Book covers are so important. It is the first thing readers will see when your book catches their eye. One has to spend some time with the illustrator, being willing to compromise and also knowing when to stand firm at the same time.
I am fortunate that I have two illustrators that are awesome. Squirrel Mafia was easy, with it being a non fiction book, since all the pictures in the book and cover are ones I personally took from around my area. For my Jasper series it involved me sending the team close to 100 pictures of Jasper so they could get a good idea of what he was like, his mannerisms and positions that he had. So the two covers reflect that.
It again takes time. I have had to tell them a/Ah hmm can you lighten this portion of the book? b/ Can you lower the title a bit? c/ Can you make the font for book 2 a bit more bigger? d/ Ah hmm that is not the title I ended up with to f/ No that won’t work at all.
The team that does Jasper is wonderful and are willing and open to listen to my ideas and thoughts when it comes to the cover and the pictures inside . I am fortunate they give me leeway with each of my books and also welcome suggestions and don’t get upset when I say no that is not going to work period.
I want it just right. It is a tiresome process and stressful one at that for I want it as great as I can get it. Not everyone is going to like it. That’s okay for you can’t please everyone. What I need to do is get a cover that represents the material inside to the best of my ability.
I purchased a few books recently simply on the title or the book cover that was presented before me. I didn’t read the back, I just talked to the author and asked about it. I can’t believe that I was so easily parted with my money with books I had little knowledge of. It just goes to show how important one’s title and book cover are for our own books. Do we take the time and care that is needed for these two concepts? Or do we slap a title, a cover and move on to what we consider more important, writing?
My sequel to my children’s book has no title. I haven’t taken the time needed to come up with one. I’m not one to spend time on this. Majority of my titles have been offered to me: Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure, Squirrel Mafia and Dragons in the Attic. Though in fairness I did come up with these. The manuscripts practically named themselves. These include Moe’s Cafe, A Woman of Color and Lost Faith.
I guess for me it is a crap shoot if I can come up with one and how much importance I place on it. Sometimes the MS names itself and sometimes it needs a little bit of help. It’s in the editor’s hands now as I am midway through volume three of this series. A few people have offered titles to volume two. The ones mentioned have been Jasper, Amazon Parrot: Rainforest Friends, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: Rainforest Friends and Family and Jasper:The Next Adventure.
I like them all to be honest. It sure beats me saying Jasper 2 which is all I had. A title in a way solidifies your work as you present it to publishers or literary agents. If nothing else, at least I have a working title until further notice.
The cover is another story. The one for my first volume I had a lot of input and final say in the final version. I sent endless pictures of Jasper, at the illustrator’s request, so she could get a feeling of who he was. It took a bit of work on both of our parts as we made suggestions to each other of what we liked and didn’t like. For while I feel a cover is important, I feel it is very important when it comes to children, one of our worse critics of all time. If we don’t make either pleasing to the eye, the books may soon gather dust as the ones around them get picked up.
So again I ask, how much time do you spend on your title and cover? And how important is it to you?
This past Friday, the illustrator sent me four images for my book Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure. They were primarily to see if she was on the right track in conveying the image I wanted for him. Opening up the email I was blown away. I knew immediately which one was my favorite. Granted I am going to ask her to make some changes here and there but she is in the direction I had anticipated. Like most anything I asked for people’s advice on which one they liked and didn’t like and why. Just because I have final say on the covers doesn’t mean I know what I am doing here.
So a variety of people looked at them. I had other writers, my family, people at the store where I was making copies of the images to kids who had read the actual book. What I was hearing was that I seemed to be the only one who liked the one image that had stood out to me.
This is an important decision, the book cover for your book. It has to be amazing for people to even want to pick up just to read the back cover. If it is not appealing it will gather dust on the shelves. I must have emailed my poor editor at least 20 times, if not more, as we went over each one carefully.
Among the various suggestions a light bulb finally lit over my head. The reason people were not liking the image I liked was due to positioning of Jasper. They loved the side profile he had in the other three images. So I tried this out. I started asking people if image 1 would work if it was a side profile. People liked, they really liked that idea.
I mailed Kim, the illustrator, and asked her if she could make some slight changes to two of the images to see which one really pop. She is awesome and is so willing to work with me in creating something that even Jasper would be proud off. I don’t have the image here for it is going to be work on but when it is ready I will release it. This was a little stressful these last few days as I tried to figure out what worked. We shouldn’t always ignore our gut feelings, it may know something that we don’t already know. Even if that means it has to be tweaked a little bit.