Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Dreaded AFS

Okay, I have to admit that completing the art fact sheet (AFS) is not my favorite part of the publishing process. It's an important tool that several departments use to sell, package and prepare my book for publication though so I really try to take my time and do it right. The art department uses it to prepare the cover, the marketing department uses it for product placement, my editor uses it to write back cover copy and it's also used to sell foreign rights so my book can be translated into multiple languages. Really, it's quite important.

Not only do I want to make sure that the characters look right on the cover - which means I need to be pretty detailed about not only what the characters look like but their character traits as well - but I also want to make sure everyone that reads the AFS understands what the core idea of the book is. Providing them with detailed information gives my book the best chance to succeed.

One of the fun parts of the AFS is I get to suggest several scenes I think would make a great cover. I usually have an idea in my head about what I think would look great. Sometimes I'm right - most of the time I'm not. Harlequin has some of the best cover artists in the business and they know what they're doing. A heck of a lot better than I do. So while I might not always get what I wanted, I've never once been disappointed with the cover I've gotten. I figure they don't tell me how to write the book, who am I to tell them how to design a dynamic, eye-catching cover?

So, help me feel better about the three AFS I just completed. Do you have a favorite book cover? Something that caught your eye and called to you from the store shelves? Have you ever bought a book because of the cover?


P.S. I'm visiting today at the Blaze 10th Anniversary celebration. Come hear what TV show I thought would have been better as a Blaze.


Maven Linda said...

I haven't bought a book because I like the cover, but there have been books that I didn't buy because I disliked the covers. It took me a long time to get past the covers on the Harry Potter and Sookie Stackhouse books, because they're so off-putting to me. I LOVE the books. Hate the covers.

Playground Monitor said...

The cover isn't a deal breaker for me, but I did once buy a book because I loved the cover plus the back blurb was good. The book, however, didn't play out as well as I'd hoped.

I do pay attention to covers and if the heroine is described in the book as having a brunette bob and on the cover she has long blonde tresses, I think, "Huh?" But I know that's the art department and not the author's error. But unfortunately not everyone does. :-( And I understand authors get letters about things like that.

Here's to great covers!

Smarty Pants said...

I'm currently working on my first AFS. Eye opening process. I think the problem with covers is that is is nearly impossible to find the model that looks like the characters do in your head. And as the author, it may look right to you, but not to a reader who envisioned him differently. You can fill out the AFS perfectly, but if they can't dig up a model that looks just the way you described, they probably go with what they can get.

I don't like covers that are too stylized. I think that was the thing with the HP and Sookie books - they had a very distinct artist style and I didn't care for them. I didn't think it suited the books, especially those pasty cartoony vampires.

Problem Child said...

Can I just say here how much I love my editor that she (or one of the assistants) does this for me?

My skin crawls just thinking about that process. Of course, it also means that I never have to get mad at the art dept for not seeing things the same way I do... :-)

Jean Hovey said...

I've never bought a book because of the cover, but I've picked it up for further exploration because of the cover.

I can't think of a cover that stands out but I believe my favorite one will be one that has my name on it.

Instigator said...

Jean, you are so right. :-) The best cover is the one with your name on it.

Maven Linda, I'm the same way. There are books that people rave about, but if the cover turns me off I have a hard time giving it a chance.