This week I have been trying to get a handle on what I want on the cover of my new novel ‘The Angel Bug‘.
Traditionally published novelists often get no say in what goes on their cover. I heard one author complain that the cover of one of her Romance novels showed a blonde wearing tweeds, when it was obvious to anyone who’d even read the first chapter of her book that the main character was a brunette and wouldn’t have been seen dead in tweeds. (She said that it was set in the countryside, and she guessed that’s as far into the description of the novel as the illustrator had read)
The other extreme is deciding totally on your own what to have on your own book cover. And there’s the rub… what impression to convey with the cover? It is definitely a tricky choice because some people DO JUDGE BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS !
Now, I have the offer of a professional job on the cover, once I have an idea of what I want .. so I have been trying a few rough mock-ups myself – finding this easier than explaining in words what I want. (The words that come out of my mouth seem to get translated into a different language as they go into someone elses ears)
The Angel Bug is set at the (world) famous Eden Project (in Cornwall) – at least for the core of the novel… so I thought I’d try to combine a picture of this with the idea of a ‘bug’ or ‘bacteria’ and change the picture of Eden to look like something you might see down a microscope.
Ok, effective-ish but WHAT MESSAGE WAS IT GIVING? Having shown it to a few people I realised it wasn’t coming over the way that it was meant… it was looking a bit sci-fi..ish, a bit ‘weird’ and probably my usual readers wouldn’t pick it up.
So I tried the same idea without the inverted colours… now it just looked messy.
I won’t show you the weird effects I created trying to make it look like Eden was sat in a petri dish.. or indeed under an actual microscope – the images were too rough and I deleted them before thinking about this blog post!
I tried with a different picture and different view – better, I thought, but still the book looked like a sci-fi or a thriller…. neither of which it is, though,I suppose, it does carry some small elements of both.
Another colour change and I felt I was working towards something that might not frighten off my readers … but did it convey the right image of the book?
At this point I really don’t know … I do know that it needs more thought and more feedback … or perhaps I’ll settle for the ‘blonde in tweeds’ and be done with it …
What does this cover say to you? Would you pick it up to read the blurb?
Do you judge a book, in the first instance, by its cover?
How do you select books to read?
Do share – I’d love to hear from you… and you never know it might help me 🙂