Monday, February 10, 2014

Here's To Not Lookin' at Ya

It's cover conference time again; this week "they" will be getting together to brainstorm the cover for the ninth tenth Sebastian book, Who Buries the Dead, due to be released in March 2014 2015.

The reactions to the cover of Why Kings Confess have been so positive that my publishers are planning to create a unified look for the series, using this cover artist. To that end they have redone the cover of What Angels Fear. Personally, I liked the Kings cover; I love the way it captures Sebastian's energy and edginess and aura of danger. And while I felt the model's face was not as refined as I've always envisioned Sebastian, I do find him sexy in a sort of Sean-Bean-as-Sharpe way. I'm not as happy with the Angels cover; I think the design is great but the male figure just doesn't say "Sebastian" to me at all.

I told my publishers that a lot of readers like the look of the new covers but think it would be better if Sebastian's face wasn't so visible. And, believe it or not, they listened. So now they want suggestions for ways to achieve that. About the only thing I came up with was having his head tipped downward so that his face is shadowed by his hat. I tried going to Le Google for images of other ideas, but I wasn't successful.

So I'm throwing it open to y'all. Suggestions for dynamic poses that hide the face, anyone? Links to images that show possible poses would be appreciated.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

c- first isn't why kings confess the 9th book? due out next month. Who Buries the Dead - is 10 due out march 2015? or do I need a lot more coffee? I know I was the only one (almost) who liked the face of the Angels new cover but forgetting that and moving on to new question - your idea seems the best - like What Darkness Brings, you get a hint of him. but not a real look at his face. I looked at some book covers and many either just show the back of a head of a character or from a great distance. A few of Tasha Alexander covers seem to cut off the face above the nose. I've seen others do that too. I'm not that creative but there doesn't seem to be that many options. don't think I was much help.
good luck!, best, ali

JustWingingIt said...

Oh, I'm so glad they're listening to you about the cover model's face. I think the model looks fine, but I agree that he looks more rugged in his features than most of us envision for Sebastian. I think that lowering the head or even partial profiles would work in giving us a hint without being too revealing.

An example would be the covers for The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series 9steampunk genre). It's become a running joke among the fans that we'll never get to see the face of the main male character. :)

https://www.goodreads.com/series/56387-ministry-of-peculiar-occurrences


Veronica

cs harris said...

Ali, oops, you're right! I'm the one who needs more coffee. And I guess that explains the recent popularity in romance novels of covers with headless people!

JustWIngingIt, thanks! I wasn't familiar with the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. Steampunk does seem to be becoming more and more popular.

LOgalinOR said...

As everyone has said, love the new cover of WAF, except that face of 'Sebastian'. Everything else is in keeping (beautifully) with the whole theme of the book. Can the face be darkened (photoshop) and the profile left the same? Since most the rest of the figure's clothing is dark--black cape with light shining on the back, it would also, be in sharp contrast nicely against the bright light to the right of the figure. That would lend a nice aura of mystery and intrigue--darker face (more left up to the imagination) turning back to stare. The current facial image is almost like a photo, whereas in WKC the face is more fuzzy and blurry, lending a little more to the imagination.
I also 'Le Googled' under several different headings, and didn't come up with much-LOL, except a side image of a male figure tipping his hat in Cassandra Clare's "Clockwork Angel". I'd like to see Sebastian wearing his top hat but maybe that facial image may be helpful.

Anonymous said...

So, I don't like the ones that show half a face cut horizontally, like at the nose so you can't see the eyes. I kinda like the ones that are covered by something so you can see half of the face, vertically. Also, you can have him putting his hands up in front of his face - like he is thinking about something and kinda scrubbing his face. I have some examples, but couldn't figure out how to attach them. Definately the silouette angle is always good. 22 more days and counting!!!! Sabena

Elaine P. said...

The covers of the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher show the character in a variety of poses, but his face is shown at least partially in most of them.
http://www.jim-butcher.com/books/dresden

With some books I don't mind seeing the characters faces, but I really dislike the ones that use photos on the cover to represent the character.

cs harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cs harris said...


LOgalinOR, I think you nailed it--the face is indeed much more painterly and obvious in the new ANGELS cover than in the KINGS. Thank you! I've pointed that out to my editor. Also sent her the Clockwork Angel cover..

Sabena, those cut-off faces have become something of a joke, it's been overdone so much. And I agree, the silhouette is much less "in your face."

Elaine, I believe the Butcher novels are actually done by this same artist. I've also sent some of them to my editor. The faces in them are much less distinct than in the ANGELS cover; I wonder why he did that? Because I'm a female writer? (Someone recently did a funny study of the differences between the covers given male and female writers, even when there is no difference in the books).

paz said...

Getting your publishers to pay attention to your suggestions and give you some control over such things as covers has to be one of the hallmarks of making it as an author. Congratulations!

Ok so there is this awesomely quirky website where I found some images

http://idiosyncraticfashionistas.blogspot.com/2011_08_07_archive.html

Lots of pictures of pop stars in top hats in lots of angles.

Look here

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-172540709/stock-photo-film-noir-detective-man-in-a-raincoat-and-hat-and-a-dangerous-woman-with-a-gun-in-his-hand.html?src=kkujGo9D16aJYtryPspFNQ-1-25

for another example of how it might work, minus the moll in the background LOL With the right play of shadows and light ... Voila! Face begone.

Suzanne said...

Have you thought of using shadows? There is a fabulous photo of Clifton Webb dancing with Marilyn Miller at the address below. They are on a dark stage in front of an lightened doorway and shown in silhouette. It is an affect often used by dancers or in film noir publicity shots.

flickchick1953.blogspot.com

I am over the headless body pictures of covers too. It was an interesting affect the first time but it has been done to death now.

It is really good that they are listening to you and asking for your suggestions. After all, you did write the book so you would know what it should look like better than anyone.

lmhess said...

I still prefer the mystery of not seeing his face. But I'll read it, no matter what. Just tell the illustrator that the ill-fitting top hat has to go. It looks a size too small on both covers.

cs harris said...

Paz, I must admit I was rather stunned that they are listening to me...maybe. We shall see. Thanks for the suggestions.

Suzanne, that is a very interesting site! Thanks.

Imhess, you're right, it is too small! I've been thinking it looked odd because they had it pushed back too far on his head, and told them to please tip it forward. For some reason it didn't even occur to me that the thing was simply too small. I'll tell my editor, but I suspect they only have one top hat...

Charles Gramlich said...

I really like the idea of having his face partially hidden. The tipped down hat and shadows is a good choice, I think.

JustWingingIt said...

Chris McGrath is your cover artist?! That man has his own legion of followers who will buy books just for his covers alone. He is a legend in the SciFi/Urban Fantasy/Fantasy genre. You can see his work here:

http://www.christianmcgrath.com/

Veronica

Sherry said...

Chris McGrath is your cover artist? Interesting, because your covers feel different to me than some of his other work. On his best covers, there's an interplay of shadows and background detail that make them really interesting.

Check out his covers for D.B. Jackson's Thieftaker fantasy series--I really like those. The series is pretty good, too, if you enjoy both fantasy and history novels.

cs harris said...

Charles, it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

JustWingingIt, I'll have to ask to be sure. It was my agent who told me she thought it was the same cover artist, but if anyone said his name it didn't click with me.

Sherry, Okay, I obviously shouldn't have mentioned that since I wasn't sure! I didn't realize he was so well known. I live under a rock, you see...

Sherry said...

Looking at the cover a little more closely, I think the artist likely is Chris McGrath. Maybe he's going lighter on the background detail because he doesn't want to risk being ahistorical? That's not such a problem with scifi/fantasy covers.

I think a different artist's model could do wonders, too. When I look at your cover, I see Harry Sullivan, from the old Doctor Who episodes:

http://revengeofthefilmnerds.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/HarrySullivan.jpg

Sarah said...

Sarah Easley I love the malevolent, moody atmosphere in the revamped cover of Angels! I agree, though, that is NOT Sebastian. I liked the old cover designs, honestly, but if there's going to be a change at least we can try and help make it a good one. Kudos to the creativity team in actually listening to the author on this one! :-)

A pose suggestion: Have Sebastian's back completely to us with his head turned to look at something. Have the light hit the side of his face so that we know it's him, but (again) don't get the full reveal of a face not everyone will ever agree on. Kind of similar to the Angels & Demons movie poster:

http://www4.images.coolspotters.com/w...

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh - I'm so excited. I just saw on my credit card there is a transaction pending from Barnes and Noble. Just checked my account - my hardcover of Kings is being "processed". Maybe, maybe it'll ship early. I try to support B&N as a brick and mortar store so get my hardback there and then have the kindle on order at Amazon. I'd be over the moon if I got the hardcover early (B&N is normally NOT early). Fingers and toes crossed. Sabena

cs harris said...

Sherry, I've asked my editor, and I'll let you know if she tells me the artist's name. And the Doctor Who link is funny.

Sarah, it is amazing that they are listening to me--or at least I hope they are.

Sabena, my boxes of author's copies just arrived, so I know they've shipped.

Suzanne said...

I was watching an old episode of Murder, She Wrote on DVD last night and one of the characters had a framed picture of a 1940s film poster on his dressing room wall.

It was of a man wearing a coat with the collar turned up and his hat turned down, as Charles suggested, and it was really effective. You could only see the shape of his face in shadow and his mouth and chin. It was very atmospheric and mysterious.

LeFleur said...

Shadows are your friend! (That's all I've got)

Judith said...

http://static.squarespace.com/static/50c53a51e4b0112a45d8dbfb/50c541bbe4b061d0bc6ad147/50c5426ae4b0fcb385b31481/1355104874566/COLDDAYS.jpg

Sort of like that...hope the link works.

cs harris said...

Suzanne, you're right, turning up the collar of a greatcoat is another way to do it.

LeFleur, yes, shadows!

Judith, yes, the link worked, thanks! (Goodness it's long!)

JoAnn Arnold said...

Just had some books recommended by Amazon and noticed the cover trend. seems everyone is using the framed back view silhouette.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00540PBFU/ref=pe_398270_112915940_em_1p_8_ti

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005O1BX3S/ref=pe_398270_112915940_em_1p_7_ti

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005Q7OJX6/ref=pe_398270_112915940_em_1p_5_ti

Coach Factory said...

polo ralph lauren outlet, gucci handbags, polo ralph lauren, prada handbags, kate spade handbags, christian louboutin shoes, prada outlet, coach purses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban outlet, michael kors outlet store, longchamp handbags, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton handbags, oakley vault, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet online, red bottom shoes, true religion, coach outlet, christian louboutin outlet, coach outlet store online, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, longchamp outlet online, chanel handbags, tiffany and co jewelry, kate spade outlet online, cheap oakley sunglasses, nike air max, burberry outlet online, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton, nike shoes, louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet online, nike free, tory burch outlet, coach outlet, burberry outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet

Coach Factory said...

hollister, longchamp, mulberry, longchamp pas cher, nike free, scarpe hogan, guess pas cher, hollister, oakley pas cher, burberry pas cher, timberland, air max pas cher, hermes pas cher, air jordan, nike air max, michael kors uk, abercrombie and fitch, sac vanessa bruno, nike roshe run, nike free pas cher, north face, sac michael kors, nike trainers, chaussure louboutin, true religion outlet, ray ban uk, louis vuitton, converse pas cher, louis vuitton uk, ralph lauren, nike air max, new balance pas cher, michael kors canada, lacoste pas cher, sac louis vuitton, true religion outlet, air max, nike blazer pas cher, nike air force, louis vuitton pas cher, tn pas cher, longchamp, nike huarache, barbour, ralph lauren pas cher, lululemon, ray ban pas cher, vans pas cher, north face pas cher, nike roshe

Coach Factory said...

ugg soldes, canada goose outlet, mcm handbags, moncler outlet, valentino shoes, ugg boots, marc jacobs outlet, soccer jerseys, nfl jerseys, herve leger, ugg outlet, chi flat iron, moncler, mont blanc pens, birkin bag, canada goose pas cher, canada goose outlet, north face outlet, moncler, insanity workout, bottega veneta, ferragamo shoes, vans outlet, mac cosmetics, north face jackets, soccer shoes, lululemon outlet, ghd, babyliss pro, beats headphones, jimmy choo shoes, canada goose uk, uggs outlet, canada goose outlet, hollister, moncler, p90x workout, giuseppe zanotti, canada goose, uggs on sale, abercrombie and fitch, wedding dresses, celine handbags, ugg, new balance outlet, asics shoes, roshe run, rolex watches, reebok outlet, instyler ionic styler

huanglin said...

michael kors
kate spade outlet
gucci outlet
jordan 11 concord
kobe shoes
louis vuitton
burberry outlet online
polo ralph lauren home
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors handbags
burberry outlet
michael kors handbags
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet
michael kors
adidas shoes
true religion
timberland boots
chanel bags outlet
pandara jewelry
soccer jerseys
cheap jerseys
air max uk
oakley sunglasses
red christian louboutin
michael kors
prada shoes
oakley vault
abercrombie
true religion outlet
timberland earthkeepers
ray ban sunglasses
jordan 13
louis vuitton
louboutin
chanel uk
louis vuitton handbags
replica watches
louis vuitton outlet
caihuanglin20150623

Unknown said...

louis vuitton uk outlet
ralph lauren outlet
hollister kids
louis vuitton handbags
christian louboutin sale
ray ban eyeglasses
christian louboutin
hollister
air max 2015
kate spade diaper bag
gucci outlet online
louis vuitton handbags
soccer jerseys
ralph lauren uk
louis vuitton handbags uk
abercrombie
pandora rings
christian louboutin shoes
michael kors handbags
coach factory outlet
oakley sunglasses
abercrombie and fitch outlet
jordan pas cher
abercrombie kids
louis vuitton outlet
tory burch shoes
chanel bags
kate spade
michael kors
kevin durant shoes 2015
louis vuitton
louboutin
oakley sunglasses
lv bags
mulberry uk
louis vuitton outlet
20150706xiong

chenlina said...

chenlina20150727
fitflops sale
hollister clothing store
oakley sunglasses
longchamp soldes
celine outlet
michael kors bag
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
coach outlet online
louis vuitton
jordan 6s
jordans 11
lebron shoes
toms outlet
mont blanc
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet online
jordan retro 11
chanel handbags
concords 11
jordan 11
coach outlet online
true religion jeans
ralph lauren
abercrombie and fitch
cheap jordans
coach outlet store online
pandara jewelry
soccer jerseys
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
coach outlet online
jordan 11 snakeskin
beats by dr dre
celine
ralph lauren outlet
coach outlet online
coach outlet
hollister clothing store
gucci outlet

Hyabe Ibbe said...

kd basketball shoes
cheap michael kors bags
michael kors handbags
coach factory outlet
fitflops sale clearance
polo shirt
ferragamo shoes
salvatore ferragamo shoes
nike store
nike outlet
nike outlet
ferragamo shoes sale
kobes shoes
ugg boots on sale
gucci outlet online
cheap jordan 11
kobe bryant shoes
coach factory outlet
cheap nike shoes
cheap jordans
coach sale
fitflop shoes
ray ban wayfarer sunglasses
chanel bags online
nike clearance
fitflop shoes clearance
christian louboutin shoes
air max 2015
coach store
air jordan shoes for sale
celine bags
christian louboutin
polo ralph lauren factory store
coach factory
columbia outlet store
christian louboutin sale
jordan 6
coach bags
nike outlet
gucci sunglasses outlet
coach purses outlet
coach sunglasses
fitflops online
nike store
michael kors outlet online sale
ralph lauren extra 25 off
jordan 6
fitflop
20150916hxt