Fuse #8

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pet Peeves: Sepia-Toned Disembodied Females

I'm perpetually entranced by why a publisher would pick one book cover over another. Such thoughts occur to the average everyday librarian, but would crop up even more (I should think) to the poor authors with books that get stuck with the latest "trend". This week, the Longstockings are asking, "What Do You Think Makes a Good Book Jacket"? Lisa Greenwald has answered with an interesting post. More thoughts on the matter to follow, I'm sure.

8 Comments:

At 10:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of those authors with a horrendous book jacket. In fact, if you decided to give out a Worst Book Jacket Award in your Cybils category, I'm quite certain I could win. It was depressing when I first saw it, but now I try not to think about it too much.

 
At 12:07 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

I'm thinking of handing out my own Most Undeserving Bad Jacket Award at the end of the year. Or maybe I should just be suitably vague and make it the Worst Cover Awards in general. Take those publishers to task and all.

As for you book, there's always the possibility that people will fight for it BECAUSE of its jacket. I know of at least one title this year for whom the terrible cover worked to its advantage. And then there's always the possibility that the paperback cover will be better...

 
At 3:44 PM , Anonymous elizabeth fama said...

My book cover story is this: the art director wanted a photographic cover, and he sent a sample of a recent cover they had done for another book. It was one of the least memorable covers I had ever seen, and I panicked. My almost-13-year-old daughter, Sally, was a whiz with photoshop. I showed her their sample and said, "Help me out!" She put our babysitter in a hot tub, took a photo of her half submerged, and photoshopped it to look like nighttime in the ocean. That became the cover of my book, and it's still being re-printed (both hardback and paper). Sally turns 18 on Saturday!

 
At 4:24 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

The title was "Overboard", yes? I agree that it's memorable. I took one glance at it and it instantly clicked. It's a title that stays with you. Well done to both you and your daughter!

 
At 6:16 PM , Anonymous elizabeth fama said...

Thanks! I hope there's lots more to come, for both Sally and me.

 
At 9:31 PM , Blogger Tristan Ewell said...

I hope both your daughter and your babysitter got payed!

 
At 10:43 AM , Anonymous elizabeth fama said...

My daughter got paid, my babysitter did not. But the publisher was as poor as a church mouse. I drew the map (inside, opposite the half-title) myself, for free. A book about Indonesia without a map would be ridiculous, huh?

 
At 1:30 PM , Blogger BB said...

I went to see a reading by Ruth Ozeki, the author of My Year of Meats, which I loved. (Sorry - grown-up book - a little off topic.) I bought it because its cover was so fab (cows! chopsticks! nice type!) and wound up loving the book. Since I'm also fascinated with book cover art decisions, I asked Ms. Ozeki about how much input she had on her books' cover design. She said for the first one, not much. In fact, the hardcover tanked, but the paperback went through the roof, so she had to believe it was the cover design. Yay. Chalk one up for good design. :)

 

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