On Covers and Authors . . . and a Wiener!

Hi folks!

How are y’all! I thought I’d take this blog post to clarify something that a lot of people have been asking me about. Basically, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about why I “chose” to change the covers of my book. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love that people are curious, I love that they care, and I don’t mind answering this question. I just thought I’d do it here, so everyone can see, in case you were wondering that same thing.

The thing is, unless you’re self-published, authors do not choose their covers. Instead, our publishing houses choose them for us.

I have been really lucky in that my publisher, Orbit Books, has been really nice about asking me my opinion. They’ve worked with me loads, trying to make sure I’m happy. And I absolutely love them for it. But the fact is, they don’t have to do any of that…they’re just a really good company.

Because the only thing authors control are the words inside the book. We don’t choose fonts, we don’t choose headers, we may not even have been able to choose our own titles. Depending on who you publish for and how big your name is, you have more or less control, but most contracts stipulate that an author’s position on these sorts of decisions is that we have the right to be “consulted.” Which means if we absolutely hate something and threaten to poison ourselves in order not to finish a book with that cover, they are free to take on board our opinion. Or not.

So I had nothing to do with the changes made to the covers of my books. Do I like them? Yes. Did I like the original covers? Yes. Do I understand the marketing strategy behind them making the changes, after it was explained to me? Yes.

And that’s what I think is hardest for people outside the business of publishing to understand, and I include myself in that camp. Publishers aren’t just creating the perfect art for a book–they’re creating a product they want to attract people’s attention and make them want to buy it. So choices that might seem arbitrary or weird to me, may actually be a great marketing strategy.

Will the new red panels and the big, bold branding of my name and titles sell millions of copies and rocket me to the top of the New York Times Besteller list? I certainly hope so, although it’s doubtful. But I’m really lucky to have a company that’s investing in me, and trying new things to try to make me as successful as I can be.

That doesn’t mean you have to like the changes, obviously. And if you love them feel free to attribute any and all genius solely to me. πŸ˜‰ But seriously, I just wanted to let you know how things worked, so you got a better idea of the biz we’re all a part of, as readers and as writers.

So that’s my lecture for the day! Dr. Peeler will now take off her lecturing cap and put on her CONTEST LEIS!

I wish I did have contest leis. That would be awesome.

Who won a copy of any one of Juliet Blackwell’s FABULOUS BOOKS?

The contest can has spoken . . . and the wiener is . . .


Yay, Lethea! Pick out any of the books listed here, and email your choice and your address to ihearstselkies(at)gmail(dot)com. Let me know if you have any questions and congratulations!

To everyone else, thanks for playing and I’m sure I’ll have another contest soon. I should also probably start doing some stuff about the book that’s out in about a month, shouldn’t I? Maybe some readings? Hmmmm?

Posted by Nicole Peeler

Author, Professor, Lover, Fighter

7 thoughts on “On Covers and Authors . . . and a Wiener!”

  1. I am probably the bane of the marketing world's existence because I didn't notice a "change". The characters were drawn in the same style and there were little things to notice, so it didn't seem like it was from a different series or author to me. It feels like it fits right in with the previous books, which I like. I am a longtime fan of both Laurie R. King and Jasper Fforde, and my collection of LRK's Mary Russell series and JF's Thursday Next books don't look like connected stories because the various publishing houses have changed the "branding" of the series multiple times over the intervening years. There are entirely different styles and artists used in those situations, and there isn't a connecting thread. Your new cover doesn't suffer from that and is eye-catching to boot. πŸ™‚

  2. I think you're probably a cover marketer's fantasy, Elizabeth! πŸ˜‰ I think that's what my publisher's were definitely trying to go for: something fresh but still with continuity. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for commenting!

  3. I can't believe it comes out in a month. For some reason I thought it's release was farther away. This news makes me very happy. As for the cover…me likey. It could have ben improved with a bare butted Anyan, but I'll settle for sexy Jane kickin' ass and passin' out the pain. I think reading of naked Anyan makes it all worthwhile. Although, I do adore Jane. She is currently my fictional hero. I keep passing her out as gifts because of her genius…that and Anyan's lickability factor….yum! I desperately want a review copy! Do you happen to know who I could contact about that? If not, no worries and keep up the deliciously amazing writing!


  4. I was the merchandising manager at a B&N years ago, and if it makes you feel any better, the publisher ain't talkin' smack. Seriously, little things like the size of a title, authors name, colors, and art really do make a big difference. Your die hard fans will search you out – will make someone go pull your book out of a box 9 am tuesday morning if it's not on the floor. But they are also the ones that will continue buying your books even if they were lime green with orange stripes. The browsers and the people that may have heard of your books previously do get drawn in by bold colors and big fonts. Either way, I loved the old covers, still love the new one, and am counting the days until Jane is at it again πŸ™‚

  5. Jen: I know! Time flies when you're having fun. πŸ˜‰ Seriously, I can't believe it either! As for a review copy, we don't receive ARCs after our first book, BUT they've been putting them up on Net Galley. You can use this contact form http://www.orbitbooks.net/contact-us/ to request access. πŸ˜‰ Thank you very much for all your support, I really appreciate it!

    Reets: LOL Thank you very much for the comments! It's good to hear. πŸ˜‰ And I do trust my company, for all the reasons you've suggested. Covers do matter, but often not in the ways that fans of the book understand. I know I want beautiful interpretations of the story, as a reader, but as a writer I want something that makes people see it from across the store and pick it up. And I'm very glad to see that the new covers still have the same art and artist, whom I adore!

    Alisa: LOL Then your wish is my command. How about I do one for July 1st?

  6. I love the new cover, though I'm one of the people Reets was referring to. I've already pre-ordered. πŸ™‚

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