Book covers: different countries, different looks


My post on the upcoming American and German editions of the Evan Delaney series sparked a couple of questions. Susan asks: “So what are the German titles, and how do they translate?”

Schmerzlos translates as Painless. The shoutline, “Ein morderisches Wiedersehen,” means “A murderous reunion.” Yep, it’s Crosscut.

Vermisst translates as Missing Person. That’s Kill Chain, and the tagline is “Finden. Jagen. Zielen. Toten.” Find. Hunt. Aim. Kill.

Anybody who’s read these books will recognize the cover art, designed by Larry Rostant. Likewise, anybody familiar with the series will realize that my German publisher, Heyne, is publishing the fourth and fifth books in the series first. That’s because they know the German market and think these two will really grab readers, straight out of the gate.

This brings me to Gargoyle’s question:

What’s wrong with the original cover for China Lake? Does the US publisher think it won’t work here? Or do they just have to have their own version?

Nothing’s wrong with the original China Lake cover. It was designed for the British thriller market, and it’s very cool. But each country, every language, has its own style, its own culture, its own zeitgeist. (You can see seven versions of the cover for China Lake here.) Publishers design book jackets to appeal to local readers.

As for the US edition, it’s designed to dovetail with the cover for my new novel, The Dirty Secrets Club. I’ll be posting that before too long.

8 responses to “Book covers: different countries, different looks

  1. Vielen Gluck (good luck) to Schmerzlos and Vermisst in Deutchland! At least the novels weren’t stuck with one of those horrendously long compound German nouns like Morderischwiedersehenfindenjagen!

  2. Oops, Deutschland (with an s)!

  3. “Morderischwiedersehenfindenjagen!”

    That’s for the coffee table book.

  4. It’d be a good book to read if you are krank, staying in a krankenhaus, being watched over by a krankenhausschwester…wearing a krankenhausschwestersweater!

  5. Thanks for the link to the other covers. Interesting, although I’m partial to the original China Lake.

  6. To listen to you Snart, one would think only kranks read Meg’s books. No comment.

    I’ve often wondered what writers feel like when their books are translated into languages they don’t know. I’d be sleepless with curiosity, wondering how the original has been rendered.

  7. Right, Prospectus. If Crosscut can be rendered as “Painless,” then I fear that they changed the name but didn’t read the book. It was anything but painless!

  8. While I was reading something earlier, another more Gardiner-specific thought entered my head.

    Meg, your writing is, to me, unmistakably American. The slang especially. I wonder what translators would do with it? Would they try to keep that sense of “Americanism” or render it into the local colloquial? I might have to get a German copy to see.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s