Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Attack of the Covers!

I woke up this morning to two emails from far, far away, both bearing covers for my... um... Well, just for me to look at, cause it's not like I have much say in such matters.

The first was one you may have already seen a version of. It the Transworld UK cover for Acacia, specifically for the hardback collectors' edition. The image is pretty much the same as before, although I do notice they spiffied up Corinn's dress a bit. It's less a burlap sack and more a silky red now. I prefer it. (Okay, so maybe I do have some influence on things after all.)I like the way they call me a "bestselling author". It's true, you know, really it is!

The second is a first glimpse from my Swedish publisher, Norstedts. Wow, now that's a different take on things! They make it look like I wrote a novel about marauding hordes of sword-weilding uber-men slogging across a frozen tundra with giant woolly rhinoceros beasts... Well... yeah, I guess I did, didn't I? That's part of it, at least. Anyway, here's what they've come up with for Akacien!

Comments are welcome...

(By the way, does anybody know what Hotet Nran Norr means? I tried to translate it online and got "hotel stamp north". I'm thinking that's not right. Then got "the threat fran north", which sounds a bit closer. So is it Acacia: The Threat From The North?)

Oh, and I don't think I ever put up the finished full jacket for the German edition. Here it is...

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Blogger Andrea Eames said...

Wow! That Swedish cover certainly is exciting-looking. I do like the weightiness and solemnity of the UK cover, though. The ash-coloured sky and the dull red of the dress make it look sort of sombre, in a good and dramatic way. Perhaps it's just me. Amazing how two different artists can have two such different takes on the same material.


7:31 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Yeah, the UK cover has grown on me. I wasn't that keen on it early on, but now it seems pretty good.

The Swedish one... well, that's just a different take. I feel more distance from it than I do from anything published in English. On these sort of things, one has to trust (hope) that they know their market. It's just kinda fun to see what various publishers come up with...

11:35 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

As a swede, I am very proud to say that Sweden has a long, long, long history of butt-ugly sf/f-covers. no.. wait, that's not pride I'm feeling ... it's loathing. :)

By the way, exactly what are all those people doing in the snow? Is that some kind of arctic bodypump-class?

9:25 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"Hotet från norr" means "The threat from the north".

9:26 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Thanks for verifying the title.

Do you have any perspective on WHY Swedish publishers seem to like "butt-ugly sf/f-covers"? They wouldn't keep at it if it wasn't working for them...

And I'm not exactly sure what the Numrek are doing with their swords drawn like that. I know what they did in the book, but it does look a little funny that they all have their swords out like that with no foe in sight. Presumably, the Acacian patrol they're about to meet is just off stage right...

2:52 PM  
Blogger Meghan said...

Those covers are AWESOME. It's the kind of thing that would literally stop me in my tracks and pick up the book (that's how I originally got into Robert Jordan's WoT series-I liked the cover and picked up the first book to learn what it was about).

1:28 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

David, I really have no idea. Money? Perhaps not-so-good illustrators are cheaper than good ones? It's only recently that big publishing houses have begun translating sf/f. Earlier it was done by small, private, companies, often run by a fan. But even now most covers are awful. Just look at Jordan's The Great Hunt.

Allthough,to be fair, the last couple of years the trend seems to be to use the orignal american or british covers.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Constance Brewer said...

Got to say, I much prefer "Soup's On" to "Give Us Your Hair Care Products- Or Else!". And is that an elf on the far left of the Akacien cover?? *g*
Hey, they're colorful and different from the usual, then ought to stand out from the crowd. Still like the German cover best. :)

9:33 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Glad you like them!


Money?... Well, yes, but if a cheap cover hurts sales that's counter productive. They must feel they're getting their money's worth - and not hurting sales. Having said that, the Jordan cover is rather awful. Yikes. It's bad in so many ways. I don't get that. Meghan, click over and see if that one would have drawn you to Jordan's work...


Drat! Those elves are hard to get rid of. They must have a strong union.

11:49 AM  
Blogger twilightandfire said...

The Transworld UK cover gives off such a different vibe than the US edition, but I like it a lot (creepy, foreboding, but in a very cool way). I think it’s a cover that will grab attention.

I’m not crazy about the Swedish cover, but maybe I just need more time with it. Did they provide any rationale behind their concept?

Still, I imagine it’s good to see your book published in different countries, no matter the cover!

3:13 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


"Did they provide any rationale behind their concept?"

What a nice thought. Rationale. But, no, not that I'm aware of. I didn't ask. I guess I feel the layers of international translation involved are too complicated to get into - unless I've got some major problem.

I don't, so it makes more sense to me to keep smiling and, yes, be very happy that my books are on bookshelves in Stockholm. That's a rare thing to be able to say. The same publisher did Pride of Carthage, and they've said they'll be keen to take a look at Acacia 2.

So I'm smiling...

4:24 PM  
Blogger Larry Nolen said...

While the Swedish cover isn't as bad as a few I've received in the mail recently (Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy novels often have "teh suck" covers), I still think that they (especially the Swedish one) evokes something that I don't think the book really addresses - then again, violence didn't seem to be the point of the story rather than it being an unfortunate consequence.

8:31 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Yep. That can be a tough call with covers. On one hand I have to admit that the Swedish cover IS a depiction of a scene in the book. But is it a scene that reflects what the book is really about? Not exactly.

But who says the publisher's intention is to reflect what the book is really about? They've got other concerns...

6:03 PM  

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