When I got home from LA Monday night, I had a fun piece of mail waiting for me--cover art for the paperback of A Field of Darkness. This is actually the second version I've seen for that edition, and it got me thinking about some previous iterations considered and/or employed as bookly outerwear.
Here's the first design I saw for the hardcover, a little over a year ago:
I love how spooky it is, especially the way everything's tilted, and the Ferris wheel ties in nicely with the New Yorks State Fair being an important setting.
When I first showed this to some pub-savvy pals, several commented that my name being the same size as the title was auspicious--something that had never occured to me.
Then I was told that a big chain's buyer thought this version looked too forbidding and dark for the store's customer base. The title's font color was changed, in hope that it would have a broader appeal to that audience.
Here's the final version:
I've never been a big fan of pinkish hues, so at first it looked odd to me, but even my inner tomboy had to concede that the sum total of what I know about design and marketing amounts to a whole lot less than bupkes, on its best day.
My daughter Grace still thinks it's too girly. Her first comment was, "what next, they're going to call it A Field of Barbie?"
I think the buyer person was right, though. It's flashier with the pink, and I like it better.
I first saw the art for the audio version packaging on Amazon:
I loved that Blackstone had chosen a photograph that looked like something in a cemetery, with all those cool blues and greens (another pivotal setting in the story). That's still the version you'll see on a number of online bookstore sites, but it's not what appears on the actual CD box.
Here's what they ended up going with:
I like it even better than the first version.
Several weeks ago, I got a jpeg of the Australian edition, which will come out in paperback from Allen & Unwin's new Arena imprint:
The Australian editor seemed a bit nervous that I wouldn't like it, since she made a point of saying that they tended to have a different aesthetic for cover art than U.S. publishers do, but I think they did a great job. Knives and roses come into play pretty heavily too, plotwise, and I think it's cool how the petals at first look like blood spatter.
I'll be really interested to see what happens with covers for the French and German paperbacks. My sister just got back from a trip to Austria and Germany, and she found me a copy of Struwwelpeter, a children's book that's mentioned in Field. I wonder if the illustration I reference might make the cut--it's from a poem called "Die Daumenlutscher," a dire warning to children who suck their thumbs:
I've emailed to ask whether I can post a scan of the American paperback art, but haven't heard back yet... will add it if they give me the okay.
I'm also dying to find out what kind of cover will end up on The Crazy School, which I now hear is due out next winter.
What covers have you guys found most striking, in good and bad ways? I still remember a garish bodice-y bit of art on a paperback of Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose, which was horribly "Fabio ravishes Scarlett O'Hara on a big rock somewhere outside Barstow" looking.
p.s. Here's the large-print cover, which came out a couple of weeks ago: