Author Topic: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins  (Read 1743 times)  

Offline Jan Thompson

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
  • *****
  • Posts: 2232
  • Gender: Female
  • USA
  • JanThompson.com/books
    • View Profile
    • JanThompson.com/books
Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
« on: November 11, 2013, 10:25:18 am »
Interesting timing, this. It just popped into my mailbox today: an interview with one of the Art Directors at Harper Collins regarding the cover art process. Note her answer on how much input the author has. It's also nice that they have the piggy bank to hire photographers for custom shoots. Sigh.

The cover design process is here:

"Behind the Scenes" with Kristen Vasgaard ~ Part 2
http://relzreviewz.com/behind-the-scenes-kristen-vasgaard-pt-2/

Check out the Synopsis (scroll down) from the author that the Art Director needs to begin her cover design process. I saw in the other KB threads where indie cover designers are asking for less details? IMO this synopsis is very detailed down to hair length!

Interesting?


KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline Rick Gualtieri

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe-10016
    • *******
    • Posts: 5144
    • Gender: Male
    • NJ
    • Renaissance Geek
      • View Profile
      • RickGualtieri.com
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 10:46:46 am »
    Check out the Synopsis (scroll down) from the author that the Art Director needs to begin her cover design process. I saw in the other KB threads where indie cover designers are asking for less details? IMO this synopsis is very detailed down to hair length!

    Interesting?

    Interesting.  The Expo I was at this weekend had a panel on cover design and one thing that a lot of the authors in the room seemed adamant on was insisting that they wouldn't work with an artist unless that artist agreed to read their book first...which personally I found a bit unrealistic.  Don't get me wrong, if the artist asked, I'd be happy to provide them with a copy, but as a requirement I'd consider that a stretch considering the length of some books.  As the author, I should be able to convey an adequate summary that provides the flavor of the book.  If I haven't, I would hope the artist would ask for more.


    Making fantasy fun again, one corpse at a time
    Rick Gualtieri | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Bill The Vampire on FB | YouTube

    Offline 68564

    • Status: A A Milne-10008
    • ******
    • Posts: 4102
      • View Profile
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #2 on: November 11, 2013, 11:02:38 am »
    Interesting.  The Expo I was at this weekend had a panel on cover design and one thing that a lot of the authors in the room seemed adamant on was insisting that they wouldn't work with an artist unless that artist agreed to read their book first...which personally I found a bit unrealistic.  Don't get me wrong, if the artist asked, I'd be happy to provide them with a copy, but as a requirement I'd consider that a stretch considering the length of some books.  As the author, I should be able to convey an adequate summary that provides the flavor of the book.  If I haven't, I would hope the artist would ask for more.

    Yeah, I always offer a free for the artist, but I assume they are busy trying to make a dollar too. At the prices most indie cover artist charge, I do not see how they could afford to take even a day or two reading each book they get.

    Offline Jan Thompson

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
    • *****
    • Posts: 2232
    • Gender: Female
    • USA
    • JanThompson.com/books
      • View Profile
      • JanThompson.com/books
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #3 on: November 11, 2013, 11:08:37 am »
    As the author, I should be able to convey an adequate summary that provides the flavor of the book.  If I haven't, I would hope the artist would ask for more.

    Agreed!

    Yeah, I always offer a free for the artist, but I assume they are busy trying to make a dollar too. At the prices most indie cover artist charge, I do not see how they could afford to take even a day or two reading each book they get.

    Do you think it's because they're busy or they have day jobs?

    What caught my attention in the article, too, is how LONG it takes for tradpub to produce the covers:

    "I have a monthly meeting with the editors and publisher to discuss upcoming books about 9-12 months before they appear in stores." - Kristen Vasgaard

    Indie cover designers seem to have a faster turnaround. Maybe it's because they use stock photos more? In that regard, giving them the book to read might not help if they can't find the right photos to go with the books. Maybe that's why we're seeing the trend toward less detailed indie book covers?

    Clearly, tradpub has the advantage of being able to dress up models for their photo shoots. That way the covers are unique. From what I heard, that's $$$$.

    Offline 68564

    • Status: A A Milne-10008
    • ******
    • Posts: 4102
      • View Profile
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #4 on: November 11, 2013, 11:12:46 am »

    Do you think it's because they're busy or they have day jobs?

    Either or both. The net effect is the same.  :P

    Offline Jena H

    • Status: Emily Dickinson-10017
    • *******
    • Posts: 8143
    • North Carolina
    • Desperate character
      • View Profile
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #5 on: November 11, 2013, 11:41:33 am »
    I like the story synopsis they use...  something like that would come in handy for giving designers an idea what our (okay, MY) book is about.

    But I have to say I wasn't all that blown away by the cover examples shown in the article.  Most of the them had small and/or delicate typography that was difficult enough to read in the sizes provided...  in thumbnail size the titles would be all but invisible.
    Jena

    Offline Gennita Low

    • Status: Scheherazade-10012
    • *****
    • Posts: 1382
    • Spy-fy and military romance: love & flying bullets
      • View Profile
      • A LOW PROFILE
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #6 on: November 11, 2013, 11:59:14 am »
    Lies, all lies.

     ;D

    --Former Harper Collins author
    *** *** *** *** ***
    Rooferauthor
    Mutant Poms Mommy Squirrel Whisperer
    NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author

    Offline ElisaBlaisdell

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 787
      • View Profile
      • One Word After Another
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #7 on: November 11, 2013, 12:04:01 pm »
    Lies, all lies.

     ;D

    --Former Harper Collins author

    So it wasn't always unicorns and rainbows?

    Offline Jan Thompson

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
    • *****
    • Posts: 2232
    • Gender: Female
    • USA
    • JanThompson.com/books
      • View Profile
      • JanThompson.com/books
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #8 on: November 11, 2013, 12:47:03 pm »
    But I have to say I wasn't all that blown away by the cover examples shown in the article.  Most of the them had small and/or delicate typography that was difficult enough to read in the sizes provided...  in thumbnail size the titles would be all but invisible.

    Good observation. I wonder if HC is still focused on printed books. Most of their covers look great on bookshelves or in the library when the size of the paper is 5x8 or 6x9, but as itty bitty Amazon thumbnails, not always. This might be a tell-tale sign regarding where their focus is? :-)

    Offline Atunah

    • Status: Harvey Chute-10024
    • *********
    • Posts: 12247
    • Gender: Female
    • South of Seasons
      • View Profile
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #9 on: November 11, 2013, 12:56:30 pm »
    That is a lovely cover they came up with in the end.
    But what I want to know is, where do I apply to be a placeholder woman. I want that on my resume. Placeholder woman, I want that shown if I ever get interviewed on TV you know.  ;D

    Occupation: Placeholder woman.

    I'll even sit on a horse again.

    Offline Jena H

    • Status: Emily Dickinson-10017
    • *******
    • Posts: 8143
    • North Carolina
    • Desperate character
      • View Profile
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 01:02:30 pm »
    Good observation. I wonder if HC is still focused on printed books. Most of their covers look great on bookshelves or in the library when the size of the paper is 5x8 or 6x9, but as itty bitty Amazon thumbnails, not always. This might be a tell-tale sign regarding where their focus is? :-)

    Even printed books (paperback or hardback) are sold on Amazon, not to mention e-book versions, and if you're scrolling through a genre's offerings, those covers will be the same small thumbnail size as every other book.  How something looks on a bookstore shelf is getting less and less relevant.  (And even so, if you can't read the title from three or four feet away in the bookstore/library, the cover designer has failed.  imho)
    Jena

    Offline Jan Thompson

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
    • *****
    • Posts: 2232
    • Gender: Female
    • USA
    • JanThompson.com/books
      • View Profile
      • JanThompson.com/books
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #11 on: November 11, 2013, 01:46:25 pm »
    That is a lovely cover they came up with in the end.
    But what I want to know is, where do I apply to be a placeholder woman. I want that on my resume. Placeholder woman, I want that shown if I ever get interviewed on TV you know.  ;D

    Occupation: Placeholder woman.

    I'll even sit on a horse again.

    LOL!  :D

    To be fair there should also be a placeholder man. Horse is optional.


    http://www.amazon.com/Love-Finds-You-Groom-Texas/dp/1609360060/?ref=pd_sim_b_5


    Offline Jan Thompson

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
    • *****
    • Posts: 2232
    • Gender: Female
    • USA
    • JanThompson.com/books
      • View Profile
      • JanThompson.com/books
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #12 on: November 11, 2013, 01:47:24 pm »
    Even printed books (paperback or hardback) are sold on Amazon, not to mention e-book versions, and if you're scrolling through a genre's offerings, those covers will be the same small thumbnail size as every other book.  How something looks on a bookstore shelf is getting less and less relevant.  (And even so, if you can't read the title from three or four feet away in the bookstore/library, the cover designer has failed.  imho)

    Agreed! When I browse the library bookshelves, if the cover spine doesn't stand out, I go on right by it...

    Offline Taking my troll a$$ outta here

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
    • *****
    • Posts: 2468
    • Gender: Female
    • don't trust vsAdmin
      • View Profile
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #13 on: November 11, 2013, 02:00:38 pm »
    Indie cover designers seem to have a faster turnaround. Maybe it's because they use stock photos more? In that regard, giving them the book to read might not help if they can't find the right photos to go with the books. Maybe that's why we're seeing the trend toward less detailed indie book covers?

    Clearly, tradpub has the advantage of being able to dress up models for their photo shoots. That way the covers are unique. From what I heard, that's $$$$.

    I wonder why in this day and age it takes so long to make a cover? Perhaps they go through multiple proofs? As for less detail in indie covers, I prefer covers that way. The less distracting the better. Especially in a thumbnail, busy covers turn me off.  Take the new series from Maya Banks. The covers for her series are minimal, but striking.

    Content removed due to TOS Change of 2018. I do not agree to the terms.
    Many formally active members now participate in discussions here.

    Offline Christa Wick

    • Status: Scheherazade-10012
    • *****
    • Posts: 1366
    • Gender: Female
    • U.S.A.
      • View Profile
      • Christa Wick
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #14 on: November 11, 2013, 02:15:31 pm »
    Lies, all lies.

     ;D

    --Former Harper Collins author

    http://www.amazon.com/Arclight-Josin-L-McQuein-ebook/dp/B009NFBWUA

    On another thread, the girl was stated as being stock photo but the rest is original. This is Greenwillow Books, part of Harper Collins.

    PC Cast, already a big enough name when Chosen was released, http://www.amazon.com/Chosen-House-Night-Book-Novels-ebook/dp/B000V78UQS

    This cover too is from stock, with only a crescent photoshopped in over  cross and the little tribal stamps. This is St. Martins Grififn

    They have the piggy bank to do exclusive shoots, but they don't always do it.

    (ETA - that was me agreeing with Gennita, not arguing)

    Offline RBC

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
    • *****
    • Posts: 2607
    • Gender: Male
      • View Profile
      • RockingBookCovers.com
    Re: Behind-the-Scene Cover Art Process at Harper Collins
    « Reply #15 on: November 11, 2013, 02:29:41 pm »
    Agreed!

    Do you think it's because they're busy or they have day jobs?

    What caught my attention in the article, too, is how LONG it takes for tradpub to produce the covers:

    "I have a monthly meeting with the editors and publisher to discuss upcoming books about 9-12 months before they appear in stores." - Kristen Vasgaard

    Indie cover designers seem to have a faster turnaround. Maybe it's because they use stock photos more? In that regard, giving them the book to read might not help if they can't find the right photos to go with the books. Maybe that's why we're seeing the trend toward less detailed indie book covers?

    Clearly, tradpub has the advantage of being able to dress up models for their photo shoots. That way the covers are unique. From what I heard, that's $$$$.

    Because it would take a week to read a book. Only then you'd start working. And then designer has more than one order, reading few books at once it can get confusing etc and take even longer. Most of the time, indies want and get the cover faster than 10 days, so that works well I'd say.

    Also, designers working with Publishers get kill-fees, 50% of the fee even if the cover isn't approved and gets scrapped. None of us have such freedom of time because kill-fees aren't common.

    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***