Monday, July 7, 2014

Book Covers – Love’em or Hate’em

No review today! Kiddo's b-day was yesterday, so I was off-line most of the day. Yes, my baby turned 19. But there has been something preying on my mind for a while now. So much so, that instead of working on a WIP, I’m writing this post.

I was on Goodreads not long ago and notice something that bothered me. Yeah, I know, shocking right? But this caught my attention. Let me say first that when I buy a book I do NOT look at the ratings on GR until I’ve finished it. Why? Because I don’t often agree with the scores there. I may like something that has what’s considered a “low” score and vice verse.

But one thing I did catch, that not only bothered me but got me to thinking, was the comments on some of the covers. I’ve seen authors’ talk about this on FB too. There’s no way to put this politely, so I’ll just say it: I’ve seen ratings that were dropped because the reader didn’t like the cover. The comments blast the author for such a horrible cover too.

And that’s the reason for this post.

So, here’s the deal: if you’re with a publisher, you have a limited amount of control over the cover. Now, having said that, it also struck me there may readers who don’t know this. Ask any author that’s not self-published, lol, and you’ll hear a few cover horror stories, trust me. Hell, I have a few of my own.

In my limited experience, this is what I’ve found. You fill out the cover spec sheet and send it in. The CA (cover artist) tries to give you what you want. Keep in mind the CA is more often than not going on what the cover spec sheets says. They haven’t read the book. Can you imagine how hard that must be too? But this is where things can get hairy lol.

There are some CA’s that send several image’s to pick from… which I’ve had happen. Sometimes even up to five photostock cover draft images. Choice is a beautiful thing, lol! I’ve moved a model from cover 2 to the background of cover 1, changed the background color, even asked for the house in Shadows in the Night be changed to something a little lighter in color, and so on. I’ve been *very* lucky in that most of my covers were damn near close to what I had in mind and didn’t need much done to them.

I’ve also heard some authors’ have no say whatsoever. Yes, the can make minor changes, like background color, to the draft cover but that’s it. It’s pretty much what you see is what you get. There are a few of my covers I had absolutely no control over. Anthologies for example, but that’s different. The cover is supposed to match the theme of the book. Some publishers’ also have a standard cover for their imprints too. So, in a few instances, I took what was sent to me and that was the end of that.

So yes, it bothers me to see an author taken to task over something they had very little control over in the first place. Remember, I’m talking about covers from a publisher, not self-pubbing. That’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.

This kind of ties in to another subject that makes me shake my head—pricing. Again, if you’re with a publisher you have no say in the price of your eBook. That’s already set up. So blasting away for the author does no good. Yes, I’ve seen eBooks with prices that made me do a double take.

My point is… being with a publisher is totally different from self-publishing a book. There are good and bad things about each, no doubt. I know a couple of authors’ that self-pub. They release top line books with excellent covers and they do very well. I am by no means knocking self-publishing. What I am trying to do, lol, is show there are things that go on behind the scenes that readers may not know about. J