Monday, June 25, 2012

Another Book, Another Cover

Who judges a book by its cover? Pretty much everyone. Even if you don’t consciously do so, a cover is doing a lot more for a book than you know.

Nor is a cover just a random collection of images and type. Though you want an outstanding cover, there are certain conventions within each genre that send a clear and instantaneous message. I can always tell a young adult novel as soon as I pull it out of its packaging. Likewise, a novel of suspense, a literary work and so on. It’s not that all books in that sub-genre look the same. They don’t. But there are subtle details that make them distinct. You get these details wrong at your own peril. If everyone who sees my new thriller thinks it’s a book for kids, I’ve got several layers of problem on my hands.

For The Indigo Factor, as with all of the books published under my direct control, the cover was designed by David Middleton. If you’re looking to get a cover designed, you should also find a designer whose work you like and whose ability you trust. Early in the process, David asked me what I envisioned. I gave him some vague ideas and he went in another direction entirely. That’s just how we roll. But I love this cover.

The image he created is not a scene from the book. Rather, it’s meant to evoke the spirit of the book. It’s a work of suspense. I think anyone could tell that. There are some deeply frightening elements. The single reflection in the water when there are two children standing nearby that without overstating it. And as readers learn deep in the book, there actually are two children, though one is not as he seems.

Then there is the forest at night. That speaks volumes. Forests at night are scary. Everyone knows that.

As always, David makes it look easy. There's not much going on there, right? Yet it’s polished and, I think, pitch perfect. It tells a story without giving anything away.

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