Friday, November 03, 2006


A few weeks ago I went to VCON, my first Science Fiction convention. Among the interesting things there was a panel discussion on cover art, which I took part in. Both the writers and artists had horror stories about how little control they had over the integration between the cover art and the book (and the authors were both well established, and highly regarded, as were the artists!)

I felt very lucky to present my story of how it has been publishing with Aio. After siging my novel contract, I mentioned to my editor, Tiffany Jonas, that I was also an artist, and she asked e to send some samples of my work. When Aio agreed to contract me for a cover painting as well as inside illustrations, I couldn't believe my luck! I did the art for this book after I'd finished writing the draft. The images from the story were still setling in my mind, and in illustrating the places and scenes from the novel, I came to know my own work on a very different level. The cover painting ended up being like a small window into the world of the Broken Glass City. Eson looks out over glass and stone buildings, and the sky is chaotic with clouds. We added a maple leaf into the design, which points out he fact that I'm a Canadian writer. An image of the cover is available on the amazon listing for the book, and on alot of other sites. I will upload one here if I can get my internet connection to load the file!

Does anyone have any comments about cover art, or art in books? It's not very common
for adult level books these days to have illustrations, but hand painted cover art and illustrations add alot, to my mind. (Though I may of course be biased! I like art--alot!)


At 8:59 AM, Blogger James A. Owen said...

That point was the first big revealation of YA publishing I experienced when Simon & Schuster (Books for Young Readers) bought HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS.

As opposed to 'adult' books, kids books do it ALL THE TIME. So it wasn't even a big issue. They saw only one finished piece, and that wasn't until AFTER the contract.

I'd heard the same stories, usually from Neil Gaiman about certain disappointing covers he wasn't even consulted on - and remember, a couple of years ago (when I was shopping DRAGONS), the whole brouhaha with Ted Chiang's book was still circulating.

The fact it was a YA publisher didn't change the book I set out to do - but it helped ensure the one that appeared was exactly what I'd wanted.

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous jude said...

Although I know this will sound incredibly shallow, I have to admit that as a consumer I am strongly affected by a book's cover art. I am visual, artistic, able to express emotions and concepts in images, abstract art, rather than words, though I am an avid reader. If a book's cover art is clumsy, badly designed or without artistic merit, I cannot help it...9 times out of 10, I will replace it without looking inside. If the author is one I know and whose work I enjoy, I will likely purchase it anyway. But the ugly cover art is resented...a fly in the elixir.

By the same token, if a cover attracts my attention, I will be drawn into the book...far more receptive to trying someone new.

I sometimes wonder how many good books I've missed because of this. And yet, it will likely happen again. And again. And again.

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous danaworld said...

(Visionbird is Dana)

Thanks for your comments. James I'm glad that working with a YA publisher worked out so well. Jude, I agree with you, being also very visual-minded.

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