Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cover Me

As you know, I am a regular googler of my name.  I love discovering random web reviews of my work, most of the time really positive (I have been very lucky in that regard; I don't think enough people know who I am to write critical stuff about me, and those who read my stuff and like it generally talk about it.  Nice.).  But this morning I came across this, a blog post about new paperback covers for originally hardcover books over at Stacked, a review blog written by librarians.  And they HATE the new cover for Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. 

Old HC
New PBK












 Which, of course, sucks.  Not the cover, but the hate.  Because authors, as much as we'd like and even as much as we talk to the designer and make suggestions, really have little to say about covers.  These days, do you know who has the final say in cover designs?  THE MARKETING PEOPLE.  Do they go to art school?  No.  They go to business school.  Yet, they are the ones who decide what is "popular" and what looks good, sometimes without reading the words (and there are a lot of them) inside the covers.  This is for sure rough on the artists and designers who work on covers, but it is also very hard on authors.  Sometimes our work isn't represented on the covers as much as we would like.  Sometimes, as was the case for Justine Larbalestier's Liar, the character's color was changed (and then, rightfully so, corrected).  I can imagine it's very difficult to come up with an artistically appealing, age appropriate, marketable image that encompasses an entire story.  At least with movies, they already have actors to move around, but book designers have to pull images out of their butts.  Unless, of course, they have to use one of a million stock photos that make their book look like every other book out there of a beautiful teen's head.  I'm lucky; my designer puts tons of thought into his work (and those who work with him) to make original images for my book covers.  It sucks that one blogger doesn't like the new paperback cover, but that's the interesting thing about book bloggers: they are adults reading books aimed at teens (as am I, so I'm certainly not knocking it).  But in terms of sales and who will hopefully be grabbing the book off the shelf, particularly when it goes to paperback?  Those are the people my books are aimed at.  The teenagers.  So I'm really hoping they like the new paperback cover for Nerd.  I think it's pretty cute, like the garish color, and am happy the designer took my suggestion of putting Chucks on the cover.  Because in the immortal words of Julie Halpern (hey!  That's me!), "Converse are sexy."  And just so the bloggers know, I did say I liked the original tagline, "My life on the dork side" better than "high school on the dork side."  Those pesky business people thought this made it seem older.  So is the life of a book cover.

10 comments:

Lisa Aldin said...

Interesting look into the world of books covers! Both covers are cute. I kind of like the first one better!

Jenn said...

I quite like the new cover. Looking at it def. makes me remember elements of the book and it feels very, "Pick me up!"

Julie Ausbrook said...

I think as a teenager, the second book cover would have caught my interest. As an adult, I like both! And, Chucks worn with dresses is super cute.

jpetroroy said...

I'm one of the contributors to Stacked, and I just wanted to clarify that the posts are written individually. I personally don't mind the new cover, although I did prefer the old one. I also know that covers are not your decision, and Nerd Yonder as a work (which I adored) will stand on its own.

Julie H said...

Thanks to everyone for the positivity. I think it's beyond wacky when people who are commenting on the book covers at Stacked are using the word "hate" about my book cover. It's inappropriately angry and makes me feel icky. So now I'll stop reading the comments.

Brian James said...

It's very frustrating. There are several covers of my books that I absolutely hate (and also feel they don't do anything to help sales).

I've stopped googling me, even though most things written are positive, one really negative thing is a million times worse than all the good put together. Or at least, it feels that way at the time.

For the record, I like both covers. The pb cover is very much a pb cover and suits the market.

Anonymous said...

i actually think the first cover better represents the book and i dont like the second one at all

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

I like both. Both of them would catch my eye.

Kelly J. said...

As you've noted, it's MY opinion about the second cover. And as an adult, my opinion doesn't matter that much in the long run. And obviously, you have no control over it. As someone who read and really liked your book, naturally I have an opinion about which cover better fits the story.

That said, one of our regular readers used my post with her teens -- high schoolers in a class she teaches -- and they love the new cover. That's what draws them in more than the hard cover.

So, my thoughts are cheap. But is it going to stop me from promoting a book I really liked? Absolutely not.

- Kelly, who wrote the post being discussed at STACKED.

Julie H said...

Thanks to all who commented. I can tell I would be a horrible famous person because criticism of any sort sucks. And this really has very little to do with me. Kelly, I'm glad the hs students liked it, and I'm also glad it won't deter you from selling what's inside :)