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Monday, September 23, 2013

Star of Justice Cover - An Explanation

I'm going to write about why Star of Justice has the cover it does, even though it's petty to do so. I've always said other people's opinions are none of my business, and I should stick with that. This could be categorized as a "whiny post," and may actually offend a few people who take the time to read it. That's your warning.

Here's a fact: the cover was my idea. Splashdown Books gives its authors a great deal of leeway in cover design and titles, way more than traditional publishers. Yes, Grace had final say and chose the font because I didn't care, and Iguana did the actual work of creating the idea I visualized, but it was my idea. Stop blaming the publisher if you don't like my cover. Blame me.

TT: I suspect Grace allows so much leeway because she has had her own issues with covers designed by marketers that have nothing to do with the book itself. We all have, right? We fiction writers want our covers to accurately reflect what's inside. Never mind that those marketers got your attention enough to buy the book and read it and realize the cover doesn't match and give you something to complain about. You're welcome.

My cover has been called "boring." Fine. Caissa is boring. She's a fairly boring person who happens to have a fairly exciting two weeks. This is why I didn't want an "action shot" on the cover. No flaming swords, no fire-breathing dragons, no druids in fight skin. All those things happen in the book, but I didn't want people to see the cover and think "Wow! Wall-to-wall action!"

And what exactly makes the Twilight cover so intriguing? A hand holding an apple gets a pass? Don't answer that. I don't care. 

Most of my beta readers don't read fantasy. They would never choose a book with a traditional fantasy cover yet loved my story, probably because it isn't quite traditional fantasy. I made the choice to provide a more generic fiction cover with symbols rather than illustrations to try to reach those kind of people through referrals. They shuldn't be turned off immediately by this cover like they would by a cover with people in medieval costume on horseback battling dragons.

TT: That is my preferred type of cover, btw. I loved Mercedes Lackey's covers far more than I loved her books. 

I've heard the cover has nothing to with the story. *blank stare* Caissa begins her quest in search of a book, continues her quest with the discovery of another book and ends the quest with understanding that book. How can a book, held by the protagonist herself as evidenced by the marks on her arms, not represent the story? I can understand the confusion if you haven't read SoJ, but I would hope that confusion goes away after you've read it.

The blood. Yes, there's an enormous blood stain on the cover. I admit it made me nervous, but I polled a bunch of people (state workers, some of them, who wouldn't know SpecFic if it bit them on the nose) and they had no problem with it. Grace also thought 1) it showed up better on thumbnail and 2) it was fair warning to the amount of violence contained within. I agreed with those reasons, and the stain stayed instead of the spatter I would have preferred. Frankly, I don't know that anyone has complained about the blood, but I just needed to say this.

That's all I can think of at the moment, and far more than I should address anyway. This frustration has been building for a year, so I hope I kept it somewhat civil.

Not everyone is going to like the cover. That's fine. Your opinions about my cover are none of my business. They likely won't change any decision I make about covers in the future. I just needed to get this off my shell because the weight is hurting my knees.

Happy Monday, dear readers. I'll end on a positive note. What's your favorite cover and why?


  1. I know I've said it before, but I'm saying it again. I love the cover. Love. It.

    It DOES totally capture the book and Caissa. But NOT because it or she is boring--neither are, as a matter of fact. It captures the book symbolically. Where is Jill right now?? Cos that's the problem--there's not enough Jill Domschots in the world, not enough people who "get" symbolism in cover design.

    (Not that the hand holding the apple on the Twilight cover strikes me as symbolic--just saying. I still haven't figured that one out, but at least it's not a girl in a pretty dress like 90% of the other YA books out there. Oh, my gosh, did I just defend Twilight?)

  2. Thank you both. Nice to see The Collective sticking together. ;)


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