Nail your genre

ImagineFX - - Sketchbook -

Sci-fi and fan­tasy read­ers are very vis­ually lit­er­ate, in­formed by over 100 years of im­agery. And th­ese books are mar­keted to niche groups. “Film posters of­ten just set a mood, and are hyped via ro­bust ad­ver­tis­ing in­clud­ing trail­ers and film stars,” says Dave See­ley, who has il­lus­trated book cov­ers for Baen, Del Rey and Tor. “Main­stream pub­lish­ing for big-name au­thors can get away with that, but sci-fi and fan­tasy nov­els, mar­keted to a niche fan base, can’t. Maybe that’ll change, but they cur­rently need to tell a po­ten­tial reader that the book is sci-fi or fan­tasy at a glance. That can be ac­com­plished with ob­vi­ous cues like space­ships, plan­ets, or fu­ture tech­nol­ogy for sci-fi, or me­dieval weapons, dragons or vis­i­ble magic for fan­tasy. Some­times cues can be bold, some­times quite sub­tle.”


Dave See­ley’s cover leaves read­ers in no doubt that there will be

guns and sci-fi cities in­side.

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