About Book Covers

July 23rd, 2009

liar_coverThere’s been a lot of talk on the blogosphere lately about the US cover for Justine Larbalestier‘s Liar, which comes out from Bloomsbury this fall. Justine herself wrote a fantastic post about the issues of race in cover design, which has been picked up by Publishers Weekly and Jezebel, among others. While I do not debate her points about race (and they make for a fascinating conversation, which I invite you to join in on any of the posts linked above), I want to focus my post on something she writes early in her post:

Authors do not get final say on covers. Often they get no say at all.

Show of hands, here — how many of you writers envision a design meeting where you can share your ideas for the cover of your baby, your manuscript? Yeah, not going to happen. Maureen Johnson and I had an exceptional experience with Scholastic with the hardcover design for Suite Scarlett, including giving our opinions about the model being picked to portray Scarlett on the cover, and the cut of the dress she would wear, but that is the exception, not the rule.

The key phrase you’ll find in contracts is “consultation,” not “approval.” Most publishers do want to try to work with an author to find a cover that everyone likes, but if they can’t get everyone on board, the author’s opinion often weighs far below that of key sales accounts.

Because I’m all about positive reinforcement and optimism here at kt literary, what covers have you loved?

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