Monday, January 3, 2011
An Interview with Author and Artist Fiona Jayde
Admittedly, I rarely look to see who created the cover that plays such an important role in drawing my attention to a book. But, the cover is the initial impression that separates one novel from all the others on the bookstore shelf. It commands our attention, encourages and seduces us to place the book in our hands and read the tagline, then, hopefully, the blurb, and ultimately the first few paragraphs, maybe the full first chapter.
The cover whispers, “Read this book… buy this book.”
While the cover plays such an important, almost critical role in a potential reader’s first impression, the cover is also the one thing the average author has the least amount of input into. The publisher has the final say, not the writer.
Ironically, as a consumer, you and I care little about who created the cover and don’t buy the book because Fiona Jayde developed the jacket. But if the artwork is cheap or tacky in appearance, many pass by the book, assuming the story will reflect the same lack of professionalism. We subconsciously conclude that if the cover doesn’t draw our interest, how could the story?
And therein lies Fiona Jayde’s popularity. Her artwork stops our eyes and hypnotically commands us to pick up the book. We may not buy the book in the end, but we walk away mentally mumbling how ‘neat,’ ‘cool,’ ‘awesome,’ or ‘intriguing’ the cover was.
Yes, dear reader. Every time we buy a book, we help put food on an artist’s table. http://fionajayde.com/
Q) You are an outstanding writer, yet, had a desire to let your artistry flow to design. How did you convince that first publisher to give you the freedom to design a cover?
A) Thank you! I'm fairly "scattered" in my personal hobbies and interests - in addition to writing and designing, I also play a bit of piano, take martial arts classes, and do some web developing on the side. Its all "artistic" in its own way, even the coding.
As far as convincing that first publisher to let me design cover... well, honestly? A hint of blackmail. I had a series my publisher wanted to condense into a collection and re-release as a bundle. I agreed, with the caveat the publisher would consider my own design for the cover. They had the right to tell me I was full of it, but at least they would look at it. Luckily for me, they liked it enough to publish the collection with that cover. This particular book is no longer in print, but it gave me the start of my "official" cover art career.
Q) What does the process entail for creating a cover? How are you inspired, and just how much do you actually work one-on-one with an author?
Q) I have to ask this. Has there been a time where the publisher rejected your artwork for one of your own books?
A) Oh yes, absolutely. It was one of the first cover mockups I've made and I was convinced it was the best thing since sliced bread. The art director of the publishing house I was with didn't quite agree with me, and for the life of me I couldn't understand why he didn't see things my way.
These days I don't usually do my own cover art. Why? Because I'm my own worst client. It takes me days and weeks to agonize over a design. (Take a look at the graphic at my website for example - days and days of minor OCD). I drive myself crazy. As such, both covers for "Pas De Deux" and "Night Haven" were done by very talented cover artists at Samhain Publishing (Amanda Kelsey and Kanaxa respectively). I love giving my written works to cover artists I admire and seeing what they'll do with it.
Q) Do you ever use live models for your designs? Why or why not?
A) Live models as in take pictures of someone and then use them in a cover? I haven't really, as this is usually a cost issue for the publisher. (Plus I know nothing about photography or lighting or any other intricate details!)
However I'm involved in a mystery book series where the covers will be based on an actual live photo shoot. I'm really looking forward to it!
Q) Normally in the final question I ask the author to offer some advice to prospective writers, and feel free to do so. But, I’d really like to hear any advice or encouragement you can provide to young artists interested in designing covers for novels.