About That Cover . . . Another Indie vs Publisher discussion

DebE —  June 20, 2012 — 5 Comments

. . . if you can call me ranting to myself in a blog a “discussion”. Don’t look at me like that. You probably like writing, too. Yes. Exactly.

Right, several weeks ago, I talked about cover art. Today, I read this rather interesting article about going indie. It’s not the first time that I have seen mention of the author losing power regarding cover design (among other things) and I think it’s about time I threw my two cents into the pot. You never know, I might win this hand. (I’ve had a very long day with the toddler and am extremely tired, please excuse what passes for humour this evening). Anyway, I have lots and lots of words to write in my WiP, so I will be brief, and get to the point (Ha!).

One of the example covers I used was the one for Brent Weeks‘ The Black Prism (Book 1 of the Lightbringer Series). Well, now the cover for The Blinding Knife (Book 2 of the Lightbringer Series) has been revealed. I’m really looking forward to this book. I loved the first and I’ve read the three chapters available online. I’m really looking forward to this book. But, you know what? The cover sucks. There, I said it.

And, I honestly wonder how truthful Mr Weeks is being when he goes on about how great it is. Because, honestly? He’s had good covers. He’s had great covers – as I showed in my last post.

So, I picked up The Black Prism after seeing this on the bookstore shelves:

Cover for The Black Prism

The Black Prism – sexiness in print

But, if it had looked something like this:

Cover for The Blinding Knife

The Blinding Knife – a bit naff (cover-wise)

I honestly don’t think I even would have picked it up. It’s possible – I did recognize the author’s name from that endorsement he did on that book I didn’t like, so, yeah, maybe I would have been curious to see what he wrote about. But, do you really want someone picking up your book just to see if you are as crap as they expect you to be? (Maybe you do–Fifty Shades of Gray–a picked up book is a picked up book, right?). Yes, sure, the colours are pretty – but nothing like what I imagined when I was reading The Black Prism. But that figure. So averagely average fantasy. And there’s no drama, no movement. Sure, it looks kind of like there’s wind blowing the cape about. But, seriously?

The cover of the first book has an intensely sexy man (don’t know if he’d look that hot in person, but he photographs well) looking not overly happy – and he’s grubby and cut up and, and . . . . You wonder what his deal is. And there’s that lovely knife. And . . . it’s dark. It hints at darkness. And there is certainly darkness in the book – what with dungeons and killing and (probably) affairs and such. And light. So much light. It’s a fun (Mr Weeks has a cool sense of humour) read, but it’s still dark – the best kind of dark when it’s funny too.

But, the cover for The Blinding Knife . . . Somehow, despite the facing-away figure, and the dark steps and the moody (?? barely) sky . . . I get no sense of drama from it at all. And there’s certainly no sense of the characters inside.

No. If that had been the cover of the first book, I’m afraid there would have been one less purchaser, one less reader (who then went on to buy Mr Weeks’ first trilogy as I wait eagerly for this book, by the way) . . . And who knows how many more would have been the same?

Yes, I am going to buy the book. I sense this is going to be my favourite fantasy trilogy for a while to come (until someone else proves me wrong). But, I wouldn’t have. If this had been sitting beside The Black Prism when I first saw it, I might have reconsidered my interest.

There. That’s my take on it. Brutally honest. My apologies to the artists, I’m sure you tried really hard. But I’m not digging it. Plus (and my biggest gripe), it’s not even going to look like a nice set on my bookshelf – the cover styles are so different! I actually feel sadness in my heart over that fact. It makes me a little bit nauseous at the lost chance to have a beautiful set of beautiful books. I know the content will be great. But . . . but . . . gutting. OK. I’ll stop before I cry.

And that is just another reason why I am seriously considering going Indie . . . unless I find a wonderful publisher (who just happened to like me in return).

Anyway, I have 1000 words to write before bed time, and I am knackered.

I hope you enjoyed your time here. G’night.

PS: I mentioned to someone that I know in the cover-design industry that I might be looking to her services some time in the future. She thought I was being silly, because, of course, I would be looking to get a publisher first. She’s a writer, too. It’s interesting the hold those publishing houses still hold over us. Don’t get me wrong. I can’t afford to pay a proper editor (the reason I’m going to go hell for leather this month trying to prepare my manuscript for a competition in which the prize in a critique – oh the saving!). But, I will pay for manuscript assessment, and study my brains out to learn enough to do my own line-editing (I don’t think I suck too bad, apart from not being 100% on all the US vs Brit variations – not hard to look up), in order to put out a good piece of work when the time comes. I may not be brilliant, but I am that dedicated to making a real go of this. I will put the money I don’t have where my fingers are and have a go at, at the very least, making a little pocket money. I don’t need to make it rich – not off one book, anyway, although, it’d be awesome! Right, sorry (to myself), I’m meant to be writing.

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DebE

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Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a nematophagus fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction. Mum of one human & four fur-babies.

5 responses to About That Cover . . . Another Indie vs Publisher discussion

  1. 

    Something must make people buy Harlequin romance novels. I don’t think it’s the novel plot that they know they’ll find inside. It must be the cover.

    • 

      Yep. In the case of “The Blinding Knife”, I won’t be buying it for the cover, that’s for sure – unless they (please, please!) change it. But, I know I’ll be getting a good story – and the one to follow. But it is gutting to think the publishers think they can stiff us on the artwork. I KNOW they can do better (the first book was GREAT).

  2. 

    On the other hand, I’ll give them this: The cover for book one looks so…much…like every single UF book out there right now, this Poseur with a knife–is he really an emperor? High priest? Witty? Gee, I didn’t get that feel from the cover art at all. I thought he was a brooding warrior or assassin. So the cover might entice me to skip it–in fact, thus far I have. Now, the cover for book two has more of a High Fantasy feel to me, and thus would probably entice me to buy if I was looking for High Fantasy–or at least take a look. Plus your high praise of them, I might just check them out. 🙂 Good luck with your WIP, Deb!

    • 

      Thanks Juli. I will say at the outset that I don’t think Brent Weeks is the greatest writer in the world. However, I read “The Black Prism” and enjoyed it enough to go back to his earlier work “The Night Angel” trilogy … and I gotta say, he has improved. Basically, if you don’t like it, don’t blame me! However, I did enjoy the characters in “The Black Prism”, in general (but perhaps it is my “woman approaching middle age liking the look of that hunk on the cover” thing going on …I like broody). And the magic system. Some people have rubbished it. I really liked it – my mental imagery exploded off the page. I enjoyed that.

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