By Leslie DeLooze – Saturday Nov. 7, 2015
A dilemma arose this past week as the “Tale for Three Counties” committee tried to decide which book cover to use for publicity for our 2016 one-book project for Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. The paperback version, which is being released in January, has a different cover than the hardcover. It was a dead heat, with seven members each voting for the hardcover, or paperback versions. Both sides had valid reasons for choosing the cover they did, and because we needed a tie-breaker, I decided o reach out to author S.M. Hulse for her opinion.
Book covers can make or bread a book. We do judge books by their covers, and a beautiful photograph or drawing, artistic lettering, or a creative layout can inspire a reader to pick up a book or not. At the same time, a book cover needs to convey something about the book and do it in a way that is true to the contents. The subject, the tone, the style all should guide the graphic design of the cover, leading the reader to know what to expect.
S.M. Hulse beautifully summed up our quandary by saying that the hardcover “does a great job emphasizing how intertwined the past is with the present in ‘Black River.’ The distressed edges give the book a weathered feel, and the light and shadows in the cover image suit the story well. And, of course, the cover photo magnificently evokes the novel’s Montana landscape.” On the other hand, she says that the paperback cover “seems to emphasize the dramatic elements of the story. The bold cover photograph echoes the mountains and clouds of the hardcover image, but it has a more contemporary feel, which helps indicate that ‘Black River’ is, in fact, a contemporary novel set in the West, rather than a historical western.”
The difficulty with choosing the cover art for publicizing the Tale book is that the art of the hardcover and paperback are very different. In the world of marketing, the buzz word is branding, and by an image, we want the public to recognize that THIS book is THE book that we are suggesting to readers to pick up, read, digest, and discuss in our one-book project before author S.M. Hulse visits our counties in March. I guess that the best we can do is make readers aware that there are two different covers for these editions, a third rendition for the audio version, and very likely a fourth for the large print copy, which will be published in February.
“Black River” is available now in libraries for borrowing or to purchase, and the Tale committee hopes that you will decide to pick it up to read this season.
Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation
Hardcover to left, paperback on right