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Book covers

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
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Vanessa
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Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Fri October 10th, 2008, 7:19 am

She reminds me of somebody! Nice face.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Fri October 10th, 2008, 10:00 am

My sales more than quadrupled when changed from standard painting to half-headless. Booksellers and supermarkets who weren't interested suddenly perked up and started buying them to put in their stores. I've gone full head with the latest hardcover, but looking down and not making eye contact with the reader. It's a conscious effort for the same but different. It is all about style and branding. If someone else comes out with a cover design for historical fiction that works superbly and sells in shed loads, then everyone else will jump on the bandwagon in some shape or form. Headline tried going down the chic-lit route with Reay Tannahill's Having the Builders In and its sequel and it didn't work - because people didn't realise it was a historical? I suspect so from other discussions on this list.
Actually, thinking about it, I had a headless torso for The Conquest hardcover in the UK way back in 1996 but it didn't take off, so perhaps it was ahead(less) of its time. :)

Boswell, am I right in thinking The Traitor's Wife will be out next fall?
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Fri October 10th, 2008, 11:09 am

:eek:

Wow! quadrupled! Now that there is impressive and now I can see why publishers would want to do it. If the trend is hot and its paying off stick with it!
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Fri October 10th, 2008, 11:29 am

[quote=""Divia""] :eek:

Wow! quadrupled! Now that there is impressive and now I can see why publishers would want to do it. If the trend is hot and its paying off stick with it![/quote]

Case History:
It was miraculous. It wasn't that I'd suddenly become a state of the art author. What was happening with the old covers was that the reps were doing the rounds of the booksellers and the latter weren't biting because the covers weren't exciting them. And if you don't get your books into the shops, they aren't there for readers to pick up. We got to the Falcons of Montabard which had been nominated for a major award in the UK and very nearly won it (came second). Tim Waterstone, one of the judges was very complimentary - Tim Waterstone being the original founder of the Waterstones book chain in the UK. But when it came to selling the book into shops and supermarkets there were no takers - Waterstones included, although sales at Amazon were good (courtesy of the word of mouth readers who couldn't get the books on the high street).
It was make or break. Dump the author or have an all out attempt to get the covers more saleable to the book chains. So they had a rethink for the paperback release of Shadows and Strongholds and boom! or should that be BOOM! Suddenly they couldn't print copies fast enough. It was like going from 0 to 60 in a snap of the fingers. We couldn't get them into supermarkets before (one of the UK's important points of sale for paperbacks) but Tesco took one look at the cover of S&S and without reading it (because the buyers seldom do), they took 23,500 copies for starters - and then reordered because they were selling out. And that's only one chain of stores. That's the power of the book cover. Get it right as a publisher and bookseller and it'll fly. Don't get it right and chances are you'll never get up in the air. It's scary!!!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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pat
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Joined: August 2008
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Post by pat » Fri October 10th, 2008, 11:46 am

Blimey EC!! That is fantastic!
A good book and a good coffee, what more can anyone want? xx

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Alaric
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Post by Alaric » Fri October 10th, 2008, 11:48 am

You even get headless man covers too, like Four Days in June that I reviewed last month. Also the latest re-issue of Hornblower has a person who resembles Ioan Gruffud on the cover to give it that humanised identity as was mentioned. For awhile Sharpe covers had Sean Bean on them and after the movie, Master and Commander had Russell Crowe on it. Whatever works, I guess. :)

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boswellbaxter
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Post by boswellbaxter » Fri October 10th, 2008, 12:49 pm

[quote=""EC2""]

Boswell, am I right in thinking The Traitor's Wife will be out next fall?[/quote]

June of 2009 is the expected release date.

Alaric, I've seen some biographies with "headless man" covers as well. Ian Mortimer's biography of Henry IV and Marc Morris's of Edward I both have them.
Susan Higginbotham
Coming in October: The Woodvilles


http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/

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Carine
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Currently reading: Jonkvrouw - Jean-Claude Van Ryckeghem
Interest in HF: I love history
Favourite HF book: Can't pin that down to only 1 :-)
Preferred HF: Medieval, Tudor and Ancient Egyptian
Location: Ghent, Belgium
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Post by Carine » Fri October 10th, 2008, 5:03 pm

[quote=""EC2""]Case History:
It was miraculous. It wasn't that I'd suddenly become a state of the art author. What was happening with the old covers was that the reps were doing the rounds of the booksellers and the latter weren't biting because the covers weren't exciting them. And if you don't get your books into the shops, they aren't there for readers to pick up. We got to the Falcons of Montabard which had been nominated for a major award in the UK and very nearly won it (came second). Tim Waterstone, one of the judges was very complimentary - Tim Waterstone being the original founder of the Waterstones book chain in the UK. But when it came to selling the book into shops and supermarkets there were no takers - Waterstones included, although sales at Amazon were good (courtesy of the word of mouth readers who couldn't get the books on the high street).
It was make or break. Dump the author or have an all out attempt to get the covers more saleable to the book chains. So they had a rethink for the paperback release of Shadows and Strongholds and boom! or should that be BOOM! Suddenly they couldn't print copies fast enough. It was like going from 0 to 60 in a snap of the fingers. We couldn't get them into supermarkets before (one of the UK's important points of sale for paperbacks) but Tesco took one look at the cover of S&S and without reading it (because the buyers seldom do), they took 23,500 copies for starters - and then reordered because they were selling out. And that's only one chain of stores. That's the power of the book cover. Get it right as a publisher and bookseller and it'll fly. Don't get it right and chances are you'll never get up in the air. It's scary!!![/quote]

Woaw EC ! I already thought that a bookcover is important, but didn't realise it was THAT important ! Amazing !!!

Calgal
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Location: Northern California

Post by Calgal » Fri October 10th, 2008, 6:06 pm

Part of the appeal of headless and partial may be that the paintings used are too static. Most old paintings can stand a little mystery and skewing. Lopping off body parts is a collage approach. Anything too literal does not invite us to discover and complete the story.

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boswellbaxter
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Post by boswellbaxter » Fri October 10th, 2008, 6:11 pm

Not a headless cover, but a three-armed cover, and a very entertaining piece about how the afflicted author turned it to her advantage:

http://www.christinadodd.com/castles.php
Susan Higginbotham
Coming in October: The Woodvilles


http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/

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