I don’t know many topics that engage authors and readers as much as do book covers. Blood on the tracks, sometimes. The debates can be fierce, and the authorial cries of pain resound from bars and cafes across all the lands. Covers do get discussed with intensity, they are analyzed in cultural and political terms (the headless women meme!), there are conversations about the obvious – ‘That doesn’t look at all the way I picture Lord Protector Crum!’ – and strategy sessions about the less obvious – ‘Why don’t we flip the image: have her looking out towards where the book opens, not in towards the spine?’ (I’ve had that done, twice. Er, to my cover, not to me.) Etc. This spring I was working with my American and Canadian editors, and an art director, and a gifted artist to devise and shape the cover those territories are sharing for Children of Earth and Sky. Contractually, all that the publishers are allowed to use, all they purchase, is the finished version but the artist, Larry Rostant, (http://rostant.com) has generously allowed me to show early versions as they emerged and were changed to show what I want to discuss here – which is about process in the evolution of a cover.
Follow this link to see the evolution of the cover art for Children of Earth and Sky.