Cover up

Well, the cover is up online, so the title of the post works, right? Right?

At least it is a better pun than one I saw today in the National Post: ‘For Whom the Bell Tolkiens’. Meh. Up with that I will not put!

Here is the new Penguin Canada trade paperback cover, for the edition that will be released in the spring. They did a reveal on their website this morning.

Penguin Canada paperback cover

Penguin Canada paperback cover

I have been very lucky with River of Stars in my English-language covers. (We’ll start seeing some of the foreign language cover roughs soon. Cross fingers with me.) I loved the blue court figure for the Canadian and US hardcovers (and the US will adapt it for their paperback) and I loved the beautiful UK cover as well (they are also staying with a variant of this for their pb).

I think this new effort by the Penguins in Canada is terrific. My publisher/editor, Nicole Winstanley had some  strong ideas about what she wanted to try for, but of course it becomes the task of the (long-suffering?) art director and department to find visual ways to achieve this. I know, because they made a point of telling me (!) that a lot of work and fine tuning went into this look. I saw it in next-to-last version and had only one note, which they agreed with, and smoothly incorporated.

In the final version, the yellow for title and name will be gold, and the black tree will very likely be embossed/raised.This will be strong on the shelves, and online, I think. It feels classy without being forbidding, and the red and gold and black work very well – classically, to my mind.

I imagine people will have favourites among the three that have so far appeared. I don’t think that’s an issue at all because obviously our aesthetic tastes vary. There is probably someone out there who loves the Hungarian cover for Ysabel. (Actually, I don’t think there can be. I take that back.)

Covers for books also have to incorporate awareness on the part of the publishers as to the nature of their specific market, the writer’s readership base (and possible expansion of that) and the dictates of a given format. A hardcover isn’t a trade paperback which isn’t a mass market paperback, among other issues.

A website a while back was going to put the US/CDN and the UK hardcovers up online for a preference vote, I don’t think it has happened yet. I’m as intrigued as anyone by the results of such comparisons, but in the end, they can tell us something about aesthetics, but less about effectiveness. There is a famous story of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood first coming out in the US with quite stylish covers – and bombing. They were pulled, reissued with more downmarket ‘gore’ covers – and took off.

I remain a gore-free cover zone, and am entirely happy to remain so.


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