Got You Covered

I’m getting ready to do a self-published reissue of The Wall at the Edge of the World, which was published by Ace in 1993 and has been out of print for about 20 years now. Today I’m looking around for a cover artist. I really like what Karri Klawiter did for the Leafstone series (visible above), but I’m thinking maybe a slightly different style would be good for this book.

Looking around online for book cover designers, one discovers a thing or two.

First, most of the cover art looks really good! I’m sure a lot of these covers are better than the novels tucked away behind the covers. I’m seeing an endless procession of no-name-recognition authors with five-book series. They can’t all be good.

Second, gorgeous young women far outnumber the hunky young men on the covers. Also, women with their eyes cut off at the top of the cover — just the nose and lips visible, along with shoulders, cleavage, etc. — are often on display. There’s something deeply disturbing about this trend, but I’m not going to worry about it right now.

Third, it seems that all fiction covers these days use bleed images. That is, the image extends right out to the edges. This design choice isn’t just standard, it’s inevitable. Oddly enough, the original cover of Wall didn’t do that:


The painting was by the very talented John Jude Palencar, whose work I could not possibly afford on my own. I’m not responsible for the copy at the top of the cover, by the way. That was the publisher’s idea.

I’m thinking it might be good to do a cover with a one-inch-wide blank strip along the left side, with the title stacked one word at a time down the left, and an image filling in the main area. The point being, let’s not have this look like every other damn SF or fantasy cover on the planet.

There’s a beautiful young woman in the book, but she’s not the lead character. The lead character is … well, he’s an accountant, actually. He spends some time learning how to survive in the wilderness, he kills some people, and he saves some young people from being beheaded (those are the heads lying on the ground), but he’s not a swash-buckler. He buckles not a single swatch of swash. That’s why I think something fresh is called for in cover design.

A friend of mine has run the entire text through a scanner. As I tidy up the file, I’m thinking, “Damn, this is better than I thought it was.” Obviously I’m not in a position to be objective, but once upon a time I did know how to write, else Ace would not have brought it out. There is bloodshed; it’s not a nice friendly story. But it ends on a hopeful note.

I don’t think it’s going to need any re-editing at all. I could upload it to Amazon next week if I had a cover.

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