I read sci-fi and fantasy most of my childhood, mainly from three sources:
1) Reading books on friend’s recommendations
2) Browsing the bookstore and reading cover copy (back sans kids when I really had time to browse)
3) Hitting the classics (like Brave New World or Fahrenheit 451) when school required something more intellectual
And sure, I noticed covers at the bookstore, but sad as it may sound, I never gave much thought to the cover artists. My selections at the bookstores were generally based on (1) the back cover copy; or (2) whether a book was face-out or not.
So what cover changed it all for me? This one. Otherland by Tad Williams. Now that cover made me want to own the book and run my hands over the sheer glossiness of it all.
Turned out in addition to these beautiful Otherland covers, Mr. Whelan had been illustrating SFF covers for years, many of which I’d read and just never known. Dark Tower series. Foundation series. Space Odyssey. Gunslinger.
Here’s my thought on publishing SFF: You know you’ve made it when Michael Whelan illustrates your book’s cover.
Got a favorite SFF artist? I’d LOVE to know!
PJ Hoover hopes to write a VR book as awesome as Otherland someday.