Welcome to Cover Host’s “Cover Chat” session! Today author MT McGuire will share her book cover inspiration and process for Few Are Chosen, part one from The K’Barthan Trilogy.
Where did the inspiration for your cover come from?
Mainly from the same influences as the text inside. I had a very clear idea of the kind of feel I wanted, something that would echo comic book drawings in magazines like 2000AD and 1950s and 60s B-Movie posters.
The 1960 posters for Day of the Triffids and Return of the Daleks pretty much summed it up, but that didn’t stop me sending the designers a 10 page briefing document. It included everything from the film posters I mentioned to drawings of the snurds (flying cars) involved and the backgrounds in the Danger Mouse cartoons. Luckily they were used to working with me.
I also wanted to do something different. I find a lot of book covers are beautifully laid out but actually, rather boring. I wanted something more than a library photograph, I wanted MY cover on MY books, if that makes any sense. I wanted it to be my answer to the hand painted Harry Potter covers, so I threw money at it. I hired a firm of designers I knew from another life when I was a marketing manager because I knew they could get inside my head and put what I could see there onto paper for me.
What was the process like choosing the perfect cover for your book?
More about the process?
The important thing, to me, was that my cover reflected certain key factors that I believed would attract me, and therefore, potential readers. So, I wanted it to do the following things:
1. To show action and excitement eg with a shot of the snurd (flying car) chase in each book.
2. To have a brand ‘look’ for the whole series.
3. For the design to contain the standard features for a cover in its genre but at the same time, stand out.
4. To reflect the influences that had gone into the book a kind of visual prompt for what readers might be getting… “if you like cheesy 1960s sci-fi, comics and b-movies you’ll like this book”
5. For the artwork to be cool enough to sell the book to people who didn’t even know what it was. Cool enough for them to think, “what a great picture, I must find out what it’s about.”
6. For readers to look it and think, “Wow! That book looks fun.”
What catches your eye when purchasing books?
Lay out: Is it clean, clear and enticing?
Colours: Are there any? If there are, it’s a big tick. I also look at how well handled they are. Too much colour everywhere can look a bit cheap.
Does it stand out? If it does, that’s the factor that first makes me pick up a book.
More about your cover?
The last thing I should say about the K’Barthan Trilogy covers is that I wanted them to be art in their own right. I wanted them to be the kind of stuff your average teenager would want to put on their bedroom wall, whether or not they liked the books. Not setting my sights too high then, phnark. I planned the overall look and feel but originally specified four characters should be chasing the magic item central to each book. There was a long pause, so I rang A Trouble Halved to see how they were getting on.
“That’s a lot of drawing,” they said.
“Expensive?” I asked.
“But you have another, cheaper idea right?”
“Yes we do.”
So the grasping hands were born!
Is your cover what you envisioned or better than you hoped it would be?
Way, way better.
To me, the hands are more effective than whole actual people would have been. The backgrounds and the way the hands are drawn are exactly what I had in my head but couldn’t quite explain and the way they’ve done the snurds (on the back)…I would love that picture on my wall. So yeh, the folks at A Trouble Halved have done a grand job… as usual! If you want to talk to A Trouble Halved about a cover design for your book you can find them here: http://www.athdesign.co.uk/
We hope you enjoyed author MT McGuire’s “Cover Chat” today.
Special thanks to MT McGuire for sharing her experience with us for Few Are Chosen.
Amazon (wherever you are): http://Author.to/MTMcGuire
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/16oqU5K
Twitter profile for easy following http://bit.ly/1a41QoT