Rejection, Romance, and Royalties: The Wacky World of a Working Writer

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In terms of the cover process, some general practical tips for writers: Inform your editor at the start and with occasional reminders along the way that you want to be involved in the cover process. Present a shortlist of cover artists as suggestions for your cover art; and ask the editor who the publisher is thinking of.


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Try to establish a dialogue about who will do the cover, because getting the right artist will eliminate a lot of potential problems. They may ignore you but, again, work on establishing a dialogue, on presenting yourself as someone who should be kept in the loop and with whom ideas should be discussed. Too many writers just wait until they see the final cover and then object; this is way too late to voice an opinion, folks.

After sketches or concept have been approved, ask to see the preliminary art an artist will usually do some minor revisions to the art, as requested or near-final design, which is another stage at which you can make suggestions. Always be constructive and make suggestions. Always remember, the final cover is a done deal. So get into the process early. Might, I say.

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CS: Can authors afford to commission their own art? Should they? Can they find free cover art on the Internet, and if so, should they use it? LR: Authors are doing this in the self-publishing world,and in many cases, very effectively and successfully.

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If you want to do the packaging yourself, then self-publish. Later covers have a large heart shape and no people or people silhouetted. Why the big change?

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The covers of couples passionately embracing in which the woman is usually half-naked and the man is mostly shirtless was a trademark look for the genre that was largely developed by an artist named Pino an Italian immigrant, classically trained artist, and lovely man who passed away a couple of years ago and Kensington Books founded by the late Walter Zacharius. The half-naked babes on the covers were popular with the truckers and jobbers who stocked a lot of the wire-rack outlets where mass market paperbacks where sold 30 years ago, and it was a new, glamorous look that became very successful.

However, by the s, cloth covers for these books were very popular with readers, many of whom were uncomfortable being teased or smirked at for reading novels with these prurient covers, and the look was becoming less popular. Meanwhile, the superstore phenomenon ex. So publishers gradually started experimenting with romantic looking covers that still visually identified the genre of the book, but without a semi-clad couple actually fornicating right there on the cover.

Some years after that, though, erotica became a big market. So the whole look of the genre keeps changing as the market continues evolving. CS: I was captivated by the cover art for your Esther Diamond series.

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It looks a puzzle with pieces for the reader put together. I count at least 4 hands sticking out of that giant fortune cookie. And Esther is portrayed as being perpetually on the move as she solves the case. So who is your cover artist? We discussed artists early on, and Dan was top pick for each of us. I typically review the cover sketches and the preliminary art with the publisher, and we develop a consensus on the feedback that my editor gives him.

Dan also communicates directly with me about various specifics or questions. So the cover process for the Esther Diamond novels is a pleasure for me, rather than an exercise in helplessness and frustration, and the results have been consistently excellent. Any more lined up? Will you continue the series indefinitely? LR: There are three more unwritten Esther Diamond novels under contract at this time, and I hope to do many more after that.

Write a lot. Practice your craft.

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Keep writing. And write still more after that.

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