Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Some French Acacia Material - Glimpse Of The Cover?...

Like I've said before, the author is often the last to get a glimpse of anything. You know, I've still never held a copy of the Russian edition of Pride of Carthage, and that was published a couple years ago. (At least I think it was.) The newest incarnation of this dynamic is that I've just learned that French reviewers/bloggers are receiving arcs (advanced reading copies) of Acacia! Lucky for them, I guess, but no such luck for me. My friend Emmanuel at Elbakin.net clued me in, and he sent me a scan of some of the promotional material that came with it... (Tis' clickable.)

Emmanuel assures me that not many books get arcs in France (especially in fantasy), so it's another good sign my publisher, Le Pré aux Clercs, is behind the book. But will the French readership get behind it as well?

By the way, is that a glimpse of the cover I see in the upper left corner? I guess so, but I also know that they were rethinking whatever their early ideas on the cover was, so I won't swear it's going to look anything like that. We'll see..

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice. Hopefully that is the cover, because I the black and white acacia image seems very striking. Sort of an interesting contrast, really, to the colourful Acacia cover used on this side of the Pond.

Bryan Russell/inklings

11:49 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Yeah. I kinda like it. That doesn't mean anything, though. I'm kinda easy on covers. I'm inclined to like most of them, especially the foreign editions since I'm always just so pleased to be reaching far flung audiences.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm kinda choosy myself about covers. Much prefer this sort of thing to the oiled-up-barbarian-guy-with-sword covers. I'm all for the more abstract design or artistic covers (as with both the French and N. American editions of Acacia). I suppose lots of people like the oild-up warriors though, or the publishers wouldn't keep doing it. That or marketing is much more the crapshoot than they let on. "Yeah, Joe down at the corner store really liked this one, so I'm gonna go with it."
"Joe? You mean that strung out dude with the crazy hair?"
"Yeah, that's him."

Ciao for now,
Bryan Russell

11:21 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Yeah, I'd have no interest in an oiled-up-barbarian cover. Only the Swedish Acacia cover heads in that direction (and only a bit). Mostly, though, I've avoided that.

And the reasoning for avoiding it has, thankfully, been clear to all my publishers. Fabio on my book would not be representative of what's inside the book. I know sometimes publishers go for the quick sale of representing a book as something it's not just to get the sale, but Doubleday has always looked at things longer term than that. The foreign publishers I've talked with the most about Acacia (German and French, I'd say) say a lot about taking the book seriously and doing it right. Couldn't ask for more than that.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much input, if any, do you have for the cover art of your novels? How does that work?

7:44 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


The short answer is that I don't have much of any control of it. With a large publisher like Doubleday, they employ/contract their own artists. Doubleday may ask for my suggestions (they're nice enough to do that), but then it goes into the hands of the artist, and then whatever they come up with gets bounced around committees, shot back to them, bounced around again, even sent out to booksellers for opinions, etc. It can be a long process and they potentially go through several versions before showing any of them to me.

If I hate something I can say so, of course, but if I hate it and everyone else loves it... I'd probably loose out. That's never really happened, so I don't know for sure, but the truth is that very few authors are big enough that they can call the shots on things like covers.

I'm okay with that. I'm not an artist, or a bookseller, and I don't have access to the numbers and data that Doubleday consults. They may not get it right either, but then again maybe they get closer than I would.

I'll say this... one of the main times I suggested a look for a cover it was for Walk Through Darkness. For a while their artist tried to come up with a version of what I'd described, but it just didn't look right - neither as a finished product or as a real representation of what I had envisioned. In the end, they went with a totally different cover - which is probably my least favorite in some ways. I can't help feeling that I didn't help the process by trying to make them see what I saw - instead of asking/hoping/trusting that the artist would come to the book and see new things.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I would have thought the author had more input. How does the artist come up with the idea of what to draw on the cover? For example, the Acacia tree on the American hardcover. Does the artist have to read the novel to get an idea of what he/she feels would best represent the story?

10:15 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hi Steven T,

I'll be posting the final version of the French cover in a separate post. I'll touch on this question when I do that...

9:24 AM  

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