A Tale of Two Covers
A twitter buddy of mine, Jessica Tudor, asked me last week why the cover of LADY LAZARUS was changed, and I thought that was a great question, one more complicated than it may at first appear.
The short answer to Jessica’s question is: I have no idea why the cover changed! When I first handed in the manuscript for LADY LAZARUS, I filled out a detailed Artist’s Questionnaire, with ideas for cover concepts, books that are similar in theme, and descriptions of characters and key scenes that I thought would be good for a cover image. But in most cases, authors do not get control over their cover art. In my case that is a *good* thing, since I am drawn to art for visceral reasons that I have trouble articulating and analyzing with the rational section of my brain. :)
The first cover was not what I expected — my assumption was that the cover would look a bit more like an urban fantasy or steampunk novel cover. But I’m guessing that the art department was aiming for a more mainstream effect, so that people who enjoy historical novels or supernatural novels would pick up the book too.
Sometimes, cover art changes in response to input from buyers for the major book chains, who give the art department important information about buying trends, what’s selling well, and what they think will attract readers to pick up the book. All I know is, I liked the original cover, appreciated how well thought out it was, and I think I grasped what the art department was aiming for. And I always thought that red was terrific.
But this new cover! I loved it from the moment I saw it — and I first saw it at the Jewish Book Council in a tiny thumbnail in their catalogue, and then full size on the autographing poster at BEA. This new cover is so beautiful it takes my breath away.
What do you think of these covers? Do you fancy one over the other? I am always curious to hear what draws a reader to check out a book.
And here are some resources for you, places where people with a wonderful eye consider the question of what makes an arresting illustration:
The Art Department — the marvelous blog of Tor’s Art Director, Irene Gallo