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Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Trouble With Covers

I was amazed that Torquere Press asked for my input on the cover for Chaos Magic. One of the givens of the publishing world is that the author has zero control of the cover art - but will be blamed and held accountable by the public for it. (Don't believe me - read up on the vile shitstorm in Virginia a couple years ago over allowing author Greg Herren to talk to a high school group about becoming a writer. The first thing they did was hold up his books and point to the cover art as a reason why he shouldn't be allowed to talk to teens. Then the death threats started....A bunch of true Christians.)

At first, having input for the cover felt like kid in a candy shop time. Oooh - I could have this! Or that! But then reality set in. I'm not trying to sell the book to me. So what do people like in a book cover? I'm all for a good torso shot - but that's a cliche of gay publishing by now.

My beta readers - thanks DL, Nan, Teresa, Amanda, RG, and Lisabet - all mentioned their trouble picturing the altars for the gods. I tried to write as much detail as possible, and added more after their comments, but short of a blueprint, I'm afraid that people who haven't been exposed to Eastern religions will never get the idea. So I thought that maybe an altar on the cover might help the readers - but how unsexy is that?

I finally had to admit on the form that I had no clue what to put on the cover and was open to ideas. I did include my little home shrine jpg, but don't expect the artist to use it. We'll see.


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