And we have a cover!

I am overwhelmingly pleased to be able to share with you all the final cover art for The Damning Moths!

Please head on over to the official website and bask in the pretties! Wait, that’s what I’m doing. You may join me in basking if you like, or just take a quick little look. Either way, I’m so excited!

The Damning Moths – Proudly announcing the cover art

This beautiful piece of illustration and design was done by Ty Scheuerman, my very talented husband. I could not ask for a more wonderful cover.

~A

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A Novel

I absolutely do not write this in criticism, I am purely curious, and to be honest, a bit confused.

I have been seeing more and more book covers include the text “A Novel”. Why? What is it for? What is its purpose?

Is this an artistic flair that’s catching on? Is it because the cover art is ambiguous as a work of fiction, so it is labelled with “A Novel” for clarity? Is it the counter-point to a novel in a collective including the book-series name (the So-and-So Trilogy, or the Whatsit Chronicles, and so on)?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the act, though from a personal standpoint, it’s a superfluous line of text on a cover, and I prefer the least amount of text necessary to be on a front cover. But that’s me. The traditional industry likes to include blurbs (as in, a snippet of a quote from someone influential) on the front, or identifying information: “Award winning author of This Other Book”, or “International Best Seller”.

Frankly, I have never cared if an author is an international best seller, or has won awards (except in conversation when I’m trying to drive home the point that an author is kind of a big deal, even though the person I’m talking to has never heard of the writer before). To put that kind of text on a cover just irritates me; it’s wasting space, and often ruins an otherwise well-balanced layout. But that’s kind of off the subject.

I can’t see a reason to have “A Novel” placed right up there on the front. Why did the designer make this obvious statement? The description will indicate that it’s a fictitious narrative. I’ve never bought a novel without reading the description/back cover, so it’s not as though I will misunderstand the book is an invented (or exaggerated) story by the time I’m considering reading it. Also, I’m sure it’s happened, but I don’t recall seeing any which say “A Novella”, or “A Novelette”.

If I write something that’s 300,000 words, can I use “A Hypernovel” on the cover? (The answer to that is no, because if Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke manages to have just “A Novel”, nothing can lay claims to a larger novel classification.)

If anyone has insights, I’d love to know. I may never view “A Novel” as something entirely valid to include, and I probably won’t pass any particular judgement on the book if the label is present, but I certainly notice it. Every time. Thus, I am curious.

~A

Book websites and the art of covers

As regular readers know, I’m really big on making stories with a high degree of supplemental media; art, music, interactive websites, whatever works with that book. That, to me, is the ideal aim with most written work. Not because it needs it, but because it meshes together so well to create a larger experience for a fan.

Stephen King’s latest offering is titled 11/22/63. While I really kind of love making a date the title to a book, so many parts of the world work with the format of day/month/year, so it encounters the problem of not being universal. Nevertheless, the title is so interesting on its own, I actually clicked the link in one of my bookstore subscription newsletters just to find out what it was (I know, I’m awfully sheltered from industry news at the moment).

I admit, the cover art came as a surprise. The US get a very striking cover, torn paper, cream, red and black colour scheme, a nicely “aged” look. It’s a strong cover, good layout, very bold and appealing. I really love it.

Then we get… a lens flare? No, no, no, no, really. A lens flare, made to look like it represents some kind of time warp, since the story is based around a character who goes back in time and all. Having seen the fantastic cover art for the US release, I cannot express how disappointing the UK/Aus artwork is to me. The only striking thing about it is how someone could have honestly thought using a standard lens flare on this novel was a good idea.

It’s not that lens flares are inherently bad, it’s just they are so overused, and so basic. That artwork would have taken a proficient computer artist all of a minute to create, with no exaggeration. Of course that’s disappointing. What made them think our market is so different that we wouldn’t love the original US cover?

Complaints aside, there is a very neat website associated with this book, and it made me super happy to see other authors leaning the same direction and including a greater degree of content to accompany their books! Have a little click around 11/22/63 and see the awesome touches around the site!

~A