an in-the-closet protagonist named Heavenly who has just (wait for it) moved.  There are times when the cover art is NOT going to capture all of the elevator pitch.  (meaning that 20-30 second ultra-captivating description of your book - the time you'd have to pitch your product when you realize Simon AND Schuster have just joined you in an otherwise empty elevator)  (I know, I know, no S or S these days, just an example, people)
THE BOOK OF KELL also has a plot that's not easily captured in a picture.  I could mail it to you on this postcard, though, if you're not available to join me in the elevator to hear my dramatic reading thereof:

[Note to self:  buy stamps.]

Suffice it to say I liked a LOT of what I saw in the draft cover art for THE BOOK OF KELL and made just one suggestion.  (I don't know who the artist is or I would compliment her by name in this post.)  Exciting milestone moment - woo hoo!  SO looking forward to having this book out there in the world for all you fine people to read, from cover to cover.


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