Friday, July 10, 2009

What's In A Cover?

It only occurred to me on Wednesday to think--oh, Bookmarked for Death is coming out in large print next month. I wonder what the cover looks like. So I went in search of it.

Mind you, when I saw the cover for the large print edition Murder Is Binding, I thought it was okay. Not as wonderful as the cover Berkley Prime Crime did for the mass market paperback edition, but not bad. After all, it was done by the parent company that did the cover for Murder On The Mind (horrible) and Dead in Red (which was fantastic). Of course, I have to remind myself that cover art--like everything else in publishing--is a crapshoot. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. So, when I saw the large-print cover on Wednesday I must say I wasn't exactly impressed. The mass market paperback's cover represented the first chapter of the book, with the cake that looked like the guest author's book cover, the books themselves, and the open door to the washroom where the victim was found. The artist even included the tin ceiling! The artist must have at least read the synopsis and maybe even the first chapter. Could an author be more pleased? I found the large print cover on Amazon. To say it was a disappointment was putting it mildly. The cover artist decided to just do generic books on a bookshelf. Not very inspiring. Okay, large print editions don't sell all that much anyway, but surely the large print audience is just as interested in a beautiful cover as the mass market paperback audience. Then again, consumers BUY the mass market version (@ $6.99). Usually only libraries buy the large print edition (@ $25.99), and I don't think (at least I hope they aren't) as swayed by the cover art.

Authors don't make a lot of money on large-print editions. But what if the cover art was just as stellar--maybe more copies would be sold, which would benefit not only the author, but the publisher as well. At least, that's a theory I'm willing to embrace.

But the absolute worst thing about the cover: THEY SPELLED MY NAME WRONG!!! Note, there's only one "T" on Barrett.

UPDATE: Just after I wrote this, I heard from my Five Star editor. (Five Star is a division of Thorndike--the parent company, famous for their large-print editions.) I'd written to her to report the cover goof. She was AMAZING! Less than two hours later, the cover had been fixed, and she'd sent me a copy of the new cover. Also, they'd caught it in time because the books hadn't yet been printed. Whew! I feel a LOT better now!