Thursday, August 23, 2007

Authors and Book Covers

Blogging Heroes is completed. My part, that is; it's now in the hands of production. I noticed that Joe Wikert has posted a larger version the final cover at his blog. I like it.

I'm often asked how much input authors have in the design of a book's cover. I get the impression that a lot of readers believe that the author of a nonfiction book or novel gets to dictate or create the cover. Actually, it's rare that the author determines what the cover will be. Most writers aren't artists (really bad comic art and mechanical drawing are about my speed), and it's the publisher's prerogative to decide what the cover will be, since the cover not so much a part of the content as it is a marketing element.

And there's the fact that book designers and artists have a lot more experience than most authors at this sort of thing. (Except for the occasional artist-turned-writer, like Stephen Hickman.)

I did get to dictate the cover for one of my books, PC Confidential. I suggested that the cover be made to look like a pulp detective magazine or dime novel cover, incorporating computers. So the cover shows a 1940s stereotypical detective at a computer, with a woman in the background looking very shocked, like this:

Interestingly, though I never met the artist (someone around San Francisco) he ended up painting a detective who looks very much like one of the cops here in Oxford.


_victor said...

Can't wait to read the book Mike! And you're spot on about the cover-- today it's about the marketing, and designers are really tuned to those needs while keeping the spirit of the book alive.

Joe Wikert said...

Hi Mike. Congrats on a job well-done! The Blogging Heroes manuscript was a great read. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the finished product. I'll want a signed copy from you when it's available!

Michael A. Banks said...

Thanks, Joe! Your copy is reserved.