As the author of a book, I don't have much control (any, really) over the cover. So, I consider myself extraordinarily lucky that the cover for NAMELESS QUEEN turned out the way it did.
Along the way, they sent me a couple updates and asked for any thoughts I may have. (This is what a contract calls "meaningful consultation" which is great for keeping me in the loop with the design!)
All in all, I'm perfectly happy to let an expert in their field make the best decisions and do their best work. I am glad when my voice is heard, but I also am glad that people who are better at their jobs know when I ignore me.
Here are five weird fun facts about the cover design of Nameless Queen!
1 - The title font was almost red
In an early design they sent me, the title font was a blockier title font and the texture was kind of marbled. It was a bold, bright red, and it definitely jumped out at you! Ultimately, they changed it to a white marble texture, and the red colors that persisted on the cover (like the small flags on the palace and the blurb/tagline) were a much better balance!
2 - The final title font surprised me!
On that note about the title font, the last I saw of it was when it still had the white-marbled font. I love a custom font, and I was pretty happy with it! But when I saw the final cover design, it was a total surprise! Suddenly, it was this gorgeous gold color that somehow perfectly balanced an elegance with strength, and it stood out in a beautiful way that the white or red title didn't.
And that red color that popped up periodically through the cover? The hard-cover underneath the book jacket was that same solid red! It's beautiful!
3 - Can you spot the hexagon?
The city where NAMELESS QUEEN takes place is a city-state called Seriden. As described in the book, its hexagonal in shape and basically has a sector for major areas of residence, agriculture, and commerce. I was so pleased when I saw the first designs of the cover, because that same hexagonal shape is present on the cover! You can see it in the way that the outlying buildings frame around the central palace structure, and the intermediary area is filled with a moody fog that really sets a good fantasy/mystical tone!
4 - The original title was "THE" Nameless Queen
Throughout all of my drafts, the title of my book never changed. It was always "The Nameless Queen." Yet when I first saw the cover design, that was the first time I realized that the publishers had opted to drop the "the" from the title. This streamlined it, simplified the design, and
You can still see the echoes of "the" in the foreign editions, which both have a translated "the" in their titles. I was never emotionally attached to the "the," so losing it didn't bother me at all, and I feel like it makes it all the more punchy and strong!
5 - The final cover design caused a publication delay
There's a truly incredibly amount of the traditional publishing process industry that I'm not involved with. At some point, I finish up with copyedits and I move on to my next project (while still promoting NAMELESS QUEEN, of course). When I finished copyedits on the book, we were tentatively slated to publish in Fall of 2019 (basically, the latter third of the year). However, my editor and marketing team wanted to make sure the final cover art was on the ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies), which go out for early reading and review. It's often a toss-up whether ARCs do or don't have final art.
Often, they are made before copyedits are done, so they often are noted as 'un-proofed' versions. And reviewers and early readers are aware that small things in the book or large things in the cover can change. (And the final cover art is so gorgeous, I totally agree that including it on the ARCs was a good move!) Because they were still working on the cover art though, it meant that the ARCs wouldn't be ready early enough to meet a late 2019 publish date. (I'm certain there was more at play in this decision that I'm not aware of, but that's okay!)
No worries in the end, though, because the book scooted forward into the earliest Tuesday of 2020, January 7!