Monday, April 30, 2007

The Eternal Cover Art Debate

In this week's Publishers Weekly were three successive right-page ads for the new Orbit SF/Fantasy line (launching in September), showing off their covers. Now, I'd seen a few of these covers before, and I knew Orbit was going in this direction, but this was the first time the art look for the whole line had been made public (I think).

I don't think anyone will mind if I post my scans of those ads here -- but, if anyone out there from Hachette/Orbit does mind, please e-mail me, and I'll take them down. This should be considered promotion and buzz-building, I think, but I don't own this stuff, and will defer to those who do.

Anyway, on to the scans. (I believe that, if you click on them, you'll get the larger versions.) My opinions on cover art are pretty well known by now, so I'll refrain from any commentary. But I think you can imagine what I'd say...


Anonymous said...

Huh. Most of those are taken directly from the UK editions, as far as I can tell.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Niall: Orbit's plan was to publish essentially the same list globally (or at least in the UK, US, and Australia/NZ), though I'm not sure how precisely that will work out in practice -- Orbit UK has a number of major authors who are published by other people here in the States.

I know a few of these are different -- I've seen the UK Devices and Desires, which doesn't look at all like that cover. But the general design sense and choice of images does look quite British to my eye.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew: I hope this finds you well. I just wanted to respond on a couple of points raised here …

We won’t be publishing the same list globally. Orbit in the UK publishes over 70 titles / year, and in the US we’ll be publishing approximately half that number. And many of those authors have existing publishers in one market or the other.

The correspondence between the US and UK lists simply reflects the fact that we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to publish a number of authors who have - we feel - genuinely international appeal. Since the majority of our marketing and publicity activity is going to happen online, joined-up publishing such as this makes even more sense for us and our authors.

On the covers (Niall's comment), 8 of the 11 covers shown in these ads were originated in the US, so it’s actually more accurate to say that the UK covers are being taken from the US editions.

There is a general point here, of course, that covers both of these comments, regarding the relationship between Orbit UK and Orbit US. I’d like to stress that they are two separate lists. There might be common points between the two in our general publishing strategy, as well as common points in our publishing strategies for individual authors, but those common points will only appear when we feel they are right for the author in the individual markets in which we are publishing them.

Incidentally, the Orbit US launch list has been posted at This site will host an Orbit blog, launching within the next couple of months, with contributions from the publishing teams in the US and UK - so more on covers, worldwide publishing, etc. to come!

Tim Holman
Publishing Director, Orbit

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