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Thursday, January 17, 2013

More Author Insight: Outside Author Control

What behind the scenes process that authors don't usually have a hand in but affects how your novel is represented, such as audiobook narration, cover design or marketing, scares you most?

"Cover design, because it’s so important. The cover is the face of your work and follows you wherever you go. It really doesn’t matter whether you like the image or not, if a cover’s being talked about, then it’s doing its job. That’s why you hope for a good one." - Sara Walsh, author of The Dark Light.

"Cover design is always scary, but I've stopped worrying about these things. The way I see it, it's my publishers' business, and they need to know how and in what way they want to sell the book to reach the widest audience. Chances they know much more about it than I do anyway." - Stefan Bachmann, author of The Peculiar.

"Covers give me a lot of stress. I’ve been fortunate that Delacorte has created such beautiful covers for my books, and yet every time I see a file in my inbox saying 'Attachment: cover.jpg', I have to hold my breath before clicking on the file. I’ve heard horror stories from other authors, with marketing insisted upon covers that the authors really hated. What if I hate the next cover? They always ask for my opinion, of course, but how would my opinion stack up against that of the Barnes & Noble buyer? Knock on wood, so far I haven’t had to find out." - Robin Bridges, author of The Unfailing Light.

"I think the hardest part is knowing that everything in not in my control. With smaller presses, the author has so much more impact on things like marketing decisions and cover design. But with larger presses, they are much more experienced in these areas, and since the author can’t do it all, it is nice to know qualified people are working on it who have a vested interest in the book." - P.J. Hoover, author of Solstice.

"I think the summary on the book jacket or on Amazon or whatever. Of course, as the writer, I’m like, 'But it’s so much more than that!'" - Lara Avery, author of Anything But Ordinary.

"Publishers telegraph to booksellers and librarians whether they think a book is good or not. I know, they claim that every book they publish is good--but let's be honest. They know that they publish some winners and some "maybe someone will like this and we'll get lucky"-ers. So far, Penguin has been wonderful to my books; but the scariest idea for me is that I write a book and they decide it's a 'maybe we'll get lucky'-er." - Adam Gidwitz, author of In a Glass Grimmly.

"Cover design is the most frightening, because it is by far the most important marketing tool you have, and it’s the most subjective. I am so fortunate to have had so much time, care and effort put into mine! And it turned out beautifully." - Sharon Cameron, author of The Dark Unwinding.

"Cover. Cover. Cover. We judge books by their covers. A great cover means people will pick up the book and look at it. Most authors have no real say in this process. We wait nervously for the jpeg to arrive. I’ve cried over covers." - Suzanne Selfors, author of The Sweetest Spell.

"The cover for sure, although I'm not sure it necessarily "scares" me so much as makes me anxious! I have been lucky that with my publisher, Little, Brown, I have had some input into my covers. Not a whole lot, but they've been happy to keep my suggestions in mind. For example, with Adaptation I suggested a particular concept, and the book designer interpreted that concept in a way I never expected, yet worked perfectly. So I didn't know that the cover would look the way it looks, but when I saw it, I knew instantly that the designer had used my concept. That was really cool." - Malinda Lo, author of Adaptation

"I had an amazing cover, award winning audio book, and top marketing for Tempest which was my first book. The story has a high enough concept to warrant this, but I’m not sure everything I write after Tempest will have as easy of a concept to sell so I guess I’m scared of getting less but it’s reality and I understand why things are the way they are and I appreciate everything I’ve gotten thus far. I’ve had tremendous luck and I’ve been surrounded by amazing people." - Julie Cross, author of Tempest.

"I have a degree from art school, so I used to get scared of cover design…and I’ve had a few 'Um, could you please reconsider?' letters about covers. But I don’t fear that anymore because my publisher is great about asking for my input early on and my cover designer is a genius. But you hit a nerve with audiobook narration. Yes. I get nervous about that because most people don’t read my books the way I would, and oftentimes, actors will read female (and sometimes male) teenagers to be: Dramatic! Angsty! Emotional! My characters are none of these things. Yes, they have dry, sarcastic humor but that doesn’t automatically make them huffy. So I do cross my fingers a lot when I know the audio is being recorded, and I do the best I can to communicate with my audiobook producer." - A.S. King, author of Ask the Passengers.

Come back Tuesday to find out what the biggest misconception the authors had about the publishing industry before they got their book deals.  

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