Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Cover!

Here it is, the cover for Book One of King Rolen's Kin. (No text yet).

The artwork is by Clint Langley, a UK based artist who has worked on comics like Judge Dredd, Dark Blade and Sinister Dexter. He's also worked in the gaming world for Games Workshop, White Wolf, Hidden City Games and others. Plus he's done covers for Black Library, Warhammer and Battletech amongst others. We were lucky he had time to work on King Rolen's Kin.

I love the cover. It's moody and says fantasy in a modern way. SOLARIS is pleased with it.

Covers are so important and writers rarely get a chance to give much input. I was lucky, in that SOLARIS asked me for suggestions, so I researched current covers, found some I liked and prepared a Resonance Folder for the artist with the look of the world and the people, as well as descriptions etc.

Not every author is consulted when publishers prepare covers. Here Jane Lindskold does a post 'Look what what they've wrapped around my baby!

And here Peter Terzian does an interesting post about cover designs in 'Kill your Darlings'. He says:-

'We asked eight designers to show us their favorite runners-up, and to explain how and why these covers were nixed. In most cases, the designers were surprisingly sanguine. “It’s actually a good exercise to have to redesign something,”says free¬lance designer Gabriele Wilson. “Quite often, the designs end up being stronger than when they started.”'

I used to work as an illustrator, so I found this article really interesting.

I'm hoping, looking at the illustration above, readers would tempted to pick up a copy of my new book. It is a new series by an author they've never heard of.

I bought Brent Weeks trilogy based solely on the covers. The books are sitting on my 'to be read' pile. Have you come across some cover art recently that made you pick up a book by someone you didn't know?


Anonymous said...

I do count on the cover to convey a lot of information about the book. I need to know if it's the kind of book I would enjoy. I mentally by-pass many books on the shelves according to the cover. I can usually tell by the cover what sub-genre it should fall into.

I don't particularly like to read certain types of fantasy, and if that's what conveyed on the cover, then my eyes don't even stop on it. S&S fantasy, for instance. Not my thing. Urban fantasy featuring a plucky heroine who is most likely pictured on the cover. My thing. I pick it up to check it out. Especially if it's by an author I like. There are loads of other clues I get from the cover which influence my buying decision.

I just hope that when I have a book published for the first time that I love the cover. It would be so disappointing to not be proud of your cover.

Overall, how do the book authors feel about their covers?

Linda Davis

Linda Davis

Anonymous said...

Well, I meant that overall here, how do the book authors feel about their covers?

Linda Davis

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


Authors feel very ambivalent towards their covers. Often they have no say in them.

With King Rolen's King, it is a Saturday afternoon rollicking fantasy read, so I think the cover is a good reflection of this.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


My first trilogy, The Last T'En had a lovely Art Nouveau cover, which did not say fantasy at all. And this meant readers did not recognise it as something they wanted.

Kate said...

For a study in contrasts, the original hardcover "art" for Sarah's Draw One In the Dark is possibly the worst cover art ever committed.

On the positive side, the art for her Magical British Empire books and for DarkShip Thieves is wonderful.

I don't have the reference but the classic "There's a bimbo on the cover of my book!" is also... um... typical.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


Unless a writer is incredibly popular they have no control over covers.

In theory the publishers marketing department should know what kind of cover to put on each book.

Kate said...

Rowena: I tracked down the lyrics to the Bimbo song:

There¹s a Bimbo On the Cover
words by Michael Flynn & Maya Bohnhoff

to the music of If You're Happy and You Know it

1. There¹s a bimbo on the cover of the book.
There¹s a bimbo on the cover of the book.
She is blonde and she is sexy;
She is nowhere in the text. She
is a bimbo on the cover of the book.

2. There¹s a dragon on the cover of the book.
There¹s a dragon on the cover of the book.
He is long and green and scaly,
but he¹s nowhere in the tale. He
is a dragon on the cover of the book.

3. There¹s a rocket on the cover of the book.
There¹s a rocket on the cover of the book.
It¹s a phallic and a stout one,
but my novel was without one.
There¹s a rocket on the cover of my book.

4. There¹s a castle on the cover of the book.
There¹s a castle on the cover of the book.
Every knight is fit for battle,
but the action¹s in Seattle.
There¹s a castle on the cover of the book.

5. There¹s a blurb on the backside of the book.
There¹s a blurb on the backside of the book.
There¹s one story on the cover;
inside the book¹s another.
There¹s a blurb on the backside of the book.

6. And my name is on the cover of my book.
Yes, my name is on the cover of my book.
Although I hate to tell it,
the publisher misspelled it,
but my name is on the cover of my book.

7. They reviewed my book in Locus magazine.
They reviewed my book in Locus magazine.
The way Mark Kelly synopsized it,
I barely recognized it,
but they reviewed my book in Locus magazine.

8. Well, my book won the Nebula award.
Yes, my book won the Nebula award.
Still it ended in remainders,
ripped and torn by perfect strangers,
but my book won the Nebula award.

9. So put that bimbo on the cover of my book.
Put a bimbo on the cover of my book.
I don¹t care what gets drawn
if you¹ll just leave the cover on.
(Don¹t remainder me!)
So put that bimbo, dragon, castle, rocket,
vampire, elf or magic locket--
please put a bimbo on the cover of my book!

An extra verse (which I rather like) by Irene Radford:
There's black leather on the bimbo in my book.
There's black leather on the bimbo in my book.
While I'm sure she's lots of fun,
My heroine's a nun,
Who wears black leather on the cover of my book.

Of course, when Sarah saw the cover of DarkShip Thieves, she spent the rest of the convention with a huge grin, while waving the print around saying "There's a bimbo on the cover of my book!"

C Kelsey said...


I must say that, at a minimum, that cover would make me pick up the book and look at the blurb on the back. Very nice!

Jonathan D. Beer said...

Rowena, congratulations on receiving an excellent piece of cover art. I agree with everyone else, this would definitely make me stop and look twice at it sat upon the shop shelf. I am very familiar with Clint Langley's work for Games Workshop, and depressingly I'm not a fan of some of it. I've got to say, for your book, he brought his A-game - you got a great example of what he can create.

Also, can I extend a belated congratulations for being signed by Solaris. I only discovered yesterday evening that they had been brought from Black Library - prior to that I had thought their future rather bleak, possibly along with the talented authors they - in some cases - took a chance on picking up. I am a great fan of them as a publishing house, so I guess that there are now several reasons why I'll be picking up your book when it comes out - besides, of course, the excellent story that I am sure will be contained within.

I ought to end this rather sycophantic post now(!) Many congrats on the excellent cover art, I look forward to the words contained within it! :)

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kate I LOVE that song.

It's amazing. And I'm surprised I've never come across it before.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

C Kelsey said:

... at a minimum, that cover would make me pick up the book and look at the blurb on the back.

I hope you're representative of the target readers!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

C Kelsey said:

... at a minimum, that cover would make me pick up the book and look at the blurb on the back.

I hope you're representative of the target readers!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

WOW, don't know why my comment came up twice then.

Jonathan, Solaris was owned by Games Workshop, when I signed the contract.

Then last year they were sold to Rebellion, Europe's leading Independent Games Developer. The other arm of their publishing is Abaddon Books.

With the struggles the traditional publishers are facing and some of the business decisions they've made, I'm happy to be published by a company that has a base in multi media.

Here's some info from the Solaris Sale Press Release on Rebellion.


The UK-based computer games super-developer was established in 1992 by brothers Jason and Chris Kingsley. Their first major success was Alien Vs. Predator on Atari Jaguar for Atari in 1995. This was followed by Aliens Vs. Predator on PC in 1999, creating game innovations years ahead of their time. Rebellion’s approach to game production is focused primarily on cross-platform innovation and product quality. Their purchase of the UK sci-fi comic 2000 AD in 2000 and subsequent motion picture productions has provided valuable insight and experience in creating its unique product portfolio.

In 2005, Sniper Elite was released, securing critical acclaim, global sales success and winning the TIGA Award for Best PC/Console Game 2005. Lauded as ‘The Gran Turismo of war games’ by the gaming press, it has built upon the collection of Rebellion owned IPs, which includes Free Running, Evil Genius and the 2000 AD characters Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper.

In 2006 Rebellion purchased the Core Design studios, responsible for the Lara Croft – Tomb Raider series and Strangelite studios in Liverpool. These acquisitions established the company as one of the biggest and most innovative studios within the European development community.

Rebellion won Best Programming and Most Improved Developer at the Develop Industry Excellence Awards, has five BAFTA nominations and won three TIGA Awards for Best Developer, Best Game and Best Handheld/Console Game.

Rebellion created The Simpsons Game with EA on Wii, PlayStation 2 and PSP, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with EA on PSP, Star Wars: Renegade Squadron with LucasArts on PSP, Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem with Sierra on PSP and finally Rebellion’s own brand Free Running with Reef Entertainment on PlayStation 2 and PSP.

More recently Rebellion’s long-awaited move to the purpose built studio in Oxford happened along with announcements of Rogue Warrior for Bethesda, further work for Lucasarts on the Star Wars brand, together with the release of the world wide number 1 hit Call of Duty: World at War: Final Fronts. Finally Rebellion is working on Aliens Vs Predator for Sega which is planned for release in early 2010.

Website: www.rebellion.co.uk

Chris McMahon said...

That's a pretty impressive cover, Rowena. Congratulations.


WangZheng259 said...


I have a cover art anecdote that doesn't answer your question. (I really don't have any recent memories of browsing in that manner.)

A good time back, there was a few years where I kept on picking up John Ringo's A Hymmn Before Battle because of the cover art, and then putting it down, because of my reading of the blurb or something. I'm not sure if it was because I entirely mistook the type of book it was from the blurb, or if the green vests on the cover struck me as not being a good solution to the problem of combat wear, or what. When I finally ended up reading the book, I loved it.

Ringo put me on the path to finding Kipling and Kratman, both of which are excellent matches for my taste. Kipling and Ringo are two of the three factors which I credit my decision to go to engineering school to, so it might count as a life changing book.

That said, I might not have been ready for it when I first picked it up.

The woman on the cover of Hymmn has either brown or black hair, and is standing in a swamp or a jungle and, IIRC, the only main character the description fits is in the space navy. The folks in the swamp/jungle, IIRC, include a woman, but I am pretty sure she was blonde or a red head.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


I googled John Ringo's book to have a look at the cover.

Isn't it amazing how reading books can influence how you see the world and the life decisions you make.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Thanks, Chris.

I'm just delighted the cover turned out so well.

Now I'm looking forward to seeing the covers of books 2 and 3.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

I'm a very atypical reader. A cover might convince me not to buy a book. A cover can -- and often does -- call my attention to a book when walking along a shelf. I will not, however, buy a book based on the cover. Or stop buying a book based on the cover.

Okay, the cover to my first Shifter's book was so bad -- how bad was it, Sarah? -- that I wouldn't want to be SEEN buying it. But Amazon means I don't have to be seen buying it.

This might, btw, be cultural since in Portugal, many times, the covers just have the title, nothing else. Or if they do have an illustration, it's often random and indistinct. (For instance in the seventies most mysteries had pictures of random body parts. a bit of an arm, a photo of an ankle. No, not dead bodies, that would be gross. Just bodies.)

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

oh, yeah, congrats on great cover.

Anonymous said...

Rowena, if I may be so bold, that is one seriously bad-ass cover. I have no idea what the book is about, but I'd certainly thumb through a few pages to see what it's about, lest I draw the ire of the guy on the cover and get my arse kicked from the SF/Fantasy section all the way to Arts and Crafts!

Again, nice cover.

KylieQ said...

Very sexy cover, Rowena.
And I love the bimbo song.