There is perhaps no other creative outlet that bares the writers soul quite like writing. Whether it's writing poetry, songs or stories, the modern day bard has to tap into deep recesses of the soul. Writing stories can be a rollercoaster journey, full of emotional ups and downs as the writer tries to convey believable characters and situations. A writer pours their very essence into their creation, much like Dr. Frankenstein into his monster. Add a little electricity and pretty soon the author is shouting "It's Alive!"
The first thing that draws our eye is beauty. And beauty is everywhere; the color and texture to a painting, the sun setting in the horizon, a favorite actor or actress, and in simple things like the smile of a child or the sparkle of a diamond ring. Is it no wonder, then, that the cover of a book must be absolutely perfect to set apart from the competition and draw the buyer's eye?
I will admit I am one of those people who will judge a book by its cover, at least initially. I see a beautiful cover and it makes me want to read what it's about. I see a cover that's not visually appeasing and I tend to pass it by. But with the rise in eBook publishing, it's forcing the graphic artists who design these covers to be better and bolder. A cover artist is tasked with the job of interpreting the story through art, incorporating all aspects of what the bosses want versus what the author wants while producing something that will draw the reader/buyer in. It's not an easy job.
Now-a-days, with the cost of books (even eBooks), a story has to take full advantage of every strategy to grab the readers' attention. The cover has to incorporate a lot of detail, so it's very important that the cover artist bears in mind not only the story, but what brings the story alive. Most publishers won't consider that far, only content with producing a sexy look to market the book. But writers put their souls into each story, and the passion and romance pouring from the cover is very important.
For my new novel True North, the heroine is Native American. I sent the cover artist the specifics of who she was, her personality, and what she was supposed to look like. I even sent a reference picture. I got an email saying that because my publisher was based in England, they didn't have Native American stock photos. All she could promise was to do her best so I put my faith into the artist's hands. She didn't fail to deliver. Imagine my surprise when I received the proof of my cover and saw the lovely lady on the front.
It is said a picture is worth a thousand words and I firmly believe that having a great cover is one of the best assets an author has. Even in the digital evolution of eBooks, a cover is one of the most important aspects of giving personality to the story. It guides the reader into seeing the hero and heroine, bringing them to life and adding depth to the drama unfolding. All of which is needed for that brief time where the reader escapes into fantasy.
-Beth D. Carter