More often than not, writers do not have to pick their own cover art if they traditionally publish. Some people may not be comfortable with this but I don’t mind. Why? Let me tell you.
- The Cover Has to Make an Accurate First Impression. The first thing that most people notice about your book is the cover. And the thing is that many people do judge a book by its cover. You want to make an accurate first impression.
- There are Other People Who Know How to Do This. I’ve watched how-to videos and various talks on cover design. They talk about selecting the right image (person, place or object), the right colors and the right font. They talk about guiding the would-be buyers eye to open the cover and experience the book. When they say it, I can see what they mean but can I do it?
- I am Not One of These People. At least at this point in my life, I am not one of these people. When I try to lay out something like a cover or a graphic of some kind, I can tell whether or not it works. Sometimes all seems well. Then someone comes along and explains why it doesn’t work. And then there are those times where I know it isn’t working. Let me illustrate this.
Back when Duchess Harris and I were working on Hidden Human Computers she had picked out a photo for us to use on the cover. It was a photo of her grandmother, one of the computers, walking down the street. She was dressed, as my grandmother would have said, to the nines. It was a gorgeous photo.
Then the book designer showed us the photo they had chosen. You can see it on the cover above. The photo they chose shows one of the women at work. Since this is a book about them at work as computers, it makes a lot of sense to choose a photo like that. As soon as I saw it, I knew what it was a better choice.
Do I loathe not getting to choose the photos used in my book covers? Oh, no. I’m just glad someone knows enough to do it and do it well!