Cover Art

September 23rd, 2006

Just got the first jpg for the Flesh and Spirit (Roc, May 2007) cover – very nice. The artist is Luis Royo. Of course the fellow on the cover isn’t quite the way I imagine Valen. You have to see him slightly older, a bit more world-battered, a lot more good looking, and having a definite spark of mischief in his eye, despite all the troubles he encounters. Flesh and Spirit cover art

9 Responses to “Cover Art”

  1. Jellyn Andrewson 23 Sep 2006 at 8:13 pm

    I like the colors and the font. Very cool.

  2. kateelliotton 24 Sep 2006 at 12:02 am

    I also like the colors and the fonts. I also like how his posture cuts across the page.

  3. Katharine Kerron 24 Sep 2006 at 5:29 pm

    The point of cover art really isn’t to illustrate the story. It’s an advert — it needs to stand out on a shelf or table and inspire would-be buyers to pick the book up. At the same time, it can’t be utterly misleading about the story.

    I don’t know about the story, obviously, since the book’s not out yet. :-) But it definitely will stand out among the more usual dark covers. Hands should reach for this one. I like the dynamic posture of the figure, too, as Kate does.

  4. Erin Underwoodon 25 Sep 2006 at 8:27 am

    Carol, it’s an eye catching cover.

    The colors work well together and the red really “pops”. There’s something interesting going on with the art design in that the figure is drawn clearly and brought close to the observer while the rest of the cover is shrouded in mist muting the distinct lines of the background images. Then in the midst of all this darkness and mist you have that interesting tree with just a few slivers of blue sky showing through it intricate network of branches. It’s an imaginative cover and you’ve got my attention with it.

    If I was stocking this book on a shelf, I’d turn this one cover out so that people will see it instead of the spine.

    If I was bookstore browsing, I’d pick it up and read the back.

  5. Kathrynon 25 Sep 2006 at 11:42 am

    I like this cover as well, I recently saw something with a similar feel (I think I mean strongly suggestive/atmospheric?), but completely different style. I actually picked up and went on to buy it because the blurb/extract made the same promises for the book. As an advert I think it is effective and it is different enough from the cover trends I’ve noticed recently to draw people for closer examination.

    I work with two people that do cover design, one is also an illustrator and they do work really hard to realise their commision, whether that is the marketing request or the illustration of a passage. Too often people aren’t very understanding of how difficult that is and reply with ‘it isn’t quite how I imagined it can you do it again?’ rather than looking objectively at its merits. Also here the choice is mainly down to the authors and we get a lot of requests/ideas that just don’t work visually let alone for marketing. I wish we could be more firm with them than ‘We feel that this would help/hinder the selling of the book’ but as with any customer driven market, they are always right.

  6. Carol Bergon 25 Sep 2006 at 11:55 am

    I hear lots of authors really unhappy that they can’t design their covers. Personally, I have always been very happy that I was not expected to design the cover. Though, of course, I would like to have comment power. I definitely can recognize things I don’t like.

    And, yes, Kit, I learned early on that it was much better for a cover to look good than to look accurate. The same character appears on all three of the rai-kirah books, and never looks the same on any of them (and never looks like I describe him), but the Revelation and Restoration covers remain among my very favorites.

    One thing I love about this one are the little details. OK, the mask is supposed to be a vertical half mask and not a horizontal one, but it is beautifully detailed. And you can see the compass rose on the pages in his lap. The color of his cloak is actually significant as well, and I agree the use of color is especially nice.

    Thanks for the comments.


  7. Katharine Kerron 25 Sep 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Carol, a lot of the comments I make are things that the authors here know well, but that those reading our posts may not.

  8. heatheron 28 Sep 2006 at 3:38 am

    So, i’m just curious- we DON’T have a say over the covers? My best friend is an artist and i asked her to draw a few compelling portraits of a few of the more prevalent characters AND i already discussed exactly what the cover should be. Not only do i see it in my head, but i would like the portraits to be included within the chapters.

    Too ambitious?

  9. Carol Bergon 28 Sep 2006 at 9:36 am

    Yeah, probably too ambitious if you are looking at publishing with a New York house. Most authors, especially at big houses, have very little or no input on cover art and probably even less on interior book design. Often you don’t even see your cover until the first marketing flats are printed.

    Cover art is marketing, and thus considered to be out of the expertise of authors (unless you happen to be someone like Janny Wurts or you’ve sold 80 bazillion books!) Usually representatives of the publisher’s marketing department and art department, along with your editor are the ones who make the decisions: scenes, focus, artist, decorations like foil, embossing, etc. and such. Artist and decorations are very dependent on the budget for your book.

    You, the author, can certainly suggest scenes and offer to write character or scene descriptions to be passed along to the artist, but, depending on your editor, those might or might not be passed along. For one of my books where there were three very strong early sketches from the artist, my editor actually sent me early sketches and let me give input. Different editors have different amounts of clout with the marketing and art departments. (And my colleagues here might have some varied experiences to relate, of course!)

    At some small publishers, POD publishers, and certainly at vanity presses, the author gets lots of (or complete) input. This can be a mixed blessing. A friend of mine who is a commuity events coordinator at a Barnes & Noble swears she can tell a POD or self-pubbed book at a glance because of the covers. Not poor art, so much as poor design. There are things that grab readers and things that just don’t. As Kit and I have said, accurate representation is way less important than gorgeous/dynamic/evocative/eye-catching…well, you get it.


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