Some time ago I was chatting to an author about his/her books. Especially the most recent one, which I was about to begin reading. We moved on to how well – or not – it was marketed.
From there it was a short hop to the author mentioning he/she was a bit disappointed by the covers for the book series. I agreed, because they were nothing special, albeit not off-putting.
But if you think about it, a book cover should ideally be rather better than not frightening the readers/buyers off. And then the author said that that he/she had been so pleased with the first sample cover. It had been just right.
Except it was abandoned because the buyer from Waterstones didn’t like it. Or perhaps, didn’t think it would sell, which I suppose is nearly the same thing.
And then the iPad came out and I was shown the original cover design, and it was fabulous! It was everything the book was about. It was different from lots of current cover styles, while not being original, or anything wild like that. It was in ‘the style of’ a certain type of cover. Which, I happen to like a lot, so that explains some of my upset and shock.
I also believe it would help sell the book. It would stand out from all those samey covers bookshops are full of.
To spell it out, I would never have chosen this book for its actual cover. The only thing that would have sold it to me was the name of the author, whom I like and trust.
Now that I’ve seen the never-to-be cover, I can’t unsee it. In a way I’m glad, because it cemented my image of what these books were about. But I do wonder what the Waterstones buyer had against it, and why the publisher[s] listen.