Now that LITTLE GALE GUMBO is almost out the door (my door, that is) and I have a tentative publication date (October 2011!), the discussion of possible cover art is starting. My editor very generously offered me the chance to weigh in on the subject, asking if I had any ideas for the cover, or if I could provide her with a list of covers I had seen that I liked. Exciting? You bet. But not nearly as easy as I would have imagined. If I thought summarizing a 400 page novel into a one-page synopsis was hard, what about summarizing a whole book in a single image?
Thankfully there are talented designers and marketing professionals with the expertise to know how to take a book and distill its essence into a succinct and spot-on visual representation. As a graphic designer in a past life, I know there is much that goes into the decision from an aesthetic point of view–but what about the less-familiar influence of marketing? I can’t imagine the layers and research for that one (soft-focus versus sharpened-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life Test Groups?), but I do hope I get to be privy to the conditions that will influence the decision when it is made. Frankly there is nothing about this process that doesn’t rock my world. (Translation: don’t be surprised by future posts on the chemical make-up of binding adhesives. You’ve all been warned.)
But maybe it’s not too early to begin to think about covers for your own projects…if for no other reason, it can be a wonderful exercise in distillation, when a novel begins to press dangerously at its seams, and the forest that’s supposed to be there among all those trees is entirely hidden from view.
So, anyone have any thoughts on their own covers? Any covers on the shelves currently (or in the past) that are your favorites?