You’ve written your manuscript. You’ve edited it more times than you can count. You’ve found a publisher. You’ve edited again. What’s next? Cover art and jacket blurb.
Many publishers request input from the author for the cover. What is important in the story? The house? The battered kitchen table? The lace curtains billowing in the breeze? The publisher chooses the art, folks, 99% of the time. If you are lucky, you can give them suggestions, but in the end it’s out of your hands.
Do covers always represent the story? I’ve been lucky. A friend of mine who writes romance told me a story about getting a cover for her book that represented absolutely nothing in the story. I seem to remember cowboy boots were central and here were no cowboys in the book. She brought it to the publishers attention, but they didn’t change it. Someone really wanted those boots on the front, no matter what. If I recall, the book didn’t sell well.
The outside of your novel will hopefully grab the reader’s attention. It’s interesting and represents the story. The Victorian house that the ladies lived in was a character in Feisty Family Values. There were roses in the yard and it was fall. The cover was fantastic. It made you want to peek in the windows for the characters inside.
If the artwork gets your attention, the blurb pulls you in. What will happen to whom inside? Why would someone want to read this book? A short tag line, created from the text can be catchy. Frankly, blurbs are hard for me. I want to tell too much. So all my blurbs have been shortened by the publishers. Short excerpts have also been used, as well as professional reviews. I was honored to have the NYT Bestselling author, Dorothea Benton Frank review Patchwork Family. It was prominently displayed inside the first page.
Both pub houses have done things just a little bit differently. I’ve loved the result. The last two novels I have published myself and hope that I successfully chose the art and blurbs that make folks want to read them. Don’t forget the art is the first impression. Make a good one!!