This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
Have you ever swooned over a cover reveal of a paperback only to find it changed when the book is printed? I know I have and I’ve often been intrigued about the rationale behind the change. So, when it recently happened to me, I was intrigued to find out the reasons why.
When my publishers first sent me the cover for my new novel, Don’t Tell the Boss, I fell in love with it instantly. I had a copy printed on canvas to hang on my office wall and did a whole lot of swooning. It was in keeping with the cover for Don’t Tell the Groom and I hoped readers would recognise the link between the two. I especially loved the green and blue hues, which seemed so different to a lot of chick lit. When I visited my publisher’s office, I saw a mocked up book with the cover – the shiny metallic print raised to give it that tactile element. In my head, it was a done deal.A couple of weeks ago, my editor sent me a new cover.The dark background was gone, and in its place was a white cover with bright pinks and greens. Whilst I was sad to lose the blues (my favourite colour), I have really fallen for the new cover – it’s so bright and fresh and I think it leaps out at you. It’s amazing that you can really like one version and think it can’t possibly be improved upon, only to fall in love with the second version and realise what was wrong with the first.
So what’s the reason for the big change? Retailers. Months before the launch of a book, it is pitched to various retailers. In my head this is rather like the episodes of The Apprentice, where people have to flog their dodgy inventions to the big retailers (only hopefully my publishers don’t do it in such a cringy fashion). When my book was being pitched to one major retailer, which had been a big supporter of Don’t Tell the Groom, it was suggested that the cover was too dark. They felt that my first book would have sold more copies if it had been brighter, as the dark cover faded into the background of their shelves.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it. When the original Don’t Tell the Groom cover was designed, it was done for sale on Kindle only. The considerations at that time were to make it eye-catching, visible as a thumbnail and able to stand out on a white background. Yet on a shelf next to other books, and not alone on a computer screen, it’s a different set of considerations.
The change in cover is another example of the benefit of having a publisher. Being able to garner feedback like that from a large retailer was something unimaginable to me a year ago. It’s also insightful to know how much of an interest – and how much of an influence – the buyers can have.
Having had experience of commissioning my own cover designs, it has been fascinating watching how the professionals do it. I think the end result is pretty fantastic. What do you think? Do you prefer the old cover or the new one?
Have you had a last minute cover change? Have you preferred the cover of a book before the change?