There are millions of authors out there writing billions of books.
There are likewise thousands of advisors, consultants, and design specialists out there who pound into our groggy brains the absolute necessity of having "just-the-right" cover to entice a prospective buyer to snatch your book from the shelf and rush to the nearest cash register (or card scanner, if you're not of my generation).
In looking over the hundreds of flashy paperback covers lining the shelves of my favorite book seller, I'm struck by the seemingly infinite variations in designs and imagery available to authors and publishers. And most seem to embody as least some of the seductive powers that their designers seek. Closer examination, however, often fails to reveal any close connection between the cover and the subject matter or plot enclosed therein.
Yes, shocking, blazing, or exploding cover imagery will quickly attract the eye, but I always feel a bit let-down when a page riffle reveals a plot centered around an overdue library book. And there's no doubt that every straight man in the world is instantly interested in the unclothed female body, but one expects the contents under such a cover to be more than a description of life in an iron foundry.
I was determined that my covers should depict some direct symbol of the plot of the story, and, if possible, of memorable scenes from the story. Since I had a lot of trouble finding stock images to fit my ideas, I was forced to try photographing some subjects myself. Let's just say, I'm a better writer than a photographer. In any case, all four of my books are in covers with imagery which is directly tailored to the plot of the novel. The assembly and formatting I gladly left to the professionals, and am very happy that I did so.
In my next blog, I plan to discuss the covers used in my Ben Hunnicutt series of novels, why I chose the imagery, how it connects, and the fun and frustrations involved.