Dear Author: Your Opinion Doesn’t Matter! (and Rightly so)

I was thrilled last week to get an email from my editor opening the conversation about the actual publication of Elisha Barber, the first book in “The Dark Apostle” series.  It was the moment I’ve been waiting for for years–finally here!  He wanted to talk about who might blurb, when the book would be released, and the all-important cover art.  This included a link to an artist my editor recommended.

Well, I went over and checked out the work, and it’s good, but not quite what I had in mind.  I’ve been daydreaming about what this book would look like pretty much since I wrote “The End,” and this wasn’t it.  So I found some other artists, scanned the bestseller lists to see what current covers look like, thought about what I like in a cover and sent all that back to my editor.

A few hours, I woke up from this daydream and kicked myself.  Ya know what?  It doesn’t matter what I like!  Nobody cares–and nobody should.  I’m not an artist–more to the point, I’m not a marketer.  I am fortunate to have an editor who represents the target demographic for this book rather well, and he sent me the artist *he* likes.  This is not an aesthetic decision, it’s a marketing one. It’s all about getting this book in the hands of as many people who will enjoy it as humanly possible.  Who cares what the author LIKES?

It’s important that the cover represent the book in a useful way. If it doesn’t capture the protagonist or the feel of the book, that’s a problem–and many authors are justly upset about books that show their minority characters as white or their strait-laced heroine as sexy, etc.  That’s not an opinion, that’s an issue of accuracy.  You can’t have a cover designed to decieve readers into buying or one that presents a product other than the one contained.

But I’m not the one the cover must appeal to.  If a green cover with orange type is going to get that book in the hands of the right readers, I say go for it!  I sent a retraction to my editor, telling him to go with his instinct on this cover–he still insists that he wants me to like it.  That would be nice; many authors don’t get any say in their covers at all.  But really, my opinion is not the one that counts.  As long as the fans like it, I’ll be happy!

About E. C. Ambrose

I spend as much time in my office as I possibly can--thinking up terrible things to do to people who don't exist.
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