Thursday, 30 June 2011

Who's the Girl on the Cover? by Marie-Louise Jensen

This is possibly the question I get asked most often about my books. Many people assume that the girls on the cover are my daughters (in fact I have sons) or friends of mine. Or that at very least I've met them and chosen them.

The truth is very different. Many people are genuinely surprised to hear that authors aren't involved in cover design. It's the publishers choice, and as an author you hope and assume they are more expert in selecting a face than the author would be. If your publisher is nice, you are consulted along the way. Occasionally they'll even listen if you don't think it's right. But ultimately I know almost nothing about design or sales and marketing and they have trained experts.

What about the title then? Do authors choose titles? Well, that is far more likely than choosing the cover. I've only chosen one out of five of my titles, but that's because I'm not very good at thinking catchy titles up. Many authors do come up with their own titles and I'm sure publishers are pleased to be saved the work.

And the cover copy or blurb? Do we write that? Generally, no we don't. It's harder than you might think to make your own story sound enticing. I've sometimes collaborated on the cover copy or made suggestions, but I've also sometimes only changed one word. It's something I'm more than happy NOT to do if there's no need.

I'd far rather get on with the next story. That's the part I do best.


Leila said...

My editor came up with the title for 'Chips, beans and Limousines', and I am forever in awe of her inspiration!

Marie-Louise Jensen said...

Yes, that was a really brilliant title. My editor came up with my newest 'The Girl in the Mask' and OUP also thought up 'Daughter of Fire and Ice'. Sometimes titles need more than one head thinking!

Rose said...

i am slightly shocked about that!! what if you HATE the cover of your own book?? that must suck :/ great post tho - really helpful!

Marie-Louise Jensen said...

Glad it was helpful! I DO hate one of my covers, and it's something that happens to most authors at one time or other, I think. You just have to live with it. :-(