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  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor


Dear All–

Hmm. So, my editor at Random House called this morning to tell me they were going to have “the cover conference” for AN ECHO IN THE BONE tomorrow–and did I have suggestions, opinions, preferences?

He’d earlier suggested the possibility of re-covering the series–he’s a new editor, and of course would like to contribute something significant in addition to his editing skills on the new book–and I’d said I was agreeable, providing the new covers were an improvement. At the same time, I don’t have any greata objection to continuing with the jewel-toned iconic covers, if we _don’t_ have a better suggestion. (Not that I can think of a suitable icon for _that_ title, right off the top of my head….and what on earth color would we use? Pink? A pale, leafy green? (Not yellow; I hate yellow, and besides, yellow books don’t do well–accepted wisdom in marketing circles. ))

John (the editor) suggested something more pictorial/historical, which I said I was open to–provided there are no humans on the cover. To which he said that would make it more difficult–he rather likes the later editions of George MacDonald Fraser’s “Flashman” novels, which have a sort of graphic-art version of the main character in various situations–and he doubted that putting a rubber duck on the cover would impair sales to any great extent.

“Regardless….” I said. “Besides, we can’t put rubber ducks on _all_ the covers.”

The last time this subject came up, I’d just been seized by the shape of ECHO, and in the grip of this enthusiasm, suggested (to Doug, whom I happened to be talking to at the time) doing a new cover series in which the covers were done in attractive deep colors, with the underlying “shape” of each novel done in a striking abstract style (possibly embossed) on the front. This caused Doug to make faces, so is possibly not as inspired a notion as I thought. [g]

Anyway–since y’all obviously have a personal interest in what the books look like, I thought I’d ask whether anybody has any strong opinions, suggestions, whatever. No telling _what_ will happen–as John assured me, this cover conference is merely the instigating point of the process; no final decisions are expected to emerge tomorrow–just some ideas to pursue.

So if you have ideas…let me know!

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104 Responses »

  1. Dear Jen–

    Well, see, you mention looking at the pearls on the cover. Presumably because you encountered the pearl necklace in the story.

    OK. The necklace on the cover doesn’t look anything like the one described in the story, aside from the fact that it -is- a pearl necklace.

    Cover illustrators almost never -read- the books; they take a brief description supplied (usually) by the editor, and half the time, they don’t pay any particular attention to that, either. (I recall one “step-back” cover for a (very good) romance novel set in the 18th century, featuring a marquis with black hair who’d been kidnapped and sold as a servant, and a blonde heroine in charge of her widowed brother-in-law’s children, living in the wilderness in Colonial America. What did the cover illustration show? A brown-haired man wearing–I kid you not–jeans and a plaid shirt, leaning on a shovel while ogling a brown-haired woman in a pink gingham dress with puffed sleeves and a poke bonnet to match.]

    For that matter, I’ve seen the Polish book-club edition of THE FIERY CROSS–which (again, for reasons unknown) shows a partial torso-shot of a man in a short-sleeved plaid shirt embracing a young woman with long black hair. Who _are_ these people?!?

    But that’s the major reason I don’t want illustrations of elements or people from the book–odds are, they’d be grossly inaccurate, but everyone would _think_ that was exactly what I meant them to look like, because after all, they’re right there on the cover! [rolling eyes]

  2. I have the first four books in the old covers, and the whole series in a mix of paperback, trade paperback, and hardback. It would be fun to have a matching set, but it’s not a financial priority.

    That said, I also vote to continue the current covers, with an ivory one for ECHO. And for the object on the cover, how about the box that contains the letters to Bree and Roger?

    (A common motif on the spines wouldn’t be terrible, though.)

  3. I love the covers as they are but if a change is really wanted I have a thought. Maybe each cover printed to resemble the ‘fabric/textile’ in common usage for the time frame of each book? Graphically imitating the texture of wool, silk, homespun etc. while keeping the jewel tone colors of prior books.

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