Monday, January 29, 2007

Cover committee

You ever hear the saying: Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the stew? The saying came to mind as I took another stab at creating a book cover for ZOOM. Thing is, many cooks are necessary when designing a successful book cover. The cover art has to be inviting — that's where I come in. The title font must work well with the illustration — that's where the art director and designers come in. It must sell a zillion copies — that's where sales and marketing come in. And the publisher must like it or ain't nobody gettin' paid.

For over a year, I've been working with the folks above, trying to nail down a cover for a pop-up book. Normally, I'd not have much say in the actual design of a books cover, but in this case, because the title of the book is a part of the illustration, I've been included in the discussion.

In the beginning stages, I created several designs — they liked them all. But the book was put on hold for 8 months, and when I picked it up again, I'd changed my mind. I wanted a different look. So I designed some more. But the editor liked one of my original designs. So I built off that design and created another. Everyone liked it...well, everyone except the publisher. So, the art director stepped in and designed some covers of his own. They didn't fly. Next, it was handed off to a designer. The editor loved her designs. Marketing and sales approved of it. It was a go. But I hated it. Really, really hated it.

I'd decided to sort of excuse myself from the cover committee, hand over the art and let them do their thing. I mean, I've got two more books lined up that need attention and I need to get started.

But I can't walk away. Don't you know, an ugly book cover will follow you to the end of this earth, stalking you like an illegitmate child, showing up at every literary festival you're featured in, waving at you, beaming your first and last name from it's cover. I know, I got one... a book with an ugly cover, that is.

I can't let that happen, I'm gonna have to see this through. I won't have the final say, but at least I have some say, and I am thankful they've included me in the process. Sometime soon, I'll post a medley of the covers leading up to the final one.

1 comment:

rindambyers said...

There used to be a joke about the huge cement building of the church where I used to go--that a committee designed it! I was looking at a nature thing about rhinos last night, and it comes to me that maybe God used a committee when He designed them! I couldn't even make myself think the little baby rhinos were CUTE! I hope the cover turns out okay for you somewhere along the way though...the stuff of bad dreams for an artist surely what you've gone through with it.