My publisher, Sizzler Editions, has recently chosen the cover of my anthology of gay fiction, A Happy Finish, as part of its Cover Cavalcade of ‘Loveliest Covers’. Now, it is indeed lovely for me to be part of such a delightful, saucy and sexy cavalcade, and to pick up an honorary ‘title’ of Loveliest Cover, but sadly this has got nothing whatsoever to do with me. I didn’t design or make any suggestions for the cover. The only comment I was able to make about it was to ensureg that my name was spelt correctly – at some point I’d become ‘Lucas Scott’ and I was having none of it. However, I will take the tiara for the title anyway, thank you very much, and sit here with it on my head . Look at me, I’m a princess, wearing my invisible crown.
I don’t know the cover artist for my book, and don’t really know what decisions they made or why, in creating the cover image. But I do really, really like it. (Of course, I should point out that’s not my torso on the cover – I wish! And the snow topped mountain in the background isn’t where live, or write – again, I wish!) Yet, it can’t be an easy job coming up with any image for an anonymous author, whose selection of short stories sprawls from vampires to butchers to full moons and London buses and science fiction clones. What I like is that there is a sense of mystery and beauty about the image which I would hope is part of my work, an eroticism that encopasses place as well as person. there’s an exciting and passionate naure to the cover which, again, I like and recognise in what I hoped to achieve in the stories themselves.
Authors rarely get any say in their cover images. And, to be frank, that’s probably as it should be. We can be precious, and contrary, and – well, quite illiterate in the Art Of A Good Cover. Only rarely have I been involved in choosing a cover picture for either my fiction or my non fiction work. And, yes, some of the covers I’ve hated. But, really, my job is to write the damned things, not wrap them up to sell. My publisher and the artist know much, much better than I do what is likely to sell, or what makes a good image. That’s their job. To be honest, for A Happy Finish I couldn’t even come up with the right title. Originally, I’d sugested something clever, and wittty, and self-referential, and then my editor gently and sagely suggested something much simpler – like the title of a story that was actually in the cllection.
I chose not to go down the self-publishing route for A Happy Finish because I know there are other, more professional , more knowledgable and more experienced people who have better insight into the ebook trade than I do. On average, an author needs to write 48 books a year just to make the minimum wage! So you will see why it’s important to seduce you, dear gentle reader, into cooing and whooping at my sexy, exciting, intriguing covers as you browse through endless novels and books on the interweb, and for that cover to catch your flirty eye and poersuade you to part with your hard earned cash (or credit card, or bitcoin).
Some writers may well be control freaks, and want absolute say at every stage of the publishing process. In which case, you probably do need to self publish, and good luck writing those 48 books a year, or waving the magic wand that creates an overnight bestseller. For most of us, we need to recognise that you, gentle reader, most probably do judge a book by its cover, and then also decide if you like the writing .. or not.
Do feel free to tell me of your ‘lovely covers’ . In the meantime, A Happy Finish is available direct from sizzler .
And yes, I’m still wearing my invisible crown.