Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Art of the Book Cover By Annette Gisby Plus a Giveaway

For some writers, it might come as a bit of a shock when they read in the contract that the publisher will have the final say over the book cover, not the writer.

Most of the time, this works out well, with the publisher asking for input on what sort of things they envision for the cover, even to give them links of other designs you like. This was the case with Pink Petal Books. I had lots of input into what I wanted and when I saw the mock-up in my inbox, my jaw nearly dropped to the floor. It was perfect for the story, everything I'd envisioned and more. The design was done by Valerie Tibbs in case anyone was wondering.

Things didn't go so well with one of my earlier contracts, probably about fifteen years ago now. It was the first publishing contract I'd been offered and I was in a bit of a daze that someone wanted to publish me. I'd had a mock-up done of the sort of thing I'd like for the cover, but the publisher said the resolution wasn't high enough for a print cover, but that they liked the design. I offered to redo the photo in a higher resolution, but was told they'd do something else for the cover.

No warning bells started ringing quite yet. Then the authors-loop was getting lots of different emails that things were going wrong: family illnesses, viruses that wiped out lots of computer files. You name it, it had happened.

I waited and waited to be shown my book cover and to hear when my book was going to be released. The release date just kept being putting back and back, first it was being released in October, then November, then December...you get the idea.

There was still no sign of a book cover for quite some time. Then one day the sample cover arrived by email and I have to admit I cried when I saw it. It was appalling, it looked very cheap and tacky and I felt it would have people running in the opposite direction rather than picking up the book! I offered to do some different designs, helped by my husband who is a great photographer and has an eye for design. They agreed to this, but still on the condition that if they didn't like any of them, they were free to use the cover they'd designed.

So, for a whole weekend John and I photographed and designed different options, seven in all, but the publisher said they didn't like any of them.

Eventually more emails on the loop began coming in, that if the authors "didn't market their books aggressively" they would be dropped. I sent a polite email asking what they meant. Basically, we were supposed to attend lots of book conventions, book signings etc. all at our own expense in the US. I was in the UK; I couldn't afford to do that. Then a few weeks later they said they were pulling out of the UK market altogether and would release me from my contract if I wanted to. Boy, did I want to!

So I did, and that ugly cover never saw the light of day, thank goodness!

Now, I have work that is self-published as well as with publishers, and you have final input in the cover, which I love.

If the author doesn't love their cover, they will feel uncomfortable promoting it and showing it to people, so I think it is also in the publisher's best interests to use covers that their writers also love too.

The covers are the first thing a reader sees. If they don’t like it, they will not even be interested in reading the blurb or even picking it up and scanning the first few pages. People do judge a book by its cover and even if your contract says the publisher has final say, fight for the sort of cover you would be proud to show off to your readers.

March 4 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.  

March 5 Guest blog 
Fang-tastic Books

March 6 Spotlight
Mila Ramos

March 8 Spotlight and review
Musings From An Addicted Reader

March 8 Spotlight
Share My Destiny

March 9 Guest blog
Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

March 9 Spotlight and review
Books Books and More Books 

March 10 Guest blog and review
Erzabet's Enchantments

March 11 Guest blog
Provocative Pages: 

March 12 Interview
Books and Other Spells. 

March 13 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

March 14 Spotlight
Mama Knows Books 

March 15 Interview and review
Kari's Crowded Bookshelf  

March 15 Interview
Bewitching Book Tours Magazine

March 16 Guest blog
Lunar Haven Reviews & Designs

March 17 Spotlight

March 18 Guest blog and review
Once Upon A Book 

Drowning Rapunzel
Annette Gisby

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Pink Petal Books

Word Count: 66,000

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs

Book Description:

Recently released from a mental institution, Beth Gregory accepts a job as a live-in secretary/PA to the reclusive painter Josh Warrington. Beth's long red hair fascinates him from the first moment he sees her and Josh wants her to be his Rapunzel for a series of fairy tale paintings he's working on.

Beth has two major fears: that she will be sent back to the mental hospital and the visions which landed her there in the first place will return. They do; this time giving her glimpses of murders before they happen. Beth becomes the main suspect in the murder investigation and then she has the most disturbing vision of all: she will become the next victim...

About the Author:

Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, moving to London when she was seventeen. She writes in multiple genres and styles, anything from romance to thriller or erotica to horror, even both at the same time. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cinema, theatre and travelling the world despite getting travel sick on most forms of transport., even a bicycle. Sometimes you might find her playing Dragon Quest or The Sims computer games and watching Japanese Anime. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, a collection of porcelain dolls, cuddly toys and enough books to fill a library. It's diminishing gradually since the advent of ebooks, but still has a long way to go.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Annette Gisby said...

Thanks so much for hosting me on my tour :)


Leslie Miner said...

This sounds really good. Thank you for the great giveaway!

Mary Ellen Quigley said...

This book sounds really good. Thank you for the giveaway.

Debby said...

I loved visiting Ireland. I would so love to live there.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Barbara E. said...

Interesting post, and I really feel for authors who have no input in their covers, as well as some of the self-published ones that really need some help with theirs. It does make a big difference in how your book is perceived if it has at least a professional looking cover, let alone an attractive one.

bn100 said...

Nice post and cover.

Lesley D said...

I totally agree with you about covers. And in fact, the first thing I noticed about Drowning Rapunzel is the awesome, gorgeous cover!

Annette Gisby said...

Thank you all :)

The Equation book said...

This sounds really great. Thank you for the great giveaway!