New to Me

An author/publisher asking for cover design input from you before making a final decision… hmmm. I wonder if we’ll begin to see more of this as more and more bloggers and reviewers talk about the importance of cover design. Here’s the arc cover of The Duff by Kody Keplinger (Little, Brown 2010). The comments here are pretty interesting if you read through them all (obviously people like getting a chance to comment ahead of publication).

Duff: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper starts sleeping with Wesley Rush, a notorious womanizer who disgusts her, in order to distract her from her personal problems, and to her surprise, the two of them find they have a lot in common and are able to help each other find more productive ways to deal with their difficulties. Age 12+.

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4 Responses to “New to Me”

  1. Cover design is pretty important. I mean, we say don’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t really apply to actual books. As for the cover of The Buff, the words in the letters makes it a little confusing to read.

  2. Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen Says:

    This is just a bad decision all around.
    -Yes, they get some free publicity for their book
    -Yes, it appears that they are “giving” it to the public to decide.

    BUT, in reality, the girl will never be “ugly” enough, “fat” enough, or the typeface will never be awesome enough, or serif-ed or san-serif-ed enough for the public. As of right now, the publisher/designer did a GREAT job of making it trendy with a close-up on a “fat” girl’s face, to make it look fresh, without making her look too “fat”. SO Clever. But I bet that there won’t be any public outrage from an overweight group saying “you didn’t show our people correctly on that jacket” like the conversation that happened with Liar. Little Brown is basically just covering their backs on this one, so that they can say that they allowed the public to agree or disagree with the direction. I bet the designer over there is so inundated with crappy comments they have no idea what direction to go in now.

    What is going to happen is that there is just going be a mediocre group decision made for the final cover, to make it look like it is appeasing everyone. Instead of actually designing it, it is now design-by-committee, and the only thing that happens then is a mediocre cover because of too many cooks in the kitchen.

    So enough is enough.

    Design needs to get back to design. The book needs to compliment the story, but also look new and fresh. It seems like the opinions of people that have absolutely no design sense are being allowed to take over book design.

    Designers are hired for a reason, let them do their job.

  3. mclicious Says:

    Bloomsbury should take a hint from these people.

    I can agree with the above commenter a bit, in that the cover should complEment the story, but we all know that clearly, designers don’t do that, either because they don’t have time to read, or they don’t care, or they’re catering to the publishers who want trendy books, or whatever the reason. I think publishers who care would do well to have focus groups of “normal” but somewhat publishing- or marketing-savvy people (who are also diversity-savvy) to maybe offer comments on an entire catalog of books pre- the season in which they are published. It could help avoid Liar or Magic Under Glass-proportioned problems. Though they probably wouldn’t even worry about that, because so few people who read books care enough to be vocal about that.

  4. Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen Says:

    The designers had NOTHING to do with the decisions made on either Liar or Magic Under Glass. They did they best they could with the images that were given to them. So don’t be so quick to judge designers.

    But, that is exactly my point, because so many people in a company believe that their opinion is the most important, the design or initial idea gets watered down.

    Book design is a group decision. Editors and sales present the designer with the way they “THINK” the book should look, and where they “THINK” it will fit in the market. And, a designer does the best they can to present options based on those pre-made decisions.

    The actual direction lays on whoever has the power to push it through to final, which is most certainly NOT the designer.

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