All right. So picture that in hardcover ... then wrap it in a paper dust jacket that looks like this:
And you get something that looks a little bit like:
This is only approximate. We've already made a few changes since putting this version together, but this is the concept. Pretty cool, huh? This is how book editors and designers earn their pay.
In contrast to my experience designing a cover for Mom's Cancer, we arrived at this pretty quickly and easily. We had this basic idea and one other very different one, but didn't spend a lot of time brainstorming other options. Everyone liked both contenders from the start and we ended up going with my favorite, so I'm very happy.
Covers are important. They need to convey something about the book's content, but their essential purpose is advertising. "Pick me up, check me out, carry me to the register!" From my perspective, writing the rest of the book doesn't involve anyone except me and Editor Charlie, a relationship that can feel fairly private and intimate. However, the cover is a whole big fat hairy deal that involves a separate Cover Committee and everyone else with an opinion all the way to the top of the food chain. I think it's not unusual for authors to have very little say in how their covers turn out, sometimes to their great chagrin. One of the nicer aspects of working with Charlie and Abrams has been their willingness--even eagerness--for my input on decisions like this.
We're still working on the back. And I haven't even mentioned the silver ink yet.