YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Today we have C.J. Omololu whose book Dirty Little Secrets was released on Feb 2!

Here’s a not-so-dirty little secret of publishing – most authors have absolutely NO say over their covers. That’s right, none. Unless you have much more famous initials than mine, you will mostly likely see a .jpg of your cover as soon as it is finished and not a minute before. Publishers hire design teams with experience in what will (hopefully) sell books and most of the time don’t welcome or even want the author’s input.

Here’s another not-so-secret – many, many people judge a book by its cover. I do. I’ll admit that I bought Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan because of its shiny, embossed, richly-colored cover wonderfulness. Of course, the shiny beautiful cover attracted my husband too and I haven’t had a chance to read it because he swiped it from me. Pretty covers matter most when you are in a bookstore, browsing the shelves looking for something interesting to read. I think that covers matter less for books with a strong word of mouth or that are being hand sold by booksellers. Of course, if you are ordering a book online, the cover doesn’t matter nearly as much- you are looking for that particular title and may not even know what it looks like.

The most palm-sweaty moment of my writing life to date was when I opened the attachment that contained the cover for Dirty Little Secrets. I’d imagined something spare and graphic like the cover for the Dark Divine or Ash. I actually sat staring at the email, my heart racing, knowing that the next few minutes would shape how I felt about the book forever. That is not an overstatement. I know authors who hate, hate, hate their covers and it totally affects the way they feel about their book. I opened the attachment and although it wasn’t what I’d expected, I didn’t hate it. The cover wasn’t spare and it wasn’t graphic, but the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t figure out what they would have put on a cover like that. A stack of newspapers? A pile of garbage? The more I looked at the cover, the more I liked it until now, I can’t imagine DLS with any other image.

I got lucky with a good cover. Not all authors do. The next time you see a truly ugly cover, walk over, pick it up and read the flap. It might be something great.


Comments on: "C.J. Omololu on the not-so-dirty little secret of publishing" (4)

  1. Hi 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your insight into the publishing business. I’m glad you got a great cover too! It’s eye-catching and intriguing.
    All the best,

  2. I love your advice about picking up books with unappealing covers. My day job basically involves selling books by getting librarians to judge them by their covers. So, I know how a cover can make or break a book.

  3. I think they did a good job with the cover–I will not name names but there are some terrible covers out there. I just won your book from Elizabeth Scott (yes, *that* Elizabeth Scott) who just ran a Twitter follower contest. 😀 I can’t wait to read it!

  4. Thanks – I do love the cover too! Hope you enjoy the book. It’s tough because what one person loves in a cover might not appeal to the next and it can cause them to pass up something they just might love.

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