I have a confession. I judge books by their covers. All the time.
Life’s short, and there are a lotta books out there. I average about two a week, and I’m 32 years old. That means statistically, I’ve got about 4500 more books before my library card is permanently revoked. 4500. That’s all. But according to MJ Rose, a woman who’d know, there were about 175,000 books published last year.
So weaning isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity. And one of the first methods of weaning, like it or not, is the cover. A cover conveys a lot of information: genre, mood, sophistication, audience, even publisher enthusiasm can all be read in a quick glance at a cover. Plus, the right cover jumps out at you, leaps off the table like it’s got springs and says, “Take me home, pour a drink, and settle in for the night.”
All of which is on my mind because my cover is now finished.
It’s seemed like a long wait. Not because the folks at Minotaur took a particularly long time, but rather because, well, I have this thing about immediate gratification, and I signed my contract last October. Plus, in a former life I used to own a graphic design shop, so I’m particular about things like Swiss grids and kerning and negative space, especially as they apply to the cover of my debut novel. So while my editor was very patient, I suspect I drove him a little loco.
Anyway, one Monday about a month ago, he called to say he’d FedExed a comp, and that I’d have it on Wednesday. Two days from then.
He’s got a mean streak for being such a nice guy.
When the package finally arrived, I had to take a deep breath before I opened it. Part of me wanted something clean and cutting edge, like the cover of ID Magazine or the sexiest of the literary quarterlies. Part of me wanted it dark and moody, so gritty you came away with dirt under your fingernails just from picking it up.
But the truth was, I really had no idea what would work, what would make my book stand out or sell more copies. Jacket design is a subtle, complicated art. So I tried to just clear my head and look at it without preconception.
Which is the best way to fall in love.
Here it is, my friends, the approved cover of THE BLADE ITSELF, coming this January:
Any thoughts? I'd love to hear 'em. Drop a comment for me.