Cover Girl

By Susan/Miranda:
Because I have to turn in a manuscript TODAY, I will freely admit that, alas, my weekly blog duties here in Wench-Land have gone MIA.  I could have pasted a big red sign –– “YOUR MESSAGE HERE”, but that seemed a little crass, and so I’m recycling another piece I wrote about the cover for DUCHESS.  Earlier on this blog, I shared my least-favorite cover with you (remember the hero standing knee-deep in water that Jo oh-so-rightly described as the “constipated Muppet”?) Seems only fair to share the other side of the cover-coin too, so here it is:

I love the cover for DUCHESS.  I’ll say that up front, and with no hesitation or qualification.  Like most novelists, I’ve had my share of good, bad, and horrific covers, but this one is my favorite.  There isn’t another that’s even close, and my everlasting thanks go to Emily Mahon and the rest of the NAL art staff.

Of course, it’s the portrait of Sarah Churchill that makes this cover such a winner.  Like most wealthy, noble people of her time, Sarah had her portrait painted a number of times during her life, from a flower-decked teenager to a middle-aged grieving mother in somber mourning for her elder son. 

The painting used on the cover of DUCHESS is far from the most artistically accomplished of her portraits –– the artist, Charles Jervais, is little more than an art history footnote today, nearly forgotten behind his more accomplished peers such as Sir Godfrey Kneller and Sir Peter Lely –– and it’s probably a flattering but not terribly accurate likeness, considering how Sarah was well into her forties when it was painted.  But as a pure symbol of Sarah as Her Grace the Duchess of Marlborough –– ah, this painting can’t be beat.

To begin with, there’s that fantastic red costume, visible clear across any bookshop.  It’s not a dress; it’s a dressing gown, a loose-fitting, wrapped garment worn casually at home.  Many aristocrats chose such informal attire for portraits to reinforce their elevated rank.  While you, the viewer of the painting, would have had to be fully, formally dressed before you called upon a grand lady like Sarah, she, being your superior in rank and wealth, doesn’t have to bother for the inferior likes of you.  She’s still wearing her undergarments, of course –– even hierarchical undress has its limits –– and her whalebone-stiffened stays mold her body into the fashionable, conical shape visible beneath her loosely wrapped dressing gown. 

Yet though this is a casual garment, it’s still a very costly one –– and one that Sarah, the wealthiest woman in England, wants you to know she can afford with ease.  The fabric is silk velvet, likely imported from France or Genoa.  The brilliant scarlet is a “power” color, favored by kings, cardinals, generals, and other persons of high rank.  The primary ingredient of red dyes at this time was cochineal, made from crushed Mexican beetles that the Spaniards imported at great expense.  Sarah’s choice of a red dressing gown is unusual for a lady, demonstrating as it does not only her wealth, but her power at Court –– equal to that of a powerful man.

Even her pose reinforces her status.  True, she’s sitting on some peculiar mossy hummock that was probably a chair in the artist’s studio. But she’s been painted from slightly below, forcing the painter (and the viewer) to gaze up at her.  Considering how the finished portrait would also be hung above eye level would only increase the feeling that yes, you are beneath Sarah in every possible way –– exactly where she’d wish you to be. 

There’s even more to this picture to show that Sarah’s no ordinary English lady.  The portraits of other seventeenth-century noblewomen emphasize their roles within the domestic sphere.  They’re posed with needlework, letters, flowers, pets, and children, their hands are often clasped, with their houses often shown in the distance behind them.

But Sarah sits alone in a vague green landscape that doesn’t represent a specific house, but stands in for all the acres and acres of land –– whether at Windsor, St. Albans, or Woodstock –– that she and her husband John have acquired through hard work and royal favor.  She stares out boldly over her shoulder, with an expression that’s so confident as to be almost arrogant. Instead of having her hands modestly folded in her lap, she has one hand touching her temple, signifying her unusual intellect, while the other is extended, palm open, with a consummate courtier’s grace, towards the greater world beyond –– and, I hope, to readers today.

So do you, as a reader or a writer, have a favorite cover, too?  I know it’s hard to post images, but let’s share links to some that were special to you as well. *G*Duchess_1

112 thoughts on “Cover Girl”

  1. What a GREAT cover! I love it. Kudos to the NAL art department for the arrangement (and to Jervas for creating such a fabulous cover-worthy portrait!).
    It’s a great idea to bring an earlier blog back to the page now and then. Months down the road, we’ve forgotten, or our perspective has changed.
    Best of luck with the manuscript, we’re cheering you to the finish line!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  2. What a GREAT cover! I love it. Kudos to the NAL art department for the arrangement (and to Jervas for creating such a fabulous cover-worthy portrait!).
    It’s a great idea to bring an earlier blog back to the page now and then. Months down the road, we’ve forgotten, or our perspective has changed.
    Best of luck with the manuscript, we’re cheering you to the finish line!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  3. What a GREAT cover! I love it. Kudos to the NAL art department for the arrangement (and to Jervas for creating such a fabulous cover-worthy portrait!).
    It’s a great idea to bring an earlier blog back to the page now and then. Months down the road, we’ve forgotten, or our perspective has changed.
    Best of luck with the manuscript, we’re cheering you to the finish line!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  4. What a GREAT cover! I love it. Kudos to the NAL art department for the arrangement (and to Jervas for creating such a fabulous cover-worthy portrait!).
    It’s a great idea to bring an earlier blog back to the page now and then. Months down the road, we’ve forgotten, or our perspective has changed.
    Best of luck with the manuscript, we’re cheering you to the finish line!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the good wishes, Susan/Sarah — you KNOW I need every one of them. *G*
    Kalen, I agree, my favorite covers are the true historical paintings that “fit” the books far better than most modern paintings. I’m sure that’s my art-history-geek side showing, but hey….
    Up until recently, most art directors haven’t used “old” art on popular fiction covers. Their two fav reasons against it: buying the rights is too expensive and too restrictive; and that readers will see those antique images and think yuck, boring old classic literature. Like, duh!
    Interesting that two of the three you mentioned (Candace Hern and Pam Rosenthal) are from NAL, the same folks who did the cover for DUCHESS. That staff really does some splendid ones — I’ll try to find the link to THE WINTER KING by Cheryl Sawyer, a new book due out this spring, that has an absolutely gorgeous cover.
    Teresa, those Chadwick covers are fantastic — beautiful, yet evocative, too.
    Nice that we’re having a good-art-Monday…..

    Reply
  6. Thanks for the good wishes, Susan/Sarah — you KNOW I need every one of them. *G*
    Kalen, I agree, my favorite covers are the true historical paintings that “fit” the books far better than most modern paintings. I’m sure that’s my art-history-geek side showing, but hey….
    Up until recently, most art directors haven’t used “old” art on popular fiction covers. Their two fav reasons against it: buying the rights is too expensive and too restrictive; and that readers will see those antique images and think yuck, boring old classic literature. Like, duh!
    Interesting that two of the three you mentioned (Candace Hern and Pam Rosenthal) are from NAL, the same folks who did the cover for DUCHESS. That staff really does some splendid ones — I’ll try to find the link to THE WINTER KING by Cheryl Sawyer, a new book due out this spring, that has an absolutely gorgeous cover.
    Teresa, those Chadwick covers are fantastic — beautiful, yet evocative, too.
    Nice that we’re having a good-art-Monday…..

    Reply
  7. Thanks for the good wishes, Susan/Sarah — you KNOW I need every one of them. *G*
    Kalen, I agree, my favorite covers are the true historical paintings that “fit” the books far better than most modern paintings. I’m sure that’s my art-history-geek side showing, but hey….
    Up until recently, most art directors haven’t used “old” art on popular fiction covers. Their two fav reasons against it: buying the rights is too expensive and too restrictive; and that readers will see those antique images and think yuck, boring old classic literature. Like, duh!
    Interesting that two of the three you mentioned (Candace Hern and Pam Rosenthal) are from NAL, the same folks who did the cover for DUCHESS. That staff really does some splendid ones — I’ll try to find the link to THE WINTER KING by Cheryl Sawyer, a new book due out this spring, that has an absolutely gorgeous cover.
    Teresa, those Chadwick covers are fantastic — beautiful, yet evocative, too.
    Nice that we’re having a good-art-Monday…..

    Reply
  8. Thanks for the good wishes, Susan/Sarah — you KNOW I need every one of them. *G*
    Kalen, I agree, my favorite covers are the true historical paintings that “fit” the books far better than most modern paintings. I’m sure that’s my art-history-geek side showing, but hey….
    Up until recently, most art directors haven’t used “old” art on popular fiction covers. Their two fav reasons against it: buying the rights is too expensive and too restrictive; and that readers will see those antique images and think yuck, boring old classic literature. Like, duh!
    Interesting that two of the three you mentioned (Candace Hern and Pam Rosenthal) are from NAL, the same folks who did the cover for DUCHESS. That staff really does some splendid ones — I’ll try to find the link to THE WINTER KING by Cheryl Sawyer, a new book due out this spring, that has an absolutely gorgeous cover.
    Teresa, those Chadwick covers are fantastic — beautiful, yet evocative, too.
    Nice that we’re having a good-art-Monday…..

    Reply
  9. It’s good to see that cyberspace isn’t just messing with me!
    My lack of art major shines through when I say I prefer landscapes. The above covers are all quite lovely but lady’s bosoms, and in fact, women period, aren’t the kind of art I prefer. If I can’t have a good looking pirate, then I want his ship. On an ocean. With stars up above. Heathen that I am, NAL usually provides what I like, probably because that’s what I write and not because they’re listening to me. “G”
    But now that I understand all the arty stuff behind SS’s lovely cover, I shall strive to be less heathen, because it is a very impressive cover.

    Reply
  10. It’s good to see that cyberspace isn’t just messing with me!
    My lack of art major shines through when I say I prefer landscapes. The above covers are all quite lovely but lady’s bosoms, and in fact, women period, aren’t the kind of art I prefer. If I can’t have a good looking pirate, then I want his ship. On an ocean. With stars up above. Heathen that I am, NAL usually provides what I like, probably because that’s what I write and not because they’re listening to me. “G”
    But now that I understand all the arty stuff behind SS’s lovely cover, I shall strive to be less heathen, because it is a very impressive cover.

    Reply
  11. It’s good to see that cyberspace isn’t just messing with me!
    My lack of art major shines through when I say I prefer landscapes. The above covers are all quite lovely but lady’s bosoms, and in fact, women period, aren’t the kind of art I prefer. If I can’t have a good looking pirate, then I want his ship. On an ocean. With stars up above. Heathen that I am, NAL usually provides what I like, probably because that’s what I write and not because they’re listening to me. “G”
    But now that I understand all the arty stuff behind SS’s lovely cover, I shall strive to be less heathen, because it is a very impressive cover.

    Reply
  12. It’s good to see that cyberspace isn’t just messing with me!
    My lack of art major shines through when I say I prefer landscapes. The above covers are all quite lovely but lady’s bosoms, and in fact, women period, aren’t the kind of art I prefer. If I can’t have a good looking pirate, then I want his ship. On an ocean. With stars up above. Heathen that I am, NAL usually provides what I like, probably because that’s what I write and not because they’re listening to me. “G”
    But now that I understand all the arty stuff behind SS’s lovely cover, I shall strive to be less heathen, because it is a very impressive cover.

    Reply
  13. One cover look I like is one where the majority of the book is a dark, rich color and an appropriate image is nestled within a sort of “cameo.” Naomi Novik’s US covers fit this pattern:
    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Powder-War-Temeraire-Book/dp/0345481305/ref=pd_sim_b_1/002-3612134-8824831
    In romance, new author Diana Groe has gotten this type so far:
    http://www.amazon.com/Maidensong-Diana-Groe/dp/0843957107/sr=1-1/qid=1165267046/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3612134-8824831?ie=UTF8&s=books
    Also Joan Wolf’s WHITE HORSES:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/0778320979/ref=dp_image_0/002-3612134-8824831?
    It’s a classy look, and one that just pops off the shelves for me. I love period art on a cover, too, but if I could design my own covers, they’d be “cameos.”

    Reply
  14. One cover look I like is one where the majority of the book is a dark, rich color and an appropriate image is nestled within a sort of “cameo.” Naomi Novik’s US covers fit this pattern:
    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Powder-War-Temeraire-Book/dp/0345481305/ref=pd_sim_b_1/002-3612134-8824831
    In romance, new author Diana Groe has gotten this type so far:
    http://www.amazon.com/Maidensong-Diana-Groe/dp/0843957107/sr=1-1/qid=1165267046/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3612134-8824831?ie=UTF8&s=books
    Also Joan Wolf’s WHITE HORSES:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/0778320979/ref=dp_image_0/002-3612134-8824831?
    It’s a classy look, and one that just pops off the shelves for me. I love period art on a cover, too, but if I could design my own covers, they’d be “cameos.”

    Reply
  15. One cover look I like is one where the majority of the book is a dark, rich color and an appropriate image is nestled within a sort of “cameo.” Naomi Novik’s US covers fit this pattern:
    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Powder-War-Temeraire-Book/dp/0345481305/ref=pd_sim_b_1/002-3612134-8824831
    In romance, new author Diana Groe has gotten this type so far:
    http://www.amazon.com/Maidensong-Diana-Groe/dp/0843957107/sr=1-1/qid=1165267046/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3612134-8824831?ie=UTF8&s=books
    Also Joan Wolf’s WHITE HORSES:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/0778320979/ref=dp_image_0/002-3612134-8824831?
    It’s a classy look, and one that just pops off the shelves for me. I love period art on a cover, too, but if I could design my own covers, they’d be “cameos.”

    Reply
  16. One cover look I like is one where the majority of the book is a dark, rich color and an appropriate image is nestled within a sort of “cameo.” Naomi Novik’s US covers fit this pattern:
    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Powder-War-Temeraire-Book/dp/0345481305/ref=pd_sim_b_1/002-3612134-8824831
    In romance, new author Diana Groe has gotten this type so far:
    http://www.amazon.com/Maidensong-Diana-Groe/dp/0843957107/sr=1-1/qid=1165267046/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3612134-8824831?ie=UTF8&s=books
    Also Joan Wolf’s WHITE HORSES:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/0778320979/ref=dp_image_0/002-3612134-8824831?
    It’s a classy look, and one that just pops off the shelves for me. I love period art on a cover, too, but if I could design my own covers, they’d be “cameos.”

    Reply
  17. Oh, I love plenty of covers. . . I just can’t think of any off hand. LOL I even like those clench covers too. 😉 But I’m not really a fan of cartoony ones, especially on books that don’t seem or feel all that comedic.
    Lois

    Reply
  18. Oh, I love plenty of covers. . . I just can’t think of any off hand. LOL I even like those clench covers too. 😉 But I’m not really a fan of cartoony ones, especially on books that don’t seem or feel all that comedic.
    Lois

    Reply
  19. Oh, I love plenty of covers. . . I just can’t think of any off hand. LOL I even like those clench covers too. 😉 But I’m not really a fan of cartoony ones, especially on books that don’t seem or feel all that comedic.
    Lois

    Reply
  20. Oh, I love plenty of covers. . . I just can’t think of any off hand. LOL I even like those clench covers too. 😉 But I’m not really a fan of cartoony ones, especially on books that don’t seem or feel all that comedic.
    Lois

    Reply
  21. From Sherrie:
    Pat, like you, I adore landscapes (though I love the latest fad of using historical portraits). One of the most beautiful landscape covers I have ever seen is Linda Gillard’s Emotional Geology. The cover is a photograph of a sunset at Rannoch Moor in Scotland. Here is a copy of the photo that was used on the cover: http://www.lindagillard.co.uk/
    For a slightly smaller version of the picture (which is actually easier to view) click on “Photographs,” and then just under the film strip, click the right button until the last picture scrolls into view. Click on that picture.
    I’m a sucker for sunset and sunrise pictures, which I think are good for book covers, and though I love bucolic landscapes, from a marketing standpoint they probably don’t have as much pull as a blazing sunset.

    Reply
  22. From Sherrie:
    Pat, like you, I adore landscapes (though I love the latest fad of using historical portraits). One of the most beautiful landscape covers I have ever seen is Linda Gillard’s Emotional Geology. The cover is a photograph of a sunset at Rannoch Moor in Scotland. Here is a copy of the photo that was used on the cover: http://www.lindagillard.co.uk/
    For a slightly smaller version of the picture (which is actually easier to view) click on “Photographs,” and then just under the film strip, click the right button until the last picture scrolls into view. Click on that picture.
    I’m a sucker for sunset and sunrise pictures, which I think are good for book covers, and though I love bucolic landscapes, from a marketing standpoint they probably don’t have as much pull as a blazing sunset.

    Reply
  23. From Sherrie:
    Pat, like you, I adore landscapes (though I love the latest fad of using historical portraits). One of the most beautiful landscape covers I have ever seen is Linda Gillard’s Emotional Geology. The cover is a photograph of a sunset at Rannoch Moor in Scotland. Here is a copy of the photo that was used on the cover: http://www.lindagillard.co.uk/
    For a slightly smaller version of the picture (which is actually easier to view) click on “Photographs,” and then just under the film strip, click the right button until the last picture scrolls into view. Click on that picture.
    I’m a sucker for sunset and sunrise pictures, which I think are good for book covers, and though I love bucolic landscapes, from a marketing standpoint they probably don’t have as much pull as a blazing sunset.

    Reply
  24. From Sherrie:
    Pat, like you, I adore landscapes (though I love the latest fad of using historical portraits). One of the most beautiful landscape covers I have ever seen is Linda Gillard’s Emotional Geology. The cover is a photograph of a sunset at Rannoch Moor in Scotland. Here is a copy of the photo that was used on the cover: http://www.lindagillard.co.uk/
    For a slightly smaller version of the picture (which is actually easier to view) click on “Photographs,” and then just under the film strip, click the right button until the last picture scrolls into view. Click on that picture.
    I’m a sucker for sunset and sunrise pictures, which I think are good for book covers, and though I love bucolic landscapes, from a marketing standpoint they probably don’t have as much pull as a blazing sunset.

    Reply
  25. Yes, that is a very good cover: aesthetically pleasing, eye-catching and appropriate, and above all, free of the intense fussiness and busy-ness that tends to characterise American cover-art, which so often falls victim to too many colours, too many motifs, too many fonts, too much everything!
    This one has a certain dignity and elegance, as well as carrying plenty of relevant information about the book.
    😀

    Reply
  26. Yes, that is a very good cover: aesthetically pleasing, eye-catching and appropriate, and above all, free of the intense fussiness and busy-ness that tends to characterise American cover-art, which so often falls victim to too many colours, too many motifs, too many fonts, too much everything!
    This one has a certain dignity and elegance, as well as carrying plenty of relevant information about the book.
    😀

    Reply
  27. Yes, that is a very good cover: aesthetically pleasing, eye-catching and appropriate, and above all, free of the intense fussiness and busy-ness that tends to characterise American cover-art, which so often falls victim to too many colours, too many motifs, too many fonts, too much everything!
    This one has a certain dignity and elegance, as well as carrying plenty of relevant information about the book.
    😀

    Reply
  28. Yes, that is a very good cover: aesthetically pleasing, eye-catching and appropriate, and above all, free of the intense fussiness and busy-ness that tends to characterise American cover-art, which so often falls victim to too many colours, too many motifs, too many fonts, too much everything!
    This one has a certain dignity and elegance, as well as carrying plenty of relevant information about the book.
    😀

    Reply
  29. Sometimes I think we Americans get it right. 🙂 E.g. here’s a comparison of the British and American covers for Lindsey Davis’s 2007 Falco mystery:
    http://www.lindseydavis.co.uk/saturnalia.htm
    The British one isn’t a BAD cover, but IMO it’s cluttered compared to the truly stunning American one.
    Likewise, I think Naomi Novik’s US covers are more striking, though again it’s a case of “beautiful” vs. “even better.”
    http://www.temeraire.org/gallery/v/artwork/
    I’ve noticed that in general UK covers are more likely to picture a group of people, while US ones are more likely to focus on an individual. That’s a broad generalization, and I’m sure there are hundreds of exceptions, but I would’ve guessed correctly which of the Lindsey Davis covers linked above is the American one on that factor alone. For another example, see the US and UK cover’s of Sharpe’s Fury:
    http://www.bernardcornwell.net/index.cfm?page=2&BookId=46
    You could probably come up with some complex theory about the relative individualism and communitarian nature of the two societies, but to me the British covers just look crowded–I guess I can’t help my American tastes! 🙂

    Reply
  30. Sometimes I think we Americans get it right. 🙂 E.g. here’s a comparison of the British and American covers for Lindsey Davis’s 2007 Falco mystery:
    http://www.lindseydavis.co.uk/saturnalia.htm
    The British one isn’t a BAD cover, but IMO it’s cluttered compared to the truly stunning American one.
    Likewise, I think Naomi Novik’s US covers are more striking, though again it’s a case of “beautiful” vs. “even better.”
    http://www.temeraire.org/gallery/v/artwork/
    I’ve noticed that in general UK covers are more likely to picture a group of people, while US ones are more likely to focus on an individual. That’s a broad generalization, and I’m sure there are hundreds of exceptions, but I would’ve guessed correctly which of the Lindsey Davis covers linked above is the American one on that factor alone. For another example, see the US and UK cover’s of Sharpe’s Fury:
    http://www.bernardcornwell.net/index.cfm?page=2&BookId=46
    You could probably come up with some complex theory about the relative individualism and communitarian nature of the two societies, but to me the British covers just look crowded–I guess I can’t help my American tastes! 🙂

    Reply
  31. Sometimes I think we Americans get it right. 🙂 E.g. here’s a comparison of the British and American covers for Lindsey Davis’s 2007 Falco mystery:
    http://www.lindseydavis.co.uk/saturnalia.htm
    The British one isn’t a BAD cover, but IMO it’s cluttered compared to the truly stunning American one.
    Likewise, I think Naomi Novik’s US covers are more striking, though again it’s a case of “beautiful” vs. “even better.”
    http://www.temeraire.org/gallery/v/artwork/
    I’ve noticed that in general UK covers are more likely to picture a group of people, while US ones are more likely to focus on an individual. That’s a broad generalization, and I’m sure there are hundreds of exceptions, but I would’ve guessed correctly which of the Lindsey Davis covers linked above is the American one on that factor alone. For another example, see the US and UK cover’s of Sharpe’s Fury:
    http://www.bernardcornwell.net/index.cfm?page=2&BookId=46
    You could probably come up with some complex theory about the relative individualism and communitarian nature of the two societies, but to me the British covers just look crowded–I guess I can’t help my American tastes! 🙂

    Reply
  32. Sometimes I think we Americans get it right. 🙂 E.g. here’s a comparison of the British and American covers for Lindsey Davis’s 2007 Falco mystery:
    http://www.lindseydavis.co.uk/saturnalia.htm
    The British one isn’t a BAD cover, but IMO it’s cluttered compared to the truly stunning American one.
    Likewise, I think Naomi Novik’s US covers are more striking, though again it’s a case of “beautiful” vs. “even better.”
    http://www.temeraire.org/gallery/v/artwork/
    I’ve noticed that in general UK covers are more likely to picture a group of people, while US ones are more likely to focus on an individual. That’s a broad generalization, and I’m sure there are hundreds of exceptions, but I would’ve guessed correctly which of the Lindsey Davis covers linked above is the American one on that factor alone. For another example, see the US and UK cover’s of Sharpe’s Fury:
    http://www.bernardcornwell.net/index.cfm?page=2&BookId=46
    You could probably come up with some complex theory about the relative individualism and communitarian nature of the two societies, but to me the British covers just look crowded–I guess I can’t help my American tastes! 🙂

    Reply
  33. Cool art history analysis, Susan Miranda! I knew I really liked your cover, but I didn’t fully appreciate all the elements that make the portrait into a story of the woman and her times–and a perfect cover for your book.
    mjp

    Reply
  34. Cool art history analysis, Susan Miranda! I knew I really liked your cover, but I didn’t fully appreciate all the elements that make the portrait into a story of the woman and her times–and a perfect cover for your book.
    mjp

    Reply
  35. Cool art history analysis, Susan Miranda! I knew I really liked your cover, but I didn’t fully appreciate all the elements that make the portrait into a story of the woman and her times–and a perfect cover for your book.
    mjp

    Reply
  36. Cool art history analysis, Susan Miranda! I knew I really liked your cover, but I didn’t fully appreciate all the elements that make the portrait into a story of the woman and her times–and a perfect cover for your book.
    mjp

    Reply
  37. Okay, I have to be honest — all that art history “stuff” didn’t matter at all to the art director. It was more, “Oh, good, red is eye-catching, and you did the work to find the art, so we don’t have to.” *G*
    Now, they found the art for my next book….but more about THAT cover later.

    Reply
  38. Okay, I have to be honest — all that art history “stuff” didn’t matter at all to the art director. It was more, “Oh, good, red is eye-catching, and you did the work to find the art, so we don’t have to.” *G*
    Now, they found the art for my next book….but more about THAT cover later.

    Reply
  39. Okay, I have to be honest — all that art history “stuff” didn’t matter at all to the art director. It was more, “Oh, good, red is eye-catching, and you did the work to find the art, so we don’t have to.” *G*
    Now, they found the art for my next book….but more about THAT cover later.

    Reply
  40. Okay, I have to be honest — all that art history “stuff” didn’t matter at all to the art director. It was more, “Oh, good, red is eye-catching, and you did the work to find the art, so we don’t have to.” *G*
    Now, they found the art for my next book….but more about THAT cover later.

    Reply
  41. Susan, those US/UK comparisons were interesting, but I’m afraid I simply disliked *all* of them, without a single exception. Of the Lindsey Davis ones, for instance, I consider that the UK cover, while a ghastly, cluttered mess, does at least provide valid visual links to the Roman period, instantly recognisable to anyone with a knowledge of that era: the US one, on the other hand, is totally irrelevant, and FAR more evocative of the Victorian view of antiquity than of antiquity itself: in fact, the figure is loosely based on one of the paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, but with an added Renaissance hint to it. There is nothing at all on the US cover that refers even remotely to the period in which the novel is set: there’s a distant classical temple, to be sure, but as there are plenty of those still standing around, all it tells us is that the period is Classical or post-Classical.
    In a discussion on another forum, quite a range of US/UK contrasts in covers of the same novels were posted, including romance novels, contemporary and historical, and science fiction (I hate practically all science fiction covers), and in general, the US examples were much busier, with more going on, more obvious reliance on bright colours and plenty of ’em, and in particular, a tendency to mix incompatible font styles.
    But we all have our own tastes in these matters, and I know that my own are both unusual and fairly extreme.
    🙂

    Reply
  42. Susan, those US/UK comparisons were interesting, but I’m afraid I simply disliked *all* of them, without a single exception. Of the Lindsey Davis ones, for instance, I consider that the UK cover, while a ghastly, cluttered mess, does at least provide valid visual links to the Roman period, instantly recognisable to anyone with a knowledge of that era: the US one, on the other hand, is totally irrelevant, and FAR more evocative of the Victorian view of antiquity than of antiquity itself: in fact, the figure is loosely based on one of the paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, but with an added Renaissance hint to it. There is nothing at all on the US cover that refers even remotely to the period in which the novel is set: there’s a distant classical temple, to be sure, but as there are plenty of those still standing around, all it tells us is that the period is Classical or post-Classical.
    In a discussion on another forum, quite a range of US/UK contrasts in covers of the same novels were posted, including romance novels, contemporary and historical, and science fiction (I hate practically all science fiction covers), and in general, the US examples were much busier, with more going on, more obvious reliance on bright colours and plenty of ’em, and in particular, a tendency to mix incompatible font styles.
    But we all have our own tastes in these matters, and I know that my own are both unusual and fairly extreme.
    🙂

    Reply
  43. Susan, those US/UK comparisons were interesting, but I’m afraid I simply disliked *all* of them, without a single exception. Of the Lindsey Davis ones, for instance, I consider that the UK cover, while a ghastly, cluttered mess, does at least provide valid visual links to the Roman period, instantly recognisable to anyone with a knowledge of that era: the US one, on the other hand, is totally irrelevant, and FAR more evocative of the Victorian view of antiquity than of antiquity itself: in fact, the figure is loosely based on one of the paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, but with an added Renaissance hint to it. There is nothing at all on the US cover that refers even remotely to the period in which the novel is set: there’s a distant classical temple, to be sure, but as there are plenty of those still standing around, all it tells us is that the period is Classical or post-Classical.
    In a discussion on another forum, quite a range of US/UK contrasts in covers of the same novels were posted, including romance novels, contemporary and historical, and science fiction (I hate practically all science fiction covers), and in general, the US examples were much busier, with more going on, more obvious reliance on bright colours and plenty of ’em, and in particular, a tendency to mix incompatible font styles.
    But we all have our own tastes in these matters, and I know that my own are both unusual and fairly extreme.
    🙂

    Reply
  44. Susan, those US/UK comparisons were interesting, but I’m afraid I simply disliked *all* of them, without a single exception. Of the Lindsey Davis ones, for instance, I consider that the UK cover, while a ghastly, cluttered mess, does at least provide valid visual links to the Roman period, instantly recognisable to anyone with a knowledge of that era: the US one, on the other hand, is totally irrelevant, and FAR more evocative of the Victorian view of antiquity than of antiquity itself: in fact, the figure is loosely based on one of the paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, but with an added Renaissance hint to it. There is nothing at all on the US cover that refers even remotely to the period in which the novel is set: there’s a distant classical temple, to be sure, but as there are plenty of those still standing around, all it tells us is that the period is Classical or post-Classical.
    In a discussion on another forum, quite a range of US/UK contrasts in covers of the same novels were posted, including romance novels, contemporary and historical, and science fiction (I hate practically all science fiction covers), and in general, the US examples were much busier, with more going on, more obvious reliance on bright colours and plenty of ’em, and in particular, a tendency to mix incompatible font styles.
    But we all have our own tastes in these matters, and I know that my own are both unusual and fairly extreme.
    🙂

    Reply
  45. It DOES all come down to taste, good, bad, and indifferent. I think the comparisons between the English and the American covers are fascinating, because they highlight the differences not only between readers’ tastes, but the larger cultures as well. The American covers are so much louder, busier, and more “hey, look at me!” (PT Barnum could have been a mass market art director *g*) The two versions of the Philippa Gregory covers couldn’t demonstrate this better:
    http://www.philippagregory.com
    And for what it’s worth, the English version of DUCHESS is exactly the same as the American –didn’t change an eyelash. *G*

    Reply
  46. It DOES all come down to taste, good, bad, and indifferent. I think the comparisons between the English and the American covers are fascinating, because they highlight the differences not only between readers’ tastes, but the larger cultures as well. The American covers are so much louder, busier, and more “hey, look at me!” (PT Barnum could have been a mass market art director *g*) The two versions of the Philippa Gregory covers couldn’t demonstrate this better:
    http://www.philippagregory.com
    And for what it’s worth, the English version of DUCHESS is exactly the same as the American –didn’t change an eyelash. *G*

    Reply
  47. It DOES all come down to taste, good, bad, and indifferent. I think the comparisons between the English and the American covers are fascinating, because they highlight the differences not only between readers’ tastes, but the larger cultures as well. The American covers are so much louder, busier, and more “hey, look at me!” (PT Barnum could have been a mass market art director *g*) The two versions of the Philippa Gregory covers couldn’t demonstrate this better:
    http://www.philippagregory.com
    And for what it’s worth, the English version of DUCHESS is exactly the same as the American –didn’t change an eyelash. *G*

    Reply
  48. It DOES all come down to taste, good, bad, and indifferent. I think the comparisons between the English and the American covers are fascinating, because they highlight the differences not only between readers’ tastes, but the larger cultures as well. The American covers are so much louder, busier, and more “hey, look at me!” (PT Barnum could have been a mass market art director *g*) The two versions of the Philippa Gregory covers couldn’t demonstrate this better:
    http://www.philippagregory.com
    And for what it’s worth, the English version of DUCHESS is exactly the same as the American –didn’t change an eyelash. *G*

    Reply
  49. The Philippa Gregory covers are excellent contrasts. I have a very strong preference indeed for the British one, which I see as eye-catching, appealing and stylish. The US version is a kind of surging pot-pourri of colour and lettering in which everything seems to be competing with everything else for attention.
    In the countless discussions of cover design in which I have taken part, we have found that, in general, Europeans (not just Brits) do prefer the UK covers and Americans the US ones, so that there are certainly quite basic cultural factors and traditions involved as well as personal tastes.
    I really like the cover of the UK edition of my own most recent book (it was my own choice, but if the publisher hadn’t liked it too, it wouldn’t have happened!), and find the cover of the US edition rather disappointing by comparison – but I have been convinced that the US one, far more florid and romantic, is better suited to that market. American friends tell me it is ‘prettier’ than the UK version in their eyes.
    I’m glad to hear that ‘Duchess’ will have the same cover here: it couldn’t be bettered.
    🙂

    Reply
  50. The Philippa Gregory covers are excellent contrasts. I have a very strong preference indeed for the British one, which I see as eye-catching, appealing and stylish. The US version is a kind of surging pot-pourri of colour and lettering in which everything seems to be competing with everything else for attention.
    In the countless discussions of cover design in which I have taken part, we have found that, in general, Europeans (not just Brits) do prefer the UK covers and Americans the US ones, so that there are certainly quite basic cultural factors and traditions involved as well as personal tastes.
    I really like the cover of the UK edition of my own most recent book (it was my own choice, but if the publisher hadn’t liked it too, it wouldn’t have happened!), and find the cover of the US edition rather disappointing by comparison – but I have been convinced that the US one, far more florid and romantic, is better suited to that market. American friends tell me it is ‘prettier’ than the UK version in their eyes.
    I’m glad to hear that ‘Duchess’ will have the same cover here: it couldn’t be bettered.
    🙂

    Reply
  51. The Philippa Gregory covers are excellent contrasts. I have a very strong preference indeed for the British one, which I see as eye-catching, appealing and stylish. The US version is a kind of surging pot-pourri of colour and lettering in which everything seems to be competing with everything else for attention.
    In the countless discussions of cover design in which I have taken part, we have found that, in general, Europeans (not just Brits) do prefer the UK covers and Americans the US ones, so that there are certainly quite basic cultural factors and traditions involved as well as personal tastes.
    I really like the cover of the UK edition of my own most recent book (it was my own choice, but if the publisher hadn’t liked it too, it wouldn’t have happened!), and find the cover of the US edition rather disappointing by comparison – but I have been convinced that the US one, far more florid and romantic, is better suited to that market. American friends tell me it is ‘prettier’ than the UK version in their eyes.
    I’m glad to hear that ‘Duchess’ will have the same cover here: it couldn’t be bettered.
    🙂

    Reply
  52. The Philippa Gregory covers are excellent contrasts. I have a very strong preference indeed for the British one, which I see as eye-catching, appealing and stylish. The US version is a kind of surging pot-pourri of colour and lettering in which everything seems to be competing with everything else for attention.
    In the countless discussions of cover design in which I have taken part, we have found that, in general, Europeans (not just Brits) do prefer the UK covers and Americans the US ones, so that there are certainly quite basic cultural factors and traditions involved as well as personal tastes.
    I really like the cover of the UK edition of my own most recent book (it was my own choice, but if the publisher hadn’t liked it too, it wouldn’t have happened!), and find the cover of the US edition rather disappointing by comparison – but I have been convinced that the US one, far more florid and romantic, is better suited to that market. American friends tell me it is ‘prettier’ than the UK version in their eyes.
    I’m glad to hear that ‘Duchess’ will have the same cover here: it couldn’t be bettered.
    🙂

    Reply
  53. For the Gregory book, I’ll go against my tendency to prefer American covers. The UK version is far superior.
    I always feel a bit inept and stupid in these discussions when they get truly analytical, because I have no formal training whatsoever in art or art history, and I’m not even really a visual thinker.
    With those caveats, I admit that I’m a little befuddled by the contention that American covers are busier, because in the examples I posted, it’s the UK covers that strike me as too busy, with no single dominant image that would catch my eye in the bookstore from 10 or 20 feet away. For example, I see your point about the US cover of SATURNALIA not really being period-appropriate, AgTigress, but the visual is so striking that I’d walk across a bookstore to pick it up and see what it was. With the Sharpe covers, to me the UK one looks like it should be the cover of a history of the era, not a novel–it’s just a battle scene, with nothing that says “character” or “story” to me. The US cover, by focusing on an image of Sharpe, *does* say all that to me, and therefore would make me think, “Ooh, new Bernard Cornwell!” as opposed to, “Wait, is that book misshelved from the military history section?”

    Reply
  54. For the Gregory book, I’ll go against my tendency to prefer American covers. The UK version is far superior.
    I always feel a bit inept and stupid in these discussions when they get truly analytical, because I have no formal training whatsoever in art or art history, and I’m not even really a visual thinker.
    With those caveats, I admit that I’m a little befuddled by the contention that American covers are busier, because in the examples I posted, it’s the UK covers that strike me as too busy, with no single dominant image that would catch my eye in the bookstore from 10 or 20 feet away. For example, I see your point about the US cover of SATURNALIA not really being period-appropriate, AgTigress, but the visual is so striking that I’d walk across a bookstore to pick it up and see what it was. With the Sharpe covers, to me the UK one looks like it should be the cover of a history of the era, not a novel–it’s just a battle scene, with nothing that says “character” or “story” to me. The US cover, by focusing on an image of Sharpe, *does* say all that to me, and therefore would make me think, “Ooh, new Bernard Cornwell!” as opposed to, “Wait, is that book misshelved from the military history section?”

    Reply
  55. For the Gregory book, I’ll go against my tendency to prefer American covers. The UK version is far superior.
    I always feel a bit inept and stupid in these discussions when they get truly analytical, because I have no formal training whatsoever in art or art history, and I’m not even really a visual thinker.
    With those caveats, I admit that I’m a little befuddled by the contention that American covers are busier, because in the examples I posted, it’s the UK covers that strike me as too busy, with no single dominant image that would catch my eye in the bookstore from 10 or 20 feet away. For example, I see your point about the US cover of SATURNALIA not really being period-appropriate, AgTigress, but the visual is so striking that I’d walk across a bookstore to pick it up and see what it was. With the Sharpe covers, to me the UK one looks like it should be the cover of a history of the era, not a novel–it’s just a battle scene, with nothing that says “character” or “story” to me. The US cover, by focusing on an image of Sharpe, *does* say all that to me, and therefore would make me think, “Ooh, new Bernard Cornwell!” as opposed to, “Wait, is that book misshelved from the military history section?”

    Reply
  56. For the Gregory book, I’ll go against my tendency to prefer American covers. The UK version is far superior.
    I always feel a bit inept and stupid in these discussions when they get truly analytical, because I have no formal training whatsoever in art or art history, and I’m not even really a visual thinker.
    With those caveats, I admit that I’m a little befuddled by the contention that American covers are busier, because in the examples I posted, it’s the UK covers that strike me as too busy, with no single dominant image that would catch my eye in the bookstore from 10 or 20 feet away. For example, I see your point about the US cover of SATURNALIA not really being period-appropriate, AgTigress, but the visual is so striking that I’d walk across a bookstore to pick it up and see what it was. With the Sharpe covers, to me the UK one looks like it should be the cover of a history of the era, not a novel–it’s just a battle scene, with nothing that says “character” or “story” to me. The US cover, by focusing on an image of Sharpe, *does* say all that to me, and therefore would make me think, “Ooh, new Bernard Cornwell!” as opposed to, “Wait, is that book misshelved from the military history section?”

    Reply
  57. Susan said: ‘but the visual is so striking that I’d walk across a bookstore to pick it up and see what it was.’
    You see, this is exactly what I don’t do. I am not sure how relevant it is that I am an *extremely* visual thinker, both by instinct and professional training, so we’ll leave that out of it. It is relevant to note that the principles are different when assessing non-fiction works that use a lot of illustrations; of course the quality and aptness of the pictures, including any cover image, are an important part of the book in such cases. With novels, however, the covers are wrapping-paper/advertising poster: no more than that. They are also ephemeral and mutable. As we have discussed, editions in different countries may have different designs, and 2nd and later editions will often have different covers, too.
    In choosing works of *fiction* to pick up, I deliberately suppress any reaction, pro or con, to visual imagery on the cover, and go for words alone – author’s name, chiefly. The reason for this is that until I was in my 40s, I passed over ‘romance novels’ completely because I despised the covers so much. I made the common, irrational and naive assumption that a lousy cover meant a lousy book. Wrong.
    I discovered that the covers I found so tacky and unattractive sometimes enveloped really good books – something of an epiphany, really. If I had continued to judge books by their covers, I should have missed a lot of good, entertaining writing. I certainly would not be contributing to sites such as this, because I should not have heard of, let alone read, any of the authors here!
    I am still perfectly happy to assess the covers independently as graphic art, but I refuse to permit them to influence my judgement of the actual books in any way at all.
    🙂

    Reply
  58. Susan said: ‘but the visual is so striking that I’d walk across a bookstore to pick it up and see what it was.’
    You see, this is exactly what I don’t do. I am not sure how relevant it is that I am an *extremely* visual thinker, both by instinct and professional training, so we’ll leave that out of it. It is relevant to note that the principles are different when assessing non-fiction works that use a lot of illustrations; of course the quality and aptness of the pictures, including any cover image, are an important part of the book in such cases. With novels, however, the covers are wrapping-paper/advertising poster: no more than that. They are also ephemeral and mutable. As we have discussed, editions in different countries may have different designs, and 2nd and later editions will often have different covers, too.
    In choosing works of *fiction* to pick up, I deliberately suppress any reaction, pro or con, to visual imagery on the cover, and go for words alone – author’s name, chiefly. The reason for this is that until I was in my 40s, I passed over ‘romance novels’ completely because I despised the covers so much. I made the common, irrational and naive assumption that a lousy cover meant a lousy book. Wrong.
    I discovered that the covers I found so tacky and unattractive sometimes enveloped really good books – something of an epiphany, really. If I had continued to judge books by their covers, I should have missed a lot of good, entertaining writing. I certainly would not be contributing to sites such as this, because I should not have heard of, let alone read, any of the authors here!
    I am still perfectly happy to assess the covers independently as graphic art, but I refuse to permit them to influence my judgement of the actual books in any way at all.
    🙂

    Reply
  59. Susan said: ‘but the visual is so striking that I’d walk across a bookstore to pick it up and see what it was.’
    You see, this is exactly what I don’t do. I am not sure how relevant it is that I am an *extremely* visual thinker, both by instinct and professional training, so we’ll leave that out of it. It is relevant to note that the principles are different when assessing non-fiction works that use a lot of illustrations; of course the quality and aptness of the pictures, including any cover image, are an important part of the book in such cases. With novels, however, the covers are wrapping-paper/advertising poster: no more than that. They are also ephemeral and mutable. As we have discussed, editions in different countries may have different designs, and 2nd and later editions will often have different covers, too.
    In choosing works of *fiction* to pick up, I deliberately suppress any reaction, pro or con, to visual imagery on the cover, and go for words alone – author’s name, chiefly. The reason for this is that until I was in my 40s, I passed over ‘romance novels’ completely because I despised the covers so much. I made the common, irrational and naive assumption that a lousy cover meant a lousy book. Wrong.
    I discovered that the covers I found so tacky and unattractive sometimes enveloped really good books – something of an epiphany, really. If I had continued to judge books by their covers, I should have missed a lot of good, entertaining writing. I certainly would not be contributing to sites such as this, because I should not have heard of, let alone read, any of the authors here!
    I am still perfectly happy to assess the covers independently as graphic art, but I refuse to permit them to influence my judgement of the actual books in any way at all.
    🙂

    Reply
  60. Susan said: ‘but the visual is so striking that I’d walk across a bookstore to pick it up and see what it was.’
    You see, this is exactly what I don’t do. I am not sure how relevant it is that I am an *extremely* visual thinker, both by instinct and professional training, so we’ll leave that out of it. It is relevant to note that the principles are different when assessing non-fiction works that use a lot of illustrations; of course the quality and aptness of the pictures, including any cover image, are an important part of the book in such cases. With novels, however, the covers are wrapping-paper/advertising poster: no more than that. They are also ephemeral and mutable. As we have discussed, editions in different countries may have different designs, and 2nd and later editions will often have different covers, too.
    In choosing works of *fiction* to pick up, I deliberately suppress any reaction, pro or con, to visual imagery on the cover, and go for words alone – author’s name, chiefly. The reason for this is that until I was in my 40s, I passed over ‘romance novels’ completely because I despised the covers so much. I made the common, irrational and naive assumption that a lousy cover meant a lousy book. Wrong.
    I discovered that the covers I found so tacky and unattractive sometimes enveloped really good books – something of an epiphany, really. If I had continued to judge books by their covers, I should have missed a lot of good, entertaining writing. I certainly would not be contributing to sites such as this, because I should not have heard of, let alone read, any of the authors here!
    I am still perfectly happy to assess the covers independently as graphic art, but I refuse to permit them to influence my judgement of the actual books in any way at all.
    🙂

    Reply
  61. “With novels, however, the covers are wrapping-paper/advertising poster: no more than that.”
    I totally agree, and in general covers have very little impact on my buying habits–I buy books from authors I already trust, mostly, and go by friends’ recommendations and reviews to find new authors.
    But every once in awhile, I’ll just browse through a bookstore with no particular agenda, and that’s when I pick up books because something about the cover catches my eye. And I did discover two favorite series that way–Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books and Kate Elliot’s Novels of the Jaran.
    “I discovered that the covers I found so tacky and unattractive sometimes enveloped really good books – something of an epiphany, really.”
    Usually when I’ve been burned it’s in the opposite direction–a book with a classy, elegant, tasteful yet eyecatching cover turns out unworthy of its beautiful packaging!
    Anyway, to me a cover has three purposes: 1) to make shoppers walk across the bookstore and pick it up, 2) to reflect the contents accurately enough that the reader won’t feel cognitive dissonace with the contents of the book, and 3) to be attractive and tasteful enough that I the reader need not feel embarrassed to read it on a plane, a city bus, or in the office lunchroom. But it’s nice on the rare occasions when a cover is beautiful enough that I keep looking back at it as I read.

    Reply
  62. “With novels, however, the covers are wrapping-paper/advertising poster: no more than that.”
    I totally agree, and in general covers have very little impact on my buying habits–I buy books from authors I already trust, mostly, and go by friends’ recommendations and reviews to find new authors.
    But every once in awhile, I’ll just browse through a bookstore with no particular agenda, and that’s when I pick up books because something about the cover catches my eye. And I did discover two favorite series that way–Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books and Kate Elliot’s Novels of the Jaran.
    “I discovered that the covers I found so tacky and unattractive sometimes enveloped really good books – something of an epiphany, really.”
    Usually when I’ve been burned it’s in the opposite direction–a book with a classy, elegant, tasteful yet eyecatching cover turns out unworthy of its beautiful packaging!
    Anyway, to me a cover has three purposes: 1) to make shoppers walk across the bookstore and pick it up, 2) to reflect the contents accurately enough that the reader won’t feel cognitive dissonace with the contents of the book, and 3) to be attractive and tasteful enough that I the reader need not feel embarrassed to read it on a plane, a city bus, or in the office lunchroom. But it’s nice on the rare occasions when a cover is beautiful enough that I keep looking back at it as I read.

    Reply
  63. “With novels, however, the covers are wrapping-paper/advertising poster: no more than that.”
    I totally agree, and in general covers have very little impact on my buying habits–I buy books from authors I already trust, mostly, and go by friends’ recommendations and reviews to find new authors.
    But every once in awhile, I’ll just browse through a bookstore with no particular agenda, and that’s when I pick up books because something about the cover catches my eye. And I did discover two favorite series that way–Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books and Kate Elliot’s Novels of the Jaran.
    “I discovered that the covers I found so tacky and unattractive sometimes enveloped really good books – something of an epiphany, really.”
    Usually when I’ve been burned it’s in the opposite direction–a book with a classy, elegant, tasteful yet eyecatching cover turns out unworthy of its beautiful packaging!
    Anyway, to me a cover has three purposes: 1) to make shoppers walk across the bookstore and pick it up, 2) to reflect the contents accurately enough that the reader won’t feel cognitive dissonace with the contents of the book, and 3) to be attractive and tasteful enough that I the reader need not feel embarrassed to read it on a plane, a city bus, or in the office lunchroom. But it’s nice on the rare occasions when a cover is beautiful enough that I keep looking back at it as I read.

    Reply
  64. “With novels, however, the covers are wrapping-paper/advertising poster: no more than that.”
    I totally agree, and in general covers have very little impact on my buying habits–I buy books from authors I already trust, mostly, and go by friends’ recommendations and reviews to find new authors.
    But every once in awhile, I’ll just browse through a bookstore with no particular agenda, and that’s when I pick up books because something about the cover catches my eye. And I did discover two favorite series that way–Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books and Kate Elliot’s Novels of the Jaran.
    “I discovered that the covers I found so tacky and unattractive sometimes enveloped really good books – something of an epiphany, really.”
    Usually when I’ve been burned it’s in the opposite direction–a book with a classy, elegant, tasteful yet eyecatching cover turns out unworthy of its beautiful packaging!
    Anyway, to me a cover has three purposes: 1) to make shoppers walk across the bookstore and pick it up, 2) to reflect the contents accurately enough that the reader won’t feel cognitive dissonace with the contents of the book, and 3) to be attractive and tasteful enough that I the reader need not feel embarrassed to read it on a plane, a city bus, or in the office lunchroom. But it’s nice on the rare occasions when a cover is beautiful enough that I keep looking back at it as I read.

    Reply
  65. I can’t resist briefly analysing the covers of ‘Sharpe’s Fury’, since, to my eyes, the US one is visually much, much busier than the UK one. These are my reasons for that judgement.
    I know nothing about the book, but the UK cover has:
    (1) Image: a single unified background, a painting of a battle scene that instantly gives the viewer the early 19th-century date. Images like this are perceived as a single entity, not as a conglomeration of individuals.
    (2) Words: the title and the author’s name, both bold, in a good, clear font.
    And that’s it – four words, easily legible, and a scene that indicates that there will be war and violence, and that the setting is somewhere between 1790 and 1820, judging by the uniforms.
    Now for the US one:
    (1) Cover is horizontally divided at about 3:2, part visual image, part typographic.
    (2) Words: title and author in large type (different colours, though mercifully the same font), a review quote on the picture, nestling in the midst of the title, with source quoted (small font, different colours, regular and italic); information that the author is the NYT best-selling author of another title, in smaller font, all caps (requiring both regular and italic) between his forename and surname; a coloured label inadequately linking the two sections of the cover, giving a place-name and date. That is *five* areas of text in all, and *23 words*, in a mix of colours, sizes and fonts on a two-zoned cover.
    (3) The picture shows a burning landscape; could be war or natural disaster, and it is intrinsically undateable until one peers very closely (hence the helpful ‘1811’ on the label, of course). The armed figure also requires a pretty close look to establish that he is not in contemporary dress – my first glance at a small image interpreted him as wearing a James Bond-style dinner-jacket (tuxedo)!
    But we all see differently, and we all have different visual ‘training’ and experience in the cultures we inhabit.
    😀

    Reply
  66. I can’t resist briefly analysing the covers of ‘Sharpe’s Fury’, since, to my eyes, the US one is visually much, much busier than the UK one. These are my reasons for that judgement.
    I know nothing about the book, but the UK cover has:
    (1) Image: a single unified background, a painting of a battle scene that instantly gives the viewer the early 19th-century date. Images like this are perceived as a single entity, not as a conglomeration of individuals.
    (2) Words: the title and the author’s name, both bold, in a good, clear font.
    And that’s it – four words, easily legible, and a scene that indicates that there will be war and violence, and that the setting is somewhere between 1790 and 1820, judging by the uniforms.
    Now for the US one:
    (1) Cover is horizontally divided at about 3:2, part visual image, part typographic.
    (2) Words: title and author in large type (different colours, though mercifully the same font), a review quote on the picture, nestling in the midst of the title, with source quoted (small font, different colours, regular and italic); information that the author is the NYT best-selling author of another title, in smaller font, all caps (requiring both regular and italic) between his forename and surname; a coloured label inadequately linking the two sections of the cover, giving a place-name and date. That is *five* areas of text in all, and *23 words*, in a mix of colours, sizes and fonts on a two-zoned cover.
    (3) The picture shows a burning landscape; could be war or natural disaster, and it is intrinsically undateable until one peers very closely (hence the helpful ‘1811’ on the label, of course). The armed figure also requires a pretty close look to establish that he is not in contemporary dress – my first glance at a small image interpreted him as wearing a James Bond-style dinner-jacket (tuxedo)!
    But we all see differently, and we all have different visual ‘training’ and experience in the cultures we inhabit.
    😀

    Reply
  67. I can’t resist briefly analysing the covers of ‘Sharpe’s Fury’, since, to my eyes, the US one is visually much, much busier than the UK one. These are my reasons for that judgement.
    I know nothing about the book, but the UK cover has:
    (1) Image: a single unified background, a painting of a battle scene that instantly gives the viewer the early 19th-century date. Images like this are perceived as a single entity, not as a conglomeration of individuals.
    (2) Words: the title and the author’s name, both bold, in a good, clear font.
    And that’s it – four words, easily legible, and a scene that indicates that there will be war and violence, and that the setting is somewhere between 1790 and 1820, judging by the uniforms.
    Now for the US one:
    (1) Cover is horizontally divided at about 3:2, part visual image, part typographic.
    (2) Words: title and author in large type (different colours, though mercifully the same font), a review quote on the picture, nestling in the midst of the title, with source quoted (small font, different colours, regular and italic); information that the author is the NYT best-selling author of another title, in smaller font, all caps (requiring both regular and italic) between his forename and surname; a coloured label inadequately linking the two sections of the cover, giving a place-name and date. That is *five* areas of text in all, and *23 words*, in a mix of colours, sizes and fonts on a two-zoned cover.
    (3) The picture shows a burning landscape; could be war or natural disaster, and it is intrinsically undateable until one peers very closely (hence the helpful ‘1811’ on the label, of course). The armed figure also requires a pretty close look to establish that he is not in contemporary dress – my first glance at a small image interpreted him as wearing a James Bond-style dinner-jacket (tuxedo)!
    But we all see differently, and we all have different visual ‘training’ and experience in the cultures we inhabit.
    😀

    Reply
  68. I can’t resist briefly analysing the covers of ‘Sharpe’s Fury’, since, to my eyes, the US one is visually much, much busier than the UK one. These are my reasons for that judgement.
    I know nothing about the book, but the UK cover has:
    (1) Image: a single unified background, a painting of a battle scene that instantly gives the viewer the early 19th-century date. Images like this are perceived as a single entity, not as a conglomeration of individuals.
    (2) Words: the title and the author’s name, both bold, in a good, clear font.
    And that’s it – four words, easily legible, and a scene that indicates that there will be war and violence, and that the setting is somewhere between 1790 and 1820, judging by the uniforms.
    Now for the US one:
    (1) Cover is horizontally divided at about 3:2, part visual image, part typographic.
    (2) Words: title and author in large type (different colours, though mercifully the same font), a review quote on the picture, nestling in the midst of the title, with source quoted (small font, different colours, regular and italic); information that the author is the NYT best-selling author of another title, in smaller font, all caps (requiring both regular and italic) between his forename and surname; a coloured label inadequately linking the two sections of the cover, giving a place-name and date. That is *five* areas of text in all, and *23 words*, in a mix of colours, sizes and fonts on a two-zoned cover.
    (3) The picture shows a burning landscape; could be war or natural disaster, and it is intrinsically undateable until one peers very closely (hence the helpful ‘1811’ on the label, of course). The armed figure also requires a pretty close look to establish that he is not in contemporary dress – my first glance at a small image interpreted him as wearing a James Bond-style dinner-jacket (tuxedo)!
    But we all see differently, and we all have different visual ‘training’ and experience in the cultures we inhabit.
    😀

    Reply
  69. “But we all see differently, and we all have different visual ‘training’ and experience in the cultures we inhabit.”
    So true! I understand everything you’re saying about the two covers, and yet, when I look at the UK one, all I can think is, “Where’s Sharpe? I see a bunch of people, but all the British are redcoats. Not a sexy badass rifleman in sight. Why would you have a Sharpe book and not put him on the cover? That’s why I’m reading the books, after all–to find out what happens to this character I’ve become invested in.” While on the American cover, he’s right there front and center, and everything else about the image pulls my eyes to him.

    Reply
  70. “But we all see differently, and we all have different visual ‘training’ and experience in the cultures we inhabit.”
    So true! I understand everything you’re saying about the two covers, and yet, when I look at the UK one, all I can think is, “Where’s Sharpe? I see a bunch of people, but all the British are redcoats. Not a sexy badass rifleman in sight. Why would you have a Sharpe book and not put him on the cover? That’s why I’m reading the books, after all–to find out what happens to this character I’ve become invested in.” While on the American cover, he’s right there front and center, and everything else about the image pulls my eyes to him.

    Reply
  71. “But we all see differently, and we all have different visual ‘training’ and experience in the cultures we inhabit.”
    So true! I understand everything you’re saying about the two covers, and yet, when I look at the UK one, all I can think is, “Where’s Sharpe? I see a bunch of people, but all the British are redcoats. Not a sexy badass rifleman in sight. Why would you have a Sharpe book and not put him on the cover? That’s why I’m reading the books, after all–to find out what happens to this character I’ve become invested in.” While on the American cover, he’s right there front and center, and everything else about the image pulls my eyes to him.

    Reply
  72. “But we all see differently, and we all have different visual ‘training’ and experience in the cultures we inhabit.”
    So true! I understand everything you’re saying about the two covers, and yet, when I look at the UK one, all I can think is, “Where’s Sharpe? I see a bunch of people, but all the British are redcoats. Not a sexy badass rifleman in sight. Why would you have a Sharpe book and not put him on the cover? That’s why I’m reading the books, after all–to find out what happens to this character I’ve become invested in.” While on the American cover, he’s right there front and center, and everything else about the image pulls my eyes to him.

    Reply
  73. I accept that your reading of the cover is simply different from mine. 🙂
    I see a cover image as a single entity, an integrated picture, whereas you evidently focus initially on a primary visual subject while allowing the other elements, both pictorial and typographical, to recede into background. If you don’t see an obvious primary image, your attention is not caught, though I imagine that, after the first impression, you would then move around to other areas of the complete image in sequence.
    It’s just a different way of seeing. Your way enables you initially to set aside and ignore design features like separate panels, multiple colours and a seething mass of fussy typography, as long as there is a primary subject; much as those of us who live on busy roads don’t ‘hear’ the constant background traffic noise – the mind doesn’t process it unless and until the person chooses to listen to it. I see the whole mélange at once – pictorial and typographical.
    If I knew anything about the central character, Sharpe, my own personal picture of him would simply materialise in my mind immediately from seeing the *written name*, because most words, and all names, create pictures in my mind instantaneously. In other words, on the UK cover, the name ‘Sharpe’ *IS*, for me, the picture of an individual – though since I do not know the stories, it is hazy. However, the battle painting on that cover suggests to me that Sharpe is a male person of the early 19th century in a military milieu, which is just as much as I get from a close inspection of the US cover!
    This is really interesting stuff. There is a great deal of potential for serious research on these matters, which are widely misunderstood by marketing people, in my view.
    😉

    Reply
  74. I accept that your reading of the cover is simply different from mine. 🙂
    I see a cover image as a single entity, an integrated picture, whereas you evidently focus initially on a primary visual subject while allowing the other elements, both pictorial and typographical, to recede into background. If you don’t see an obvious primary image, your attention is not caught, though I imagine that, after the first impression, you would then move around to other areas of the complete image in sequence.
    It’s just a different way of seeing. Your way enables you initially to set aside and ignore design features like separate panels, multiple colours and a seething mass of fussy typography, as long as there is a primary subject; much as those of us who live on busy roads don’t ‘hear’ the constant background traffic noise – the mind doesn’t process it unless and until the person chooses to listen to it. I see the whole mélange at once – pictorial and typographical.
    If I knew anything about the central character, Sharpe, my own personal picture of him would simply materialise in my mind immediately from seeing the *written name*, because most words, and all names, create pictures in my mind instantaneously. In other words, on the UK cover, the name ‘Sharpe’ *IS*, for me, the picture of an individual – though since I do not know the stories, it is hazy. However, the battle painting on that cover suggests to me that Sharpe is a male person of the early 19th century in a military milieu, which is just as much as I get from a close inspection of the US cover!
    This is really interesting stuff. There is a great deal of potential for serious research on these matters, which are widely misunderstood by marketing people, in my view.
    😉

    Reply
  75. I accept that your reading of the cover is simply different from mine. 🙂
    I see a cover image as a single entity, an integrated picture, whereas you evidently focus initially on a primary visual subject while allowing the other elements, both pictorial and typographical, to recede into background. If you don’t see an obvious primary image, your attention is not caught, though I imagine that, after the first impression, you would then move around to other areas of the complete image in sequence.
    It’s just a different way of seeing. Your way enables you initially to set aside and ignore design features like separate panels, multiple colours and a seething mass of fussy typography, as long as there is a primary subject; much as those of us who live on busy roads don’t ‘hear’ the constant background traffic noise – the mind doesn’t process it unless and until the person chooses to listen to it. I see the whole mélange at once – pictorial and typographical.
    If I knew anything about the central character, Sharpe, my own personal picture of him would simply materialise in my mind immediately from seeing the *written name*, because most words, and all names, create pictures in my mind instantaneously. In other words, on the UK cover, the name ‘Sharpe’ *IS*, for me, the picture of an individual – though since I do not know the stories, it is hazy. However, the battle painting on that cover suggests to me that Sharpe is a male person of the early 19th century in a military milieu, which is just as much as I get from a close inspection of the US cover!
    This is really interesting stuff. There is a great deal of potential for serious research on these matters, which are widely misunderstood by marketing people, in my view.
    😉

    Reply
  76. I accept that your reading of the cover is simply different from mine. 🙂
    I see a cover image as a single entity, an integrated picture, whereas you evidently focus initially on a primary visual subject while allowing the other elements, both pictorial and typographical, to recede into background. If you don’t see an obvious primary image, your attention is not caught, though I imagine that, after the first impression, you would then move around to other areas of the complete image in sequence.
    It’s just a different way of seeing. Your way enables you initially to set aside and ignore design features like separate panels, multiple colours and a seething mass of fussy typography, as long as there is a primary subject; much as those of us who live on busy roads don’t ‘hear’ the constant background traffic noise – the mind doesn’t process it unless and until the person chooses to listen to it. I see the whole mélange at once – pictorial and typographical.
    If I knew anything about the central character, Sharpe, my own personal picture of him would simply materialise in my mind immediately from seeing the *written name*, because most words, and all names, create pictures in my mind instantaneously. In other words, on the UK cover, the name ‘Sharpe’ *IS*, for me, the picture of an individual – though since I do not know the stories, it is hazy. However, the battle painting on that cover suggests to me that Sharpe is a male person of the early 19th century in a military milieu, which is just as much as I get from a close inspection of the US cover!
    This is really interesting stuff. There is a great deal of potential for serious research on these matters, which are widely misunderstood by marketing people, in my view.
    😉

    Reply
  77. “I see a cover image as a single entity, an integrated picture, whereas you evidently focus initially on a primary visual subject while allowing the other elements, both pictorial and typographical, to recede into background.”
    Now I’m having an “Aha!” moment–this is like how I realized several years into our marriage that my husband and I watch team sports totally differently. I focus on one player at a time, usually the one holding the ball, while he sees the whole set-up of the offense and defense as a structure. I’ve learned to do it his way, because these are, after all, team sports, but I don’t think my brain is wired to see the big picture as well as his is. So I’m not so much looking at the whole team as noticing that one player has shifted in a certain way, then looking at all the other players in quick succession to see if I can make a pattern out of the individual behaviors. But the overall structure doesn’t readily jump out at me. I think that’s a big part of why I like covers with a strong primary visual element.
    Anyway, this is all so fascinating that I’m planning to do some comparative cover analysis over on my blog this week.

    Reply
  78. “I see a cover image as a single entity, an integrated picture, whereas you evidently focus initially on a primary visual subject while allowing the other elements, both pictorial and typographical, to recede into background.”
    Now I’m having an “Aha!” moment–this is like how I realized several years into our marriage that my husband and I watch team sports totally differently. I focus on one player at a time, usually the one holding the ball, while he sees the whole set-up of the offense and defense as a structure. I’ve learned to do it his way, because these are, after all, team sports, but I don’t think my brain is wired to see the big picture as well as his is. So I’m not so much looking at the whole team as noticing that one player has shifted in a certain way, then looking at all the other players in quick succession to see if I can make a pattern out of the individual behaviors. But the overall structure doesn’t readily jump out at me. I think that’s a big part of why I like covers with a strong primary visual element.
    Anyway, this is all so fascinating that I’m planning to do some comparative cover analysis over on my blog this week.

    Reply
  79. “I see a cover image as a single entity, an integrated picture, whereas you evidently focus initially on a primary visual subject while allowing the other elements, both pictorial and typographical, to recede into background.”
    Now I’m having an “Aha!” moment–this is like how I realized several years into our marriage that my husband and I watch team sports totally differently. I focus on one player at a time, usually the one holding the ball, while he sees the whole set-up of the offense and defense as a structure. I’ve learned to do it his way, because these are, after all, team sports, but I don’t think my brain is wired to see the big picture as well as his is. So I’m not so much looking at the whole team as noticing that one player has shifted in a certain way, then looking at all the other players in quick succession to see if I can make a pattern out of the individual behaviors. But the overall structure doesn’t readily jump out at me. I think that’s a big part of why I like covers with a strong primary visual element.
    Anyway, this is all so fascinating that I’m planning to do some comparative cover analysis over on my blog this week.

    Reply
  80. “I see a cover image as a single entity, an integrated picture, whereas you evidently focus initially on a primary visual subject while allowing the other elements, both pictorial and typographical, to recede into background.”
    Now I’m having an “Aha!” moment–this is like how I realized several years into our marriage that my husband and I watch team sports totally differently. I focus on one player at a time, usually the one holding the ball, while he sees the whole set-up of the offense and defense as a structure. I’ve learned to do it his way, because these are, after all, team sports, but I don’t think my brain is wired to see the big picture as well as his is. So I’m not so much looking at the whole team as noticing that one player has shifted in a certain way, then looking at all the other players in quick succession to see if I can make a pattern out of the individual behaviors. But the overall structure doesn’t readily jump out at me. I think that’s a big part of why I like covers with a strong primary visual element.
    Anyway, this is all so fascinating that I’m planning to do some comparative cover analysis over on my blog this week.

    Reply
  81. Just a quickie, Susan: do you take photographs? Do you sometimes find that you have failed to notice a distracting background detail – the old ‘tree growing out of Aunt Annie’s head’ problem?
    I have been a serious photographer since the age of 11, and good photography demands that one sees the *whole* balance of everything within the frame. It is second nature to me. Having taken in the whole picture, the eye can then traverse and zoom in on details.
    No way can I fail to notice the busy buzz of colours, textures, typography and divisions in a single, rectangular field!
    🙂
    It *is* interesting, isn’t it?

    Reply
  82. Just a quickie, Susan: do you take photographs? Do you sometimes find that you have failed to notice a distracting background detail – the old ‘tree growing out of Aunt Annie’s head’ problem?
    I have been a serious photographer since the age of 11, and good photography demands that one sees the *whole* balance of everything within the frame. It is second nature to me. Having taken in the whole picture, the eye can then traverse and zoom in on details.
    No way can I fail to notice the busy buzz of colours, textures, typography and divisions in a single, rectangular field!
    🙂
    It *is* interesting, isn’t it?

    Reply
  83. Just a quickie, Susan: do you take photographs? Do you sometimes find that you have failed to notice a distracting background detail – the old ‘tree growing out of Aunt Annie’s head’ problem?
    I have been a serious photographer since the age of 11, and good photography demands that one sees the *whole* balance of everything within the frame. It is second nature to me. Having taken in the whole picture, the eye can then traverse and zoom in on details.
    No way can I fail to notice the busy buzz of colours, textures, typography and divisions in a single, rectangular field!
    🙂
    It *is* interesting, isn’t it?

    Reply
  84. Just a quickie, Susan: do you take photographs? Do you sometimes find that you have failed to notice a distracting background detail – the old ‘tree growing out of Aunt Annie’s head’ problem?
    I have been a serious photographer since the age of 11, and good photography demands that one sees the *whole* balance of everything within the frame. It is second nature to me. Having taken in the whole picture, the eye can then traverse and zoom in on details.
    No way can I fail to notice the busy buzz of colours, textures, typography and divisions in a single, rectangular field!
    🙂
    It *is* interesting, isn’t it?

    Reply
  85. “Just a quickie, Susan: do you take photographs?”
    I’ve never been much of a photographer, as it happens. I used to have a “point and shoot” 35 mm (we called them PhD cameras, where PhD stood for “push here, dummy”), but I used it mostly to take pictures of friends and family, only rarely trying my hand at anything artistic. I did, occasionally, take a picture I was proud of, but even then I wasn’t thinking, “What an interesting whole,” but rather, “what a striking juxtaposition of things.” I’m thinking specifically of a picture I was proud of long before the subject matter took on added poignancy–it’s a close-up of a leafless tree on Ellis Island taken in 1992, looking out toward the Manhattan skyline with the World Trade Center towers set against and partly seen through the tree’s branches. I remember at the time being arrested by the contrast between the delicate natural beauty of the tree and the commanding, iconic towers dominating the skyline, and there they were, right together in my field of vision, so I pulled out my camera.
    I almost never take pictures now, mostly because my husband, visual thinker and professional web developer that he is, IS a serious photographer, and his camera is so complicated that I don’t know how to use it, and so expensive I’m terrified to handle it lest I drop it or jam it or something!

    Reply
  86. “Just a quickie, Susan: do you take photographs?”
    I’ve never been much of a photographer, as it happens. I used to have a “point and shoot” 35 mm (we called them PhD cameras, where PhD stood for “push here, dummy”), but I used it mostly to take pictures of friends and family, only rarely trying my hand at anything artistic. I did, occasionally, take a picture I was proud of, but even then I wasn’t thinking, “What an interesting whole,” but rather, “what a striking juxtaposition of things.” I’m thinking specifically of a picture I was proud of long before the subject matter took on added poignancy–it’s a close-up of a leafless tree on Ellis Island taken in 1992, looking out toward the Manhattan skyline with the World Trade Center towers set against and partly seen through the tree’s branches. I remember at the time being arrested by the contrast between the delicate natural beauty of the tree and the commanding, iconic towers dominating the skyline, and there they were, right together in my field of vision, so I pulled out my camera.
    I almost never take pictures now, mostly because my husband, visual thinker and professional web developer that he is, IS a serious photographer, and his camera is so complicated that I don’t know how to use it, and so expensive I’m terrified to handle it lest I drop it or jam it or something!

    Reply
  87. “Just a quickie, Susan: do you take photographs?”
    I’ve never been much of a photographer, as it happens. I used to have a “point and shoot” 35 mm (we called them PhD cameras, where PhD stood for “push here, dummy”), but I used it mostly to take pictures of friends and family, only rarely trying my hand at anything artistic. I did, occasionally, take a picture I was proud of, but even then I wasn’t thinking, “What an interesting whole,” but rather, “what a striking juxtaposition of things.” I’m thinking specifically of a picture I was proud of long before the subject matter took on added poignancy–it’s a close-up of a leafless tree on Ellis Island taken in 1992, looking out toward the Manhattan skyline with the World Trade Center towers set against and partly seen through the tree’s branches. I remember at the time being arrested by the contrast between the delicate natural beauty of the tree and the commanding, iconic towers dominating the skyline, and there they were, right together in my field of vision, so I pulled out my camera.
    I almost never take pictures now, mostly because my husband, visual thinker and professional web developer that he is, IS a serious photographer, and his camera is so complicated that I don’t know how to use it, and so expensive I’m terrified to handle it lest I drop it or jam it or something!

    Reply
  88. “Just a quickie, Susan: do you take photographs?”
    I’ve never been much of a photographer, as it happens. I used to have a “point and shoot” 35 mm (we called them PhD cameras, where PhD stood for “push here, dummy”), but I used it mostly to take pictures of friends and family, only rarely trying my hand at anything artistic. I did, occasionally, take a picture I was proud of, but even then I wasn’t thinking, “What an interesting whole,” but rather, “what a striking juxtaposition of things.” I’m thinking specifically of a picture I was proud of long before the subject matter took on added poignancy–it’s a close-up of a leafless tree on Ellis Island taken in 1992, looking out toward the Manhattan skyline with the World Trade Center towers set against and partly seen through the tree’s branches. I remember at the time being arrested by the contrast between the delicate natural beauty of the tree and the commanding, iconic towers dominating the skyline, and there they were, right together in my field of vision, so I pulled out my camera.
    I almost never take pictures now, mostly because my husband, visual thinker and professional web developer that he is, IS a serious photographer, and his camera is so complicated that I don’t know how to use it, and so expensive I’m terrified to handle it lest I drop it or jam it or something!

    Reply
  89. Greetings Word Wenches. I’ve just discovered your fascinating blog.
    Sherrie, I was so pleased to read that you liked the cover of my novel EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY. I chose the illustration myself! This is extremely unusual in British publishing. Authors may be consulted as to their preferences but that’s all.
    I was referred to the website of landscape photographer Adam Burton http://www.adam-burton.co.uk and asked if I thought any of his photos were suitable for the cover. The sombre-but-beautiful (and very Scottish) photo of the solitary tree selected itself.
    For a first novel the book has done quite well in the UK and I’m sure that’s a lot to do with the cover. I also used the cover as the basis of the design of my website since I live on the Isle of Skye, off the NW coast of Scotland.

    Reply
  90. Greetings Word Wenches. I’ve just discovered your fascinating blog.
    Sherrie, I was so pleased to read that you liked the cover of my novel EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY. I chose the illustration myself! This is extremely unusual in British publishing. Authors may be consulted as to their preferences but that’s all.
    I was referred to the website of landscape photographer Adam Burton http://www.adam-burton.co.uk and asked if I thought any of his photos were suitable for the cover. The sombre-but-beautiful (and very Scottish) photo of the solitary tree selected itself.
    For a first novel the book has done quite well in the UK and I’m sure that’s a lot to do with the cover. I also used the cover as the basis of the design of my website since I live on the Isle of Skye, off the NW coast of Scotland.

    Reply
  91. Greetings Word Wenches. I’ve just discovered your fascinating blog.
    Sherrie, I was so pleased to read that you liked the cover of my novel EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY. I chose the illustration myself! This is extremely unusual in British publishing. Authors may be consulted as to their preferences but that’s all.
    I was referred to the website of landscape photographer Adam Burton http://www.adam-burton.co.uk and asked if I thought any of his photos were suitable for the cover. The sombre-but-beautiful (and very Scottish) photo of the solitary tree selected itself.
    For a first novel the book has done quite well in the UK and I’m sure that’s a lot to do with the cover. I also used the cover as the basis of the design of my website since I live on the Isle of Skye, off the NW coast of Scotland.

    Reply
  92. Greetings Word Wenches. I’ve just discovered your fascinating blog.
    Sherrie, I was so pleased to read that you liked the cover of my novel EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY. I chose the illustration myself! This is extremely unusual in British publishing. Authors may be consulted as to their preferences but that’s all.
    I was referred to the website of landscape photographer Adam Burton http://www.adam-burton.co.uk and asked if I thought any of his photos were suitable for the cover. The sombre-but-beautiful (and very Scottish) photo of the solitary tree selected itself.
    For a first novel the book has done quite well in the UK and I’m sure that’s a lot to do with the cover. I also used the cover as the basis of the design of my website since I live on the Isle of Skye, off the NW coast of Scotland.

    Reply

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