Okay, before we do anything else, I feel like I should mention that I've updated the TOUR SCHEDULE part of the page. Over there you'll find a list of some conventions/readings/signings/etc that I'll be doing this year.
Of particular note are my two appearances in St. Paul this weekend. I'll be appearing at two separate libraries, one on Saturday, the other on Sunday. It's free for anyone to attend. I'll sign books if you bring them, and there will be books there to buy...
More events will be posted in the weeks to come. Seattle folk - I'll be out near y'all over Easter weekend. I'll be posting those details soon.
Okay. On to business.
Response to the Italian cover was every bit as varied as I expected. But there was rather more of it than I'd thought there would be. Since there were a lot of good comments and questions, I decided that I'd do a follow-up post to clarify a few things.
Points of interest and/or clarification.
- The art is done by a guy named Brom.
I didn't know about him before someone made reference to the cover as Brom-art in the comments of the last blog, but I have seen his stuff before. Mostly on D&D books back in the day....
Side note: I am currently working on a theory that once you reach a certain degree of fame, you get bumped up to a new quantum energy state wherein you only need one name.
This is easier to achieve for artists (Donato, Brom) and musicians (Sting, Madonna).
It's much rarer for authors. I suspect they need way more energy, like electrons in different valence shells. So for writers, only the SUPER elite have enough juice to make the jump (Cervantes, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Chaucer).
- Brom's website is OVER HERE if you're interested.
- The art wasn't drawn for the book specifically. The Italian publisher bought the rights to a pre-existing piece of art to use as the cover for the book.
- It's not Kvothe or one of the Chandrian. Don't sprain anything trying to make that fit in your head. (Though I would like to see Brom's take on the Chandrian.)
- You didn't miss the part of the book where someone has an eye in his hand. Neither is the eye-hand a mistranslation issue or some strange cultural signifier.
- My favorite comments on the cover:
- Kip: "It's obviously a picture of Kvothe LARPing his favorite Vampire: The Requiem Character."
- "They must have wanted to picture someone with good eye-hand coordination."
- "NOTW? WTF?"
- Sarah: "Kvothe has some sort of pointy pain stick. He should be careful or it will poke him in the hand-eye."
A few responses to questions and comments:
"Oh man Pat. As a graphic designer can I just say that that is a bad choice. There is no connection to the book that I can come up with at all. The thing on his hand is so prominent that people are going to wonder why its not in the book. It will be confusing. Then the really bad drop shadow, or black glow around the text is just bad design. The whole composition just was not meant to have text covering it."
I think you're right about the composition of the piece. It obviously wasn't meant to be obscured. I got the permission to show the original artwork from Brom: So here it is...
I'm pretty sure that they used that black shadow and my name to cover up Gothy McHotBod's nipple ring.
And yes, for those of you who are wondering, my chest looks exactly like that when I take my shirt off. By which I mean that I am pale as a bleached ghost on a moonlit night.
Christian asked: "Pat, I am very curious as to who that person is on the cover of the Italian version of your book. I'm pretty sure you would have a big say into what visually depicts your book to first time ( and in my case, long-time) readers."
Typically, authors get little-to-no say as to the covers of their books. Part of this is because the cover is, ultimately, a marketing choice, rather than an artistic one. And truthfully, publishers know more about marketing than authors do. Also, authors are word-smart, not necessarily picture smart.
That said, in my opinion it is a shame that authors aren't included in that process more frequently.
I did get to participate in the discussion about my US covers. But that is the exception to the rule, as my publisher, DAW, is very considerate. And my editor, Betsy, respects my opinion on these things. Still, they didn't say, "what do you think we should do." they said, "Here's what we're planning, what do you think?"
Still, it's nice to be asked.
My French publisher asked for my thoughts in the planning stage, and my Japanese editor asked early on if I had any suggestions as to who I would like as an artist. But none of the other foreign editors have included me so far. The first time I saw the Italian cover was about a week ago...
In a few of my more recent foreign contracts, I have approval of the final covers. But that doesn't mean that I get to design them. If the books continue to sell well, I'll probably get even more say in the future. I'm guessing.
"Why do they keep changing the cover? What's wrong with original Shirtless Kvothe and Green man?"Those covers belong to the US publisher. The foreign publishers would have to buy the rights to them if they wanted to use them. They probably don't want to do that because they're marketing the book to an entirely different culture.
That's all for now, folks. I'm back to work on book two...
posted by Pat at 11:41 PM