Do you judge a book by its cover? I think we all do. If you don’t like a cover, it takes a while for you to get over your dislike and give the story a go. If you got any books for Christmas, which one do you turn to first? I’m guessing nine out of ten times it’s going to be the one with the lovely cover (the tenth time will be the next instalment in a series you’ve been following – I’ve bought one of those for my daughter so I know she’ll turn to that first!).
The funny thing is that the author has very little control over the face given to their baby. Did you know that? Sometimes you get a great interpretation of your story that you immediately like – and sometimes it just doesn’t seem to fit. You can give your opinion but it’s just one in a mix of views, including the people at the publishers, bookshops and Amazon. The publishers have to balance all these people.
However, new covers are usually great fun. I have the honour in February 2017 of having one of my books, The Diamond of Drury Lane, picked as a modern classic. Here’s the new cover – fanfare please! You’re the first people I’ve shown this too!
This edition has a zingy new cover and new material inside, including a tour round the theatre and Cat’s London. I love the 3-D feel to the cover image and the return to a theatrical vibe. Cat Royal, the heroine of the book, is an orphan who lives in Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in 1790 and goes on an adventure involving boxers, enemies and rioters. If you haven’t tried it yet, this edition is a great introduction to the series.
The other time I get to decide on the covers is when a book comes back to me after the print edition runs out and I do my own print-on-demand version. I’ve just changed the image on the Darcie Lock series after feedback from one teacher who said it would be nice to make them appeal to boys as well as girls. I particularly like the zebra one. I wish I could find similar images of animals suitable for the other two but had to go with a pyramid (it is set in Egypt) and an emergency helicopter (it fits the plot!).
Are you writing your own story? Why not have a go of making your own cover?