Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Covers, Titles, and all that Jazz

Yesterday, I was quite sick and didnt get much done. I did some research reading (good chunk of David Starkey's Six Wives) and some needlepoint for the miniature games room I'm making, but that's about it.

My publisher is working on the Lingerie Addict cover and asked for input this morning. Covers, if you didn't know this, are about the first thing the publisher works on; they start even before the manuscript is due. They do that because it's one of the longest and most expensive processes of book making. The cover has to be designed, the art commissioned and finished, the lettering, etc. designed, the cover blurb written, the cover quotes in place, and probably other things I don't know about. Then all this has to be put together and sent to the printers, who take a certain amount of time. Plus the covers have to be done in time to be sent out to the distributors, who look at the covers and place their orders. When I worked at a small publisher (Oryx Press, now owned by Greenwood), I would see the covers for my books long before the author gave me a finished manuscript!

Cover art is chosen because the publisher wants a certain look--depending on the content of the book and the type of book (comedy, drama, gothic, futuristic, pirate, vampire, what have you). That is why sometimes the cover art doesn't always fit exactly what's inside the book. But it does fit the line, imprint, style, or whatever. I'm perfectly happy to let the publisher take artistic license when designing my covers if it makes a better cover.

On a reader board yesterday, I saw a reader astonished that authors did not always choose their own titles. That is true. Many times a publisher will have something else in mind and change it. But not always.

So far, all the titles I've come up with have not been changed (except Confessions of a Lingerie Addict, which had a slight change). The Pirate Next Door was my idea. The Care and Feeding of Pirates is mine. Even the more boring titles, like The Pirate Hunter, are mine. I'm not certain if this is good or bad! The mystery titles I've come up with so far (The Hanover Square Affair, A Regimental Murder, The Glass House, The Sudbury School Murders) have also stayed. But if an editor or someone in marketing thinks they can generate more sales by changing the title, they will. Single-title publishers, btw, are much more inclined to keep an author's title or work with an author on the title than category publishers.

Ok, now that I've talked about covers, cover art, and titles, it's time for me to dive into the most important part of the book--the inside! I must work on a few revisions to Sudbury School Murders and plan some things for Lacey Book 5. That sounds like a full day.

Take care,


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