This week, I spent some time on email with my marvelous client Dana Cameron, whose first urban fantasy novel (after a lengthy series of archaeology-world mysteries and a number of award-winning short stories) is coming out in March from 47 North—Amazon’s science fiction and fantasy imprint. We were discussing her cover art, and Dana’s editor David Pomerico was very much a part of the conversation.
What I thought was particularly interesting about the conversation this week was less about the artwork itself—the artist they’d hired did a terrific job of portraying Zoe, the young, brilliant, confused archaeologist who needs to come to terms with who—and what—she is. Rather, the discussion had to do with text color and size and clarity. The two great quotes—from Tess Gerritsen and Charlaine Harris—were on the back cover instead of the front. There was conversation whether the tagline “A Fangborn Novel” should be on the front or back as well (we ultimately decided on the front). The final decision turned out to be spare, clear, sharp, and, we all think, quite lovely.
But the decision making itself was very much affected by the fact that, due to Amazon’s limited shelf space in bricks-and-mortar retailers, the most that the majority of people will see of the cover is this:
It’s the postage stamp sized image in the Amazon store: Just the front, just a stark image and some text. But even this version of the cover is striking. You can see the author’s name; you can see the title of the book; you can see that it’s a “Fangborn Novel;” and you can guess that it’s about a badass girl. The quotes from Tess and Charlaine will be on the author’s page, as will the description. It’s strong, simple, and, I think, very effective. And in March, we will see just how successful. I can’t wait.