When you’re browsing for a new book, the cover is the first thing you see. So, what does it tell you?
The author’s name, for one thing. If it’s the latest book by your favorite writer, that’s all you need to know. Which is why that single piece of information dominates the covers of books by best-selling authors. The graphic artist hardly has to break into a creative sweat; the name alone will sell the book.
The covers of lesser-known authors have to work a lot harder, drawing the reader in with glamorous photography, evocatic artwork, or effective design. The chosen elements can (and should) convey much about the subject and tone of the book. Is it funny, edgy, racy, or romantic? Is it chick lit, crime drama, or a horror show? When we see the cover, we instantly take in the clues and just as instantly make judgements about whether or not we will like the contents.
As I thought about the cover design for The Darcys of Pemberley, I knew I wanted it to strike an immediate cord with Pride and Prejudice fans. The title itself should do the trick, but I threw in the recognizable image of Lyme House (the place used to represent Pemberley in the popular ’95 film adaptation) for extra measure. Then I asked my graphic designer to give the artwork an aged look, since this story takes place 200 years in the past. The result? A soft and dreamy quality that I think suits the romantic, fairy tale aspect of both the original work and this sequel.
So far, the cover has been well received by Austen fans, my primary audience. (Check out this lovely blog post about my cover) I hope the upcoming reviews of what’s inside are just as positive!
Looking for a fitting Jane Austen quote proved difficult, but I found the following in one of her letters (dated Aug 10,1814, to Anna).
“I allow much more latitude than she does, and think nature and spirit cover many sins of a wandering story, and people in general do not care so much about it…”
Does this mean readers will overlook some weakness in your story as long as you have an impressive cover?