Q&A Part 33: Book Covers!

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@jeweldesesto asks: I just want to ask about the cover of the book, because it really is interesting, and how it came about.

The first thing to keep in mind is that, unless the author is self publishing, she almost never gets a say in what the cover looks like. Or if it changes. All those trilogies where the third book doesn't match the first two (like my own)...sorry! It's not the author's fault, please don't yell at her! 

So for me, at least, book covers tend to happen when the book's nearly done editing, a process which usually takes six months to a year. The design is usually developed "in house" by the publisher. Authors are then sent one or more "cover comps," which is basically a rough draft of the cover. The first one I saw for A World Without You was basically what the final cover became--boy silhouette, threads over it. They played around with different colors and shading, but we came back to the original black-and-white with colored strings. 

(The reason for this particular cover is the strings--Bo see time travel like a series of strings called the timestream, so the strings made it onto the cover. I love the way he's basically bound by the strings, his silhouette behind them, and I love that they include a red string, which symbolizes Sofía.)

For Across the Universe, the process was much longer--there were several very different designs before the final one. 

Cover designs notoriously change a lot. A lot of things can make this happen, but it mostly all comes down to marketing. If marketing doesn't think the cover will make readers want to get the book, it has to be changed. And whether you love or hate a book cover design, it's always important to remember that the end goal is getting the book in readers' hands. 

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