Thoughts, musings, observations, practical advice, and not-so-gentle chidings from an inside perspective gleaned after years of managing an independent publishing company. (Note: as a rule, I will not be responding to indvidual posts.)
I decided to write a few words on this subject after Eric Wittenberg wrote a related post found here . I intend to eventually go much deeper...
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Jacket Design: Five Tips for What an Author Can do to Help . . .
I can't recall where I got these from (sorry), but here are a handful of tips authors can do to help sell their book (and by extension and implication, HURT their book sales). It centers around the jacket/cover design. At Savas Beatie, we almost always bring in the author for assistance, comment, opinion, and do our best to make him or her happy with the final product.
However . . . Do you know what a camel is? It's a quarter horse put together by a committee. We don't want camels here. And with so many people stirring the pot, the actual book jacket may suffer from the compromises of consensus. (It doesn't here, but it does in some houses.) So if you are an author trying to influence the jacket design for your book, here are five tips:
1. Try not to assume that you know what’s best for the book, even if it’s true. Cultivate good relations with everyone at the company and maintain a position of modesty, humility, and cooperation.
2. Don’t bring in your 9-year-old child’s cute little pencil drawing of her horse for the cover, even if the book is about how to ride bareback Western Style. The only exceptions to this rule are genius-level kids with their own TV show.
3. Muster empathy for the sales and publicity people who may seem to be marching to a different drummer but have mutual interests to share. Keep in mind that they have to sell your book, and without their enthusiastic efforts, you’ll be severely handicapped.
4. Remember that in the end, this isn’t a science and we don’t always know what ultimately sells a book. Books with less than fabulous jacket designs have become huge sellers anyway. Take a book I published, The Scarlatti Inheritance, by Robert Ludlum. I thought the cover was boring and that it didn’t say anything about the book itself. Nevertheless the historical thriller was such a hit that the design was used again for subsequent titles.
5. Once the jacket is designed and chosen, put aside any regrets and do everything you can to help sell the book, including your own strenuous on-line web marketing, blogging, twittering, and other brilliant new techniques that emerge in these rapidly changing times.