Friday, 19 November 2010

Covers Catherine Johnson

The last school visit I did - to a lovely school in Welwyn Garden City - went off suddenly and at a most interesting tangent. I was working in the library with a group of Year 8s. It was a great school library with a huge range of fiction.
As the session drew to an end, and I can't remember how the conversation began, we started talking about covers. They were all library monitors and big readers so they knew what they were talking about.
It was exhilarating, a fiery exchange of ideas, the students pulling books off the shelves that had great covers, but had disappointed, and those that had what they thought were poor covers but good stories.
It was fascinating, I learnt so much in about half an hour of frenzied sharing. It was so interesting I hope to go back, hopefully with a publisher or a designer and have some further discussions. It's too late for my next book, and I'm not advocating cover design by committee, but I think it's worth knowing - and listening to - what our audiences are looking for in a book cover.
I know it's hard for children's book, some are pitched at parents or adults, others jump on bandwagons, some authors are definite brands.
Very soon I think covers might cease to be as much of an issue anyway. Will e-readers mean that cover art is destined to be a thing of the past?
I hope not.
The picture is my next book from Barrington Stoke, and I think it looks rather good.


Linda Strachan said...
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Linda Strachan said...

Covers are so important and so easy to get wrong.
I got a lot of really useful feedback about the cover of Dead Boy Talking before it had been finally decided. I had thought it would be better with an atmospheric photograph, but in almost every case the teenagers I spoke to were much more in favour of the cover the publisher finally decided on with the simplicity of just the knife on it.
It seems to be especially important for this age group. You need a cover they want to pick up because it looks interesting or intriguing but sometimes it is important that they are happy to be seen reading it, or even just to be seen with it in their hands. That is the problem with books that boys would read, but if they have very pink and girly covers the boys don't want to be seen carnying the book around.

Katherine Roberts said...

The e-books I've seen do have "covers", but since they are usually displayed as thumbnails the art has to be a bit simpler. But a thumbnail is possibly better than just seeing a spine in a bookshop?

Jan Markley said...

Covers are really important. I've been happy with the art work on mine. It's a good idea to get feedback from the readers!

shailena said...

Hat’s off. Well done, as we know that “hard work always pays off”, after a long struggle with sincere effort it’s done.
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