Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cover for The Farthest Shore

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I think of this one as the Kraken cover, because you can see the beastie hiding behind my name. :)

In The Farthest Shore, sequel to The Deepest Ocean, Captain Alyster Juell's first mission is to compete in an ocean-crossing race. There's a hefty prize for the winner, which will be him, of course - he commands a steamship whereas all his other competitors have older models, sailing vessels.

But after they've left harbor, he finds a stowaway called Miri (that's her on the cover) and learns that pirates are out to seize his ship for its new technology. And they have a kraken on their side. The race is on — not just for the prize, but to stay ahead of the kraken.

Kanaxa designed the lovely cover and The Farthest Shore will be released by Samhain Publishing in August. I'm thrilled to show this off - getting a "Cover Art" email from my editor is always like opening a present - and it captures the tense, dark atmosphere perfectly.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bad cover art

I love looking at book covers. Whether I’m voting on them (see the Cover CafĂ©’s annual contest, and nominate your favorite romance cover) or learning about the elements of successful design or just being awed by how bad they can get.

For more on the latter, be sure to check out Lousy Book Covers on Tumblr.

Six Writers Tell All About Covers and Blurbs is a great insight into the design process and the input writers have. I especially like the part about the writer who didn’t like her cover and let the publisher know.

I complained a little and they changed it enough to make me hate it so much more!

Some of those covers just don’t work at all for me, but that’s either an indication of how subjective this can be, or a sign that writers aren’t the best people in the world to judge the effectiveness of covers, especially their own. Which is why I liked this article, on what writers say to their editors about cover art and what they actually mean.

Why did you pick such an awful cover goes into detail about the function of the cover, the role of the publisher in this regard and the author’s perspective. This whole series of articles, Common Misconceptions About Publishing, is a good read.

Finally, what made me think of cover art in the first place for a topic?

Well, I finished the first round of edits on The Farthest Shore and turned in the next manuscript. That gave me enough time to browse my favorite part of Absolute Write, the Bewares subforum, where I found a new press with terrible cover art. Turns out the reason for this art is the publisher cutting corners by getting the authors to design their own covers.

…although many [writers] would probably prefer to just tell someone how it should look, they grow from having done it.

A bit like Tom Sawyer getting his friends to whitewash his fence by convincing them it was great fun. Except there it was supposed to be funny. Here, especially since the press targets younger writers (12 and up), it’s just sad. And personally, I want to "grow" as a writer, not as a cover designer.