You can’t tell a book by it’s cover. This well-known saying is sometimes true, but not always. I dimly remember scenes from an old film where a passenger in a railway carriage, male of course, concealed the pornography he was looking at behind a worthy cover. The Bible perhaps. But publishers would prefer that you could tell a book from its cover since they want to market their titles and knowing what genre a book is helps them in this.
Writers have complete control of the text, but unless they are artists as well their publishers may come up with cover designs they don’t care for but can’t do much about. To avoid this, they might commission artwork directly.
My first attempt at recruitiing a designer produced a cover for Interleaved Lives which completely ignored every word of the brief (shown in a previous post), so I tried a second designer who did his level best to fulfil it.
I liked what he had come up with, but while the publisher felt that his design had its good points they also felt it was not effective for the genre in question, namely crime. So after a week or two I found myself looking at a cover design they supplied.
And I could see what they meant. The publisher’s cover clearly shows that the book is in the crime genre and gives an indication of the content. Even more surprising to me, the artist explained his design by referring to the text. Since keeping an eye on a suspect from a car was not referred to in the blurb or the synopsis, he had actually read it!
So this is the cover I’m going with.