Judging Books by Their Covers
I have spent the last two days making a final decision for my book cover. Sorry, I can't post it but imagine the coolest cover EVER! That's my cover. (*smile*)
Here's the story. Last March, I selected two images to use as the cover art for my forthcoming book, Underlife. I settled on two of the 20 options my friend, a graphic designer, created for me. One I loved (cover A), and one I liked a lot (cover B).
For months, I've lived knowing that cover A was my rock-solid choice. But when someone I trusted mentioned that cover B was a better option, I really had to think about it. So I did a little "market research." I asked for second, third, and fourth opinions from coworkers, sent the covers to other poets, went to Borders and B&N to see what other poetry books look like on the shelves, and laid out books by contemporary poets. In reviewing cover art, I looked at the cover art (photography vs. illustration vs. works of art vs. type treatments) and I wanted to see how well the cover image matched the title/subject matter.
Let me just say that if your name is Frost, Yeats, Ginsberg, Whitman, or Dickinson, your picture is probably on the front cover. I also saw lots of dull covers with heavy type. We all know that major booksellers do not carry many contemporary poets, but if you're female, you have to fight for shelf space.
So I'm comfortable with cover B because both are great designs. I'm glad I put myself through the process. I really care about how the book will translate to market, small market that it is. I have to live with it for years to come so I want to be happy with my choice. And I am. Guess I'm just having trouble letting go.
Again, I know this story would resonate if I posted both covers. When Underlife is closer to release, I'll have a big reveal on the blog. I will say that the cover falls somewhere between Philip Schultz's Failure and Mariko Nagai's History of Bodies (both are excellent reads, BTW).
Q of the Day: What attracts you to a poetry book cover, and does it influence your choice?