Editor intern pal Michelle Gaseor has inspired yet another true tales from publishing post from me, this one about book covers. I too am a huge fan of less is more. I have never liked covers with people on them, have always felt it robs the imagination of the fun of coming up with faces to fit the characters they’re reading about.
My first novel Brother Lowdown is a perfect example of when a photograph meant to depict a character goes wrong. In the novel I describe Brother Lowdown as the picture of masculine beauty, like a Greek god (which is why he knows so much about mythological gods and goddesses, having been compared with such all his life) and no offense to the guy on the cover, whom I believe worked in the copy shop, or so I was told, but he looks more like a guy hanging in a Starbucks in Portland than he does the breathtaking character I described in the novel.
I voiced confusion over the colors used for the hardback cover as well. This is a dark novel, a horrific account of three people so psychologically scarred they can barely function in society and how fate brings them together…hardly a perky sunny yellow and pop-out pink kind of book, would you say? I didn’t. But once again, the fledgling author’s reservations and objections were dismissed and they said the fact that he was holding a razor would make the point that the book is a serious one.
The truth is not many actually realized he was holding a razor until they were told it was there, and because of the curvy silhouette some people even thought it was a novel about sex until they read the ‘A Novel of Suspense’ part. One person told me he thought the guy was holding a paintbrush and the splatters were paint.
True story. :)