Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Between the covers

The cover artwork for the Vintage (B format) edition of The Einstein Girl has been finalised. Originally the design on the left was chosen - a decidedly noir reworking of the original artwork. When I was first shown it, some months ago, I rather liked it: in particular the bold colour and the faintly Georg Grosz lettering. However a number of the big retail buyers were less happy. They felt that this design conveyed too little of the period, while the mood said only crime. They were right. As a friend of mine later commented, it looked like the cover for a Raymond Chandler novel.
So it was back to the drawing board. A more identifiable period was the first requirement, but so was the need to convey both the literary and genre character of the book - and to hint at the other elements of the story besides the crime aspect that kicks it off. A pretty tall order, all told.

The result of the rethink was this (minus the strange green background tinge, which seems to have crept in from somewhere.) Everyone seemed to like this image (actually a composite of two archive photographs), although both my agent and I had some reservations about the title font. We thought the flowing lipstick red suggested too romantic a story, with a no more than a hint of menace. Vintage took this on board and altered the cover again.

The final result is on the right. For my money, the more formal black type and the slightly darkened background better represent the style and tone of the book. A more accurate rendering of the colours (without the green tinge) can be seen on Amazon, here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Einstein-Girl-Philip-Sington/dp/0099535793/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254865182&sr=1-2

3 comments:

Lady Glamis said...

I think it looks lovely! It's wonderful that you've had so much say over the cover! Is that typical?

Philip S said...

It varies. Random have been very good about keeping me in the loop; but essentially the decisions on these things are the publisher's. They make them after consultations with sales and marketing colleagues and, as in this case, with the trade. If these people are happy, it's unlikely a puplisher would completely scrap a cover on the author's say-so - unless that author is a big name. I saw a TV programme a few years ago which showed Germaine Greer choosing from about ten different covers. But then, she isn't the kind of woman you'd want to cross!

Lady Glamis said...

Good to know this!